- What's the most expensive required textbook at Brown?
- What's the most expensive class?
- What's the most expensive department?
To answer these questions, we'll mine data from Courses@Brown (Brown's course-enrollment portal). Crucially, for each course, this portal reports:
- its enrollment count
- its required, recommended, and "alternative" textbooks and their price range at the Brown Bookstore
So as to not succumb to sensationalism, we'll only consider the minimum price of required textbooks (unless otherwise noted).
Even so, given the eye-popping expenses that will follow, it's probably false to believe that all students purchase the required textbooks, or that they pay Brown Bookstore's prices for them.
Most Expensive Books
The $264.50 Investments, by Bodie, Kane & Marcus tops out as the most expensive required textbook of Fall 2020.
The top-20 most-expensive required textbooks of Fall 2020 are as follows:
|$245.74||9780134472089||Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives|
|$235.74||9780132275590||Physics for Scientists & Engineers|
|$217.76||9781260045246||Avanti! Beginning Italian|
|$200.75||9780471254249||Chemical Reaction Engineering|
|$195.81||9781429219617||Biology of Plants|
|$194.65||9781319013387||Introduction to the Practice of Statistics|
|$184.99||9780138147570||Signals and Systems|
|$180.00||9781305652972||Fundamental Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences|
|$168.73||9781319105266||Public Finance and Public Policy|
|$166.88||9780471510949||Chemical Applications of Group Theory|
|$165.50||9780132745659||Statistics for Business and Economics|
Most Expensive Classes
With a total required textbook cost of $462.47, POLS2320 Ethnic Conflict is the most expensive class of Fall 2020.
The top-20 most-expensive classes of 2020 are as follows:
|$330.43||AMST||2020E||Introduction to Interdisciplinary American Studies|
|$318.04||ANTH||2501||Principles of Archaeology|
|$301.56||SOC||2962C||Knowledge Cultural Sociology|
|$278.59||AFRI||0670||Global Black Radicalism|
|$236.25||ECON||2030||Introduction to Econometrics I|
|$235.74||PHYS||0050||Foundations of Mechanics|
|$226.27||AMST||2220B||Culture, Politics and the Metropolitan Built Environment|
|$220.70||HIST||2971I||New Perspectives on Medieval History|
|$212.37||SOC||2040||Classical Sociological Theory|
|$210.06||JUDS||1635||Problems in Israelite History|
|$207.62||URBN||1870M||Urban Regimes in the American Republic|
|$200.75||ENGN||1120||Reaction Kinetics and Reactor Design|
|$197.45||PHYS||2410||Solid State Physics I|
Domestic Department Product
The above ranking of most-expensive courses is dominated by popular classes such as Investments and Foundations of Mechanics. In these cases, it is not merely that the course's required textbooks are expensive, but that many students are subject to purchasing those expensive books! So, let's ditch our previous individual perspective and instead try to estimate the gross domestic product of Brown's courses and departments.
We'll estimate the "GDP" of a course as its enrollment multiplied by the total cost of its required textbooks.
With a staggering GDP of $82,325.00, CHEM0360 Organic Chemistry trounces all competition. The top-25 courses with the highest GDP follow:
|$30,750.00||205||$150.00||APMA||1650||Statistical Inference I|
|$30,475.50||165||$184.70||CHEM||0330||Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure|
|$24,163.00||146||$165.50||ECON||1620||Introduction to Econometrics|
|$21,924.00||189||$116.00||PHYS||0030||Basic Physics A|
|$20,790.00||126||$165.00||APMA||1210||Operations Research: Deterministic Models|
|$20,043.12||138||$145.24||BIOL||0530||Principles of Immunology|
|$19,293.75||147||$131.25||POLS||1120||Campaigns and Elections|
|$18,575.92||152||$122.21||POLS||1010||Topics in American Constitutional Law|
|$17,737.50||215||$82.50||NEUR||0010||The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience|
|$15,118.56||144||$104.99||MATH||0100||Introductory Calculus, Part II|
|$14,790.00||102||$145.00||SOC||1100||Introductory Statistics for Social Research|
|$13,350.00||89||$150.00||APMA||1655||Statistical Inference I|
Next, we'll estimate the "GDP" of a department as the combined GDP of its courses.
Once again, ECON astounds: if all Fall 2020 economics enrollees purchased their required textbooks at Brown Bookstore's minimum price, together they'd spend $174,861.60! The top-20 departments by GDP are as follows:
University Textbook GDP
Finally, we'll estimate the university's textbook GDP as the combined GDP of its departments: $1,268,445.51 in Fall 2020!
As this was just an afternoon project, I haven't meaningfully checked any of these figures—so please don't treat them as authoritative! Rather, if you are interested in diving deeper, please reach out! I'm happy to share my underlying data.