U.S. higher education reform: Origins and impact of student curricular choice

Robert W. Elliott, Valerie Osland Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Charles W. Eliot's revision of curriculum through the elective system has had significant influence on U.S. higher education. Contemporary concerns about constrained resources and “efficiency” efforts have called into question the value of investments in diverse course and degree offerings. This summary of Eliot's elective system and its impact on U.S. higher education curricula offers a historical perspective to inform contemporary discourse in a time of reform. Eliot's inaugural speech and introduction of the elective system are examined, including the context for its introduction, the challenges incurred during implementation, and the benefits it has yielded for U.S. higher education and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Charles william eliot
  • Curriculum reform
  • Electives


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