Fields of Concentration

These articles on the various Fields of Concentration will appear in the "Confidential Guide" next September. Therefore the current year is referred to as "last year," etc. Criticisms will be welcome.

Biochemical Sciences

The Biochemical Sciences are a close second to Chemistry in the number of concentrators in a scientific field, for there were 139 men in them last year. Its appeal is that it provides a general training in the more important sciences without being limited to any one branch. Secondly it is worth consideration by students planning to go to Medical School because it is a compromise between the extremely narrow background which is provided by concentration in Chemistry, Biology, or Physics, which require all one's time at the expense of social and cultural courses, and the non-scientific background offered by non-scientific fields. Because of the large proportion of Biochem concentrators who are pre-med students, there is a common cause and resulting intimacy in the field.

The required courses in the field are the elementary ones on Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. Hisaw in Biology D and Black in Physics B are brilliant lecturers in those survey courses, as are Fieser and Huntington in Chemistry and Math 2. And because of the fact that concentrators are allowed to pick and choose among the course offered by this variety of departments, there is a tremendous vista before the concentrator, and he can give wide scope to his special interests.

At present Chemistry 15, General Biological Chemistry, is the only course which has a particularly close relation to the field of concentration. It is not well organized and the main remedy for this seems to be definization of the reading so that a student would know where he was supposed to be headed. It is now a second half year course and could easily be increased to a full year, and if laboratory arrangements could be provided, they would be very valuable. One good point in the course is that it brings in men from the Faculties of the various fields with which it is connected.


Because of the scattered nature of the courses which can be taken in the field, tutorial work is of great importance in coordinating the material thus gathered. The tutors in the Biochemical Sciences are all men who have obtained their higher degrees and are to some extent recognized in their own fields. This is in contrast to most of the other fields, in which the tutors are engaged in research preparatory to advanced degrees and often cannot spend sufficient time in tutoring.

To keep up with the demand for tutorial, which is increased since the only Faculty in the field is a board of tutors, there should be something done to ameliorate the poor laboratory and library facilities which exist at present, and eventually to give the field a home of its own. Sooner or later there should be a wider variety of basic courses offered especially for men in this field, such as physical chemistry, bio-physics and perhaps the present Chemistry 44. This should lead to the creation of Professors in this field for its has heretofore been considered a subfield buried among the sciences.

Seniors going out for honors find their time cramped because they are not always adequately relieved from course work while they are writing their thesis. Nevertheless, like Chemistry and Biology, Biochemical Sciences take a very great amount of the concentrator's time. A man who wants to devote any appreciable amount of time to extracurricular activities, whether planning to go to Medical School or not, should keep out of this field, for the labs in the courses connected with it occupy about every afternoon of the week.

Concentrators who are pre-med students are advised at least to consider not going out for honors; that is, remaining in Plan B, because it would give them more time for other things before settling down to work in a medical school. Plan B men are urged to join the Biochemical Society, and should have monthly colloquia.

Besides the elementary courses listed above, courses which are of especial importance in the field of Biochemical Sciences and should be consulted under their respective fields in this book are Chemistry A, 3, 6, and 44, Biology 2, 3, 36, and 101 and Physics 1, 3a, and F. Chemistry A and Biology D are suggested for the Freshman year, and Physics B, Math A, and Chemistry 2 for the Sophomore year. Philosophy, the History of Sciences, and Psychology all offer good related courses.


The field of Classics and allied subjects contains approximately 70 concentrators with a large proportion of tutors to the number of students. Comparatively few take the Classics straight. Many students combine the study of Greek or Latin or both with some other subject, either closely related such as Philosophy, or in some cases, quite remote from the Classics.

Concentration in straight Classics is extremely arduous if the student goes out for honors. Practically no other field requires as many divisional examinations as must be taken by the men who take both Greek and Latin.

Early in the fall of his Junior year a concentrator must take written examinations on the Bible, Shakspere, and the important works of two of the following modern authors: Dante, Cervanites, Chaucer, Milton, Moliere, and Goethe. A student who fails those examinations may take the corresponding examination in the fall of his Senior year. In May of Senior year each concentrator must take two exams of three hours each on the literatures of Greece and Rome; two or three hours each in the translation of Greek and Latin authors at sight; and one of three hours on the general field of Classical studies. Both because of this abundance and wide coverage of exams and because of the great possibilities of correlation with allied fields tutorial is especially important in the Classics. The tutors were described as extremely cooperative and generous with their time.

In spite of the overwhelming trend to the Social Sciences and the "practical" education, the Classics are still the fundamental of education, almost indispensable to one who intends to pursue a literary career. They are also "practical" in the intense mental discipline which they give to the student--something that is lacking in the more loosely organized cultural studies. Furthermore, the wealth of Antiquities thought provides a much more extensive and exciting field for cultivation than is contained in the more modern periods.