Graduate Education in the United States

Graduate Education in the United States

Graduate Education in the United States

Graduate Education in the United States

Excerpt

Graduate education in the United States is now only about 85 years old and it is still in process of development. Since the establishment of graduate work at Johns Hopkins in 1876, the graduate school has lived through a number of phases in responding to a variety of educational and social pressures; it has become the major home of research and scholarship, and the training therefor; it has incorporated both foreign and domestic features in its organization and programs; it has affected and been affected by the undergraduate program; it has moved and sometimes been torn between scholarly and professional emphases; it has grown from a few disciplines in a few institutions to many in many; and it has always exercised its own influence at a pivotal point in the system of higher education.

It is no wonder, then, that graduate education has a controversial past, present, and future. Whether the issue is its organization, its balance among competing functions, its academic quality, its capacity to meet the demands of the imminent increase of students--whatever the issue, there is responsible controversy over the facts as well as the values involved. The issues are bound to be sharpened and re-argued in the years ahead, and decisions are bound to be taken that will affect the course of graduate study for the next academic generations.

Accordingly, this seems to be a particularly good time to review the state of graduate education. In general character, the study would concern itself with the first century of graduate work in this country, from 1876 to 1976, but it would focus on the period just past and just ahead. It would include a broad review of the history of graduate education and its institutions, not for its primary detail but in order to locate and interpret the major trends and issues now active. It would include some considered projection of what might happen to graduate education, not for the sake of forecast but in order to provide a proper basis for clarifying alternatives or making recommendations. It would stay as close as possible to the facts and it would make clear where they run out and personal interpretation enters in. It would try to keep actionable themes in the center of attention. The result would be a report on what has happened, is happening, will happen, and should happen to today's graduate school and graduate education.

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