The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, February 01, 1893, Page 12, Image 12

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own subject although he can consult the- pro
fessor before beginning work. The select
ion of a subject is an important matter. The
candidate for a doctor's degree must make a
contribution to knowledge. If he cannot do
this he can never take his examinations. If
he select his subject carelessly and simply
thresh over old straw through ignorance of
the fact that the topic has already been
treated, it will avail him nothing and his
dissertation will be rejected. He must be
certain that his subject has never been
treated in any language or that he can cast
new light upon it. Until that point is set
tled it is not safe to go ahead. The subject
once selected he gives a year or a year and
a half to the treatment of it. When com
pleted and in shape for publication, the dis
sertation is presented to the philosophical
faculty. With the presentation of the dis
sertation the student is for the first time olli
cally recognized as a candidate for a degree.
He is no longer a "I I err Student" but a
"Herr Kandidat". The paper is submitted
to a searching examination. It may be defi
nitely rejected ; it may be accepted with the
proviso that 'before it is printed certain
changes shall be made. The acceptance of
the dissertation admits the "Kandidat" to
the three oral examinations, each three quar
ters of an hour long, with fifteen minutes in
termission. The student is allowed to select
his examiners from the full professors, one
for each subject. If he fail in his oral ex
aminations, it means a long delay and per
haps the choice of other subjects. The Rubi
con once passed it remains simply to print
the dissertation, to present several hundred
copies to the university for distribution and
to receive in exchange the much coveted
So much for the students. Their position
does not differ materially from that of
graduate students in our large universities
with the exception that the German stuJents
are thrown mom upon their own resources;
often, it seems to me, more than is desir
able. There are no general meetings of the
student body at prayers, nor can the stud
ent, for the most part,, consult a professor
unless he seek him out in his homo. If he
does not take seminar work, his time in the
university is devoted to hearing lectures or
to reading. The seminars can provide for
but a handful of students, a few hundred at
the most. It follows that the major part of
the university work is done through lectures.
Every complete German university has
four faculties: Theology, Jurisprudence.
Medicine, and Philosophy. Philosophy em
braces, Philology, the Philosophical and
Historical Sciences; Mathematics and the
iNatural Sciences. There are three grades of
instructors, the lowest being the Privat-do-cent
or instructor: the next higher "Pro
fessor Extraordinarily," or associate pro
fessor, and the highest "Professor Or
dinarius," or full professor. There is
much wire pulling in appointments and
able men often find it difficult to rise.
There is one practice that is rather startling
to an American. It is that of allowing men
to lecture when they no longer have hearers,
and young instructors to win their spurs
without any support in the way of salary.
If the latter draws a crowd and shows that
he is a scholar he will be made Professor
Extraordinarily. If . he does not draw he
will be obliged to go into some other busi
ness to make his bread and butter. So soon
as he shows himself to be a better man than
some old professor, the hitter's lecture room
will be deserted. It often happens that
while one man is delivering a free lecture to
three students, right across the hall another
may be lecturing to an audience of three
hundred, each member of which pays one
dollar a semester for the course. The pro
fessor draws his income from two sources,
first from the government and second from
the students ; and with the popular men the
last scource is more productive than the first.
Here the importance of being able to present
a subject attractively was most noticeable.
It was not always the most exact scholars
that drew the largest audiences. Mauren
brecher was no more scholarly than Arndt.
yet he attracted ten times as many hearers