Declaring a Concentration
Students must declare a concentration no later than the middle of their fourth semester, before pre-registering for semester five (usually spring semester of sophomore year). Below is a step-by-step guide to the declaration process.
First, visit Focal Point, Brown's concentration portal. Even if you think you know which concentration you want to declare, take the time to explore all of your options—you have almost 80 choices!
Second, obtain a copy of your internal academic record at Brown and, if you are a transfer student, a copy of your transcript from your previous school. Review the courses you have taken, and list those that might count toward your concentration. Map out the additional courses you need to take to complete your proposed concentration, and list the additional courses you plan to take to complete your degree requirements.
Third, make an appointment to see a faculty member or administrator who counsels concentrators in your chosen area. Take the concentration course lists you developed to this meeting. If you need concentration approval for courses transferred from another institution, ask what materials you need to bring for approval. You may also need departmental approval to receive credit equivalent to a specific Brown course. If you plan to study abroad, inquire about relevant concentration policies.
Fourth, write your personal statement. Members of the Class of 2013 and beyond will enter their statement, along with their list of proposed courses, in Brown's online declaration system in ASK. Students graduating before 2013 submit paper forms; click on the link at right to download the form.
Fifth, pay attention to deadlines. With the exception of transfer students who enter as fifth-semester students, students are not allowed to register for fifth-semester courses unless a concentration declaration is on file by the designated date. Check the Academic Calendar on the Registrar's website for the deadline in a given semester.
As you go through the declaration process, bear in mind that your declaration is a blueprint subject to revision (with your concentration advisor's approval, of course). Work on building relationships with your concentration advisor, other faculty, and an academic dean. As your understanding of your educational goals evolves, the people in your advising network will help you to think through your options and to craft a course of study that is right for you.