History of the UST
As early as
the seventeenth (17th) century, the University of
Santo Tomas (UST) had already been granting masterate and
doctoral degrees. The different faculties and colleges
supervised their respective undergraduate, graduate and
It was in 1619 when Pope Paul V granted the faculty to confer
degrees to all Dominican colleges in the New World including the
Colegio de Santo Tomas which had been founded on 28 April, 1611
by the Superiors of the Dominican Province of the Holy Rosary.
In 1629, Pope Urban VIII issued a Papal Document renewing the
authority of Santo Tomas to confer degrees. On 20 November,
1645, Pope Innocent X raised the Colegio to the status of a
“University” with civil and ecclesiastical faculties. It was
placed under the continued administration of the Order of
Preachers, and its authority to confer degrees became permanent.
In 1785, King Charles III of Spain granted the University the
title of “Royal.” In the twentieth (20th) century,
the University operated under the laws of the state that
exercised jurisdiction over the civil faculties. Permission and
approval were granted and renewed by the Bureau of Education
during the Commonwealth, later by the Department of Education of
the Republic of the Philippines, the Ministry of Education,
Culture and Sports (MECS), and again by the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports (DECS); and now, since 1994, by
the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). In 1902, Pope Leo
XIII awarded the title of “Pontifical” while in 1947, Pope Pius
awarded the title “the Catholic University of the Philippines.
The University of Santo Tomas is distinguished as an educational
institution with the title, “Royal, Pontifical and Catholic
University of the Philippines” - a title it truly deserves
because of its unswerving commitment to the goals of Catholic
education and national progress, of the expertise of the
faculty, of the sterling intellectual, moral and skill-oriented
qualities of its graduates and the contributions of the
accomplished men and women who passed its portals and helped
shape the course of Philippine history. Without any iota of
doubt, the Graduate School of the University has played a
prominent and pivotal role in contributing to the prestige of
the University as well as to its national, regional and global
The earliest existing records in the Archives of the University
marked the first twelve (12) graduates from 1629 to 1645. These
graduates were conferred the Doctorate degree in Theology as
well as Masterate and Licentiate degrees in the Arts
respectively. From 1645 to 1911, there was a total of some 1,176
graduates in the Doctorate, Masterate, Licentiate levels in
Theology, Philosophy, Arts, Civil Law, Canon Law, Latin,
Pharmacy and Medicine. Investitures held since 1663 were
recorded in the official graduation book of the University
entitled “Libro de Asiento de Grados de la Universidad de Santo
It is interesting to note some of the academic highlights
between the years 1896 and 1917. The University conferred among
others such degrees as Doctor in Natural Science in 1896 (1),
Licentiate in Philosophy and Letters in 1897 (2), Doctor of
Physical Science in 1906 (1), Licentiate in Dentistry in 1908
(1), Doctor of Philosophy and Letters in 1909 (1), Licentiate in
Civil Engineering in 1912 (3), Master of Science in 1961 (1),
and Master of Science in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
in 1917 (1).
In 1926, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy major in
Economics as well as Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in
Education were offered. Records show that three (3) out of the
first four (4) graduates of Master of Arts in Education in 1930
were females while the first graduates of Doctor of Philosophy
in Education in 1934 were all females, and all became faculty
members, possibly the first female teachers in the University.
The first woman granted a Licentiate in Pharmacy was graduated
in 1924 while the first women graduates of Doctor of Pharmacy
were graduated in 1925 - four (4) out of the five (5) graduates
then. Although the different degrees of Master of Science in
Chemistry were first offered in 1928, it was only in 1936 when
the University first conferred the degree of Master of Science
in Chemistry and in Physics. In 1928, the University offered
five (5) more courses: M.A. and Ph.D. major in English; M.A. and
Ph.D. major in Political Science; M.S. and Ph.D. in Biology;
Ph.D. in Chemistry; and Ph.D. in Mathematics. It was in 1934
that M.S. and Ph.D. in Commerce were first offered by the
University. The first candidates for the degree of Ph.D. in
Chemistry and Mathematics graduated in 1935.
Within the period of eleven (11) years, from 1926 to 1937, UST
granted ten (10) honorary degrees to nine (9) recipients. One of
them was Rev. Eugene I. McGuinnes who was awarded both
degrees of Doctor of Canon Law and Doctor of Sacred Theology in
1927 while the two most prominent awardees were the Honorable
Sergio Osmeña, Sr. In 1929, and His Excellency
Commonwealth President, Manuel L. Quezon in 1936, both of
whom were given Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
In 1938, the University established formally the Graduate School
to take charge of all graduate and post-graduate studies in the
civil faculties except that of Medicine and Surgery and that of
the Ecclesiastical Faculties. The first Dean was Father Rector
himself, Very Rev. Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P., S.Th.D.
From 1938 to 1946 the Graduate School granted degrees in the
following disciplines: Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemical
Engineering; Master of Laws (Ll.M.) and Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.);
M.S. and Ph.D. major in Chemistry; M.S. and Ph.D. in Commerce;
M.S. in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy (Phar.D.); M.A. and
Ph.D. in Education; M.A. and Ph.D. in English; M.A. and Ph.D.
major in Philosophy; M.A. and Ph.D. major in Political Science;
Doctor of Letters; Master of Science in Civil Engineering;
Master of Science in Mathematics; and Master of Science in
All the Graduate courses offered before 8 December, 1941 had
their respective certificates of government recognition.
However, after World War II, in 1945, the UST Graduate School
applied for and received new certificates of recognition for
said courses except for Civil Engineering and Physics.
In 1951, permission was renewed by the Director of Private
Schools of the Department of Education for the UST Graduate
School to continue offering different majors covered by the
certificates of government recognition for the different
degrees. Thus, apart from the already existing courses, the
Graduate School began offering other majors: M.S. and Ph.D. in
Biology; M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology; M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics;
M.A. and Ph.D. in Guidance and Counselling; M.A. and Ph.D. in
History; M.S. in Botany; M.S. in Elementary Education; M.A. in
Library Science; M.A. in Linguistics; M.A. in Filipino; M.A. in
Public Administration; and M.A. in Social Sciences.
In 1955 the UST Graduate School was granted certificates of
recognition for a Masterate Program in Music and in Spanish to
be followed by Master of Arts in Nursing in 1960; Master of Arts
in Higher Religious Studies in 1965; and Doctor of Letters in
1966. On 18 May, 1972, permission to continue offering these
different majors covered by certificates of recognition was
again granted by the director of Private Schools. Likewise, in
1974, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports granted
permission for the Graduate School to offer Master of Science in
In 1975, the Graduate School applied for permission to offer
three (3) new majors: M.S. Architecture; M.S. Medical
Technology, major in Laboratory Management, and Master in
Business Administration (MBA).
In 1978, the Graduate School applied for and opened six (6) new
Ph.D. in Development Education; M .S. Biology Education; M.S.
Mathematics Education; M.A. Special Education; M.S.
Microbiology; M.A. Oriental Religions and Cultures. The
following years saw the approval of offering new programs: M.S.
Advertising in 1979; M.S. and Ph.D. in Personal and Human
Resource Management in 1981; M.S. Applied Physics, major in
Medical Physics in 1983; Ph.D. in Public Administration in 1984;
and M.S. Management Engineering in 1987.