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Records of the Board of University Studies

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-04-012

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of the Board of University Studies date from 1891 through 1953. Except for the bound volumes of Minutes, however, there are no records dating prior to 1926. The record group is divided into two subgroups, the first subgroup containing the records created by the Board itself. Subgroup 1, series 1 in this subgroup consists of the Minutes of the Board, missing prior to 1891 but complete thereafter. Series 2 consists of the Supporting Papers of the Board (1926-1951). The second subgroup contains records of committees associated with the Board. The records of the Committee to Survey the School of Higher Studies (1930-1932) are fairly complete and provide a clear picture of this committee's purpose.


  • Creation: 1891-1953


Use Restrictions

Education records in subgroup 1, series 2 and in subgroup 2, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, are restricted. For details, see Regulations Governing Access to Restricted Records, in the front of each binder.


In 1883 the Academic Council created the Board of University Studies as the graduate counterpart to the Board of Collegiate Studies. The Board consisted of all professors and associate professors in the Faculty of Philosophy, and was presided over by the president of the University. The Board determined the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, accepted or rejected candidates for these degrees, accepted or rejected reports of referees on Ph.D. dissertations and M.A. essays, and was responsible for administering the oral examination required for the Ph.D.

The Board was extremely concerned about the oral exam, and attempted to make the exam less intimidating while still maintaining it as a good measure of the student's knowledge. They were also concerned about residence requirements and felt that doctoral candidates should have full-time residence for at least three years. When the Board of University Studies was replaced by the Group Council in 1951, responsibility for admitting graduate students was transferred to the academic departments, where it remains today.

Two committees were closely associated with the Board of University Studies. In 1930, the Committee to Survey the School of Higher Studies was formed to inspect the academic departments. In 1932 the Committee presented a report to the Board of Trustees detailing changes that would have to be made to make graduate work at Hopkins more attractive.

President Bowman, with the approval of the Academic Council, created the Executive Committee of the School of Higher Studies to correct administrative fragmentation and to relieve the burden on the President's Office. Founded on a trial basis in 1947, the Executive Committee consisted of the Secretary of the Board of University Studies and the chairmen of the Committee on Fellowships and Scholarships and the Committee on Degrees of Doctor and Master of Education. The Executive Committee established a central office to coordinate clerical work and to furnish information to applicants; it also worked to improve relations between the School of Higher Studies and other University divisions. Along with the Board itself, the Executive Committee formally ceased to exist in 1951.


1.61 Cubic Feet (4 letter size document boxes, 1 Book)

Language of Materials



Most of the records of the Board of University Studies were transferred to the Archives by the Special Collections Department of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. Some records came from the Office of the Registrar, while others were removed from other record groups within the Academic Governing Boards.

Accession Number

81.44, 82.1

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Maryanne Courtney, Sean DiGiovanna and Deborah Jeffrey.

Records of the Board of University Studies
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA