News

Annual Report Finds Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Remains Largely White, Male

News

Harvard Square Celebrates Oktoberfest

News

Harvard Corporation Members Donated Big to Democrats in 2020 Elections

News

City Council Candidates Propose Strategies for Supporting Low-Income Residents at Virtual Forum

News

FAS Dean Gay Hopes to Update Affiliates on Ethnic Studies Search by Semester’s End

Fields of Concentration

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

These articles on the various Fields of Concentration will appear in the "Confidential Guide" next September. Therefore the current year is referred to as "last year," etc. Criticisms will be welcome.

Biochemical Sciences

The Biochemical Sciences are a close second to Chemistry in the number of concentrators in a scientific field, for there were 139 men in them last year. Its appeal is that it provides a general training in the more important sciences without being limited to any one branch. Secondly it is worth consideration by students planning to go to Medical School because it is a compromise between the extremely narrow background which is provided by concentration in Chemistry, Biology, or Physics, which require all one's time at the expense of social and cultural courses, and the non-scientific background offered by non-scientific fields. Because of the large proportion of Biochem concentrators who are pre-med students, there is a common cause and resulting intimacy in the field.

The required courses in the field are the elementary ones on Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. Hisaw in Biology D and Black in Physics B are brilliant lecturers in those survey courses, as are Fieser and Huntington in Chemistry and Math 2. And because of the fact that concentrators are allowed to pick and choose among the course offered by this variety of departments, there is a tremendous vista before the concentrator, and he can give wide scope to his special interests.

At present Chemistry 15, General Biological Chemistry, is the only course which has a particularly close relation to the field of concentration. It is not well organized and the main remedy for this seems to be definization of the reading so that a student would know where he was supposed to be headed. It is now a second half year course and could easily be increased to a full year, and if laboratory arrangements could be provided, they would be very valuable. One good point in the course is that it brings in men from the Faculties of the various fields with which it is connected.

Because of the scattered nature of the courses which can be taken in the field, tutorial work is of great importance in coordinating the material thus gathered. The tutors in the Biochemical Sciences are all men who have obtained their higher degrees and are to some extent recognized in their own fields. This is in contrast to most of the other fields, in which the tutors are engaged in research preparatory to advanced degrees and often cannot spend sufficient time in tutoring.

To keep up with the demand for tutorial, which is increased since the only Faculty in the field is a board of tutors, there should be something done to ameliorate the poor laboratory and library facilities which exist at present, and eventually to give the field a home of its own. Sooner or later there should be a wider variety of basic courses offered especially for men in this field, such as physical chemistry, bio-physics and perhaps the present Chemistry 44. This should lead to the creation of Professors in this field for its has heretofore been considered a subfield buried among the sciences.

Seniors going out for honors find their time cramped because they are not always adequately relieved from course work while they are writing their thesis. Nevertheless, like Chemistry and Biology, Biochemical Sciences take a very great amount of the concentrator's time. A man who wants to devote any appreciable amount of time to extracurricular activities, whether planning to go to Medical School or not, should keep out of this field, for the labs in the courses connected with it occupy about every afternoon of the week.

Concentrators who are pre-med students are advised at least to consider not going out for honors; that is, remaining in Plan B, because it would give them more time for other things before settling down to work in a medical school. Plan B men are urged to join the Biochemical Society, and should have monthly colloquia.

Besides the elementary courses listed above, courses which are of especial importance in the field of Biochemical Sciences and should be consulted under their respective fields in this book are Chemistry A, 3, 6, and 44, Biology 2, 3, 36, and 101 and Physics 1, 3a, and F. Chemistry A and Biology D are suggested for the Freshman year, and Physics B, Math A, and Chemistry 2 for the Sophomore year. Philosophy, the History of Sciences, and Psychology all offer good related courses.

Classics

The field of Classics and allied subjects contains approximately 70 concentrators with a large proportion of tutors to the number of students. Comparatively few take the Classics straight. Many students combine the study of Greek or Latin or both with some other subject, either closely related such as Philosophy, or in some cases, quite remote from the Classics.

Concentration in straight Classics is extremely arduous if the student goes out for honors. Practically no other field requires as many divisional examinations as must be taken by the men who take both Greek and Latin.

Early in the fall of his Junior year a concentrator must take written examinations on the Bible, Shakspere, and the important works of two of the following modern authors: Dante, Cervanites, Chaucer, Milton, Moliere, and Goethe. A student who fails those examinations may take the corresponding examination in the fall of his Senior year. In May of Senior year each concentrator must take two exams of three hours each on the literatures of Greece and Rome; two or three hours each in the translation of Greek and Latin authors at sight; and one of three hours on the general field of Classical studies. Both because of this abundance and wide coverage of exams and because of the great possibilities of correlation with allied fields tutorial is especially important in the Classics. The tutors were described as extremely cooperative and generous with their time.

In spite of the overwhelming trend to the Social Sciences and the "practical" education, the Classics are still the fundamental of education, almost indispensable to one who intends to pursue a literary career. They are also "practical" in the intense mental discipline which they give to the student--something that is lacking in the more loosely organized cultural studies. Furthermore, the wealth of Antiquities thought provides a much more extensive and exciting field for cultivation than is contained in the more modern periods.

On the matter of difficulty, which has undoubtedly scared many students away from the Classics, it should be said that anyone with a normal ability to handle languages can certainly cope with one or if he is really interested, both the ancient languages. The splitting of fields such as the study of the history and literature of Greece or Rome, is encouraged by the Department.

Greek G is considered about the most intelligent elementary language course in the College. The only objection was that Leighton, one of the instructors, although generally commended for the interest of his classes was felt to be a little too easy-going on fundamental grammatical mistakes, causing trouble in more advanced courses. Greek A, the course in Homer, devotes the first half year to the Iliad and the second to the Odyssey. Many of the concentrators take the first half of this course and then go on to the second half of Greek B, Athenian Drama, and consider this a good step.

Depending on the personality of the instructor, Greek B, which takes up the lyric poets in the first half year, was generally endorsed. Assistant Professor Finley reigns here and is well liked for the liveliness of his classes and his interest in literature. Einarson, who instructed in this course last year, is not recommended, partly perhaps, because his inexperience in class work makes his classes dull and because he is more interested in Philology than literature.

The more advanced course in the Athenian Drama, Greek 2, has the highest literary value of any course until Greek 12. It is given by Professor Post whose widely cultured background includes a Professorship here in Fine Arts. This course also suffers from Einarson's definitely poor teaching. The Elementary Composition course, Greek 3, described as "tough but rewarding", assists the student both to a knowledge of the language and an appreciation of Greek style. Either this or Latin 3 is required for honors. Plate and Aristotle and a survey of Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle are handled in Greek 8. In spite of the statement in the University's Course Register, little attention is paid to the subject matter of the authors read, and the recommendation was made that it should be given to the Philosophy Department. The course is not difficult, more material could be covered, and Professor Greene was characterized as having a fine voice and a remarkable absorption of second-hand ideas.

The leading advanced course for Undergraduates is Professor Jackson's History of Classical Greek Literature, Greek 12, in which both Professor Jackson and the fact that considerable selection is allowed the student in what he is going to read, are praised.

As for Latin, it is felt that an elementary course, such as Greek G, should be given. Latin A, which normally begins the curricular, surveys Latin literature fairly hastily, but is well considered depending on the men who give it. The death of "teachers" in the Classics makes an appearance here. Neither Murphy nor Little escape criticism here although respectable as tutors. A good introduction to Latin literature is provided in Latin B given by the very popular Professor Rand, but there are two sections provided for those who because of course conflicts are unable to attend Professor Rand's section. The one given by his assistants is run more on the high school principle with close attention to translation.

Latin Poetry; Tacitus, Pliny, Petronius, is the ambitious title of Latin 1, but perhaps too much material is covered, and it was recommended that Petrenius should be omitted and lectures substituted. Neither Professor Greenenor Mr. Peebles present the course as well as concentrators believed they might, although the organization is all right. Latin Composition seems to be fairly well taught in Latin 3. The first half of Latin 8, dealing with Cicero and Lucretius, will be given by Mr. Mynors of Balliol College, Oxford. The second half on Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, is taken by Professor Pease to whom the adjective "old-fashioned" is applied.

Professor Pease and Professor Rand share the honors in Latin 12, a history of Latin literature which provides the same latitude of choice as Greek 12. Rand and the course are well liked. Those who took Comp. Lit. 2 under the seductive title Antiquity in the East and West, declared that they had been stung in expecting anything relevant to classical studies here. Professor Ferguson who teaches both Greek and Roman History is recognized as an ornament to the Department.

The comparative wealth of the Department and the dividends in time and attention from tutors and teachers should be an incentive for students to enter the Classics. The University, as it has done in the past, continues to hold aloft the torch of classicism, such as it is.

Engineering Sciences

The field of Engineering Sciences at Harvard does not attempt to compete with the ordinary four year technical school in giving the student a highly specialized vocational training. Rather it offers the student preparation in mathematics and the basic sciences of engineering, while giving him ample time to elect courses in other fields. The field had 107 concentrators last year.

Concentration requirements are Mathematics 2, Physics C, and four courses in Engineering Sciences. Ten courses for distribution are left, therefore, for the man who is not going out for honors.

After concentrating in Engineering Sciences In the College, a man many earn his master's degree in one additional year in the Graduate School of Engineering, and will then be at least equal to the technical school graduate in technical education. From the broader education offered in a University, however, he is sure to have a broader outlook, both within his own field and outside of it. It is not likely that the engineering student hero will become narrow, for he has the opportunity, indeed almost the compulsion, of meeting students with other interests.

Sticking close to the ideal of giving the students a broad education, the College prohibits undergraduates from taking courses offered by the Graduate School of Engineering on the grounds they are of too practical a nature. The principle behind the rule is certainly sound, but in some cases exceptions might well be made. Every other department in the College opens its graduate courses to well qualified students, and Engineering Sciences should do the same, at least allowing honors candidates credit for one or two. In recent years two or three Undergraduates, having got ahead in their course requirements, have taken graduate courses without credit.

In general, of course, the field is for the man planning on engineering as his profession, but it has value in other ways. Concentration in Engineering Sciences is excellent preparation for architectural school and many be very valuable for men going into mining and into business, particularly the production and factory management ends. Many companies seek college men with a broad education which includes some engineering, since they wish to train their own men in specialized fields.

Although there is not tutorial in the field, the faculty members are as a rule willing and anxious to help, both during class and out of it. It was the opinion of some of the concentrators, however, that the adviser system could be improved, that some of the adviser were not well enough informed about the rest of the College.

In view of the fact that the concentrators do not receive tutorial, it has been suggested that they should be allowed to take a fifth course without incurring the extra course fee. Ambitious students feel that they should not be financially penalized for doing extra work, and many find a fifth course not too burdensome.

Most of the courses require daily work, but as a pleasant consequence little review is required for exams. Most of the concentrators feel that the regular work in colege has a beneficial effect in work after graduation. Long asisgnments, however, with the exception of some laboratory reports, are both rare and unnecessary.

Possible concentrators who have had no Physics B Freshman year in order to get into course C, and Math A is required for admittance into Math 2. Many other courses outside the field are suggested, including Chemistry A for all men. Geology, Economics and Fine Arts are recommended depending on the student's line of interest.

Since Mathematics 2 is required for all concentrators, it was felt that one section at least should emphasize problems and practical work, (Huntington is a good engineer) so that the course may be of some use in later engineering courses. Some sections now are almost worthless from an engineering standpoint. Closer cooperation between the Engineering Sciences and Mathematics departments should solve this difficulty.

The courses in general prove to, be both valuable and well given, with a few exceptions. Since the material of the course is graphic and not ideological, the personality of the instructor does not affect the student, and courses may be judged by their titles, although lecturers vary in the esprit de vivre with which they explain things.

E. S. 1a and 1b are the elementary

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags