Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


College of Special Studies, 1939


The College of Special Studies began in 1939. It serves as the administrative home of programs for continuing education and certain special degree and certificate programs at Tufts. It began as the Division of University Extension, to provide professional education for students unable to attend a regular schedule of classes. Classes were offered evenings and weekends.

The first classes offered by the Division of University Extension were designed to supplement the offerings of the Department of Education and were geared toward elementary and secondary school teachers in search of additional academic training. In 1940, a degree of bachelor of science in education was offered based on courses offered in the extension division.

Enrollment in the extension division was open to anyone with a high school diploma. Faculty, staff, and family members could enroll in courses for a reduced fee. Graduate students could also take advantage of the division's offerings to supplement courses in the regular curriculum.

Over the years, the Division of University Extension became the home for a number of programs which did not seem to fit elsewhere in the University structure, including a community lecture series in which faculty delivered lectures open to the general public, the Institute for Educational Guidance, and the Tufts College Nursery School. In 1944, the Extension Division co-sponsored with Mr. and Mrs. Donald R. MacJannet a six-week long "Vacation School of French" geared toward training workers to assist in rehabilitation efforts in post-war France. The Extension Division also administered Tufts' participation in the Lowell Institute Broadcasting Council, an organization founded in 1946 to make available to the general public via radio and television some of the resources of Boston-area institutions of higher education.

The Extension Division administered Tufts' affiliations with several professional schools in the area, including the Bouvé-Boston School of Physical Education, the Boston School of Occupational Therapy, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists, and the Nursery Training School of Boston, later renamed the Eliot Pearson School. Through their affiliation with the Tufts Extension Division, students at these schools could work toward the bachelor of science in education degree by taking Extension courses in addition to the coursework required by their own schools.

As enrollments in the evening and weekend classes offered by the extension division began to decline in the late 1940s, the division was renamed the Division of Special Studies in 1949.Under its new name, the division focused on administering the affiliations with the professional schools under its aegis, rather than promoting course offerings for the general public.

In 1956 the program with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts was changed to offer a B.F.A. degree after a four year course of study.

Following a University-wide self study in 1958, the character, scope, and mission of the Division of Special Studies changed significantly. In an effort to improve the academic rigors of the affiliated programs, each was offered the option either of integration into the University or complete separation. The Eliot Pearson School became the Department of Child Study, and the Boston School of Occupational Therapy was integrated into Tufts. The Bouvé-Boston School and the Forsyth School joined with Northeastern University. Evening classes virtually ceased to be offered at this time.

By 1960 the College of Special Studies had ten subdivisions and a total enrollment of more than 850 students, generating an annual gross income of almost a quarter of a million dollars. During the 1960s and 1970s, the College of Special Studies took on the administration of the university's overseas study programs. This function was transferred to the university in the 1970s.

In 1990, the college established divisions of Professional and Continuing Studies and Graduate Special Student Program.

As of 2000, the College of Special Studies operates in two main areas. It administers the dual-degree program with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, which offers a bachelors degree from Tufts and a bachelor of fine arts from the Museum School in a five year course of study. It also oversees the Office of Professional and Continuing Studies. The Office of Professional and Continuing Studies administers the Graduate Special Student Program which enables individuals with a baccalaureate degree to enroll in courses at Tufts to prepare for further study or simply to expand their knowledge of particular fields or disciplines. Within the program, the office administers a series of advanced professional certificate programs on selected topics, including a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program for students with little or no science work in their undergraduate curriculum who are interested in pursuing graduate study in the health sciences.

Source: LOH1; LOH2; BTU

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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