General academic requirements
Information regarding general academic degree requirements are listed under 'The College' section of the University Bulletin as well as on the respective websites of the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of the College.
Information regarding Advanced degree requirements for specific academic programs are listed on the Graduate School website. Information regarding general and overall guidelines for advanced degrees are also listed on the Office of the Registrar website.
Enrollment and course registration
Instructions about enrollment will be sent via e-mail prior to the opening of each semester to all students. To complete enrollment, all requirements of the pertinent administrative offices of the University must be met, including registration for courses, payment of accounts, and arrangements for housing as appropriate. Fees will be charged for failure to meet established deadlines. All students must complete enrollment in order to be eligible to remain at the University.
Students are urged to note carefully the instructions provided at registration in order to assure eligibility for enrollment, proper registration in courses, and to avoid unnecessary payment of Late Registration and Change of Course fees. All registration materials and/or processes are considered official university documents. Any falsification of signatures or other tampering with such forms/processes constitutes a violation of the Academic Code.
All registration-related deadlines for each semester are listed in the 'Academic Calendar' section of the Bulletin and also on the Office of the Registrar website as well as answers to common registration-related questions.
For the full text on the Academic Regulations and Instructions for Registration, see the Registrar’s Office web site at:
For a tutorial on registration, see:
To access the most up-to-date course information including credit bearing summer session offerings (*The course information in the PDF versions of the University Bulletin and Course Announcement Bulletin is current as of February 2018),see:
The semester course is the unit of credit. This is defined as a course taken for the duration of one semester and, for purposes of evaluation, may be considered the approximate equivalent of four semester hours.
Brown follows the Federal standard that defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence that reasonably approximates not less than: (1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for each semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time (i.e. Summer/Winter Sessions); or (2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. Additionally, transfer credit must equate to the four semester hour standard except for three credit courses taken at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Courses numbered 0001-0999 are strictly for Undergraduate credit (Graduate students may enroll in such courses with the permission of the instructor and the Graduate School.)
Courses numbered between 1000-1999 are for both Undergraduate and Graduate credit depending on the level of the student's degree program.
Courses numbered between 2000-2999 are for Graduate credit (Undergraduate students may in enroll in such courses and may be applied towards their Undergraduate degree requirements by permission of the instructor.)
Courses numbered above 3000 are strictly for credit in the Alpert Medical School. Certain MD level courses may be taken for credit for Undergraduate students enrolled in the PLME program, but such courses do not count towards quantity, concentration, or Latin honors requirements for the Baccalaurate degree.
Maximum Course Load and Auditing
No student enrolled in The College or the Graduate School may enroll for more than five Brown credits in a semester. A degree candidate paying full tuition (4 or more enrollment units per semester) and is enrolled in less than five academic credits may be permitted to audit (see below section on auditing) additional course(s). At no time may a student be registered for more than 5 credits/courses including audits.
Enrollment Without Academic Credit
Auditing. An auditor is a student who is registered in a course without earning academic credit upon successful completion under the following conditions: (1) the student must be properly registered for it; (2) the student must pay the usual course fee except as indicated in the next paragraph; (3) the student is entitled to all instruction in the course, including conferences, the criticism of papers, tests, and examinations.
Any student registered on a full-time basis may be permitted to audit additional courses in any semester without charge. The total number of course registrations, including audits, may not exceed five credits. Non-degree or student paying less than four enrollment units of tuition may choose to audit if they so choose, but the student does so with the understanding that they will pay the equivalent rate as if registered for academic credit.
With the concurrence of the instructor, the fact that a course has been audited shall be entered on the permanent record of any student electing this privilege. The status of a course in which a student has registered may not be changed from audit to credit after the fourth week of classes or from credit to audit after midsemester.
Vagabonding. A “vagabond” is a student who, with the permission of the instructor involved, visits a given course occasionally or regularly without payment of fee. It is understood that such a student shall be entitled to participate in classes and activities, including discussions, conferences, and papers, only at the pleasure of the instructor.
Attendance, Grading, Examinations
It is in the interest of every student to attend all sessions of the classes in which registered, and each student has an obligation to contribute to the academic performance of all by full participation in the work of each class; however, within such limits as are necessary for the general welfare, a student benefits also from exercising discretion and assuming responsibility for his or her educational progress.
Accordingly, unless the instructor imposes attendance requirements, students are not limited with respect to the number of absences from a course. When, in the instructor’s opinion, a student is abusing the privilege of voluntary attendance, the appropriate dean’s office should be notified so that appropriate action may be taken.
A student is always fully responsible for any course work missed because of absences and will be assigned failing grades in final examinations missed without excuse from the dean’s office.
No student organization shall make any appointment for undergraduates which conflicts with college exercises unless permission has been obtained from the dean.
At the end of each semester final grades are given in semester courses. In all courses, except those designated by the instructor as Mandatory Satisfactory/No Credit, a student may, in consultation with the advisor, elect to be graded on a basis of either Satisfactory/No Credit or A, B, C/No Credit. A student must for every course taken indicate by the end of the fourth week of the semester which basis for grading is elected.
Any student regularly enrolled in a course, no matter whether for A, B, C/No Credit or for Satisfactory/No Credit, may request from the instructor a more detailed written evaluation of his or her work. (See Course Performance Report below.) Such supplemental evaluations are intended primarily for the information of the student and do not replace departmental evaluations.
No Credit. This grade is given when courses are not satisfactorily completed. The notation No Credit, and the description of the course in which it is given, are not entered on the official academic transcript.
- Courses may be designated to be graded on a Mandatory Satisfactory/No Credit basis for all students enrolled on the initiative of the instructor. The designation of a course by an instructor to be graded S/NC only must be announced no later than the first day of classes and entails the responsibility for providing Course Performance Report forms to all students who request them. An asterisk shall accompany the listing on the transcript of any course that has been designated by the instructor to be graded on the basis of S/NC only, with an appropriate explanation of the symbol provided.
- In exceptional circumstances, a course may be left incomplete (except for a regularly scheduled final examination—see paragraph 3 below), with the instructor’s consent. In such cases, a grade of INC will be assigned provided that the student has filed a request for extension of time to complete the work of the course and the instructor has consented to such a request. Unless an earlier date is specified by the instructor, grades of INC must be made up as follows: for Semester I, by midsemester of Semester II; for Semester II or the for-credit 7 week Summer Session, by the first day of Fall semester. Extensions beyond semester in which the course left incomplete was taken may be granted by the instructor who will indicate this in writing to the registrar. A course not completed by the designated time will be assigned a grade of NC unless the instructor indicates that sufficient work has been completed to justify course credit by submitting, as appropriate, a grade change from INC to A, B, C, or S. A grade of NC assigned in accordance with these procedures may be changed subsequently, but no later than one calendar year after the end of the semester in which the course was taken.
- If a student is absent from a regularly scheduled final examination for a course, the instructor should submit either an INC or an NC . If the absence from the examination is excused by the dean, the student will be permitted to take a Special Examination and the original grade will be made into an ABS temporarily. The Special Examination will be administered by the Office of the Registrar in accordance with the provisions in the Faculty Rules for such examinations, unless other arrangements are agreed to by the instructor and the student, and communicated to the registrar. If the absence from the final examination is not excused by the dean, the student will receive no credit for the course.
Year Courses: A year course is one in which both halves must be passed in order to get credit for the entire year. The grade at the end of the first semester is normally a temporary one. Neither semester may be elected independently without special permission. The final grade submitted at the end of the course covers the work of the entire year and is recorded as the final grade for both semesters. It is normally expected that the second half of a year course will be completed in the second semester of the same academic year in which the first half was taken. If the second half of the year course is not completed at the end of that academic year, the grade for the first semester will become a No Credit. If the student completes the second part of the year course during a later academic year, he or she may need to notify the Registrar's Office, in order to reactivate the first part of the course.
In registering for the second half of a year course, students must register for credit if the first half was taken for credit. Similarly, if registered for audit in the first half, the second half of the course registration must also be as an audit. Exceptions must be approved by both the academic department and the Committee on Academic Standing.
Repeating Courses: Unless a course is explicitly approved by either the College Curriculum Council or Graduate Council as being able to be repeated for credit, Once course credit has been earned with an initial passing grade A,B,C, or Satisfactory (S) or through Transfer Credit it cannot be officially registered for again for in an effort to improve one's initial grade.
Grade Requirements for Advanced Degrees: A minimum grade of either Satisfactory or C in a 1000 or 2000 level course carries credit toward all advanced degrees. Individual departments may, subject to the approval of the Graduate Council, set higher grade requirements.
Advanced degree candidates may be required to register in courses primarily for undergraduates (numbered 1–999); these courses do not carry advanced degree credit. On occasion, however, and with approval of the student’s department and the dean, a student may register for such a course with extra work for advanced degree credit. This course then has the same standing as a 1000-level course and an EX is noted on the transcript. This provision for extra work does not apply to courses of the level of 1–999 taken for graduate credit by students in MD program.
Course Performance Reports: Any undergraduate student regularly enrolled in a course, no matter whether for A,B,C/No Credit or for Satisfactory/No Credit, may request from the instructor a more detailed written evaluation of the student's work by way of a Course Performance Report (Note: This form is available online for currently enrolled undergraduates via Advising SideKick (ASK)). Course performance reports provide valuable information to students about their success in meeting course learning objectives, especially for courses graded S/NC. The instructor may decline to submit such a form if they fell they have inadequate information to do so. The deadline for requesting a Course Performance Report is the day before the final exam period begins in the semester of enrollment in the course (Refer to Academic Calendar for relevant deadlines). Late Course Performance Reports may be requested after the deadline and before a student graduates, but the instructor is not obligated to complete a late report. Students may not request a Course Performance Report after completing their degree requirements (although they may contact an instructor directly for a letter of recommendation or a reference at any time). Copies of Course Performance Reports are made available to: (1) the student, (2) the dean's office, and (3) the student's concentration advisor. While not part of the official record, Course Performance Reports may be sent out from the University at the student's request as part of an official transcript request as long as the student provides such copies to the Office of the Registrar when making the initial transcript request.
Transcripts: Requests for transcripts must be made either in writing by completing a Transcript Order Form, or electronically. For further information please visit the Office of the Registrar’s website. Transcripts will be issued only if all financial obligations to the University have been met.
An official transcript consists of a copy of the permanent record listing courses passed and grades received. A statement is added to all transcripts explaining the grading system and indicating that the student may elect to include other material with the official transcript. The student should choose this material in consultation with his or her advisor. The University will mail this material in one envelope along with the official transcript.
A final, written examination (at the end of each semester) shall be given in each course numbered under 2000 unless the instructor of a particular course decides to use some other mode of final evaluation. If the written examination is not to be used, the mode of final examination which is to be used shall be made known to the students in the course no later than midterm and, in addition, the department and the registrar shall be informed.
Final Examination Schedule: A pre-defined period at the close of each semester is provided for final examinations for those courses for which such an examination is scheduled. Two examination periods are scheduled for each day. The examination group is determined by, in most cases, the offering time associated with the course (indicated by the figure in parentheses) and also as displayed on Banner Web. The schedule for 2019-2020 is as follows:
Semester I, 2019-2020
|Date||9 am Group||2 pm Group|
|Dec. 13 F||3||5|
|Dec. 14 Sat||6||8|
|Dec. 15 Su||10||9|
|Dec. 16 M||4||13|
|Dec. 17 T||14||11|
|Dec. 18 W||16||18|
|Dec. 19 Th||2||1|
|Dec. 20 F||17||7|
|Dec. 21 Sat||15||12|
Semester II, 2019-2020
|Date||9 am Group||2 pm Group|
|May 6 W||14||4|
|May 7 Th||1||5|
|May 8 F||7||11|
|May 9 Sat||10||13|
|May 11 M||6||17|
|May 12 T||8||18|
|May 13 W||3||16|
|May 14 Th||15||2|
|May 15 F||12||9|
Exam Excuses: The Office of the Dean of the College is solely responsible for determining whether a student’s absence from a final examination is excused. To ensure equitable treatment of all students, students are excused from exams only for family or medical emergencies. Please note that students’ travel plans are never an excuse for missing a final exam. Faculty wishing to grant a student an exam excuse may contact the appropriate academic deans authorized to grant exam excuses. In emergency situations, students who are unable to contact their professors must contact the Office of the Dean of the College, which will determine whether or not an exam excuse is warranted. Course instructors are notified of exam excuses granted by the Dean of the College Office.
Consistent with Brown’s policy on nondiscrimination, students who are unable to take a final examination due to religious observance may arrange to take their final at an alternate time. Students who cannot take a final exam on the scheduled date due to a religious observance must inform the instructors of any conflicts within the first four weeks of the term. In such cases, instructors are expected to offer a final exam on an alternate date within the same semester, noting the policy in the Faculty Rules that final examinations may be given only during the final examinations period. For further information on exams and religious observance please visit https://www.brown.edu/academics/college/support/faculty/religiousobservance.
Make-up exams for approved exam excuses for medical or family emergencies are administered by the Registrar in the second week of the subsequent fall or spring term. The Registrar's Office informs students by email of the date, time, and location of make-up exams.
Placement and Achievement Tests in Foreign Languages. Placement tests in the foreign languages are given during Orientation Program in the fall and during the first week of classes in each semester.
All students, before taking college courses in a foreign language in which they have presented entrance credit, must take either a placement test at Brown University or, preferably, a College Board Language Achievement Test in secondary school. Students with outstanding performance on these tests, or on the Advanced Placement Tests of the College Entrance Examination Board, may be admitted to advanced courses without the usual course prerequisites.
Student Code of Conduct
Academic Code Violations
All cases of academic dishonesty among undergraduates, graduate, or medical students, as defined in the Academic Code at Brown University, shall be referred to the dean of the College, Graduate School, or Medical School, or his or her designated representative. A student accused of such an offense shall be notified in writing as soon as possible of the specific charge or charges against him or her before his or her case is considered. The student shall be given the opportunity of a hearing before the designated representative of the dean of the College, Graduate School, or Medical School, and two members of the faculty, at which all relevant facts may be presented. A student shall have the right to appeal any decision to the dean of the College, Graduate School, or Medical School within five business days after receipt of the official letter outlining the case and the decision reached.
Code of Student Conduct
Brown strives to sustain a learning environment that supports individual exploration. Central to this effort are the four primary Principles of the Brown University Community: individual integrity, respect for others, respect for University resources, and respect for the values of teaching, learning and scholarship. Our community believes that adherence to these principles supports the overall academic mission of the University. Violations of these principles will be handled through the procedures governing the Academic Code and the Code of Student Conduct. These procedures are designed to address behaviors that impede the educational activity of the University or that infringe upon the rights of others.
Student Conduct cases are administered by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
Specific hearing procedures can be found online at www.brown.edu/randr.