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General Requirements

Quantity and Progress Requirements

Each student is normally expected to enroll in four courses in each of eight semesters for a total of 32 courses. (Tuition payments, by decision of the Corporation, are based on the norm of 32 courses and eight semesters of full-time residence at Brown.)

To encourage risk-taking in the planning of educational programs, or to provide a degree of flexibility in individual programs, the minimum number of course credits that must be successfully completed for graduation has been set at 30. (Successful completion means a course completed with a grade of A,B,C, or S.) The maximum number of courses that may be completed in eight semesters is 40. A student may choose to take a minimum of three to a maximum of five courses in a particular semester.

Normal academic progress is the completion of eight courses in two consecutive semesters. Under the guidelines for academic standing established by the faculty, to remain in good standing, a student must satisfactorily complete at least 3 courses by the end of the first semester, 7 courses by the end of the second semester, 11 courses by the end of the third, 15 by the end of the fourth, 18 by the end of the fifth, 22 by the end of the sixth, 26 by the end of the seventh and 30 courses to graduate after eight semesters. (Note: A course recorded as "Incomplete" has not yet been satisfactorily completed and cannot, therefore, be counted in calculations of academic standing.) In addition, a student will satisfactorily complete a minimum of seven (7) courses in any two consecutive semesters. Students who do not meet these requirements will have their cases referred to the Committee on Academic Standing for action which may result in academic status of Warning, Serious Warning or Dismissal. Academic status of Warning, Serious Warning, and Dismissal will be noted permanently on a student's transcript. A student may not be enrolled in fewer than three (3) courses in any semester without written permission from the Dean of the College for short work.

Academic standing is determined only on the basis of courses completed at Brown, including, as of summer 2000, credits earned in the Brown Summer Session. Transfer credit and A.P. credit do not figure in the determination of academic standing. Transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions, either in this country or abroad, may be granted by the Committee on Academic Standing on the recommendation of a department and, in the case of courses qualifying for concentration credit, on the recommendation of the student's concentration advisor.

Students who apply transfer credits towards completion of the requirements for their Brown baccalaureate degree, must complete successfully at least 15 courses and four full-time semesters of course work at Brown. (Note: Terms from Brown exchange programs and Brown Summer School do not apply to the four semester residence requirement.) For any semester to count as a full-time semester of residence, a minimum of three courses must be taken. Resumed Education students may study either on a part-time or full-time basis.

A.P. credits, although carrying academic course credit, may not be applied to the minimum requirement of satisfactory completion of 30 courses. However, A.P. credits may contribute to advanced standing, as described under "Tuition Regulations--The College".

Writing Requirement

Since its founding, Brown has stressed the importance of writing. Competence in reading and writing is required for all degrees. Beyond competence, Brown seeks to develop the quality of writing in courses throughout the University.

All students at Brown are expected to pursue a high level of performance in their writing. Students who, in the opinion of their instructors, fail to maintain an appropriate level of competence in writing, are referred to an agent of the Dean of the College to develop a plan for improving their writing abilities. This can include placement in a designated writing course. If students do not complete such a course satisfactorily or are subsequently judged by the Dean to be incompetent in writing, they will be refused registration by the Committee on Academic Standing until they meet the responsibilities for the completion of the writing requirement and/or not receive their degree.

For further information on the Writing Requirement and the mechanics of implementation/satisfaction of the requirement, please visit the Dean of the College's website in the Brown Curriculum section.

Concentration Requirement

Concentration is the focal point for a student's undergraduate educational experience. It is an in-depth study centering on the unit provided by a discipline or disciplines, a problem or a theme, or a broad question. Study in depth aids intellectual development by encouraging conceptual and methodological learning on a sophisticated level. Study in depth also allows students to gain a command of an area of knowledge sufficient to enable them to engage in meaningful creative efforts in that area. The unity of the subject area encourages the ability to utilize concepts and methods in a coherent manner.

In a concentration students will be undertaking an extensive inquiry into an area which is personally significant. They will be forced to integrate the large amounts of material with their personal experience. The very nature of a long and painstaking inquiry will aid students in assessing their capabilities and limitations.

Concentration should be undertaken in ways which will maximize students' contact with individual professors who will guide them and work with them, and with their fellow students who are working in related areas.

Concentration may coincide in some ways with specific prerequisite training for professional goals, but professional training is not the central aspect of the concentration process. Concentration is designed to carry out the processes of intellectual and personal development which are at the center of the undergraduate educational experience.

Students will devise, in consultation with an appropriate faculty member, a concentration program centered on a discipline or disciplines, problem or theme, or broad question; they may also select a standard departmental concentration. A written proposal presenting a statement on the major objectives of the concentration program and a list of the specific courses to be taken will be signed jointly by the student and faculty advisor, and submitted to the College Curriculum Council for approval. Standard concentration programs require only the approval of the appropriate department or committee.

The number and nature of courses constituting any proposed concentration program submitted to the College Curriculum Council should be fully consistent with the objectives stated in the proposal. The faculty advisor for an approved concentration program will be responsible for meeting regularly with the student throughout the period of concentration, to provide guidance as well as to assess, with the student, progress made toward attaining the goals embodied in the concentration program. This essential relationship will form a central feature in the terminal evaluation of a student's performance in concentration.

At the discretion of the College Curriculum Council, minor changes in concentration programs may be arranged with the approval of the faculty advisor. Major alterations in concentration programs, involving either changes in courses or in faculty advisors, will require the approval of the Council. Changes in standard concentrations require only departmental or Council approval as the case may be.

Departments and interdepartmental groups of faculty may establish, subject to the approval and periodic review by the College Curriculum Council, standard programs of concentration, thereby eliminating the need for individual approval. Faculty advisors designated by the department and interdepartmental groups will serve in the guidance of students undertaking approved standard programs of concentration.

Standard departmental concentration programs for the bachelor of arts degree shall require no fewer than eight semester courses and no more than ten. Concentration programs for the bachelor of science degree, with the exception of engineering, and standard interdepartmental bachelor of arts programs shall require no more than ten courses in any one department. The total number of concentration courses required for the bachelor of science degree and for standard interdepartmental bachelor of arts programs shall not exceed twenty (twenty-one for engineering). None of these limits need preclude a reasonable number of pre- or co-requisites, but, when passing upon any concentration requirement, the College Curriculum Council shall also review the number of these pre- or co-requisites.

In the case of independent concentrations that overlap with areas of study covered by departmental or interdepartmental programs, the College Curriculum Council shall inform the appropriate departmental officer(s) of all actions taken on submitted proposals. An active exchange of opinion between these components of the University is desirable from two viewpoints: first, a clear statement of the Council's reasons for arriving at specific judgments should assist the departments and interdepartmental groups in the continuing evaluation of their standard concentration programs; second, the comments transmitted by the departments and interdepartmental groups to the College Curriculum Council should be of considerable value to its members in the review of future proposals.

All students must declare a field of concentration by filing an appropriate advisor approved concentration program via the standard mechanism (i.e. ASK-Advising Side Kick) and on file with the Registrar no later than the end of Semester IV; any student may file at any time prior to the end of Semester IV. No student will be permitted to register for his or her fifth semester unless an advisor approved declaration of concentration has been completed and logged onto the student record. Students failing to complete registration on time because of the failure to file a concentration declaration will be subject to the same action taken by the University for all cases of late registration. Changes in declaration are permissible in accordance with the above procedure.

All courses in the concentration program must be completed satisfactorily.

The student and the concentration advisor should review the concentration at regular intervals. These reviews should take place no less than once in Semester V and once before midsemester of Semester VII.

A student who completes satisfactorily more than one concentration program may have the fact indicated on his or her permanent record. Sponsorship and authorization of each concentration program shall follow the usual procedures. In order to accomplish this, the student must have filed additional (maximum of 3) advisor approved concentration programs prior to the end of end of the pre-registration period in the student's seventh semester. In addition, no more than two courses can overlap in any concentration as a means to satisfy multiple concentration programs.

Honors Program

The University, at graduation, grants honors to students whose work in the field of concentration has demonstrated superior quality and culminated in an honors thesis of distinction. One thesis may be used to earn the honors distinction in only one concentration. The designation "Honors" is included on the student's transcript and diploma. No distinctions are made among quality levels of honors work. Students considering honors work should consult their departmental or independent concentration advisor.

Recommendations for honors are due in early May preceding Commencement. Only students who have completed all work before graduation may receive the honors distinction. Brown does not grant honors retroactively. Therefore, students who consider taking a grade of Incomplete in a thesis project should understand that they will not receive honors unless the thesis is completed in time to be evaluated by faculty readers and a recommendation submitted before graduation.

Residence Requirement

Every candidate for a baccalaureate degree, except those enrolled in the Resumed Education Program, must be enrolled for at least four semesters as a full-time student and must complete satisfactorily a minimum of fifteen courses at Brown. (Note: Terms from Brown exchange programs and Brown Summer School do not apply to the residence requirement.) Students in the Resumed Education Program must complete satisfactorily a minimum of fifteen courses at Brown and be in residence not less than four semesters. Resumed Education students may study either on a part-time or full-time basis. Every student must spend sufficient time in concentration studies to permit faculty evaluation of his or her concentration.

Tuition Requirement

Prior to the awarding of a baccalaureate degree, each candidate normally must have accumulated credit for the payment of a minimum of eight semesters of tuition or the equivalent. See "Tuition Regulations" for details concerning required tuition payments.