A Brief History of Thomas Jefferson University

Ely Lecture Hall

Lower lecture room, Medical Hall (Ely Building). (Art/Photo Collection, C12-012)

Changes Come to Jefferson

The approach of the 20th century brought major educational changes to Jefferson and the medical profession.

1881 - Term extended to six months
1884 - Adoption of the "graded course"
1885 - Final oral exam was changed to a written test for each branch of study
1885 - Requirement for a written thesis abolished
1890 - Course of study raised to 3 years
1895 - Course of study raised to 4 years
1895 - End of Jefferson as a proprietary school

A Board of Trustees would now be both administratively and financially responsible for the College and Hospital.

The Dissecting Room, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy

The Dissecting Room
Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy, ca. 1911. (Art/Photo Collection, C16-005)

Medical education at the beginning of the 20th century strongly supported both the inclusion of scientific teachings and clinical instruction. However, nothing distinguished a "good" school from a "bad" one. Then in 1907, the American Medical Association appealed to the Carnegie Foundation to appoint an inspector to survey medical schools in the United States. Abraham Flexner received the job and published his findings in 1910. His report spared no institution. As a result, by 1930 the number of medical schools in the United States dropped from 148 to 66.

Jefferson Medical College was one of the few independent medical schools (not part of a University) that received a favorable rating from Flexner. In addition during 1914, Jefferson received an A+ rating from the American Medical Association - due largely to the recent creation of the Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy.