An academic concentration is the focal point for a student's undergraduate educational experience at Brown. It is an in-depth study centering on a discipline or disciplines, a problem or a theme, or a broad question. Concentrations aid intellectual development by encouraging conceptual and methodological study on a sophisticated level. Such in-depth study allows students to gain command of an area of knowledge sufficient to equip them to engage in meaningful creative efforts in that area. The unity of the subject matter helps develop students' abilities to use concepts and methods in a coherent manner.
All students must request, in writing, admission to a concentration program. The written essay outlines the student's major objectives in choosing the concentration, while also listing the specific courses to be taken. This proposal functions as a kind of contract, and is approved by the student and the concentration advisor for the relevant department or program. Once the contract has been signed, the departmental concentration advisor becomes the student's advisor for the remainder of his or her time at Brown.