Brown University School of Engineering

FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the School of Engineering at Brown University. We are pleased that you chose to learn more about our Graduate Program. Your questions are very important to us and we hope they will be answered by the Frequently Asked Questions listed below.

If your question is not answered after reading the FAQs carefully, please contact us at engingrad@brown.edu and we will ensure that you receive a response via email from the appropriate party.

Note: The School of Engineering and its faculty can only evaluate your eligibility for admission based on your entire record, which must be formally submitted through the online application for consideration. We highly encourage you to apply.

Applying

How do I apply?
Applications to the School of Engineering must be completed on-line. You can upload supporting documents, i.e. letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a copy of your transcript/s for evaluation purposes only. Before a final decision can be made on your application, the original transcript/s must be sent to:

Graduate School
Brown University
47 George Street
Providence, RI 02912.

Contact

Who should I contact with questions?
Individual faculty should be contacted for specific questions regarding their research. Administrative questions about application materials should be directed to the Graduate School. Technical questions should be addressed to the faculty representative for each research area.

Required Courses

How many courses do I need to take?
Sc.M. Program requires eight (8) courses and can be completed in a single year. Ph.D. Program has different course requirements, depending on the research group.

Deadline for Applications

What is the deadline for applications?

Date Program
December 15 Ph.D.
February 1 PRIME and Sc.M. for full consideration (except BME)  
April 15 BME Sc.M.
May 1 Five-year Integrated Sc.M. (except BME)
May 15
Sc.M. (except the Five-year Integrated Sc.M.). Applications received by February 1 will receive full consideration. 
May 15 BME five-year integrated Sc.M.

Decisions

How will I know when I have been admitted?
Once your application is complete and all supporting documents are received, the School of Engineering will review your application and will make the decision to admit applicants. The admission decision will be posted on CollegeNet so we encourage you to check it. The official notification will be sent through the Graduate School.

Fees

Can I apply without paying the admission fee?
Unfortunately, we cannot process applications without an application fee. Application-fee waivers are available under certain circumstances. Applicants to Brown's graduate programs who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and can demonstrate either financial need or participation in certain specialized programs listed on the fee-waiver application may apply for an application-fee waiver. Please note: application-fee waivers are not available for international applicants.

Financial Aid

Does Brown University offer financial support for incoming students?
Students who are admitted to any of Brown's doctoral programs are guarantted five years of support, including a stipend, tuition remission, health-service fee, and health-insurance subsidy.

Does Brown offer fellowships?
Fellowships are awarded either by the Graduate School or the School of Engineering. It covers tuition and a monthly stipend. Recipient can take a maximum of 8 courses and conduct research with any member of the faculty. Some fellowships are named and are awarded to exceptional students. Such awards may carry additional benefits, such as travel support, etc.

Does Brown offer Research Assistantships?
Most of our PhD students are supported with Research Assistantship (RA) appointments which pay tuition and a monthly stipend. In return, the student works with a faculty member, an average of 20 hours a week. The RA appointment is usually renewed each semester, and during summer, assuming good progress is being made towards a thesis. RAs are restricted to a maximum of three courses per semester.

Does Brown offer Teaching Assistantships?
A few full Teaching Assistantship (TA) positions are available, which pay for tuition and a stipend. These positions are not common and are usually given to senior graduate students. Students should not plan to support themselves through TA appointments.

Some students are admitted without financial aid, but they are usually admitted to the master's degree program only. The U.S. Government will not issue a visa to a foreign student who does not have proof that they can support themselves financially.

Learn more about financial aid at Brown or get more information about financial aid for graduate students: 

GRE

Are GRE scores required?
Yes. The Graduate School requires all applicants to submit GRE scores except for 5th Year Masters.

What is Brown University's reporting code?
3094

PRIME

What is the PRIME Program? Is an engineering background required for applicants?
The Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME) is primarily designed for students who have an engineering or science undergraduate background (this includes applied mathematics and computer science). Students from an industrial design background may qualify.

For additional questions regarding this highly selective program please contact prime@brown.edu.

Programs

What Programs are available?

Should I apply to the Ph.D. or Sc.M. Program?
If your ultimate objective is to receive a Ph.D., you should apply to the Ph.D. Program. A Master's degree on the way to Ph.D. is possible but it requires advisor approval.

Timeline

How long does it take to get a degree?

Program Time
Ph.D. It varies and depends on the student's preparation and his particular research project (typical Ph.D. programs last 4-6 years).
Non-Thesis Sc.M. The default sequence is three courses the first semester, three courses the second semester, and two courses the third. However, the required eight courses can also be completed in one year.
Thesis Sc.M. Typically takes 18-24 months.

How long does it take to get an Sc.M. degree?
The standard sequence is three semesters, with three courses taken in the first semester, three in the second, and two in the third. We expect most of our students to finish the Sc.M. degree, with or without the thesis option, in three semesters.

How does the tuition work? If I take three semesters to do the Sc.M., am I paying more than I would in two semesters?
The tuition for the eight required courses is spread over three semesters, with 3/4 of a semester's tuition charged in each of the first two semesters, and 1/2 of a semester's tuition charged in the third.

Can I complete the Sc.M. in two semesters?
Yes. As soon as you decide you will complete the degree in two semesters, you must tell the Graduate School though the School of Engineering Office of Student Affairs that your Expected Date of Completion (EDOC) has changed. It is important to do this as early as possible.

What if I can't finish my thesis and all the required coursework in three semesters?
We expect our students to complete the degree in three semesters. However, if the thesis is not completed by the end of the third semester, it is possible to stay for one more semester to complete the thesis. The student is charged full tuition for this semester. The Graduate School will provide a scholarship offsetting most of this tuition, but only to support the writing of the thesis. If the student wants to also take more courses this semester, the student will be charged for these courses on a per-course basis.

What if I don't finish my thesis after the fourth semester?
We expect this case to be uncommon, but in this case the student must leave campus with the status 'enrollment terminated, requirements pending', and the thesis work must be completed elsewhere.

TOEFL/IELTS

Are TOEFL/IELTS scores required and what are the recommended levels?
All international applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. These exams should be taken early enough to allow the scores to reach the Graduate school by your departmentís deadline. To be considered for admission in any department, TOEFL score must be:

  • 577 Paper-based test
  • 233 Computer-based test
  • 90 Internet-based test
  • IELTS Minimum overall band score of 7
  • Must be taken two years or less prior to filling out application form on line.

For additional information on the TOEFL/IELTS requirements please see TOEFL/IELTS guidelines.