Enrollments in the Chemical Laboratory
For the two semesters of 1908-9, the last year in which the old building was occupied, 2,599 students in all were enrolled for classwork, and 1,271 had work in laboratory courses. Three University units — the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Department of Engineering, and the School of Pharmacy — furnished 74.5 per cent of all students in chemistry classes and 81.7 per cent of those in laboratory work. Students in the two medical schools and in the College of Dental Surgery, who then were required to present chemistry as a part of their professional training, made up 24.5 per cent of the class and 16.3 per cent of the laboratory registrations. The Graduate School accounted for the remainder — a total of twenty-five graduate students in the classes and twenty-eight in the laboratory courses. Seven years later, registrations from the medical schools had become insignificant, since medical students were by that time required to present chemistry as a part of their premedical training, and in 1927-28 students from the School of Dentistry had disappeared for a similar reason. In the year 1915-16 the four schools and colleges furnished a total enrollment of 3,497 for classwork and 2,253 for laboratory work. Thus within six years after the present building was occupied, class enrollments had increased 34.5 per cent, and laboratory registrations had shown a 77.3 per cent gain, necessitating reconstruction of nearly all laboratory-table equipment. In 1924, the year after the removal of the work in chemical engineering to new quarters, registrations Page [unnumbered]
A steadily mounting interest in chemistry as a field of graduate study is particularly gratifying to the departmental staff. In the old laboratory, graduate students rarely constituted even an integral percentage of total registrations, and in the maximum, never more than 2 per cent. Increased facilities provided by the present Chemistry Building have attracted graduate students in constantly increasing numbers. Occasionally, during the first fourteen years of its occupancy, they have made up as much as 5 per cent of the total enrollment. From the time when the Department of Chemical Engineering was removed, in 1923, until the end of June, 1930, graduate students constituted more than 7 per cent of both class and laboratory enrollment. The number listed in separate class and laboratory courses for 1929-30 was 385. In the following year it had increased to 562, and the enhanced interest has been maintained. For 1935-36 the graduate enrollment in pure chemistry was 740, representing 13.5 per cent of all students.
This trend is shown even more markedly by registrations for the summer session, and also by the number of professional and advanced degrees conferred on students from the department. Chemistry has been offered in the summer session ever since summer work was begun in 1894, as well as in the special summer school of chemistry conducted in 1890 (see Part IV: Summer Session). An occasional graduate student registered for the six-week period of summer session work in the old chemical laboratory. In the summer session of 1910, when the first summer laboratory work in chemistry was offered in the present building, the thirty-two graduate students represented 10.4 per cent of the registration total in the department. During the next fourteen years the proportion grew slightly, but there was some fluctuation. The session of 1924 witnessed a decisive increase to 23 per cent of total registrations, and the rate of increase rose steadily over the next four-year period until, in 1928, graduate enrollment had become 35.8 per cent of the total registrations. The following year another marked increase raised the proportion to 50.7 per cent, and, ever since, a majority of chemistry students in the summer session have been graduates. A peak was reached in 1932 with a 60 per cent graduate enrollment. The small diminution in the interim may be attributed to partial recovery of chemical industries from the effects of the business depression.
By the end of June, 1940, 207 students had received the degree of bachelor of science in chemistry since the curriculum leading to it had been re-established, an average of eight per year for the period of twenty-five years. The strictly professional degree, master of science in chemistry, was conferred on eighty persons from the time of its establishment in 1919 through June, 1940, but of the entire list of students receiving the master's degree with specialization in chemistry, this number represents only a minority. In the first forty years of this century, 168 persons specializing in chemistry received either the doctor of philosophy or the doctor of science degree. Prior to the occupancy of the present laboratory only five of this group had received doctorates, but the continuity in conferring the doctor's degrees has been unbroken since 1909. In Page 520the first two decades, from 1900 to 1920, doctorates in chemistry were conferred on a total of thirty-two persons. The next decade added forty-five to the list, and in the years 1930-40 the number of doctor's degrees in chemistry was ninety-one.