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Graduate Programs And Degrees

Report Of The Committee

To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:

The progress of graduate work and research during the past year has been very encouraging.

Lists of the various research problems under way and recently completed may be found in the directors’ reports of the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Engineering Experiment Station, the Agricultural Extension Division, and the Engineering Extension Division. These lists indicate the breadth of work covered and also show the extent of service rendered to the state by the several divisions of the college.

The committee continued its general policies in regard to graduate work: (1) by extending the fields of graduate activities and research; (2) by creating new scholarships and fellowships; (3) by effecting a closer cooperation with the various college divisions concerned; (4) by encouraging the interest and support of industries in the state; and (5) by endeavoring to improve and systematize the requirements for graduate degrees and for admission to graduate work.

One research fellowship at $750 per year in fuel engineering was established by the Virginia Coal Operators Association; and one teaching fellowship was provided by the college; while five service fellowships in fuel engineering were created in the department of power engineering and machine design. The service fellowships are rather unusual in their nature and give promise of great practical usefulness, in that they provide real experience in the operation and study of a steam power plant.

For the first time the master’s degree in engineering was allowed as an option, that is, all graduate students in the engineering division were allowed to choose either the master’s degree or the professional engineering degree.

The enrolment of graduate students was 100 for the year. The type of advanced graduate student from other institutions is of the highest, and the number of applicants from other colleges for fellowships shows a very large increase.

Twenty-eight graduate degrees were conferred during the past session, which was an increase of nine over the preceding year. The twenty-eight degrees were divided as follows: M.S. in agriculture, 9; M,S. in business administration and applied science, 7; M,S. in engineering, 9; professional engineering degrees, 3.

The entire field of graduate work and research is somewhat restricted since the needs of the work always exceed the facilities for it, due to lack of funds and equipment, and the limited number on the faculty. The committee fully appreciates the helpful cooperation of the faculty, for, although the staff, in most instances, was not increased, the departments responded splendidly to the spirit of development and added several new graduate courses to the curricula.

The present business conditions have affected the expansion of the college in general, but the committee feels that as times improve the opportunities for further development of graduate work and research will increase and, in the comparatively near future, will enable us to establish a graduate and research service of a more rapidly increasing value to the college and the state.

If these objectives are to be attained, we shall need to make provisions for the following:

1. Special consideration as to salaries and disposition of the time of faculty members employed in graduate work and research. This does not imply any crippling of the undergraduate departments.

2. The establishment of fellowships and scholarships by industries, for they not only provide valuable contacts but also aim directly at the solution of practical problems, of a technical nature, in everyday life.

3. Added interest on the part of the alumni. For instance, it would be very helpful if the various classes were to establish alumni fellowships to be named for the respective classes. At the same time, our many alumni who occupy prominent positions in technical fields, might help to improve our work by their suggestions, counsel, and advice. Many of our alumni have been mindful of our needs, and the various gifts of equipment during past years are very greatly appreciated.

4. Increase of funds for books and equipment, as soon as financial conditions permit, for it is in the libraries and the laboratories that the fields of investigation are extended and broadened.

Respectfully submitted.

LOUIS O’SHAUGHNESSY, Chairman.