About Brown

Brown University, a leading Ivy League institution, is the only major research university in the nation where undergraduates design their own course of study. Barron's Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges has described Brown as "the perfect university for self-motivated and confident students who desire an education [they create] on their own terms." By providing a rich undergraduate experience together with strong graduate and medical programs, the University fosters internal and external discovery at each level of the academic enterprise. Brown is located in the College Hill residential section of Providence, Rhode Island, widely praised as one of America's most livable "renaissance cities." Boston is less than an hour away by train or car, and the state's major airport is a 15-minute taxi or shuttle ride from the campus.

The seventh oldest university in America, Brown was established in 1764 as Rhode Island College in the town of Warren and enrolled its first students in 1765. In 1770 the College moved to its present location, and in 1804 it was renamed Brown University to honor a $5,000 donation from local merchant Nicholas Brown. Brown draws talented students from all over the United States and many other countries. They work in partnership with a faculty known for its prize-winning multidisciplinary scholarship and dedication to teaching. Many students integrate study abroad or self-designed research projects into their academic programs. Students also have the opportunity to get involved in several hundred extracurricular student activities and to develop their talents and interests in an atmosphere of encouragement and creativity.

About 25 percent of Brown graduates immediately go on to graduate or professional study, and within ten years of graduating more than 80 percent enter graduate or professional school. Popular career choices are business, consulting, technology, teaching, public service, computer graphics, and the arts.

In recent years, the University has launched an exciting program for academic enrichment that is enlarging its faculty by 100 members, improving support for graduate students, and investing in libraries, information technology, and academic facilities. As part of this extensive program of enhancements, the University instituted a need-blind undergraduate admission process to ensure all worthy applicants access to the University, regardless of their ability to pay.


The Campus
Brown University's 140-acre main campus is part of a historic residential neighborhood that overlooks Providence's downtown business and shopping district. With its riverfront walkways and beautifully designed public spaces, shopping at one of the largest malls in New England, nationally renowned restaurants, thriving art and theater districts, museums, and entertainment facilities, Providence is a an exciting city to live and study in. Train and bus service allows day trips to Boston and New York. Public transportation offers convenient travel to Newport, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and throughout New England.

Student Diversity

Undergraduate 5,754
Male 2,779
Female 2,975
Graduate School 1,633
Medical School 357


Undergraduate Geographical Distribution

(due to estimates, percentages may not total 100%)
States Represented 50
From New England 23.75%
Outside New England (in U.S.) 67%
International 8.75%


Teaching Faculty
The Brown faculty is one of the finest in the nation. By tradition, even the most distinguished senior professors teach undergraduates. Brown's faculty welcomes both undergraduate and graduate students as collaborators in research labs and in the field, and its many preeminent scholars make important contributions to the world through research and writing. The student faculty ratio is 8:1.

Unique Curriculum
Brown is internationally known for its dynamic undergraduate curriculum, developed via student and faculty collaboration and implemented by faculty vote in 1969. More than 2,000 undergraduate courses support more than 100 concentrations, or majors, many of them interdisciplinary, as well as a wide variety of independent studies. The curriculum does not require distribution or core courses outside the concentration.

At the heart of the Brown curriculum are three basic principles: that students are active participants in learning; that acquiring analytical and critical skills is as important as mastering factual knowledge; and that learning requires opportunities for experimentation and cross-disciplinary synthesis. According to Barron's Guide, "Students see this [curriculum] as Brown's greatest offering and work hard to take advantage of it."

Innovative Grading
In most courses, students may elect to have their work graded wither ABC/No Credit" or "Satisfactory/No Credit." A "No Credit" designation will appear on a final transcript. Students may change their grading options at any time before the middle of the semester.

Degree Requirements
The average course load is four per semester, which translates into 12 hours of classroom time per week, not including lab sessions. Brown undergraduates must pass 30 courses and complete the requirements for a concentration in order to receive a bachelor's degree. From eight to 21 of the courses taken - depending on the department and degree selected - must be concentrated in a single major field of study. Students select their concentrations by the end of second semester of the sophomore year.

Degrees Offered
* Bachelor of arts in 80 areas of humanities, social sciences, mathematics, engineering, and life and physical sciences.

* Bachelor of science in, among other science-focused areas, applied mathematics, aquatic biology, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, engineering, environmental science, geological sciences, mathematics, neuroscience, physics and psychology.

* Program in Liberal Medical Education for 60 well-qualified freshmen who may combine undergraduate and medical studies in an eight-year continuum. Students may earn an A.B. or Sc.B. degree and the M.D. degree.

* Bachelor of arts/bachelor of science (combined degree program).

* Bachelor of science/master of science (combined degree program).

* Bachelor of arts/master of arts (combined degree program).


Click here to learn about Brown University's Academic Enrichment Initiative