GSAS Students Issue 4 Department Audits

Student committees in four departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences have issued audits of their departments recommending major changes in structure and course offerings

In all four departments-the German Department, the Ph.D. program in City and Regional Planning, the Philosophy Department, and the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics-several minor changes have already been implemented. Most of the major recommendations, however, are still being considered by the various departmental Faculties.

Three of the departments have established permanent student-Faculty committees which are now using the audits as a basis for future activity. Only the City and Regional Planning division, a very small department, has not established such a committee.


The audit of the Philosophy Department-perhaps the most far-reaching of the four new reports-recommended the following changes:

Abolition of grades for graduate students.


Abolition of the preliminary exams in the second year. This recommendation has already been implemented. Second-year students are now required to participate in a seminar and produce a paper instead of taking the preliminary exams.

Abolition of the French language requirement.

A change in the concept of the thesis from that of a small book to a series of papers, possibly on unrelated topics. The report also criticized professors for being "generally unhelpful" with theses. Such things as delays in returning thesis material were cited as examples of professorial negligence.

Creation of a committee of graduate students to give advice on the hiring and promotion of Faculty.

Expansion of course offerings, especially in the seminar area.

Engineering and Physics

The division of Engineering and Applied Physics report also asked for course changes-including the addition of short methodology courses, such as a time-sharing course in computers, for first-year students.

The report called for a session in the division on the nature of Defense Department contracts and their possible use. Such a meeting will be held in early October.


The Ph. D. program in City and Regional Planning is an interdisciplinary program and faced different problems from the better defined departments. For instance, there is no specific Faculty for the program. One of the report's recommendations asked that there be at least a secretary and an office established for the field.

The report shied away from the more complex area of defining exactly what the program should include. It did ask