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Sweeping changes in the Social Relations department's requirements for undergraduate concentrators were announced Saturday by Robert W. White '25, department chairman. The new program will go into effect next September.
The new rules are an attempt to provide a more adequately structured and orderly program than the present one, which has been criticized by both students and faculty members inside the department and out, as too confusing in its variety.
The changes, some of which were announced by the CRIMSON in December, were worked out by the department's standing committee on undergraduate instruction. The committee chairman is Clyde K.M. Kluckhohn, professor of Anthropology. The group's secretary is William M. McCord, senior tutor of Social Relations.
Among the changes are:
1) The field of Social Relations will be divided into five areas of concentration: Comparative Cultures (largely anthropology), Institutional and Group Behavior, Psychological Foundations of Social Behavior, Communications, and Deviance and Social Control. These five divisions replace the present groupings of Social Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Psychology.
2) Each concentrator will be required to take four half-courses in one of these fields, and three in one other. For honors candidates, the requirements are five and four courses respectively. In each of the five fields, there is a list of possible related courses. Honors candidates will be required to take one graduate half-course in their preferred area.
3) All concentrators will be required to take:
a) Social Relations 10, an expanded version of the present Social Relations introducing students to all branches of the field, and providing "an extensive common basis."
b) A half-year course in the methods and problems of Social Relations research. This will be a quite topical, though not overspecialized treatment of the thinking that goes into research, White said.
c) A half-year Senior seminar. About 10 of these, some quite specific, others fairly general will be offered, probably five in the fall, and five in the spring. They are to resemble graduate seminars. Their subjects have not been announced.
The three courses required of all majors, White said, are intended to provide each student with an "orderly, three-step progression in skill, difficulty, and sophistication." Requiring the introductory Social Relations 10 will also eliminate the need to repeat basic material.
The division of the department into five fields is intended, White said, to give students something more definite to concentrate in than the three present areas. He felt it necessary to emphasize, however, that the divisions should not be regarded as too rigid.
The new requirements will gradually affect the general examinations over the next two or three years, White said. He added that next year's seniors (the class of '58) will be required to take only the senior seminar. Members of '59 will have to take both the seminar and the methods course.
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