The open curriculum offers students enormous freedom to shape their course of study. Nonetheless, every Brown undergraduate has four basic obligations to fulfill before graduating.
Successfully complete at least thirty courses
Brown expects students to attempt at least 32 courses in eight semesters. Students are required to achieve a passing grade in a minimum of 30 courses. Approved study at another institution may be applied toward this requirement. A maximum of fifteen transfer courses and no more than four summer courses (at Brown or elsewhere) may count toward this requirement.
Successfully complete a concentration (major)
Brown offers 85 standard concentrations that lead to either the Sc.B. or the A.B. degree. Students also have the option of creating an independent concentration, with the approval of the College Curriculum Council. Descriptions of all standard concentrations are in the back of the Course Announcement Bulletin and on departmental web sites. Click here to view a list of concentrations.
Demonstrate competence in writing
Learning to write well is a developmental process that occurs over time; Brown students are therefore expected to work on their writing in their general studies and in the concentration. By the beginning of their fourth semester of study, students must present evidence that they have worked on their writing, either through coursework or through some other activity that involves drafting and revising. When declaring the concentration, students explain what writing they intend to do in the concentration. The University provides an online portfolio in which students may save examples of their best work each year. This evidence allows students to demonstrate their abilities not only to Brown advisors but also to future colleagues and employers.
Fulfill the enrollment requirement of eight semesters
Brown students must be enrolled for the equivalent of eight full-time semesters of instruction, four of which must be in residence at Brown during fall and/or spring semesters. Tuition payments are based on the norm of thirty-two courses, four courses in each of eight semesters. Advanced standing based on advanced placement credits and/or college-level work completed before Brown may be applied toward this requirement. Approved study during the school year at another institution in the United States or abroad may also count toward this requirement. Students who successfully complete four summer session courses at Brown—and who have completed all other degree requirements—may request a waiver of the eighth semester of the enrollment requirement.