Brown University School of Engineering

History and Facts

Established in 1847, the undergraduate engineering program at Brown is the oldest in the Ivy League and the third oldest civilian engineering program in the country, preceded only by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1824) and Union College (1845). In 1916, the departments of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering were merged into one Division of Engineering with a common core of basic engineering courses. This model has been preserved, ensuring that faculty and students engage in an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to engineering.

Engineering Faculty

Brown currently has 48 full-time, tenure-track faculty members in engineering. Externally supported research reported in fiscal year 2013 included:

  • Fiscal year 2013 awards total: $17,968,471
  • Graduate research assistants supported: 86

Faculty in the School of Engineering account for:

  • 19 fellows of major professional societies (Breuer, Briant, Clifton, Freund, Gao, Kingon, Kumar, Larson, Liu, Needleman, Nurmikko, Padture, Powers, Richardson, Silverman, Suuberg, Taubin, Wolovich, Xu)
  • 13 National Science Foundation Career Awards (Bahar, Blume, Felzenszwalb, Gao, Guduru, Hurt, Palmore, Powers, Reda, van de Walle, Vlahovska, Zaslavsky, Zia)
  • Five members of the National Academy of Engineering (Briant, Clifton, Freund, Gao, Needleman)
  • One member of the National Academy of Sciences (Freund)
  • Four members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Clifton, Freund, Needleman, Nurmikko)
  • Two fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Padture, Xu)
  • Two Guggenheim fellows (Needleman, Xu)
  • One fellow of the Royal Society (Richardson)

Engineering Students

Brown currently enrolls more than 400 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students in engineering.

Undergraduate Students:

  • Class of 2011: 94 graduating seniors (36% women)
  • Class of 2012: 100 graduating seniors (33% women) 
  • Class of 2013: 100 graduating seniors (33% women)
  • Class of 2014: 86 graduating seniors (36% women)
  • Class of 2015: 95 concentrators (34% women) 
  • Class of 2016: 96 concentrators (37% women)
  • Class of 2017: 173 current students

Average Class Size: 15

Average number of degrees awarded per year over the past five years:

  • AB Engineering: 10
  • ScB Biomedical: 16
  • ScB Chem/BioChem: 7
  • ScB Civil: 8
  • ScB Computer: 6
  • ScB Electrical: 11
  • ScB Eng/Physics: 3
  • ScB Materials: 6
  • ScB Mechanical: 21

Graduated with Honors: 27%

Where do our students go after graduation? (percentages are approximate)

  • Industry: 33%
  • Graduate Schools: 33%
  • Other Fields: 33%

Ph.D. Students:

  • Ph.D. students per full faculty member: 2.9
  • All Ph.D. students are guaranteed five years of financial support.
  • Brown accepts approximately 12 percent of applicants for engineering Ph.D. programs.