Ask Benny: The scoop on Penn's favorite majors

Dear Benny,
What is the most popular undergraduate major at Penn and why is it so popular?
—Advising My Daughter

Dear Advisor,
I put that question to Kent Peterman, director of academic affairs in the College. Until very recently, he told me, English and history traded places regularly as the most popular major, but within the last few years, economics has overtaken both. When I asked him for a possible explanation, he said, “I don’t know. You can speculate on why [certain] majors are popular, but I’d rather not do that.”

The College Class of 2002 had 259 economics majors, 228 history majors and 181 psychology majors. The number of economics majors had been hovering in the low 50s until 1998, when it jumped to 153.

Dear Benny,
I’ve had a lot more responsibility put on my plate lately, and I think I deserve a promotion, or at least a raise. How do I get one?
—Working Hard

Dear Hard Worker,
According to Human Resources, your supervisor is the person who is responsible for deciding if your job has changed significantly enough to warrant a review of your position. If you believe that your duties have changed significantly, you and your supervisor should sit down and discuss the changes in your job. This is a great opportunity to clarify what is expected of you. You may ask your supervisor to request a review of your job classification.

Dear Benny,
How many artifacts are in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology?
—Amateur Collector

Dear Pack Rat,
The Museum has almost 1 million objects in its collection, according
to Jeremy Kucholtz in the Museum's public information office. The number on display varies with the changing exhibits in Museum galleries.

Got a question for Benny? Send it to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106 or e-mail it to

Originally published on April 25, 2002