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The College


We encourage you to join our contact list if you would like to receive information and updates about admission to the undergraduate college. You may learn more about life at Brown, the admission process and financial aid by visiting the Office of College Admission website. The Office of College Admission is available to answer any questions during normal business hours and may be reached at or by phone at (401) 863-2378. 

The application deadline for the regular admission process is January 5 of the year of desired entrance to Brown. A binding Early Decision application plan is available with a deadline of November 1 for students who wish to receive December notification of their admission decision. 

Curricular Recommendations

While there are no specific course requirements for admission to Brown, most successful applicants demonstrate preparation for university-level studies through a curriculum that is rigorous across academic disciplines throughout secondary school.

Students at Brown tend to be exceptionally eager to learn and willing to accept academic challenges. The Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly across many departments in addition to delving deeply into their areas of focus over four years, and we hope applicants will pursue a similarly broad base of knowledge prior to their arrival on our campus.

The Board of Admission understands that individual academic opportunities may vary by school and by year, and that curricular expectations will also vary around the world. With that in mind, secondary school transcripts should show that students have taken advantage of the learning opportunities available to them. Brown expects that students will take a minimum of four academically rigorous courses, preferably five, across a range of core subject areas each year throughout secondary school. English language and literature, math, the sciences, history, and a second language are considered to be the academic subjects best suited to help students prepare for the intellectual opportunities and interdisciplinary learning environment at Brown. More specific course recommendations are provided below:

English - 4 years, particularly focused on literature and academic writing 

Math - 4 years, continuing through calculus when possible, particularly for students interested in STEM

Science - 3-4 years, including 2 years of lab science and particularly biology, physics, and chemistry when possible

History and Social Studies - 3-4 years, including courses such as history, government, economics and politics

Foreign Language - 3-4 years, preferably continuing with the same language when possible

Brown also encourages the study of music, art, and other electives in addition to the coursework recommended above.

College Entrance Examination Board Tests

Brown will extend our test-optional policy to all first-year, transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants in the 2022-2023 admission cycle. Students who do not submit test scores should be assured that they will not be disadvantaged in our admission process, and we will look to other aspects of the application, from course grades and curricular rigor to insight from counselors and teachers, to assess academic preparation. The SAT or ACT, when submitted, will continue to be considered in the context of all the other information we have about a candidate. Standardized testing is informative, but has always been one among many components that we consider in our holistic admission process.

As with every aspect of the admission process, our test-optional policy will be evaluated again before the 2023-2024 application cycle begins. As we continue to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic outcomes, both at the high school and college level, continued research and assessment is needed and will guide policy decisions in the coming years. We anticipate that the data we gather this year will help to provide clarity on these outcomes and inform our longer term testing policies.

For students who choose to submit test scores, these may be self-reported or sent officially to Brown. We continue to accept Score Choice and will always consider a student’s highest scores if multiple results are submitted. English proficiency testing recommendations remain available for international applicants and non-native speakers of English. Brown will also adhere to Ivy League policies regarding testing requirements for applicants who plan to participate in varsity athletics. 

For more detail regarding our current test-optional policy, please see our dedicated FAQ.

Advanced Placement Examinations

Brown participates in the Advanced Placement (AP) Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. The program’s aims are “to give able students challenging educational experiences in school, and to increase for these able students the opportunity to take advanced work in college.” Students enrolled in secondary schools participating in this program may take the appropriate examinations given in May and have the scores sent to Brown. Placement into related courses is determined by the appropriate academic department, which may review the examination booklets and other materials, and policies regarding placement vary across departments. Students will be notified of their eligibility for such placement upon matriculation at Brown prior to their first semester and asked whether they wish to accept or decline transcript notation(s) of advanced placement credit (when indicated by department policy for a subject). Subjects in which advanced placement credit may be granted include American History; Art History; Biology; Economics; Environmental Science; European History; French; German; Italian; Latin; Mathematics; Physics; Spanish; and World History. Placement beyond certain introductory courses also may be granted in Chemistry, Computer Science, and Psychology. For more complete information on the Advanced Placement program please consult

Advanced Placement credits may not be applied to the minimum 30 course credits needed to earn a Brown degree.

Advanced Standing for Pre-Matriculation Work (i.e. Exam/Test Credits and College Courses)

Non-transfer students may not receive more than one semester of Advanced Standing for work completed prior to Brown without approval for an exception by petition to the Committee on Academic Standing. Upon attaining sophomore standing at Brown, a student who wishes to be considered for one semester of Advanced Standing based on pre-Brown work must present a minimum of three to six AP credits, official certification under various international educational systems, and/or transfer-eligible pre-Brown college course credits from an accredited institution to apply for Advanced Standing (carrying four enrollment units), or four Brown summer and/or winter course credits to apply for a semester of ‘effective’ Advanced Standing (carrying zero enrollment units). Questions concerning Advanced Standing guidelines and procedures should be addressed to the College’s Advanced Standing dean. The deadline to apply for Advanced Standing is the last day of classes of a student’s fifth semester. Applying requires prior declaration of intent to apply to the College’s Advanced Standing dean, an advising conversation with the dean, and a comprehensive, feasible degree completion plan. Students not requesting Advanced Standing (and enrollment credit) from the College by this deadline may not do so subsequently, except by petitioning the Committee on Academic Standing. For further information please visit

Transfer Admission from Other Colleges

To be eligible for transfer admission, you must have completed at least one full year of college study (or its equivalent) before your planned matriculation at Brown. Both part-time and full-time students at accredited two- and four-year colleges may seek transfer admission. University rules stipulate that anyone admitted as a transfer must be enrolled full-time at Brown for at least four semesters prior to earning an undergraduate degree. For this reason we discourage transfer applications from students who will have accrued more than four semesters of college work prior to their enrollment at Brown. Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree at another college are ineligible to apply as transfers, while high school students who are currently enrolled in dual-degree programs or early college programs are ineligible to apply as transfers and should apply as first-year applicants.

Generally speaking, most liberal arts courses taken at other colleges and universities are transferable to Brown. More specifically, Brown will transfer credit for courses at other colleges that are similar to courses offered in our own curriculum. Brown will not award transfer credit for correspondence courses, online courses, courses taken during summer programs or for courses taken as part of a dual enrollment curriculum. More information about transfer admission is available through the Office of College Admission. 

Visiting Undergraduate Students

Each year, Brown welcomes visiting students from partner institutions both in the United States and abroad. In addition, a limited number of students enrolled as full-time degree candidates at other colleges may apply to spend one or two semesters at Brown to pursue areas of study not otherwise available to them for credit at their own institutions.  

The Visiting Undergraduate Student Program welcomes applicants who wish to enroll in undergraduate-level academic work during the fall or spring semesters, or during the Summer Session. Most Visiting Undergraduate Students hold full-time status during their time on Brown’s campus. This program is not intended for high school graduates who wish to spend a gap year or gap semester at Brown, nor is it intended for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree.

Resumed Undergraduate Education Program

The Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) Program is a small, highly competitive program ideal for students who interrupted or delayed their formal education due to family commitments, financial concerns, health issues, military service, employment opportunities, or simply a compelling need to explore other paths. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent and have been out of high school for six or more years by the time of proposed enrollment at Brown. More information about RUE admission is available through the Office of College Admission website.

U.S. Military Veterans

Brown values the extraordinary talents, experiences and diversity that veterans bring to campus. Veterans and currently serving military personnel are highly encouraged to apply via Brown’s Veterans Application, regardless of their year of high school graduation or any college credits earned to date. In appreciation of your service, there is no application fee. More information about the application process is available here.

Brown is a proud college partner of Service to School's VetLink Program, which provides free application mentoring and networking to veterans. We are also a longstanding partner of the Marine Corps Leadership Scholar Program (LSP), which assists Marines intending to pursue their undergraduate degree at highly selective institutions. The university has also undertaken a number of initiatives to double our enrollment of undergraduate student veterans. 

Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees

Baccalaureate Degree Programs

At Brown, two baccalaureate degrees are awarded—the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and the Bachelor of Science (Sc.B.). The degree awarded is determined by a student’s chosen concentration program. All Brown undergraduates must complete the requirements for either an A.B. or a Sc.B. in order to earn the baccalaureate degree at Brown.

The Sc.B. degree recognizes a science concentration that demonstrates both breadth and depth in science beyond the minimum required for the A.B. degree in the same field. An Sc.B. program normally follows these guidelines:

  1. The concentration program, with the exception of Engineering, shall require no more than ten courses in any one department. The total number of concentration courses required shall not exceed twenty (twenty-one for Engineering).
  2. At least one semester course of independent study, research, or design in the concentration discipline must be included.
  3. Additional electives must be chosen to meet the quantity requirement for all baccalaureate degrees. In cases, where the student may successfully complete the Sc.B. degree on the basis of one concentration as well as an additional concentration associated with an A.B. degree, only one degree (Bachelor of Science) is awarded upon graduation. *See below for requirements associated with combined degrees.

Degrees with Distinction

Baccalaureate degrees may be awarded with distinction (magna cum laude) to those students whose percentage of quality grades -- grades of “A” or “S with Distinction” -- in courses taken at Brown puts them in the top 20% of the entire undergraduate graduating class. The Registrar will provide an opportunity for students to indicate that they do not wish to be considered for a degree with distinction.

Quantity and Progress Requirements

In order to graduate with a Brown baccalaureate degree, a student must successfully complete at least 30 course credits (equivalent to 120 semester hours), 15 of which must be taken at Brown. A maximum of 4 summer and/or Brown Wintersession courses may be applied toward this requirement. Approved study at another institution may also count toward the 30-course credit degree requirement.

The standard semester course load at Brown is four courses. Full-time students are permitted to enroll in a maximum of five courses/credits in a given semester; students may take three courses in a semester as long as doing so will not bring them below the level of good academic standing. A student may not enroll in fewer than three courses in any semester without written permission from a designated academic dean. Resumed Undergraduate Education students may study on either a full-time or less than full-time basis with permission from the RUE academic dean.

Residence Requirement

With the exception of students admitted to the Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) Program, every candidate for a baccalaureate degree must be in residence at Brown for at least four semesters as a full-time student. Credits from Brown Exchange programs, Brown Approved Alternative Study Abroad programs, and the Brown Summer School do not apply to the residency requirement. Students in the RUE Program must be in residence for the equivalent of four full-time semesters. RUE students may study on a less than full-time basis, if they have secured permission from the RUE academic dean and presented a viable degree completion plan.  Every student must spend sufficient time in concentration studies to permit faculty evaluation of his or her concentration.

Writing Requirement

Learning to write well is a developmental process that occurs over time. Brown students are therefore required to work on their writing at least twice: once in their first two years of study, and a second time in semesters 5-7 (or the penultimate semester). Students must complete an approved course at Brown in their first two years of study. Exceptions are made for transfer students, who may meet this part of the requirement with an approved course in the subjects of either COLT, ENGL, or LITR from their prior institution, and for students in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program who are required to take at least one writing designated course at Brown.

In semesters 5-7 (or the penultimate semester), all students must demonstrate that they have worked on their writing a second time in a course they have taken at Brown (study away courses are ineligible). Students may take another approved course to meet this part of the requirement, or if approved by a participating concentration, they may upload a substantial piece of writing developed within the concentration. Writing completed in courses taken away from Brown will not meet Part 2 of the writing requirement. Learn more about the University Writing Requirement.

Concentration Requirement

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. A concentration may coincide in some ways with specific prerequisite training for professional goals, but professional training is not the central aspect of the concentration process. Rather, the concentration is designed to foster students’ command of an area of knowledge and ability to use a concentration’s concepts and methods in a coherent manner.

Brown offers standard concentrations that lead to either the Sc.B. or the A.B. degree. In keeping with the philosophy of the open curriculum, students may design an independent concentration if standard concentration offerings do not match their interests. Independent concentration proposals are sponsored by at least one faculty member and must be reviewed and approved by a subcommittee of the College Curriculum Council.

A listing of departmental and interdepartmental concentration programs that are currently available may by found at: The programs have been approved and are subject to periodic review by the College Curriculum Council. Guidelines for preparing an independent concentration proposal are on the Dean of the College website.

All students (with the exception of incoming junior transfers) must request, in writing, admission to a concentration program no later than the middle of their fourth semester, before pre-registering for semester five (usually spring semester of sophomore year). The written proposal should outline 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 signed jointly 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.

Students may complete as many as three concentrations during a regular four-year program; Brown does not offer minors. A student who satisfactorily completes more than one concentration program may have that fact indicated on his or her permanent record. In order to accomplish this, the student must have filed a declaration for each concentration and had it "advisor approved" by the last day of classes in the student’s penultimate semester (for most students this is seventh semester).  Sponsorship and authorization of each concentration program shall follow the usual procedures.

No student will be permitted to register for his or her fifth semester unless a declaration of concentration has been filed.   Exceptions are made for incoming junior transfers and for students in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program.  Students failing to complete registration on time because of the failure to file a concentration declaration will be subject to the same action taken by the University for all cases of late registration (see Financial Information).

Honors in the Concentration: Students whose work in the field of concentration has demonstrated superior quality and culminated in an honors thesis of distinction are awarded departmental honors at Commencement. The designation “Honors” is included on the student's transcript and diploma. No distinctions are made among quality levels of honors work. Students considering honors work should consult their departmental, interdepartmental, or independent concentration advisor.

Recommendations for honors are due in early May preceding Commencement. Brown does not grant honors retroactively. Therefore, students who consider taking a grade of Incomplete in a thesis project should understand that they will not receive honors unless the thesis is completed in time to be evaluated by faculty readers and a recommendation submitted before graduation.

Enrollment Requirement

By decision of the Corporation, prior to the awarding of a baccalaureate degree each student is required to accumulate eight semesters, or 32 units, of enrollment credit. The eight-semester enrollment requirement is separate from and in addition to any other degree requirements. A semester of enrollment credit can be earned by studying full-time at Brown for a semester, by transferring in a full semester’s worth of work from an approved program of study at another institution, and as aforementioned from select pre-matriculation exam or test credits such as from the Advanced Placement (AP) program and from some international certification programs such as the British A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate. Brown Summer or Winter courses do not count toward the enrollment requirement unless students successfully earn four summer/winter course credits at Brown. (See section below on Tuition Regulations Relating to Brown Summer/Winter Session Courses.)

Requirements for Combined Degree Programs

Combined A.B./Sc.B. Degree

Students who wish to earn a combined A.B. and Sc.B. degree may do so in a five-year program in which work for both degrees proceeds concurrently. Students who elect this five-year plan will usually arrange their programs of study so that they may change to either degree candidacy alone prior to the fourth year.

Requirements for this degree program are as follows:

  • Declaration of intent. A formal application approved by the appropriate dean must be filed with the Registrar no later than the student’s fifth semester of study.
  •  Satisfactory completion of the Sc.B. requirements for a standard concentration program in the life sciences, physical sciences or mathematics, or an approved independent Sc.B. program spanning one or more of these areas.
  • Satisfactory completion of the A.B. requirements for a standard or independent concentration in the humanities or social sciences.
  • A minimum of 38 courses passed. Transfer credits are awarded according to the University’s standard rules and regulations.
  • At least three years in residence.
  •  Ten semesters, or 40 units, of enrollment credit. At least six of the ten semesters must be completed in residence at Brown. The ten-semester enrollment requirement is separate from and in addition to any other degree requirements. A semester of enrollment credit can be earned by studying full-time at Brown for a semester, by transferring in a full semester’s worth of work from an approved program of study at another institution, and as aforementioned from select pre-matriculation exam or test credits such as from the Advanced Placement (AP) program and from some international certification programs such as the British A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate. Brown Summer or Winter courses do not count toward the enrollment requirement unless students successfully earn four summer/winter course credits at Brown. (See section below on Tuition Regulations Relating to Brown Summer/Winter Session Courses.) 

Note: The Brown Corporation has enacted a provision allowing students in the five-year A.B.-Sc.B. program who complete all academic requirements in nine semesters to terminate their studies at that point, provided the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) approves the breadth and quality of the student's program. In that case, the enrollment requirement will be reduced to nine semesters. This provision is subject to review by the Corporation’s Academic Council.)

Concurrent Program Leading to a Baccalaureate Degree and a Master’s Degree

Subject to the prior approval of the department involved, the Graduate Council, and the Committee on Academic Standing, exceptionally capable students may be permitted, in their junior year, to enter a graduate program of study leading to the earning of both baccalaureate and master’s degrees at the end of eight or nine semesters. Students who are granted this permission complete a minimum of 36 course credits* within eight or nine semesters (The Concurrent Baccalaurate and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is completed in 10 semesters). Specific requirements for both degrees must be met, although some courses may be used for credit toward both degrees. Normally, no more than two courses counted toward the undergraduate concentration may be used to fulfill the requirements of the graduate degree. The program includes at least two 2000-level courses, not including any 2000-level courses counted for the independent project or thesis. 

*Effective May 2, 2017 the required number of credits for the concurrent degree was raised from 34 to 36. Any students accepted into concurrent program after May 2, 2016 must complete 36 credits.

In cases where the requirements for an advanced degree are partially completed by students in meeting the requirements for a baccalaureate degree, graduate credit for such work may be allowed upon formal admission to the Graduate School. The Graduate Council shall, in consultation with the department involved, determine the remaining requirements to be satisfied for the advanced degree.

The Committee on Academic Standing follows certain guidelines in considering requests for admission to this combined degree program. Interested students should obtain a copy of these guidelines at the Office of the Registrar prior to filing an application.

Five-Year Baccalaureate–Master’s Degree Program

With the approval of the Graduate Council, academic departments may establish integrated programs leading to the successive awarding of the bachelor’s and the master’s degrees. In such programs, a student may offer up to two courses taken during undergraduate study at Brown in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. In all cases, the equivalent of at least six semester courses must be taken in-residence at Brown University.

A student must apply for admission to a 5th Year program no later than the end of the third week of his or her penultimate semester of undergraduate study. Admission to the Graduate School for the fifth year will ordinarily be a matter of course; however, such admission must be applied for at the proper time and decided on in the regular way. Students interested in this program should consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.

Brown-Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program

In this five-year program, students complete a baccalaureate degree at Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree at RISD. The Brown degree earned by students in the program will ordinarily be an A.B. degree. Earning a Bachelor of Science degree is not prohibited, but doing so is difficult because Sc.B. programs are more credit heavy than A.B. programs. For this reason, permission to pursue an Sc.B. in this program is granted on a case-by-case basis. The RISD degree will in all cases be a bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degree. Other degrees offered at RISD ordinarily take five years and thus are excluded from the program.

To gain admission to the program, students must apply to and be admitted by both schools. Because of the program’s strict requirements, only students applying to enter as first-year students are eligible. Approximately 15 students matriculate in the program each year. Once admitted to the program, students must complete 156 credit hours, at least 60 of which (15 courses) must be taken at Brown. This requirement does not include courses earned on Brown sponsored exchange or approved study abroad programs nor Brown summer/winter session courses.

Program in Liberal Medical Education

Each year, Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) matriculates approximately fifty first-year students who will pursue an undergraduate degree and professional studies in medicine in a single eight-year program. As undergraduates, PLME students may choose to work toward an A.B. or Sc.B. degree in the sciences, or toward an A.B. in the humanities, social sciences, or behavioral sciences. The undergraduate experience is designed to prepare students for the last four years of the program, which constitute the medical school years and culminate in the MD degree.

To apply to the PLME program, students submit the standard Brown application. Candidates considered admissible by the College Admission Office are reviewed by the PLME Advisory Board. Applicants not admitted to PLME are still considered candidates to the College for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.

Academic Advising Programs

A strong network of advisors and mentors helps students engage fully and successfully with Brown’s open learning environment. Brown’s advising programs are designed to facilitate these relationships and provide students with maximum opportunity to formulate and achieve their educational objectives. Students are expected to take the initiative in seeking out and working with advisors to make the best use of their time at Brown.

To ensure that students have the guidance and support they need to make informed choices, the University assigns each first-year student two advising partners: an academic advisor. The academic advisor provides long-term institutional perspective on educational options while generally informing, sometimes encouraging, and occasionally challenging students. The student Meiklejohn provides an experienced perspective on the ins and outs of course registration, course reputations, prerequisites, and the like.

As first-year students transition to the sophomore year, they are encouraged to stay with their first-year advisors so that they can benefit from the continuity and depth of a two-year advising relationship. Most do stay with the same advisor, although some select a different faculty member or administrator. The efforts of assigned sophomore advisors are augmented by Randall Advisors and Sophomore Deans in the Dean of the College Office. These advising resources constitute the foundation of “sophomore advising” at Brown and help students navigate the critical second year of undergraduate study.

Students declare a concentration in their fourth semester of study. Concentration advisors help with this process by explaining the dimensions of their academic disciplines, reading and providing feedback on students’ concentration declaration essays, and advising students during their final two years at Brown. Faculty of individual departments and programs that administer concentrations often serve as informal advisors to their concentrators.

A broad network of academic, co-curricular, and personal counseling complements the work of assigned advisors. Throughout the year, deans in the College and in the Office of Student Life provide one-on-one consultation to all students who request it. Additional support is available from the Tutoring Program, the Curricular Resource Center, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, the Brown Center for Students of Color, the Career Development Center, the professional staff in University Health Services, and the chaplains. Peer advising includes Brown’s Meiklejohn advising program, residential peer leaders, minority peer counselors, women’s peer counselors, Transfer and RUE peer counselors, Career Center peer advisors, health careers peer advisors, and athlete peer advisors.

Academic Support Services

A number of programs support undergraduates’ academic success and help them take full advantage of the curriculum.

  • The Office of Co-Curricular Advising and Tutoring organizes academic coaching, group tutoring, and individualized tutoring. Group tutoring is offered for select courses in chemistry, economics, math, and physics. Individual tutoring is available by application.
  • The Curricular Resource Center provides advising, facilitation and reference materials for students wishing to design their own courses (ISPs and GISPs), to craft independent concentrations, and to explore options for time away from Brown.
  • Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) coordinates and facilitates services for students, faculty, and staff with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities.
  • The Math Resource Center assists students in introductory mathematics courses.
  • The Science Center offers academic support, tutoring, science-related activities, and a network of faculty and peer advisors familiar with Brown’s science curricula. Through various events and workshops, the Center works to increase the Brown community’s understanding of science.
  • The Writing Center provides individual and group writing support to any member of the Brown community. Writing Center staff members help students with all stages of the writing process, from finding a topic through drafting, revising, and final editing. Writing Center associates also offer workshops for groups of students on various writing topics.

Academic Standing

The Brown Faculty and Corporation set the minimum standards students must meet in order to earn the baccalaureate degree. Undergraduate students are normally expected to take 4 courses each semester for a total of 32 courses in 8 semesters and will ordinarily complete 8 courses in every 2 consecutive semesters. Students must earn a minimum of 30 course credits in 8 semesters. (Successful course completion means a course completed with a grade of A, B, C, or S.)

To remain in good academic standing, Brown students must satisfactorily complete at least three courses (meaning earn 3 course credits) by the end of the first semester, seven courses by the end of the second semester, eleven courses by the end of the third, fifteen by the end of the fourth, eighteen by the end of the fifth, twenty-two by the end of the sixth, twenty-six by the end of the seventh, and thirty courses (again meaning 30 course credits) to graduate after eight semesters. In addition, students making satisfactory academic progress will complete a minimum of seven courses in any two consecutive semesters. Prior to summer 2016, academic standing was determined only on the basis of courses completed at Brown. Effective Summer 2016,  academic standing is determined on the basis of courses completed at Brown or via approved transfer credit noted on the transcript AFTER a student has been matriculated as a degree candidate. Any pre-Brown matriculation credit, such Advanced Placement (AP) credit, IB credit, college credits for transfer students, etc. do not figure in the determination of academic standing.

Undergraduates who, in the judgment of the Committee on Academic Standing, have unsatisfactory scholastic records may be placed in one of three categories—Academic Warning, Serious Warning, or Academic Suspension.  Academic Suspension or Dismissal (second suspension) includes a permanent transcript notation. The Committee’s judgment will depend on the extent of a student’s academic deficiency as defined by rules approved by the Faculty on February 5, 1991:

Academic Warning cautions a student that his or her record is below the standard for graduation.

Serious Warning notifies a student that, unless the record improves, he or she will be subject to academic suspension at the end of the semester.

Academic Suspension may be ordered when the Committee finds that a student’s academic record falls more than two credits below the number expected for the student’s semester level.

Students on Academic Warning and Serious Warning are required to obtain special academic advising from an assigned dean.

Guidelines for Study Elsewhere

Students who wish to transfer credit for study completed at a regionally accredited, degree-granting, two or four-year institution. may do so with prior approval of the appropriate departments and the Dean of the College Office on behalf of the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). The rules governing transfer credit for study away from Brown are complex. One set of rules governs study abroad; another applies to Domestic  and/or Home Country Study Away. Yet another set of rules applies to summer study transfer credits. This section describes the policies and procedures that are most commonly called into play when matriculated students wish to have credits from elsewhere added to their Brown transcript.

Students may receive up to eight course credits for work undertaken during one academic year. In a semester credit hour system, one Brown course is considered the equivalent of four semester hours. In a quarter credit hour system, one Brown course is considered the equivalent of six quarter hours. For that reason, the number of course credits received for study away from Brown may not be equal to the number of courses taken. For example, a student taking three four-semester-hour courses, all properly approved for Brown transfer credit, will receive the equivalent of three Brown course credits. However, a student taking three four-quarter-hour courses, all properly approved for Brown transfer credit, will receive the equivalent of two Brown course credits. It is the student’s responsibility to clarify in advance any concerns regarding the amount of transfer credit that may be awarded.

In order to be considered for transfer credit, courses must be completed with a grade of C or better (C- does not qualify) , and an official transcript must be received by Brown’s Office of the Registrar from the host institution. This transcript will be retained by the University. All transfer credit must receive appropriate department faculty approval and Committee on Academic Standing approval via the Dean of the College Office. Students should also keep all records from their work away, including: course syllabi, exams, papers, notes, projects, and portfolios, in the event that post-approval is required from the relevant academic department at Brown.

The Brown transcript will indicate the name of the host institution, the time period during which the student studied there, as well as the courses taken and/or unassigned credits at Brown. In the case of Brown sponsored exchange and approved study abroad programs during the academic year, all course work is reflected with the actual course title and a grade of ‘S.’ Students applying to graduate and professional schools are often asked to provide official transcripts from all institutions at which they have been enrolled. In such cases, the student will need to request copies of their transcripts from the study-away institution.

Domestic Study Away

Students planning to study elsewhere in their home country of citizenship should obtain an instruction sheet and a preliminary transfer credit approval form from the Dean of the College website. Students should then work out a program and present it to their concentration advisor and/or other appropriate faculty members for approval. When the preliminary transfer credit form is returned to the study away dean, that dean will approve it on a tentative basis for the CAS or advise the student to petition the CAS, in which case instructions for that petition will be made available. Students should also keep all records from their work away, including, course syllabi, exams, papers, notes, projects, and portfolios, in the event that post-approval is required from an academic department at Brown.

Study Away during the Summer

Two avenues of study are available to undergraduate students interested in summer work. They may take courses in Brown’s 7 week Summer Session, or apply for transfer credit from other summer programs—either domestic or international—that meet certain conditions. Whether studying in the U.S. or abroad, students must study at accredited, degree granting institutions. Extension division courses are generally not allowed. Students should obtain preliminary approval for summer study away from Brown by the Committee on Academic Standing and appropriate faculty.

Students may count as many as four summer courses from all sources (or their equivalent, if summer courses carrying fewer than 4 credits were transferred to Brown) toward the baccalaureate degree. In addition, Brown Wintersession courses count towards the 4 maximum allotment (Winter session courses from other institutions are NOT transferable). No more than the equivalent of two Brown courses will be transcripted for any given summer of enrollment. Summer transfer credit may not be used to advance a student’s date of graduation. Students interested in summer study elsewhere should consult staff in the Dean of the College office or the Office of International Programs (OIP), as appropriate.

International Study

Brown’s Office of International Programs (OIP) coordinates all study abroad undertaken by Brown students either on Brown sponsored programs or on Brown approved programs. At present, Brown sponsors programs in France, Spain, Cuba, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, The United Kingdom, Tanzania, Japan, Barbados, Brazil, India. Students interested in study abroad should check with OIP as far in advance of any intended study as possible. Brown students of any nationality are not allowed to study abroad in countries where there is a travel ban by the U.S. State Department.

The College Curriculum Council (CCC) has established the following guidelines for study abroad by Brown students:

To receive credit for international study, students must spend at least one semester enrolled in a international institution of higher learning, subject to the same rules and regulations as the host institution’s regular students. There are two exceptions: where the language of study is one in which sufficient proficiency is unlikely to be achieved by the average Brown undergraduate, but the student should study the language while in the country; and where the usual assessment procedures may not be appropriate, in which case special arrangements may have to be made. Students may not study on itinerant programs (i.e., those which travel through many sites rather than being based in one primary site). Nor may they study at institutions created for overseas study for Americans, with special exceptions: for study of a specific area and/or field research unavailable at Brown or better pursued at an international site OR in sites where “the average Brown student” cannot study alongside local students because of the language, e.g., Keio, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic.

Exceptions include Syracuse-in-Florence, for art history students; ICCS in Rome for classics students; programs that provide a structured “field studies” curriculum appropriate for students in such fields as development studies, environmental studies, ecology, geological studies, etc.; and programs providing for studies pursued at Brown but often not found in regular university programs overseas, such as studio art or theater arts. Prerequisites for such programs will be stated and must include previous course work pertinent to the intended study abroad.

International Study and Brown Curriculum

International study should complement the student’s program of study at Brown. This should be ascertained by the Office of International Programs (OIP) in consultation with the CCC subcommittee on International Study, the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS), and regional advisory committees.

Non-Brown programs

Brown’s Office of International Programs works closely with key academic departments to develop a list of programs approved for international study. This list includes all Brown- sponsored programs and programs administered by institutions other than Brown in each region. All such programs should conform to the above guidelines for international study. Students do not need CAS approval for study on these programs. The list will be reviewed every two years, and any new Brown-sponsored programs are added immediately.

For Programs Not on the List

Students may petition for approval to study on other programs but should be sure to check the international study guidelines to see if the proposed program meets the criteria. Grounds for exceptions include: the desire to study in a country where there is no approved program; or the desire to study at an institution known for excellence in a specific field. Students must submit a written rationale, a tentative list of courses, and a supporting statement by a faculty member who is familiar with the program or who has expertise in the field of study being pursued. The proposal will be evaluated by the appropriate regional committee; CAS will make the final decision.

OIP reports annually on petition actions to the CCC subcommittee on international study.

Students planning to study abroad must be in good academic standing. They must be able to demonstrate competency in a foreign language, if one is involved in the international study opportunity. Brown program applications are reviewed by faculty committees. Prior approval of the Committee on Academic Standing is required for all students intending to study abroad on non-Brown programs not on the approved list for transfer credit. Prior approval of departments must also be secured for credit towards concentration.

Information and counseling about international study is provided by the OIP staff and student peer counsellors as well as by department advisers.

Students planning to study abroad should visit the OIP Resource Library, meet with an OIP advisor, and with their concentration advisor. Students may receive up to eight course credits for work undertaken during one academic year. Normally no more than four concentration credits will be allowed. Credit cannot be obtained until the student has successfully completed the work and obtained documentation of what has been accomplished. Approval for concentration credit must be obtained from the appropriate concentration advisor. This credit is usually granted after the student presents documentation including evidence of work completed in the course(s) to the departmental concentration advisor.

Official transcripts should be sent to the Registrar. When other forms of evaluation or other documentation are to be used, these should be brought by the student to the Office of International Programs. Students not on Brown sponsored programs may be asked to take such materials to faculty advisers for review and final approval.

For students not on Brown sponsored programs, validation of credit may be carried out on a course by course basis. If the nature and quality of a student’s work in a specific course cannot be sufficiently determined on the basis of the available documentation, the department in question may give the student an oral or written validating examination. Validation should be completed as soon as possible after the student returns to Brown, normally no later than midsemester.

Time spent on study abroad does not apply to the four semester residency requirement for the degree. All students are asked to write to the Office of International Programs about returning to Brown. Such notification should be received no later than December 1 for return in the spring semester and no later than May 1 for return for the fall semester.

Credit may be awarded for summer study abroad, particularly for language study. Students considering this option should consult with the Office of International Programs.

The Summer Session

Brown’s Summer Session offers courses on campus and at international sites during the summer. Summer classes meet for six weeks; exams and final work are completed during the seventh week of the program. Brown students take summer courses to enhance their degree work or to maintain their progress toward degree completion. Summer Session courses are open to all Brown students and to students from other institutions by application.

Governed by Faculty Rules, Brown’s Summer Session maintains guidelines that are similar to those followed during the academic year. The courses are equivalent to academic year offerings, are approved by the College Curriculum Council, and, as of summer 2000, count toward official determination of academic standing.

Brown undergraduates may complete up to two courses in any given summer, and may apply a total of four summer courses toward their bachelor’s degree (Brown Winter Session courses are also included in the 4 max allotment). Brown Summer Session courses at the 1000-level may count toward graduate degrees. A special Corporation rule allows undergraduates who have completed four Summer/Winter Session courses at Brown to request one semester of enrollment credit (Note: This provision does not extend to students enrolled in the Five Year Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program). Undergraduate fees for summer courses are set annually by the Corporation at a rate lower than the per-course fee during the academic year.

For more information, contact Brown’s School of Professional Studies, Box T, Providence, RI 02912 (401) 863-7900, or visit

Each year’s Summer Session calendar is posted on the Brown Registrar’s web site,, as well as at the site above.

Brown Winter Session

In 2016-2017 Brown Launched a Wintersession pilot for Brown undergraduate degree candidates. In accordance with Brown Summer session rules, students can count no more than 4 summer/winter session courses and may also apply for a waiver of one semester of enrollment credit if 4 Brown Summer/Winter courses are completed (Note: This provision does not extend to students enrolled in the Five Year Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program).

For more information and guidelines as they relate to Brown's Wintersession please visit