Faculty members in several of Harvard's graduate programs yesterday said that a ten per cent drop in applications to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was due to an acute nation-wide job shortage for Ph.D's.
Although fewer students have applied to most departments, applications to English and American Literature, History, Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology and Social Relations declined most severely, in some cases to half the number in 1975.
The department of Economics and most of the Natural Sciences alone reported stable numbers of applicants.
Jonathan R. Grandine, assistant professor of English literature, said the job situation "is reaching the point of disaster. I even tell my own students not to apply."
Jean L. Bruneau, professor of Comparative Literature, said another factor causing the application decline among potential applicants may be knowledge of GSAS's stringent admission policy.
The policy, which grew out of a 1969 report recommending a 20 per cent drop in GSAS admissions, has cut the size of the school in half over the past nine years.
A junior faculty member in the History Department, who asked not to be identifed, said yesterday that while a tight job market accounts for most of the drop in GSAS applications, he believes a History Department "reputation" for political conservatism and continuing graduate student complaints of professor inaccessibility may have discouraged some students from applying.
Members of the graduate committee for History could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Theda B. Skocpol, professor of Sociology, said yesterday the decline in applications to the Sociology Department's graduate program may reflect student loss of interest in political issues.
Peak Period Passed
"It's true that the peak of people who are really concerned about political and social questions has passed," she said yesterday.
Admissions officers in the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard business School said yesterday they have noticed no comparable drop in applicants. 1975 1977 English and American Lit 423 299 History 339 245 Psych and Soc Rel 335 242 Anthropology 252 159 Sociology 130 95
GSAS applications in these departments dropped sharply in 1977.