Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Undergraduate Majors, 1894
Beginning in 1894, undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences were required to complete a major concentration within their course of study toward the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. Up until that time, students read a fixed curriculum leading toward the bachelor of arts based on the classical curriculum including Latin, Greek, rhetoric, mathematics, theology, political economy, and other subjects.
The decision to institute majors within the curriculum was made to provide depth of knowledge to complement the breadth built into the traditional prescribed curriculum. It was felt that the system of electives offered alongside the traditional curriculum did not allow for the development of real knowledge in one field, instead resulting in a scattered acquaintance with a number of subjects. Though the major requirement did not go into effect until the Fall 1894 semester, it was offered as an option in 1893, with most students taking advantage of the new program at that time.
The first majors offered were Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, English Literature, French, German, Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, and Political Science. Engineering remained a major choice until 1911, when the College of Engineering was officially separated from the College of Liberal Arts.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.