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Graduate Programs And Degrees

Report Of The Committee

To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:

The committee on graduate programs and degrees was appointed in November, 1928. Its main objectives are to correlate the graduate work and research of all divisions of the institution and to study the possibilities of the further development of this work. In carrying out these purposes the following phases have been considered:

1. The field for graduate activities and research.

2. Encouragement of graduates to pursue advanced work by systematizing scholarships and fellowships, by arranging for additional ones, and by increasing the number of graduate courses offered.

3. Relationship of graduate study and research to the experiment stations and the extension divisions.

4. The standards of graduate degree requirements and of requirements for admission to graduate work.

Upon recommendation of the committee, five research fellowships were provided by the college and an additional fellowship was established by the Associated Heating and Plumbing Contractors of Virginia. These fellowships have given an added impetus to graduate and research work, have encouraged our own graduates to take advanced work, and have brought us graduate students of first-class ability from other colleges. The committee feels that the soundness of this phase of our graduate and research policy has been demonstrated and believes that much more progress may be made in this direction in the near future.

The committee has formulated definite rules as to residence requirements in connection with the granting of graduate degrees, and it believes that these rules are very helpful in coordinating the work of the different divisions of the college.

The faculty has shown the finest spirit of cooperation with the committee and, notwithstanding the present heavy teaching load in undergraduate subjects, has offered some forty new graduate courses. The facilities of the various laboratories have been increased and made more efficient. The increase in attendance has been very encouraging, the number of graduate students in 1928-29 being 70, and the number in 1929-30 being 96.

The field of service of graduate and research work is almost unlimited. The committee hopes that through the various means of contact with the people of the state this part of the work of the college may prove of increasing value to the commonwealth. The opportunities for contacts with the people of the state are especially good because of the Agricultural Extension Division, the Engineering Extension Division, the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Engineering Experiment Station.

The committee wishes all alumni and other friends of the college to interest themselves in the graduate work and research by submitting problems for study and investigation, by offering fellowships in their particular fields, and by furnishing materials and equipment for particular experimental purposes. It is by such cooperation that the resident graduate work and research can grow and be of increasing value to the college and to its many friends throughout the state.

The special needs in these fields of work are:

1. Additional staff members so that the undergraduate teaching load may be reduced in order to give more time to graduate and research work.

2. The establishing of fellowships and scholarships in special lines in order to encourage graduates to take advanced work.

3. Additional laboratory equipment for experimental purposes.

4. Increased operating funds for the departments so that they may enlarge their research activities.

5. Closer contact with the industries in order that their problems may be studied and that they may be helped to arrive at some satisfactory solution of them.

Respectfully submitted,

Louis O’Shaughnessy, Chairman.