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Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University (also known as GSAS) is the branch of the university that grants academic degrees, including M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s., in fields not covered by the university's professional or other schools.
GSAS began to take shape in the late 19th century, when Columbia, until then a primarily undergraduate institution with a few professional attachments, began to establish graduate faculties in several fields: Political Science (1880), Philosophy (1890), and Pure Science (1892). The graduate faculties, notably, were open to women at a time when many other Columbia schools were not; Columbia College did not become a coeducational institution until 1983. The first Ph.D. awarded by Columbia was handed out in 1882; the first woman to receive one did so in 1886.
The increasing professionalization of the university brought with it an emphasis on the graduate schools, as presidents such as Seth Low and Nicholas Murray Butler sought to emulate the success of German universities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, in the effort to produce as many graduate degree-holders as possible, attempts were made to streamline undergraduate life and center academic life in the graduate-focused departments. Such efforts led to resistance among Columbia College administrators and undergraduates, arguably one of the contributing factors in the 1968 protests. Nevertheless, graduate research has flourished at Columbia as a result, and the university has been among the top producers of Ph. Ds in the United States from the inception of the graduate disciplines. In the early 1990s, GSAS and Columbia College faculty were all absorbed into a consolidated Faculty of Arts and Sciences, with familiar complaints among undergraduates and their advocates.