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UCLA History

Dec. 10, 1923

A “Twig” Grows

On Dec. 10, 1923, the University of California Board of Regents approved a senior year of curriculum — to start the following September — at the Southern Branch (as UCLA was called then), offering students the opportunity of obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree for the first time.

With this decision, 13 departments were authorized as major fields of study: chemistry, economics, English, French, history, Latin, mathematics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, Spanish and zoology. Charles H. Rieber was named dean of the College of Letters and Science.

In his annual report for 1923, UCLA Provost Ernest Carroll Moore alluded to the struggle over the development of the Southern Branch:

“We are trying to discover whether or not a university can conduct its work in two localities [Berkeley and Los Angeles]. The experiment is significant, for, as the nation grows and the states increase in population, it is inevitable that the State University must either transform itself into a statewide system of higher education, under a single Board of Regents, or become one of several competing state colleges.”

The Southern Branch, or “twig” as some called it, was now a full-fledged, four-year university. And there was no going back.

Top image: In 1923, the University of California Board of Regents approved a fourth-year curriculum for the Southern Branch.

Bottom image: Students studying in the library of the Vermont Avenue campus.

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