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Brown University is a leading Ivy League institution and the only major research university in the nation where undergraduates are the architects of their own course of study. Brown is distinguished by its unique undergraduate academic program, a world-class faculty, outstanding graduate and medical students, and a tradition of innovative and rigorous multidisciplinary study.

The University’s mission—to serve the community, the nation, and the world by educating and preparing students (in the words of the College charter) to “discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation”—is fulfilled through a strong partnership of students and teachers.

The seventh oldest university in America, Brown was established in 1764 as Rhode Island College in the town of Warren, Rhode Island, and enrolled its first students in 1765. In 1770 the College moved to its present location, and in 1804 it was renamed Brown University to honor a $5,000 donation from local merchant Nicholas Brown. Today the University’s main campus covers nearly 140 acres on a historic residential hill overlooking downtown Providence, a vibrant city of some 170,000 people and the capital of Rhode Island.

Brown draws men and women from all over the United States and many other countries. Distinguished by their academic excellence, creativity, self-direction, leadership, and faculty known for its prize-winning multidisciplinary scholarship and dedication to teaching. By providing a rich undergraduate experience together with strong graduate and medical programs, the University fosters internal and external discovery at every level of the academic enterprise.

Brown is internationally known for its dynamic undergraduate curriculum, implemented by faculty vote in 1969. Undergraduates must pass 30 courses and complete the requirements for a concentration, or major, in order to receive a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum does not require distribution or core courses outside the concentration. More than 2,000 undergraduate courses support just under 80 concentrations, many of them interdisciplinary, and a wide variety of independent studies.

At the heart of the Brown curriculum are three basic principles: that students are active participants in learning; that acquiring analytical and critical skills is as important as mastering factual knowledge; and that learning requires opportunities for experimentation and cross-disciplinary synthesis.

The Graduate School at Brown is a national leader in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. In 2003, Brown celebrated the centennial of the Graduate Department, formally established in 1903 to confer advanced degrees.

The Warren Alpert Medical School, which awarded its first M.D. degrees in 1975, is renowned for innovation in medical education and for its programs in family medicine and primary care. The Warren Alpert Medical School now enrolls some 400 students, most of whom are accepted through Brown’s unique Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), which combines undergraduate study with professional studies in medicine.

Beginning in 2002, fortified by vigorous leadership, prudent planning, and new ideas, the University launched an exciting program for academic enrichment to enlarge its faculty by 100 members over the next five to ten years, improve support for graduate students, and invest in libraries, information technology, and academic facilities. As part of this extensive program of improvements, the University instituted a need-blind undergraduate admission process to ensure all worthy applicants access to the University, regardless of their ability to pay.

Brown University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, the Warren Alpert Medical School is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The School of Engineering has received accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology for its bachelor of science programs in civil, chemical, electrical, materials, and mechanical engineering.

Academic Freedom

Consonant with Brown’s tradition concerning academic freedom, the faculty and Corporation, in 1966, adopted the following statement of principles:

Academic freedom is essential to the function of education and to the pursuit of scholarship in universities.

Therefore, Brown University, mindful of its historic commitment to scholarship and to the free exchange of ideas, affirms that faculty and students alike shall enjoy full freedom in their teaching, learning, and research.

Brown University also affirms that faculty and students shall have freedom of religious belief, of speech, of press, of association and assembly, of political activity inside and outside the University, the right to petition the authorities, public and university, to invite speakers of their choice to the campus, and that students and faculty as such should not be required to take any oath not required of other citizens. The time, place, and manner of exercising these rights on campus shall be subject to reasonable regulation only to prevent interference with the normal functions of the University.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Brown University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other school-administered programs. For further information on Brown's Nondiscrimination policy as it relates to Title IX please visit:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93–380) extends to a student the right of access to his or her education records maintained at the University. Education records are those records maintained by or for Brown University that directly relate to an individual who is or has been in attendance (enrolled) at Brown University and for whom Brown maintains educational records. Information and notification as to the type of record; the accessibility of and policies for maintaining, reviewing and expunging the record; and the procedure for inspecting, reviewing, obtaining copies of, or challenging the record are established and promulgated by the appropriate executive officers. Further information may be obtained on the Office of the Registrar's website. For the University's complete definition of directory information and disclosure please visit


Brown University often captures photographic images and video of campus life, events, ceremonies, and other activities to advance the mission of the institution. 

The University is not prohibited from capturing and using student images through photography or video for University purposes unless a student has requested that the University maintain the confidentiality of that student’s directory information, per FERPA. By enrolling at Brown University, students not requesting directory withholding authorize the use and reproduction by the University, or parties authorized by the University, of any photographs taken while at Brown without compensation. 

Faculty, staff, visitors to campus, and participants in University-sponsored events beyond campus also may have their images captured for news or promotional purposes.

All photographic prints and digital image and video files shall constitute Brown University property and be used to advance the University's educational objectives.