Medical Schools, 1860–1900
Medical Schools, 1860–1900
During the last half of the nineteenth century, medical schools grew significantly in number and enrollments, as did all institutions of higher education. Many medical schools added optional fall and spring sessions to compete with the private courses and provide additional training for their students. Faculty members were appointed in the clinical specialties, which led to the expansion of the curriculum to include courses in the specialties and the replacement of the repetitive course with a graded one. After the Civil War, enrollments in higher education grew significantly, especially in professional schools. The number of students enrolled in all institutions of higher education increased from 32,000 in 1860 to 256,000 in 1900. The 1860 enrollments, which consisted almost entirely of men, comprised 3.1 percent of the white male population between 18 and 21 years of age. The 1900 enrollments, which included many women in colleges and normal schools, comprised 5.0 percent of the white male and female population between 18 and 21 years of age. In 1860, 51 percent of the students were enrolled in colleges and universities, 44 percent in medical, law, and theological schools, and 6 percent in normal schools. In 1900, 41 percent were enrolled in colleges, 33 percent in professional schools, and 27 percent in normal schools. A higher standard of living and greater access to education led many students to enter college directly from secondary school, according to a study of 20,000 graduates of 11 well-established colleges. The study found that the median age at graduation, between 22 and 23 years, changed very little between the late eighteenth century and 1900, but that the range of ages became smaller over the period. This indicated that students had more preliminary education and were less likely to delay attending college. The admission standards of the colleges remained low. Most did not require a high school diploma. Entrance requirements included Latin and mathematics, plus Greek for admission to the classical course. Equivalents were widely accepted. Most students did not meet even these requirements.
Keywords: American Surgical Association, Baltimore Medical College, Columbia University medical school, Jefferson Medical College, Long Island College Hospital, Maryland Medical College, New York Hospital, Polyclinics, Rush Medical College, Vanderbilt Clinic
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