President A. Lawrence Lowell, of Harvard, recently recommended the abolishment of the degree of master of arts at Harvard in a report which also suggested the abolishment of intercollegiate athletics. What Dr. Lowell had to say about athletics overshadowed the rest of the report, but did not lessen the interest of the educational world in regard to the suggested abolishment of the A.M. degree.
Dr. Lowell feels that the degree is a hindrance to the student who wishes to obtain a Ph.D. degree. He suggests that the student, on receiving his A.B., should be allowed to begin work immediately towards the Ph.D. without bothering with an A.M. If such a plan is adopted at Harvard, only those students who have shown by their undergraduate work that they are likely to be candidates for a doctorate would be admitted to the graduate school. In this manner the standard of scholarship not only would be raised, but the weeding out process would be a saving of time, Dr. Lowell maintains.
Few educators, perhaps, have given serious consideration to Dr. Lowell's proposal to do away with intercollegiate sports, but many can see some merit in the proposal to abolish the master's degree. Students who wish to pursue further study after graduation should be free to work toward either the A. M. or Ph.D. It should not be necessary to abolish the A.M., and it should not be necessary for a graduate student to obtain an A.M. before beginning work toward the higher degree. College Press.