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Graduate Council records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-14.8

Scope and Contents

Records of the University Graduate Council consist of meeting minutes which provide a history of graduate programs Michigan State University, a topical index to the Council minutes, an index to correspondence providing names and graduation dates of degree recipients, and four editions of "Graduate Students' Rights and Responsibilities." Annual reports are also included in the collection.


  • Creation: 1892 - 1988


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

Michigan State University has been empowered to grant graduate degrees since 1861. As was common at schools during that period, requirements for the degrees were vague. Generally, three years of practical experience and “serious scientific study” would earn an applicant a Master of Science in agriculture degree. As a result, almost one out of every three graduates obtained M.S. degrees three years after graduating. In 1879, the faculty began to change the requirements. First, two years of study and a written thesis became the criteria. In 1881, the requirements were made even more specific: one year of study at the college, a written thesis and a final examination. The Committee of the M.S. Degree was responsible for all graduate education. The committee reviewed applicants, approved theses, considered waiver requests, and granted degrees.

On April 17, 1908, due to the granting of professional engineering degrees, the committee’s name was changed to the Committee on Advanced Degrees. The duties of the members were the same, though the committee was also responsible for administering a new element of graduate education – assistantships. During the 1920s the committee finalized the criteria for granting doctoral degrees, the first of which was granted in 1925.

In response to the growing number of students, the graduate program was revised in 1929. A dean of the Graduate School was appointed, a graduate faculty was established, and the Committee on Advanced Degrees became the Graduate Council. Responsibility for administering the graduate programs was given jointly to the dean and the Graduate Council.

During the 1950s, the graduate program was again revised. The responsibility for administering master's level degrees was taken from the Graduate Council and given to the individual colleges. The Graduate School and the Graduate Council were charged with the central planning, program implementation, and degree approval at the doctoral level. The names were changed to the School for Advanced Graduate Studies and the University Graduate Council. The relationship between the dean and the council remained the same.

The role of the University Graduate Council has changed little since then, though its position has. In 1957, the council had status equal to the Academic Council and reported directly to the Provost. In 1972, its reporting lines were routed through the Academic Council, though it technically still had equal status. The Graduate Council became a standing committee of the Academic Council in 1978.


2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Arranged into 5 series: 1.Index to meeting minutes. 2. Meeting Minutes. 3. Index to Correspondence. 4. Reports. 5. Annual Reports.

Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

University Graduate Council Records
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US