Enrollment in UC Berkeley’s summer minors has increased 18 percent from last year, with an increase from 2,020 enrolled last summer to 2,382 enrolled this summer, according to Alexandra Calvert, project manager of UC Berkeley Summer Sessions, Study Abroad & Lifelong Learning.
According to campus director of undergraduate journalism David Thigpen, enrollment is counted as the number of classes taken, which is different from the head count or number of students. For instance, if the same student takes two different classes in the journalism summer minor, it would count as two enrollments for that minor.
“We’re glad we’re growing, and we want more people to know about (summer minors),” said Megan Amaral, manager for the UC Berkeley Energy & Resources Group.
Multiple individual summer minors have experienced even greater growth than the overall 18 percent. According to Thigpen, the journalism summer minor enrollments have increased by 43 percent, from 445 enrolled last year to 636 enrolled this year. Similar growth has been seen in the Developing Child summer minor, which teaches students about how young children learn and develop. The Developing Child summer minor had a 40 percent increase in enrollment this year, according to Margaret Bridges, director of early development and learning science in the campus Institute of Human Development.
An even larger increase in enrollment has occurred in the sustainability summer minor, which has doubled its enrollment since last year, according to Amaral.
“We also added two online courses this summer (Energy and Society; Water and Sanitation Justice) that can be taken remotely from anywhere in the world,” Amaral said in an email. “This may have also made the program — and these courses — more attractive.”
Both the sustainability and Developing Child summer minors started last summer. Their rapid growth in enrollment is thought to be due to increased awareness about summer minors, according to Bridges and Amaral. According to Calvert, an increase may also be due to the spread of information through “word of mouth,” marketing and students hearing about the minors early when they start at UC Berkeley so that they can plan for summers ahead.
The journalism minor, an older program, has additional reasons for growth, Thigpen said. He said students from every major are joining the minor, as they realize skills in journalism — such as shooting videos, photojournalism, working with audio and writing — are valuable in almost every profession.
“Students are recognizing that the skills journalists have in finding information quickly and presenting it in an concise and engaging form are useful skills, no matter what your major,” Thigpen said. “Since we’re all saturated in info in our daily lives, it’s important that we’re able to communicate important information in a way that people can trust.”
According to Thigpen, many of the new summer minors are a “wonderful way” for students to try another field that they may be interested in as well as get a minor in one summer.
According to Calvert, interest in summer minors has been apparent at Cal Day and Golden Bear Orientation.
“We have been receiving a lot of interest at events like Cal Day and Golden Bear Orientation over the past few years and we feel we are now seeing students that have planned on including a Summer Minor in their academic plans,” Calvert said in an email.