Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1909
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was officially founded in 1909, more than thirty years after the first graduate degree was awarded at Tufts College.
In 1875, members of the Tufts faculty and administration approved a graduate program leading to a Master of Arts degree. The program required either one year of supervised study at Tufts, or the equivalent done away from the campus over a period of two years or more. Tufts graduates were eligible for the program, as were graduates from other schools with similar courses of study. The first MA was awarded the next spring, to a student working with the Departments of Chemistry and Physics.
Over the next few decades, interest in graduate education skyrocketed, and Tufts saw more and more students entering the program each year. In 1897, in order to meet increased demand, a Master of Sciences program was added to the graduate curriculum. Five years earlier, Tufts had established a preliminary Ph. D. program as well. The program was specifically for work in Biology and Chemistry, with other departments to be added as the faculty saw fit.
In 1892, in order to have some control over who was admitted to graduate programs, Tufts established a committee of seven faculty, led by the president. The committee picked a board of three to examine each graduate candidate and decide on their admission to the school. By the year's end, the committee was already being referred to as the graduate department.
The department finally was made official in 1903, and the office of the dean of the graduate faculty became a full time position. After the official establishment of the department, the requirements for degrees were finalized. Students were to complete thirty credit hours to receive a master's degree, and the work was to be done in one main department with related work in another.
By 1906, the size of the graduate program began to worry some members of the faculty. They were not being paid extra to teach graduate classes, which amounted to an extra course load of work for a faculty member working with as graduate student. The graduate department established a faculty committee to look into feasibility of continuing graduate education, and almost immediately the committee returned with a decision. Most of the faculty felt that graduate education was very important to make Tufts a competitive school, and also felt that the presence of graduate students increased the level of academics on campus. A year later, however, the faculty did decide to vote out the Ph. D. program. It was not reestablished until almost fifty years later.
In 1909, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was made official, with the administrators from the graduate department continuing in their positions. As of 2001, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences continues to operate in numerous departments at Tufts University.
Source: LOH 312-230