University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Academic Development: University of Notre Dame / by Philip S. Moore, C.S.C.

I. The College of Arts and Letters

The College of Arts and Letters developed out of the original course of studies -- the Collegiate Course. Between 1854 and 1857 the last four years of this Course were designated Humanities, Poetry, Rhetoric and Philosophy. The first three years were devoted mostly to the classical languages, Latin and Greek, but there was a heavy concentration on Mathematics. The fourth year was taken up almost entirely with philosophy courses. In the third year a semester of both Ancient and Modern Literature were required but until 1858 English was apparently taught in connection with the classes in classical languages. Curiously, a semester of Practical Surveying was included in the second year program. Equally curious, religion was not taught as a formal course and wouldn't be until as late as 1920. There was nothing in the social sciences nor was any modern language required, though these languages and also music and drawing were listed as available.

No requirements for admission to the Collegiate Course -- and later to the Classical Course -- were mentioned for many years. This was undoubtedly because these were originally six year Courses, including two preparatory years, and it was assumed that all students would take the entire Course. In 1872-73, when the preparatory years were increased to three, the statement was inserted that "Candidates for the Freshmen Class will be required to pass a strict examination on all the Studies of the three Preparatory Years, unless their proficiency is already known to the Faculty and pronounced satisfactory."[29] This statement continued to appear until 1897-98, but in 1894-95 examination in specified subjects was stipulated: Latin, Greek, English, History, American and Ancient, Arithmetic and Algebra.[30] Later Chemistry, Physics and Physiology were added. In 1897-98 certificate from an accredited high school could be substituted for all these examinations, except those in English and History, while from 1902-03 on such certificate admitted its holders, without examination, "to the Freshmen year of any course to which their preparatory studies entitle them."[31]

In the 1858-59 Annual Catalogue the designations Humanities, etc. were dropped for the four years and certain course changes were made. Latin and Greek continued to be the predominant subjects, and the mathematics and philosophy courses were reduced. An English composition course appeared for the first time in 1858; in 1863 three courses -- Grammar, Composition,and Rhetoric were included. Ancient and Modern History, Christian Archeology, Hebrew, and lectures on the Constitution of the United States were added. These subjects, even the History, soon disappeared, the History being reinstated only in 1876. In 1863 Surveying was dropped and a course in Physics was listed, but the textbooks used were in Natural Philosophy and Chemistry. The first genuine physics course did not appear until 1872-73.

In 1865 a big event occurred with the establishment of a second Course -- the Scientific Course and the changing of the title, Collegiate Course to Classical Course. Strangely, the science in the Classical Course was rapidly stepped up. Thus by 1872 there were required courses in Botany, Theoretical and Inorganic Chemistry, Human Physiology, and Physics (Mechanics, Acoustics, Heat, Optics, Magnetism, Electricity). Mathematics was sharply cut down -- reduced to the first or Freshmen year (so called from 1873 on), though it was soon restored to two full years, and then in 1879 a third year was added. Modern Language became a required subject, but only in the first two years, and even this disappeared in 1875. Anomalously four years of Modern Language (Latin also acceptable) were required in the new Scientific Course. The first course in social science, Political Economy appeared in 1872 but was soon dropped out. In 1876 courses in Law were added in the senior year but these were dropped in 1879-80, to be replaced by the third year of Mathematics.

Though some changes in the classes continued to occur, the Classical Course became fairly stabilized in 1879 and remained so until 1896-97. The prescribed studies included Latin and Greek, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Economy, and the Natural and Physical Sciences. But meantime, in 1886-87 a new four year Course was established, the English or Belles-Lettres Course, leading to a distinct degree -- Bachelor of Letters. Like the Scientific Course, this Course was introduced to meet new needs which were being recognized in the education of American college students. But since students in this Course remained in the area of arts and letters, it was a more significant breaking away from the traditional studies than was the Scientific Course. It marked the beginning of a diversification of liberal studies which would soon produce six different programs leading to as many different degrees. The later suppression of these multiplied programs and degrees will pave the way for an even greater fragmentation of liberal studies -- the system of "majors", which is still with us today.

In inaugurating the English Course, the Annual Catalogue pointed out that within the preceding decade, institutions of higher education both in the United States and in Europe had come to recognize the importance of the higher study of English, and then added: "The Faculty of the University of Notre Dame, recognizing the fact that the exclusive study of the ancient languages and of pure science is not in itself sufficient for a liberal education, have determined to institute a course which shall provide for a more than ordinarily thorough acquaintance with the English language and with English and American literature. At the same time, all that is most serviceable in the Classical and Scientific Courses will be made an indispensable requisite."[32] The first part of this statement was spelled out in some detail -- special attention will be given to essay writing and students will be expected to contribute at least two articles a semester, after Freshmen year, to the Notre Dame Scholastic; they will also be expected to have a familiarity with the masterpieces of the leading English and American authors, and to this end they will have access at all times to a library containing these masterpieces.[33]

A close study of the required courses in this program reveals that those who followed it could have acquired "a more than ordinarily thorough acquaintance with the English language and with English and American literature." But so heavy were the English courses in the Classical Course that in its first three years the new program added only a year's course of Lectures on Models of Style and semester courses on Selections (in English) from Quintilian and from Aristotle's Rhetoric. Moreover, the courses in History, Mathematics, Philosophy and the Natural and Physical Sciences are almost identical in both programs throughout the four years. Consequently, the distinguishing features of the new program boil down to a fourth year of English and the substitution of modern languages for classical languages for the four year foreign language requirement.[34] The English courses of the Senior year were the Principles of Literary Criticism, the Philosophy of Style, Oratorical Composition and Elocution, Literature of the Nineteenth Century, Aesthetics of Literature, the first three being year courses, and the last two semester courses. The English courses in the first three years for both the English Course and the Classical Course comprised one year course in Rhetoric and Composition, Rhetorical Study of Selections in Prose and Poetry, Compositions on Familiar Topics, Advanced Rhetoric, Elements of Literary Criticism, English Literature, American Literature, Essays) Orations and Declamations, Critical Study of Standard Prose Authors, Narrative and Descriptive Composition, Critical Study of Standard American Authors, and Expository and Argumentative Composition. Before long, however, the English requirements in the Classical Course were reduced.

Changes in this program were constantly made both in the content of the English courses and in the rest of the required subjects. Thus by 1897-98, or roughly ten years after the introduction of the English Course, the English content comprised a year of Rhetoric and Composition (Freshman), a year on English Prosody, Dramatic Analysis, Shakespeare and the History of English Literature to Shakespeare (Sophomore), a year on the Laws of the Epic, Shakespeare and History of English Literature from Shakespeare to the Nineteenth Century (Junior) and Shakespeare, Leading Poets and Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Century and Old English (Senior). Most notable is the omission of American Literature, unless it was covered in the course on Leading Poets and Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Century. In regard to the rest of the program, four years of Latin had become required and three years of both French and German. History was allotted seven semesters and covered Ancient, Mediaeval, Modern, English and American; and Philosophy two years in which all branches were dealt with. Electives had been introduced and grown to twenty semester hours. Mathematics and Natural and Physical Science had disappeared and the only Social Science was a semester of Political Economy, which soon dropped out.

Changes go on being made almost every year and another ten year jump to 1906-07 gives this picture: the English courses comprised Exposition and Argumentation, American Literature and Lyric Poetry in the Freshmen year; Short Story, Novel, English Literature, and the Sonnet in the Sophomore year; Essay and Oration, Recent English and American Poetry and Didactic Poetry in the Junior year; Laws of the Epic and the Drama, Shakespeare and the Leading Poets of the Nineteenth Century in the Senior year. One gets the impression that the particular interests of those teaching at any given time determined the subjects required in the program. As for the rest of the courses, Latin had become optional but it or an elective had to be taken for four years. Since the number of electives did not increase -- in fact were reduced from twenty to eighteen -- this meant a lightening of the program. Modern Language had been reduced from three to two years and only one, French or German, instead of two was required. Ancient and Mediaeval History continued to be taught but Modern and American History gave way to History of the British Isles to the Revolution of 1689. One wonders what angophile had infiltrated the faculty. Philosophy was increased from two to three years and Physiological and Experimental Psychology, with laboratory exercises, were the big addition. Curiously enough, these were offered in the Freshman year. Elocution really came into its own and the equivalent of four years was devoted to public speaking and debating, though one semester of this time was taken up with the reading of two Shakespearian plays, acted out before the class.

Another ten years brought still further changes. By 1916-17 the English content of the program had become Genung's Principles of Rhetoric in the Freshman year; Essay, Orations and Poetry and Poets in the Sophomore year; Short Story and Novel in the Junior year; and Drama (historical survey), intensive study of Shakespeare, and modern Drama in the Senior year; Whatever else may be said of the English content of the English Course, its coverage and intensity seems to have been continuously cut down. As for foreign language, two years were still required but the student had a choice from among Latin, French, German and Spanish. History remained the same as it had been in 1906-17, except History of the British Isles was brought down to the present. Elocution had been cut back two years and considerably deemphasized. Experimental Psychology was taught in the first semester of the Freshman Year, but the Physiological Psychology was no longer mentioned. Epistemology and Logic made up the second semester of first year Philosophy. Notable are the reintroduction of Natural Science into the program -- a year of Elementary Biology, the advent of the Social Sciences -- a year of Principles of Economics, and semesters of American Government and Politics and Elementary Sociology and the increase of electives to the astounding number of thirty-four semester hours.

With a few more relatively minor changes and the addition of Religion from 1920 on the program as of 1916-17 remained until the end of the schoolyear 1922-23 and was then discontinued.

In the Catalogue for 1898-99 appeared without introduction or explanation a second specialized or "selective electives" Course -- Course in History and Economics --, leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy.[35] From its title, though not from the degree conferred on its completion, it is obvious that this third course in the area of Arts and Letters was put in to accommodate those students who wanted to study more extensively the fields of History and the Social Sciences, including what we would today designate as business subjects. Recognition of this may have been behind the establishment some years later of a Department of Commerce in the College of Arts and Letters.

The initial program was relatively heavy in courses designated Political Science, which began in the second year -- Elements of Economics and of Politics, Industrial History, Money and Banking, Distribution, Jurisprudence, Sociology and the American Constitution. Then under a course titled Philosophy IV in the Senior year were covered Individual Duties, Social Duties, Sociology, Government of the United States, and the History of Philosophy. Other Philosophy courses covered the whole gamut of systematic philosophy. History comprised Ancient, Mediaeval, the British Isles to the Revolution of 1689, General History of Europe fron the Seventeenth Century, and American History from 1763. Four years of English were required -- Rhetoric and Composition in the first year; English Prosody, Dramatic Analysis, Shakespeare and the History of English Literature up to Shakespeare in the second year; the Laws of the Epic, Shakespeare, History of English Literature from Shakespeare on in the third year; Shakespeare, Leading Poets and Prose Writers, and Old English in the fourth year. Two years of French and German and one year of Spanish were the foreign languages. Public Speaking and debating were emphasized, four full years being required as they were in the English Program. On the other hand, only six semester hours of electives were included.

A comparison of this program with the English Course for the same year reveals differences, especially the Political Science courses, but it also reveals the curious fact that the English and History content of the two programs are almost the same.

Unlike the English Course, this Course in History and Economics remained remarkably stable throughout its duration down to the end of the schoolyear 1922-23, when it was discontinued. In the Social Sciences, the material was rearranged from time to time, and no doubt improved, but the only really new courses were semester courses on the Family, Problems of Poverty, Public Finance and Labor Problems, and Socialism. Latin American History was added to the history offerings. Philosophy underwent reorganization of courses but remained substantially the same. English retained the same course numberings but as in the English Course there was continuous changes in the offerings. In 1913 foreign language was reduced to two years and students were free to choose from among Latin, French, German and Spanish. As in the English Course, Public Speaking was finally deemphasized in 1916-17 -- cut back to two years. In 1913-14 a year's course in General Biology was introduced. This was later reduced to a semester and a semester of Physiology was added. Finally Religion was added from 1920 on.

The Bulletin for the schoolyear 1911-12 announced that the establishing of a Chair of Journalism by Mr. Max Pam "made possible a special program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Journalism."[36] Thus was introduced into the College of Arts and Letters a third "selective electives" Course.[37] It was "designed to prepare men technically for Journalism and at the same time equip them with the essentials of a liberal education . . . Practical experience in newspaper work will be furnished by the Course itself."[38]

The initial program comprised four years of Journalism courses. These courses were not specifically titled until 1918-19 but covered the history of Journalism and technical areas of newsgathering, reporting, copy preparation, proof reading, newspaper properties and administration, newspaper-making, editorial writing, advertising, ethics of journalism (which appears to have been limited almost entirely to laws affecting publication). Because of the rather ill-defined content of the earliest courses it seems well to jump immediately to 1918-19 -- no substantial changes were made in the interval -- when for the first time the courses became well defined and titled: History of Journalism, Comparative Journalism, The Country Weekly, Newspaper Organization, News (nature of), Gathering News, Follow-up and Rewrite Stories, Headline Writing and Make-Up, Advertising, The Editorial Page, Ethics of Journalism, Special Lectures, and Magazine Writing.[39]

Despite these many technical-vocational subjects, most of which have long since been dropped from our preparation of the journalist, the bulk of the program was in liberal subjects. There were three years of English, immediately increased to four, covering Principles of Rhetoric, Essay and Oration, Poetry and Poets, Short Story, Novel, and Drama; three years of History covering Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern, plus History of the British Isles to the Revolution of 1769, which was soon replaced by American History; and three years of Philosophy, the first of which was devoted to Physiological, Experimental and Rational Psychology, and the last two years to all the other branches. Particular emphasis was placed on the Social Sciences and the program included Elements or Principles of Economics, Politics and Sociology, Industrial History and History of Economic Thought, Money, Credit and Banking, Distribution of Wealth, Public Finance, American Government and Politics, and Jurisprudence. One year of French or German was originally required but this was soon changed to a choice from among Latin, French, German or Spanish. Public Speaking or Elocution was stressed, as it was in the other programs we have seen, and was required subject for all four years.

Not only Elocution or Public Speaking but also the other non-technical subjects of this program follow pretty much the pattern we have seen in the other specialized programs. Of the changes that occurred up to 1918-19 most notable were the disappearance of what we would call the business courses -- Money, Credit and Banking and Public Finance --, the better organization of Philosophy into definite courses, the increasing of the foreign language requirement to two years (after having dropped out completely from 1915-16 to 1917-18), the reduction of Elocution to two years, and the introduction of a year of Natural Science -- General Biology and Human Physiology.

Between 1919 and 1923, when this program was discontinued as a special degree program, Circulation, Advanced News Writing, and a basic course on grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. called A Grounding in Forms were added and much of the other content was either condensed or dropped. The English courses were enriched and minor changes made in the Social Sciences. Religion was added as in all other programs from 1920 on. Between 1923-25 no special mention of Journalism was made in the Bulletin and then in 1925-26 it returned as the School of Journalism, but its program led to the regular Bachelor of Arts and a Certificate in Journalism.[40]

The Bulletin stated that students were regularly admitted to the School of Journalism only after having completed the first two years in the College of Arts and Letters. No detailed schedule of required courses was announced. The offerings in professional subjects were News Writing and Reporting, Editing, Feature Writing, The Editorial Page, Newspaper Management, The Law of the Press, Ethics of Journalism.

Journalism was returned to the status of Department of the College of Arts and Letters in 1931. In its last appearance as a School in 1930-31 a detailed program of courses was specified.[41] They included three years of English and of Philosophy, two years of Foreign Language, of History and of Religion, a year of Sociology, a semester of Politics and of Speech, and the professional courses which were the same as those offered in 1925-26.

In 1913-14 a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Commerce and in 1916-17 a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Foreign Commerce were introduced into the College of Arts and Letters. We shall, however, deal later with these programs under the College of Commerce. We may now, therefore, pass on to the next of the specialized programs, which was in Education. This program first appeared in the Bulletin for 1918-19 and led to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Education.[42]

The announcement stated that "the first two years of this Course are the same as the first two years of the Course in the Department of History and Economics. Subjects in Education proper are given in the Junior and Senior years."[43] The required education courses were History of Education and Education Psychology in the Junior year, and philosophy of Education and Educational Administration in the Senior year. The student was also advised to use the eight semester hours of electives, provided in the program, for additional educational courses. History and Philosophy, the same as in the History and Economics program, a semester of Latin American History and of Outlines of Elementary Sociology completed the required courses of the last two years.

This initial program began to undergo changes immediately. The general pattern of studies remained the same, but the English and Philosophy content was weakened, and Religion was added from 1920 on. The education courses were pushed back first to the Sophomore year and then to the Freshmen. Thus in 1922-23 a year of History of Philosophy was taught in the Freshman year and a semester of Educational Psychology in the Sophomore. A semester of Educational Tests was also put in the second year. In the Junior and Senior years, Principles of Education replaced the Philosophy of Education, Educational Administration -- titled School Management and Educational Administration -- remained the same, and Methods and Observation of Teaching and Supervised Teaching were added. From this we see that more emphasis was placed on technical matters -- i.e. testing and methods.

In 1923-24 a School of Education was announced. This was in keeping with discontinuance of special degree programs in the College of Arts and Letters. It was made up of the Departments of Secondary Education, of Physical Education and a Graduate Department of Boy Guidance. The triple objective of the School was therefore to educate secondary school teachers and administrators, to prepare directors of physical education and to train men in boy guidance or social work. The programs led to the degrees of Bachelor of Philosophy in Education, of Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and of Master of Arts in Boy Guidance. There was also graduate program in Secondary Education leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. We shall deal with the graduate programs in Boy Guidance and in Secondary Education later, under the Graduate School.

The undergraduate program in Secondary Education underwent some changes. The required professional courses became Introduction to Education, Principles of Secondary Education, Educational Psychology, Educational Sociology, Principles of Teaching, Teaching of Major and of Minor -- i.e. the major and minor subject fields of the students --, and Supervised Teaching. The notable aspect of the program was provision for sixty-four hours of "Variables," which could be used for the subject fields and for educational electives. The required non-professional courses were three years of English -- Rhetoric and Composition, Outlines of English Literature, Principles of Argumentation and Short Story; three years of Religion, one hour a week, -- Moral, Dogma and Worship; two years of Philosophy -- General Psychology, Logic, General Metaphysics, Special Methaphysics and Ethics; two years of Speech and a year of Social Studies.

From 1925-28 no specific requirements were listed in the Bulletin and then only the professional courses. These differed from the 1923-24 program only by the addition of History of Education. No further changes were made between 1928 and 1931, when the School of Education was discontinued, and Education became a Department of the College of Arts and Letters. The degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Education was dropped and Education became one of the subjects in which students could major for the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

The aims of the program in Physical Education were to prepare men to conduct physical and mental examinations of students, to teach hygiene, health habits and biological sciences, and to supervise and direct physical activities. From the beginning the program was heavy in professional courses and in natural science. Its required subjects in English, etc. were, however, the same as we saw above for Secondary Education. As to the professional subjects they comprised Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Physical Education in every year of the four years, Educational Psychology, Principles of Secondary Education, Principles of Teaching and Teaching of the Major and Minor. The biological sciences included a year of Zoology, Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene. There was also a year of elementary Chemistry. The Zoology was almost immediately changed to General Biology, and Kinesiology was added.

Between 1923 and 1931 this program underwent continuous course changes too numerous to follow in detail, but the trend was definitely toward greater emphasis on the professional at the expense of the non-professional courses. Possibly the professional content of the program did not change as much as it seems, but this content which originally was covered in one four year course -- Theory and Practice of Physical Education -- was broken down into individual courses, which took more time. Thus by 1930 the professional courses for the four years were: Freshman: Elementary Football, Principles of Community Recreation, Marching and Callisthenics, Mass Recreational Activities, History and Literature of Physical Education, and Elementary Baseball; Sophomore: Intramural Athletics, Elementary Basketball, Dancing and Light Apparatus, Apparatus and Stunts, Minor Sports, and Elementary Track; Junior: Advanced Football, Advanced Basketball, Tumbling and Pyramids, Corrective Gymnastics, Student Teaching, Advanced Track, Physical Diagnosis and Massage, School Programs and Principles of Physical Education; Senior: Organization and Administration of Physical Education, Organization and Administration of Recreation, Student Teaching and Coaching, Finance and Publicity, Problems of Physical Education and Special Activities. The regular education courses -- v.g. Educational Psychology, etc. -- and the biological courses remained pretty much the same, but English was reduced to one year, Philosophy to two, while Religion and Social Science disappeared altogether.

With the disappearance of the School of Education, Physical Education became a Department of the College of Arts and Letters and the situation began to improve. The professional content still remained about the same but much of it was again organized into comprehensive courses, first called Gymnastics and Athletics and then Physical Educational Activities. In 1933 two years of Religion were restored and English was increased to two years. In 1934 History of Western Europe was added and in 1935 the history offerings were extended to United States History, Modern Europe and an elective in United States History. In this year 1959-60, when we are about to close out Physical Education with its specialized degree, it might be argued that it is still too highly professional to have legitimate place in a liberal arts college. But granting the professional nature of this program and also keeping in mind that from the beginning one of its aims was to prepare students to teach high school biology and therefore has always been heavy in biological courses, the program has reached about as good a balance as could be expected.

Music and the Fine Arts were taught at Notre Dame from its earliest years. In 1863-64 they were announced as optional studies, and presumably were studied by some in addition to the regular Collegiate Course.[44] Ten years later a Department of Fine Arts was given separate announcement in the Annual Catalogue.[45] But there was no program leading to a degree, and in 1897-98 announcement of the Department was discontinued. Music continued to be taught but there was practically nothing in the Fine Arts for the next quarter century or so. In 1919-20 a Department of Music was established. This Department offered a four year specialized program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Music, and a Musical Culture Course. This latter Course was the equivalent of a modern major in Music within the College of Arts and Letters, but it was not so designated, with twenty-four hours of music courses specified, until 1927.[46] The professional program aimed at preparing teachers and concert artists; the cultural program aimed at developing audiences who would appreciate the artists.

In the prescribed schedule of studies for the degree of Bachelor of Music a large number of individual courses in Music were specified. There was Lesson Practice in Piano in all four years; Lesson Practice in Organ, in Violin and in Voice for one year;[47] Harmony and Composition, Aesthetics, Catholic Church Music, and History of Music for two years; Counterpoint and Fugue, Instrumentation, and Choral Conducting for one year. In regard to the Lesson Practice it was recognized then as now that it must be set to meet the needs of the individual student. Hence the Bulletin announced: "There can be no absolute time limit set for practice as advancement depends to a very great extent on talent and application. In order to meet this condition, the courses outlined may be changed according to the individual needs of the pupil."[48] The rest of the program comprised three years of English, two years of a Foreign Language, one year of History, of Philosophy and of Social Science. For graduation the student had also to submit two original musical compositions.

In the next few years this original program underwent a number of changes both in the music courses and in the rest of the courses. Harmony, Counterpoint, Form, and Instrumentation were all brought under Composition. But the most drastic change occurred in 1923-24 when the non-music courses were reduced or eliminated. Thus English and Foreign Language were reduced to one year, History to one semester and the Social Sciences were dropped. With so many hours allotted to Applied Music the total program was undoubtedly too heavy -- up to thirty-two hours a semester--, but unfortunately in the cutback, it was the non-musical courses that were sacrificed.

But this was not for long because in 1924 Music was incorporated as one of the Departments in a School of Fine Arts, and all the non-musical subjects, except Social Sciences, were restored to their original time in the program.[49] The music content remained substantially unchanged and was all taught in one comprehensive course called Professional Course in Music. Changes, however, continued to be made and in 1930-31, the last year of the School of Fine Arts, the music courses were again individually titled: Music Composition, and Applied Music, each three years, History of Music, Church Music, Ensemble Playing, and Conducting, each one year.

From its inception in 1919-20 the Department of Music conferred a Certificate of Music on those who were not interested in taking the full four year program for the degree of Bachelor of Music. In 1924 this was designated a Teacher Certificate and required the completion of courses for one instrument or voice plus two years of Elementary and Advanced Harmony. In the same year a Diploma of Graduate in Music was set up for those who did not meet the regular requirements for admission to the bachelor's program but who qualified for and completed at least one year of work in that program.

Another development occurred in 1927-28. In that year was offered for the first time a second bachelor's program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Music in School Music (Music Education).[50] This program required the same non-musical courses as that for the Bachelor of Music, plus several one semester education courses -- Principles of Secondary Education, Educational Psychology, Principles and Techniques of Teaching, and Student Teaching. The professional courses were Musical Composition, three years, Applied Music - Piano (or other instrument), three years, Applied Music - Voice, three years and one year courses in Ear-training and Sight-singing, Folk Music, History of Music, Applied Music - Organ, Methods of Teaching Music, Choral and Orchestral Conducting, and the Symphony Orchestra.

This program remained unchanged until the School of Fine Arts was discontinued. In 1931-32 Music reverted to its status as Department in the College of Arts and Letters, and we shall pursue its further history down to the present later under the departments of that College.

Besides the Department of Music, the School of Fine Arts included a Department of Art and a Department of Speech and Drama. These last two departments were established for the first time when the School of Fine Arts was set-up, though their subject matter had been taught at Notre Dame from its earliest years. The Department of Speech and Drama had no degree program, but students who completed twenty semester hours of instruction and practice in the courses offered were given a Certificate in Dramatic Art. The same twenty hours could also be used as a major toward the A.B. degree.

The Department of Art provided two programs -- a twenty-four semester hour major toward the A.B. degree and a four year professional program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. The professional program required a four year course in Drawing, Painting, Modelling, with varying hours of academic credit, three years of English, of Philosophy, and of Religion, two years of Foreign Language and a year of History. It also provided twelve semester hours of free electives. This program remained unchanged until the School of Fine Arts was discontinued in 1931.

One further special degree program was introduced into the College of Arts and Letters in 1919-20.[51] This was a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Library Science. It was referred to both as a Department and as a School of Library Science, such was the looseness of terminology. The reason for inaugurating this program was stated in an introductory paragraph in the Bulletin:

Two years of college work were said to be required for admission to this program, plus a reading knowledge of French, German and Spanish. On the other hand, it was referred to as a four year program and a schedule of four years of required courses was announced.[53] Since the first two years of this schedule do not exactly correspond to the first two years in any other program in the College of Arts and Letters, the Bulletin announcements leave us confused. At any rate, the program lasted only a short time, being discontinued along with all other special degree programs of the College of Arts and Letters in 1923-24. Then in the summer of 1927 it reappeared as a School of Library Science in the Summer Session. But it was a much more restricted program, limited to fifteen students and open only to those in charge of a school library or under appointment to such a position.[54] As part of the Summer Session, this program continued until 1953. We shall return to it when we treat of the Summer Session. Now that we have traced the history of the several special degree programs from the establishment of the first of them, the English Course, in 1886-87, to their discontinuance in 1923, we must return to the Classical Course which continued to be the primary liberal arts Course, leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

We have noted earlier that in 1896-97 the Classical Course comprised Latin, Greek, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Economy, and the Natural and Physical Sciences. Latin, Greek and English were required for four years, History for five semesters, Philosophy for two years, Mathematics and Natural Science for one year and Political Economy and Physical Science for one semester. Notably absent is a modern Foreign Language; also Religion, which would not become an integral course in any program until 1920, though in 1897-98 a four year course in Evidences of Christianity was announced as obligatory for all Catholic students.[55] In the Bulletin for 1905-06 this changed to two years of Moral Theology and two years of Dogma, and then, strangely, the announcement disappeared.

A notable change in this program of 1896-97 occurred the next year when the courses in Mathematics and in Natural and Physical Sciences were dropped. In this year also twenty semester hours of electives were provided curiously in the Freshman and Sophomore years. Then in 1900-01 four years of Elocution were added, again drawing our attention to the emphasis which was placed on public speaking at this period of the University's history.

Changes in the content of the courses taught continued to take place but from 1901 until 1916-17 no substantial change in the program was made. The greatest modifications during all these years were the increasing of Philosophy to three years in 1904-05, the reduction of History to one year of Ancient History, the elimination of Political Economy (Economics) and of electives in 1905-06, and the restoration of these losses at least in part in 1915-16.

But 1916-17 marked a truly significant change -- the first break in the classical languages requirement. Greek was reduced to two years and Latin to three.[56] Some recovery was made two years later when Greek or an elective was again required in the Junior and Senior years and Latin or an elective in the Senior year.[57] Other changes in 1916-17 included a de-emphasis of Public Speaking, cut back to two years, the reintroduction of Social Sciences -- a year of Economics and semesters of Sociology, and of Political Science -- the restoration of History to two full years and the increase of electives from eight to eighteen semester hours. Then the program went almost unchanged, except that three years of Religion were added in 1920-21 and the electives were drastically reduced to three semester hours, until 1924-25, when the Classical Course as it had been conceived and more or less maintained from the very beginning of the University came to an end.

We have seen for each special degree program within the College of Arts and Letters that it was discontinued at the end of the schoolyear 1922-23. A period of transition and reorganization followed. For some areas -- Education, Fine Arts, Journalism -- special Schools were established in the next one to three years. Other areas -- the English Course, leading to the degree of Bachelor of Letters, and the Course in History and Economics, leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy -- had to be integrated with the Classical Course or rather all three of these programs had to be scrapped and an entirely new program, leading to the Bachelor of Arts, formulated. While this was being done, no program for the A.B. was announced in the 1923-24 Bulletin. But it was ready the next year, and this, as we have said, spelled the end of the Old Classical Course.

The new program for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, which went into effect in 1924-25 differed from the Old Classical Course in two notable respects. First, the classical languages of Latin and Greek were dropped as required subjects, though for some time Latin remained the language ordinarily chosen to satisfy the foreign language requirement. Secondly, the system of majors or major sequence was introduced. Courses of study were prescribed for all students in the first two years, but in the last two they could choose a field of specialization or concentration, while still taking some courses prescribed for all students, especially in the third year. They were also permitted a larger number of semester hours of electives. The required number of semester hours in the major has been twenty-four, except for a short time in the late 1920's when it was reduced to twenty.

When the new program went into effect there were seven possible majors, Classics, Economics and Politics, English, History, Modern Languages, Religion and Sociology, the departments in the College of Arts and Letters in 1924-25. In 1925-26 Philosophy was added. Then in 1931-32 the Schools of Education, of Fine Arts and of Journalism, had been discontinued, and Art, Education, Journalism, Music, Physical Education and Speech became departments of the College. In 1935-36 Economics and Politics were separated into two departments. In reality, the basic subjects of the liberal arts area remained the same since 1924-25, and even earlier, despite these organizational changes. Since 1935-36 the most significant additions have been a major in Mathematics offered first in 1948-49, the General Program of Liberal Education introduced in 1950 and the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics and Physics, incorporated into the College of Arts and Letters in 1955. In 1958 Journalism and Speech were combined into a Department of Communication Arts, which also includes Drama, Radio and Television that never had the status of departments. Finally, the programs of the Reserve Officer Training Corps units have been given the status of departments, though no major sequences are allowed in them -- Naval Science in 1942, Air Science in 1948 and Military Science (Army) in 1952. In this same year, 1952, a five year combination Arts and Letters - Engineering program was started and also similar program was inaugurated with independent Catholic liberal arts colleges. Under these programs the student takes three years of arts and two of engineering and receives both an arts and an engineering degree. These programs have been successful and today there are fifteen outside colleges participating in them.

We shall see later that in 1954 a thorough revision of the program for the degree of Bachelor of Arts was effected, but the system of majors remains. Today these major fields are Art, Classics, Communication Arts, Economics, Education, English, History, Modern Language, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Mathematics and the sciences -- Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Physics. Students who do not want to enter upon any of these majors may take the General Program of Liberal Education.[58] When the School of Fine Arts was discontinued and Art and Music constituted as departments of the College of Arts and Letters, they continued to offer two programs, one a twenty-four semester hour major for the Bachelor of Arts degree, the other a four year program leading to the professional degrees of Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education. These professional degrees continue to be given.

The content of the program for the degree of Bachelor of Arts inaugurated in 1924-25, consisted of three years of English, of Philosophy and of Religion, two years of Foreign Language, of History, and of Social Sciences, one year of Natural Science and of Speech, a semester of Education, twenty-four semester hours of electives. In terms of the subjects included and the time given to each subject, whether years or semester hours, this program of required courses remained remarkably constant for thirty years. Proliferation of courses where it has occurred, has been in the major sequences and in electives. The semester of Education -- College Aims and Methods -- soon dropped out but was the only subject to disappear. There were fluctuations in time allotted to the several subjects but they were so small as to be scarcely worthy of note, except for Religion which was restricted to eight semester hours and to the first two years between 1926 and 1946, when it was allotted twelve semester hours over three years. The courses required in each subject underwent some changes over the thirty year period between 1924 and 1953, but again there was remarkable stability of required courses. This can be shown by a comparison for 1924 and 1953 of those subjects in which changes would be most significant.


1953-54 | 1924-25 | SUBJECT REQUIRED COURSES | SUBJECT REQUIRED COURSES | English Rhetoric and Composition | English Rhetoric and Composition English Literature | Short Story | Short Story Essay | Essay Poetry | Poetry Shakespeare | (any two) | English Novel | History History of Western Europe | History History of Western Europe History of the U.S. | History of the U.S. | Philosophy Logic | Philosophy Logic Philosophy of Nature | General Psychology Introduction to Phil. | Metaphysics Philosophical Psychology | Cosmology Metaphysics | Philosophy of Mind Natural Theology | Ethics Ethics | | Religion Life of Christ and | Religion Principles of Morality Christian Morals | Catholic Dogmatic Teaching Natural, Christian and | Christian Apologetics Catholic Apologetics | Catholic Dogma I & II | and Sacramental Life | in the Mystical Body | Social Principles of Economics | Social Principles of Economics Science Principles of Political Sc| Science American Government Man's Nature and Heritage | and Politics Social Processes | General Sociology Institutions and | Disorganization |

In 1952 an extensive Self-Study of the program for the degree of Bachelor of Arts was undertaken. Out of this study came a far-reaching revision of the program, inaugurated in the schoolyear 1954-55. Basic objectives of this revision were 1) greater coherence, integration and rationale of the required courses; 2) reduction of the number of subjects carried by the student in any semester or year. The first objective is achieved by a better ordering of the sequence of courses from Freshman through Senior year, by a written and oral comprehensive examination late in the Sophomore year, designed to test reasonable control of the basic skills and some sense of the unity of knowledge, and by a Collegiate Seminar in the Junior year which ties together for the student his learning in the several subject-areas; the second objective by reducing from six to five the number of courses carried in any semester. Majors or major sequences are retained but strengthened by the introduction of a Departmental Seminar in the Senior year in which the students write the Senior Essay. For every student this essay should be "a true evidence of his growth through liberal education, the meaningful end-result, the crowning point of his college career."[59]

The revised program is constructed as follows: Freshman year: Rhetoric, Mathematics, European History and Foreign Language, each for two semesters; Philosophy and Religion, each for one semester; Sophomore year: Literature, Natural Science, American History, Social Science, each for two semesters; Philosophy and Religion, each for one semester; Junior year: Collegiate Seminar, for two semesters, Philosophy and Religion, each for one semester, two courses in the major sequence and one elective; Senior year; Departmental Seminar (Senior Essay) for the year, Philosophy and Religion, each for one semester, two courses in the major sequence and one elective. This revised program has beyond doubt brought greater coherence, integration and rationale into the liberal arts studies. But it has not changed very much the subject areas covered. These subject-areas have remained remarkably constant for almost forty years. We may ask, therefore, is the quality of our instruction notably better today than it was twenty years ago or forty years ago? Perhaps this is a question that cannot be definitively answered because quality is intangible and immeasurable. In a general way, however, we can certainly conclude that instruction has steadily improved over the years. The greater coherence and integration of the knowledge learned has contributed to this; the fuller and better preparation of the Faculty has contributed to this (though a particular teacher of a particular subject forty years ago may have surpassed his counterpart of today); the greater attention to student ability and increasing efforts, through sectioning of courses, more outside reading, and greater counselling to stretch each student to the limit of his ability have contributed to this. So it seems not persumptious to assert that our graduates of today are better educated through liberal studies than they ever have been in the past and that we should see increasing fruits of this in the greater intellectual leadership they take in contemporary society.

To further strengthen liberal education a General Program in Liberal Education was introduced into the College in 1950-51. At first this was a four year program, but with the reorganization of the College in 1953-54, it was reduced to the last three years. Its purpose has been to provide a course of studies for those students who do not want to enter upon a major sequence. The general aim of this Program, therefore, has been to give students a grasp of the fundamental principles and methods in all the disciplines of a liberal education -- Theology, Philosophy, Literature, History, Mathematics, Physical, Biological and Social Sciences -- and not to make even incipient specialists in any one of them. To accomplish this aim three methods of instruction are used:

  1. The Seminar in which small groups discuss the questions stemming out of the rapid reading of some classic or master-work of the Western tradition.
  2. The Tutorial in which small groups closely and intensively study a particular subject-matter over a period of time.
  3. The Lecture in which specialists talk to large groups to give them historical background in the several subject-matters for their work in the Seminar and the Tutorial.

The Seminar is held twice a week for four years. In the first and third years classic works from the Greeks to the end of the Middle Ages are read; in the second and fourth years works from the Renaissance to the present. The Tutorials are held two or more times a week for four years and originally covered four subject-matters, Theology, Philosophy, Language and Literature, and Mathematics and Science. The Lecture is given once a week over four years.

While the methods of instruction have remained the same from the beginning to the present, considerable modification in the Tutorials was necessitated when, as we have remarked, the completely revised program for the College of Arts and Letters went into effect in 1953-54 and the General Program of Liberal Education was reduced from four to three years, with all students in the College taking a common first year. This modification was necessary not only because the General Program was shortened but also because the subject-matters of the Tutorials had to be adjusted to the courses taken by the students in the first year. The changes, the greatest of which was the dropping of the Language and Literature Tutorial and the breaking down of its subject-matter into individual courses, can be fully illustrated through a comparison of the Tutorials in 1952-57 and in 1959-60.

Theology Tutorial: Nature of Revelation and the Problem of Theology as a Science; The Trinity, Incarnation, and Sacraments; The Church and The Christian Life; Moral Theology and Apologetics. Theology Tutorial: Christian Doctrine; Ethics and Christian Virtues; The Church and the Sacraments.
Philosophy Tutorial: Philosophy of Nature; Metaphysics; Ethics; Philosophy of Politics. Philosophy Tutorial: Philosophy of Nature and Psychology; Metaphysics; Politics.
Mathematics and Science Tutorial: Ancient Mathematics; Modern Mathematics; Physical Science; Biological Science. Mathematics and Science Tutorial: Mathematical Analysis (two semesters) and Biology (one semester) in Sophomore year; Physical Science, with laboratory in Junior year; Philosophy of Science (one semester) in Senior year.
Language and Literature Tutorial: Latin and the Arts of the Trivium; French and the Arts of the Trivium; Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism; The Philosophy of Language. Foreign Language (two semesters), and The Lyric (one semester) in Sophomore year; Tragedy (one semester) in Junior year; The Novel (one semester), and Logic and Language (one semester) in Senior year.

* Nine hours of Electives and variable hours in Readings and Research also account in part for the changes from the 1952-53 schedule.

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