In an effort to stiffen its academic program, Yale has recently adopted a new plan for its arts and sciences curriculum. The program is an outgrowth of a report made in 1953 by President A. Whitney Griswold, stressing the importance of greater student interest in academic work.
As a result of the new plan which will take effect in the 1956-57 academic year, there will be fewer electives and more required courses. Furthermore, entrance requirements will be more stringent, with the emphasis on "intellectual ability."
Under the new plan, the student will now begin work in his concentration field in his sophomore year. Formerly, he did not start until junior year. Also, juniors and seniors, as well as certain sophomores, will be eligible for participation in a new interdepartmental Honors Program which will emphasize seminars, and require a set of comprehensive examinations instead of ordinary course finals.
Yale, in disclosing the new plan, said that it was caused to a great extent by extra-curricular life conflicting with studies. "Undoubtedly," the Yale announcement said, "the emphasis on athletics, extra-curricular life, weekends, and a bee-hive of activity outside the classroom on which prestige and success are felt to turn, now makes an environment which involves serious conflict with important educational goals."
In their first two years of school, undergraduates will be required to take five full courses drawn from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. In addition, there will be required courses in art, music, English, philosophy, and foreign languages.