Munier Salem (Cornell ’10, Columbia GSAS) created this handy dandy interactive infographic (data from Fall 2009) using the university registrar-provided online median grade reports. Cornell’s Class of 2012 will be the first to have courses’ median grades listed on their transcripts, meaning that “A-” in AEM 4240: Management Strategy won’t look as sleek when the median grade in the class of 192 students is an “A”.
Going over this data is fascinating, you should definitely check out the link on your own. After poking around for awhile, I realized that the hardest class in the hotel school is Business Computing, taught by the infamous Mark Talbert of “Yawn Outside” fame. Keeping in mind that the numbers are a bit dated, and that median grades are not the same as average grades, read on for some other potentially noteworthy trends I stumbled into:
- Departments traditionally viewed as “easy” tend to actually be pretty easy.
Seems obvious, but it’s good to know that peoples’ perceptions are generally accurate regarding: the Colleges of Human Ecology (100% of non-departmental classes with an “A” or “A-” median grade) and Industrial and Labor Relations (71.9%); and departments of Human Development (80%) and Applied Economics and Management (71%).
- There are some surprising easy departments, too.
Who knew that Archaeology (89% with A- or higher), Near Eastern Studies (95% with A- or higher) and Entomology (86% with A- or higher) weren’t quite as hard as their names made them sound?
- Hard sciences and engineering are hard.
Biology was the only department to check in with any classes with a C+ median. 63.7% of classes in the Material Science and Engineering department had medians of B+ or lower. And there are basically no soft Engineering Distribution courses — roughly 50% of classes had medians of B+ and the other 50% had medians of B; none had medians of A.
- The Africana Studies department, which was controversially absorbed into the College of Arts and Sciences last winter, has the highest percentage by far (17.6%) of A+ median classes; 41.2% have median grades of A. However, 17.7% of classes have median grades of B+ or lower.
- Hotelies, pay attention. Commit this phrase to memory, then repeat early and often: “Actually, fewer than 30% of classes in the Cornell School of Hotel Administration have a median grade of A- or higher. In fact, 1.6% of our classes had a B- median grade! Can you believe that? …. don’t push me that way!”
Thank you, Munier (with whom I worked at The Cornell Sun for awhile), for providing access to this valuable data — with this act of public service, you can be assured that none of the ever-growing number of folks who take these classes will be competing with you in the job market anytime soon.