The University's program in Civil and Mechanical Engineering has temporarily lost its accredited standing, a high official in the Division of Applied Sciences revealed over the weekend.
The report was confirmed late yesterday in New York at the office of the Engineers Council for Professional Development, which passes on all engineering programs.
According to the University source, the Engineer's Council reviewed Harvard's program last spring, then decided to recommend renewal of accreditation only in the fields of Sanitary Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Engineering Physics.
The concensus of opinion among University instructors last night was that accreditation is of considerably more importance for civil than for mechanical engineers.
The unnamed official felt that it was still too early to tell whether the action of the ECPD will have an appreciable effect upon next fall's applications for admission in the engineering area.
Limited Certificate Demand
"Actually," he pointed out, "demands by Harvard students for the certificate of accreditation has been very limited in the past." Last year, 11 certificates were requested, ten of which were for graduates of other institutions who came to Harvard for an M.S., the official added.
The Engineers Council engineering counterpart of the American Medical Association, listed two main faults of the University's program. 1) It criticized the University's limited undergraduate laboratory facilities. 2) It recommended that the Department of Physical Science require more practical courses and less basic theory for a degree.
Contradicts Bush Report
The second ECPD recommendation seemed contrary to the philosophy of undergraduate education followed by the Division of Applied Science since the publication of the Bush Report in 1950. At that time, a committee of noted American engineers and scientists headed by Vannevar Bush stated that Harvard could best fulfill its mission in engineering education by accentuating fundamental principles rather than specific technologies.
The department officials further said yesterday that Harvard had already begun plans to improve its laboratory facilities before the Committee denied accreditation.