The Caspersen School is devoted to advanced study in the humanities. In particular, it has developed scholarly traditions in English literature, modern history and literature, religion and literature, religion and society, liturgical studies, theological and philosophical studies, historical studies, women’s studies, arts and letters, and medical humanities. Its programs leading to the M.A., M.Litt., M.M.H., M.Phil., D.Litt., D.M.H., and Ph.D. degrees are all designed to encourage a high concern for disciplinary interaction. Its faculty and student body represent a wide variety of points of view, a diversity of ethnic and cultural identities, and many different vocational pursuits.
Students who form the highly select student body are most often persons possessed of a strong sense of the value of well-disciplined scholarly pursuit. They are sufficiently secure in their own self-consciousness that they are able to enter into colloquy without feeling intimidated. In research, they are able to employ diverse methods as they are appropriate to distinct academic tasks. They are capable of doing their research without constant direction from others. In general, they are a serious but happy lot who like their work and enjoy the camaraderie of student and faculty life.
Since 1912 graduate study has had a distinguished history at Drew. A significant part of the national and international reputation of the Theological School derived first, in fact, from the lives and work of those who earned degrees at Drew and who later taught in graduate programs. In 1955 the Graduate School was established to take responsibility for graduate studies in religion and in new graduate programs based upon recognized strengths of the College of Liberal Arts and Theological School faculties, and resources of the University Library. In 1999, to honor the generous gift made by Dr. Barbara Caspersen (G’86, ’90) and Finn Caspersen, the school was renamed the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.
The founding of the Graduate School was seen as a very particular, purposeful blending of a strong commitment to education in the humanities along with a realistic recognition that our resources would enable us to carry on high quality work in a sharply limited number of areas. There are tasks that we do not undertake. What we do offer is cast in an uncompromising dedication to excellence.
Students attend the Caspersen School for many reasons. Some are primarily concerned with their own cultural enrichment. Far more see their work here as preparation for careers in teaching, ministry, public service, human relations, or writing.
Major characteristics of the Caspersen School are its size and style. From the beginning it has determined to remain small. A small number of programs, a small faculty, and a small student body make possible the development of close personal and scholarly ties. Style is not easy to define. The style of the Caspersen School grows out of its patterns of tutorial and seminar instruction, its small classes, the spirit of the Thompson Graduate Commons Room, and the vitality of the Graduate Student Association.
The Caspersen School ‘s interdisciplinary rather than departmental emphasis appears at every level, formally and informally. While in most graduate programs students concentrate their course work and research in narrow areas of study to develop expertise in highly specialized fields, Drew’s goal is to produce broadly educated people who have expertise in a field of thought but who are also articulate in a range of disciplines. Thus, students from one discipline are conversant with students and faculty from other areas.
The Graduate Student Association, with a steering committee composed of representatives from all program areas, schedules events that are socially and intellectually interdisciplinary. Similarly, students are encouraged to cross-register for classes outside of their own areas, and it is not unusual for a student to take a comprehensive examination in a field outside of his or her major field.
The University Library
Library collections and services are housed in a spacious complex that includes the Rose Memorial building and the Learning Center, which also houses the Lena C. Coburn Media Resource Center. Across the courtyard is the national United Methodist Archives and History Center administered by the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.
The library provides reference assistance, instruction in use of the library, and individual guidance to students. The library employs an open-stack system, which permits users direct access to the collection. An online catalog is accessible to all users of the campus intranet.
The collection includes some 558,000 bound volumes, more than 378,000 microforms, and about 2,700 periodical subscriptions in paper form. The library also provides a wide and growing range of electronic resources including full-text sources and access to more than 10,000 periodical titles by way of electronic database subscriptions. Since 1939, the library has been a selective depository for U.S. government publications and it also collects the official documents of the United Nations and the state of New Jersey. There are over 400,000 documents in the collection.
A substantial reference collection specializes in bibliographies that enable users to tap the library resources of the whole New York-New Jersey region. Periodical holdings-American and international -span numerous subject fields. A special collection of chemistry reference materials and periodicals, for use in conjunction with laboratories and research, is housed in the Hall of Sciences.
The library houses numerous special collections, including the University archives and the Methodist Center. The University archives maintains selective files which document the history of the University and its three schools. An extensive photograph collection provides researchers with historical and current images of the University. The Methodist Center contains one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Methodist materials in the world and is a rich repository for primary source documents and artifacts on religious and cultural history of England and America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The course of study in the Caspersen School includes seminars, lecture courses, tutorial work, special lectures, colloquia, foreign language use, comprehensive examinations (Ph.D.), and a thesis or dissertation with an oral defense. The student’s program is under the joint supervision of an appointed faculty adviser and the dean of the Caspersen School.
As scholars-in-training, students in the Caspersen School are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and scholarly integrity. Students are strongly advised to consult the statements concerning academic standards and responsibilities set forth in the Regulations of the Caspersen School which are available in the Caspersen School Dean’s Office.