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Berkeley: Summer Sessions

The six-week Summer Session had its practical beginning in 1900. Instruction in elementary chemistry had, however, been given during the summer as early as 1891. Six students enrolled and paid a fee of five dollars to cover the cost of materials. From 1892 to 1898 courses in chemistry and physics were offered, with enrollment increasing from 40 in 1892 to 105 in 1898. In 1899, instruction in mathematics, history, and education were added and the enrollment was 161.

In the spring of 1899, the Regents approved a plan recommended by a special committee of the Academic Council on summer schools. The policy adopted in 1899 was still in effect 1968: the quality of instruction would be equivalent to that offered in regular sessions; courses offered would be those requested by and most profitable to students; instructors were to be compensated but, inasmuch as the funds of the University were not equal to an additional outlay for the expense of Summer Sessions, a suitable tuition fee, regardless of the number of courses taken, would be charged to make the sessions self-supporting.

In 1900, ten departments--philosophy, pedagogy, history and political science, Greek, Latin, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and botany--offered 37 courses with a total enrollment of 433. The tuition fee was ten dollars. In addition to members of the regular faculty, eminent teachers from other United States universities and colleges and foreign scholars instructed in the sessions.

In 1920, in response to student demand, a second six-week session known as Inter-session was offered. During the Second World War, when the University offered three semesters, the summer session went back to one six-week term. In 1946, the second six-week session was restored and the sessions became known as first and second sessions.

Over a 65-year span, the enrollment in a six-week session increased from 433 to 7,548. The total enrollment for both sessions in 1965 was 11,278. The fee for a six-week session increased from $10 to $85. Course offerings expanded from 37 to 472. Fifty-seven departments offered 752 courses in both sessions in 1965. The faculty for both sessions numbered 739, of whom 581 were regular members of the University faculty and 158 visiting faculty.

Of students attending the 1965 Summer Sessions, 55 per cent were regularly enrolled University students from all campuses; 25 per cent were students at other institutions; 12 per cent were teachers; and eight per cent were from professional, semiprofessional and managerial occupations. The proportion of summer session students whose home locality was in California was 75 per cent; 20 per cent were out-of-state students; and five per cent were from foreign countries.


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