Requirements for the Degree of Ph. D.
I ask leave to announce through your columns that, at the instance of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Corporation and Board of Overseers have rescinded the rule requiring two years of resident study at this University of every candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Science. The minimum residence for those degrees is now made one year, this period being prescribed by the statutes for all candidates for ordinary degrees.
It seems desirable to point out that it is not the purpose of the Governing Boards, in making the change here noted, to lessen the requirements for the degrees in question, in respect either to the standard of attainment and power of advancing knowledge by research or to the length of time which must ordinarily be devoted to study. It is rather the effect of their action to give added emphasis to the well-established principle of this University, that the requirements of time for the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Science are wholly secondary. It may safely be assumed,-especially in view of the prevailing tendency to increase the requirements for the higher, or professional, degrees,-that the standards for the doc orates will at least not be lowered, and will be maintained at such a point as ordinarily to demand not less than three years of advanced study for their attainment. But it is no longer necessary that the whole period of such study be passed at this University. The practice of intermigration between different universities which offer valuable opportunities of graduate study,-a practice now having much to recommend it to the American student,-is thus rendered possible, so far as the regulations of Harvard are concerned; and with this practice is likely to come much stimulus to the intellectual life of our places of learning.
The change here announced has been long under consideration at this University. Its adoption was recommended, in substance, though under a slightly different form, by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School, 13 April, 1891; and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences expressed their approval of the vote of the Board. The Faculty made a further recommendation to the Corporation, 7 March, 1893; and again, 10 December, 1895. The last named action of the Faculty was taken in accordance with an expression of opinion from a Convention of Graduate Students, held in the city of New York, 16 April, 1895. This Convention was called at the suggestion of the Harvard Graduate Club. It contained student delegates from fourteen American colleges and universities, having graduate departments, and Faculty delegates from two other institutions; while four more universities expressed their sympathy with the objects of the Convention, though unable, on account of distance, to [send representatives to it. The Convention adopted an "Address to the Governing Boards of American Universities," which embodied among other matters the recommendation: "That regulations should be modified to facilitate the intermigration of Graduate Students, and that accordingly not more than one year of residence should be required in the University where the degree of Doctor of Philosphy is conferred." The change in the rule which has now at last been happily accomplished is to be attributed directly to this timely vote adopted by the Convention.
J. M. PEIRCE, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.Cambridge, 9 April, 1896.