About Brown

About Brown

Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical SchoolSchool of Public HealthSchool of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,400 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 450 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting, and online students, and over 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 75 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

Graduate students study in more than 70 programs. The broad scope of options vary from interdisciplinary opportunities in molecular pharmacology and physiology to a master’s program in acting and directing through the Brown/Trinity Repertory Consortium.

Additional programs include the Undergraduate Summer Session and Pre-College Programs for high school students — on campus, online, and abroad.

Brown students have a lot to smile about. Named by the 2010 Princeton Review as the #1 College in America for Happiest Students, Brown is frequently recognized for its global reach, many cultural events, numerous campus groups and activities, active community service programs, highly competitive athletics, and beautiful facilities located in a richly historic urban setting.


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 6,264
Male 3,057
Female 3,207
Graduate School 2,094
Medical School 490

Undergraduate Geographical Distribution

(due to estimates, percentages may not total 100%)
States Represented 50
From New England 18%
Outside New England (in U.S.) 67%
International 15%

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 never 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