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Graduate Division

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Berkeley: Graduate Division

Early Origins
Graduate instruction was anticipated from the founding of the University, provision being made in the Organic Act for the degree of Master of Arts in the College of Letters to be awarded "in usual course." The first M.A. degree was conferred upon Gardner Frederick Williams in 1869 and the first Ph.D. degree (in chemistry) upon John Maxson Stillman in 1885. The faculty, although small, was distinguished and even prior to 1900, Ph.D. degrees were offered in seven fields of study. The list expanded every year thereafter.

By the mid-1960s, the Ph.D. degree was offered in 73 fields of study; and instruction leading to higher degrees of all types (including the Ph.D., M.A., and M.S. degrees and professional degrees at both the master's and the doctoral level) was offered in 97 fields of study. Another example of the growth of graduate study is provided by figures which show that from 1885 through 1953, 3,732 Ph.D. degrees were awarded, while 2,816 were awarded in the period from 1958 through September, 1965.

Although graduate study was offered as soon as the University came into being, there was no Graduate Division as such for a considerable number of years. The Academic Senate, through committee recommendations, set up conditions for postgraduate study. In 1872, a Committee on Marks, Examinations, and Honors recommended to the senate that there be special examinations for higher degrees, that scholarships be established to encourage graduate study, that two years of graduate study be required for the M.A., C.E., M.E., and similar degrees, and that three years of graduate study be required for the Ph.D. degree. In 1875, a Committee on Post-Graduate Courses spelled out the responsibilities of department heads for setting up courses and administering examination for higher degree candidates.

A Graduate Administration Develops
In 1885, the structure became more formal, with the creation of a standing committee of the Academic Senate known as the Academic Council. The council, which was composed of "all the professors and instructors in the College of Letters and the Colleges of Science at Berkeley" was to "coordinate, adjust, put into provisional operation and report to the senate, the general and special graduate and undergraduate courses of instruction in the colleges at Berkeley and the conditions of admission to such courses."

By 1895, the time had come to give more precise recognition to graduate affairs and the Academic Council recommended that a Graduate Council be established as a standing committee of the senate to handle all matters pertaining to graduate instruction and graduate students. It was further provided that graduate students of the various colleges should be listed in official University publications as members of "The Graduate School of the University."

The Graduate Council
The Graduate Council established three committees to handle degree matters and one to handle graduate admissions. By 1911, however, it was apparent that the council (the membership of which included everyone concerned with graduate instruction) was too large to function efficiently. Therefore, the Graduate Council recommended that its powers and duties revert to the Academic Council and a Committee on Higher Degrees was set up to deal with higher degree procedures.

The committee received enlarged powers over graduate affairs in the academic year 1914-15 and the term Graduate Division was first used at that time, primarily to eliminate confusion between the activities of the Graduate Division which embraced all graduate matters and those of professional schools within the University, which coming under Graduate Division control, offered graduate instruction in specific fields and were referred to as graduate schools. By 1916, the Committee on Higher Degrees was itself supplanted by a streamlined Graduate Council which assumed many of the powers and duties it had in the mid-1960s.

With the size and complexity of the University steadily increasing, the Graduate Division was, in 1939, separated into two sections, northern and southern, each in the charge of a dean. The northern section included the campuses of Berkeley, Davis, San Francisco, and Mount Hamilton, with headquarters at Berkeley. In 1961, the University-wide administrative reorganization resulted in the establishment of a separate Graduate Division on each campus.

Graduate Deans
In 1908, the Regents had made provision for a dean of the graduate school. The first dean to serve in this capacity (during the academic year 1909-10) was Alexis F. Lange. He was followed by a long line of equally illustrious successors: David P. Barrows, Armin O. Leuschner, William Carey Jones, Charles B. Lipman, John D. Hicks, William R. Dennes, Morris A. Stewart, and, Sanford S. Elberg, who took office on December 1, 1961. Three associate deans served with distinction in the early half of the century: James M. Cline, Francis A. Jenkins, and Sanford A. Mosk, and three others held office during the 1960s: Robert A. Cockrell, James F. King, and Yakov Malkiel.

The dean, under the direction of the Graduate Council, was responsible for all activities of the Graduate Division. His duties extended far beyond matters pertaining to student admission, the awarding of fellowships and graduate scholarships, and the awarding of higher degrees. That his burdens were considerable is evident when the growth of graduate student enrollment is taken into account. In 1870-71, there were three graduate students at Berkeley. By 1894-95, there were 100. In 1915-16, there were 1,014, although World War I shortly caused a marked temporary decrease. During the depression years, there were between 2,500 and 3,500 students; and after a decline again during World War II, the numbers surged to between 5,000 and 6,000. This upward trend continued and in 1965 there were 10,224 graduate students--which was close to the upper limit of graduate enrollment under the master plan.

The 1960s
In January, 1962, the campus research office came under the direction of the dean. This office approved the business aspects of research and training proposals, negotiated contracts and grants, and assisted the faculty in administrative aspects of extramurally supported research. In 1964-65, this office handled 925 proposals with a value of $77 million and 805 grants and contracts with a value of $41 million. The dean's responsibilities were further increased in July, 1963, when the chancellor assigned to him responsibility for the academic and budgetary concerns of 22 organized research units connected with the Berkeley campus.

The eminence of the University in graduate study was reflected in the fact that at the founding of the Association of American Universities in 1900 it was made a charter member of the organization, along with 14 other institutions offering graduate study and research. In 1948, an Association of Graduate Schools (AGS) was formed within the parent organization. Dean Elberg served as vice president of the AGS in 1964-65 and was elected president for the 1965-66 year.



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Last updated 06/18/04.