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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.

Curricular Recommendations

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

The Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly across departments in addition to delving deeply into areas of focus. The Admissions Office 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 available learning opportunities. Brown expects students to take at least 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 the academic subjects best suited to help students prepare for the intellectual opportunities and interdisciplinary learning environment at Brown. 

College Entrance Examination Board Tests

Brown’s holistic admission process considers many aspects of the application other than College Entrance Examination Board test results to assess academic preparation, and we will extend our test-optional policy to all first-year, veterans, transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants in the 2022-2023 admission cycle. Students who do not submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in our admission process, and should be assured that the process will look to other indicators of academic preparation, from course grades and curricular rigor to insight from counselors and teachers, and more. The SAT or ACT, when submitted, will continue to be considered in the context of all the other information we have about a candidate. While standardized testing may be informative it has always been one of many components that we consider in our holistic admission process.

As with every aspect of the admission process, our test-optional policy will be re-evaluated before the 2024-2025 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 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. It is highly recommended that international applicants for whom English is not a first language or a primary language spoken at home submit the results of an English proficiency test. 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 aims “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 in secondary schools participating in this program may take the appropriate examinations given in May and have the scores sent to Brown. Students who earn qualifying scores may be granted placement notations that would allow them to meet course prerequisites and possibly satisfy concentration requirements. Brown’s respective academic departments determine qualifying scores for course equivalencies. Students who report their eligible scores by the designated deadlines will be notified of their eligibility for such placement notations upon matriculation at Brown before 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). Please consult our AP policies page for a full listing of all approved qualifying subjects and scores. 

Advanced Placement notations may not be applied to the minimum 30 course credits needed to earn a Brown degree; placement notations carry a value of 0.0 course credit; in other words, they do not earn actual course credit in the way that Brown courses do.

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 before Brown without approval for an exception by petitioning 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 in a student’s fifth semester. Applying requires a 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. Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree at another college are ineligible to apply as transfers. In contrast, high school students currently enrolled in dual-degree programs or early college programs are ineligible to transfer and should apply as first-year applicants.

Generally, most liberal arts courses taken at other colleges and universities are transferable to Brown. More specifically, Brown will transfer credit for courses at different colleges similar to courses offered in our own curriculum. Brown will not automatically award transfer credit for courses taken during summer programs. 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.). A student’s chosen concentration program determines the degree awarded. All Brown undergraduates must complete the requirements for either an A.B. or an Sc.B. 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 typically follows these guidelines:

  1. The concentration program, except for Computer Science and Engineering, shall require at most 10 courses in any single department. The total number of concentration courses required shall be at most 20 (21 for Engineering).
  2. At least one 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 complete the Sc.B. degree based on one concentration and 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 allow students to indicate that they do not wish to be considered for a degree with distinction.

Quantity and Progress Requirements

To graduate with a Brown baccalaureate degree, a student must 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 Winter Session 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 course credits. Full-time students are permitted to enroll in a maximum of five courses/credits in a given semester; students may take three classes in a semester if 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 or with coordination with accommodations recommended by Student Accessibility Services. Resumed Undergraduate Education students may study full-time or less than full-time with authorization from an academic dean.

Residency Requirement

Every candidate for a baccalaureate degree must reside 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 Session do not apply to the residency requirement. Every student must spend sufficient time in concentration studies to permit faculty evaluation of their concentration. 

Certain students may be eligible for part-time status via a course load reduction with authorization from an academic dean. Eligible students include students admitted to the Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) program or students considered RUE-like, including Veterans, as well as students for whom a course load reduction is an approved academic accommodation through Student Accessibility Services. All students interested in a course load reduction must consult the RUE Program Advisor or an academic dean and present a viable degree completion plan. 

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 writing-designated (WRIT) 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 Comparative Literature, English, or Literary Arts from their prior institution, and for students in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program who are required to take only 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). If approved by a participating concentration (including Biology, German Studies, and Mathematics), 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 Requirements

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 exploring a problem, theme, or broad question through interdisciplinary fields. 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. Instead, the concentration is designed to foster students’ command of an area of knowledge and ability to use a concentration’s concepts and methods coherently.

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 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 be 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 College’s website.

All students (except incoming junior transfers) must declare their concentration by the middle of their fourth semester before pre-registering for semester five (usually the spring semester of sophomore year). This declaration outlines the student’s primary objectives in choosing the concentration while listing the specific courses to take. Once the declaration is approved, the departmental concentration advisor becomes the student’s advisor for the remainder of their time at Brown.

Students may complete as many as three concentrations during a regular four-year program. While Brown does not offer minors, students may pursue and earn one certificate. Students who pursue a certificate may only complete one concentration. A student who completes more than one concentration program may have that fact indicated on their permanent record. 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 the seventh semester). Sponsorship and authorization of each concentration program shall follow the usual procedures.

Students will only be permitted to register for their fifth semester if a declaration of concentration has been filed. Exceptions are made for incoming junior transfers and for Brown|RISD Dual Degree program students. 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 only receive honors if the thesis is completed in time to be evaluated by faculty readers and a recommendation is submitted before graduation.

Enrollment Requirement

By the Corporation's decision, each student must accumulate eight semesters, or 32 units, of enrollment credit before receiving a baccalaureate degree. 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 an entire semester’s worth of full-time enrollment 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 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 before 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 semester’s worth of full-time enrollment 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 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 granted this permission complete at least 36 course credits* within eight or nine 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 graduate degree requirements. The program includes at least two 2000-level courses, not including any 2000-level courses counted for the independent project or thesis. 

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. In consultation with the department involved, the Graduate Council shall determine the remaining requirements to be satisfied for the advanced degree.

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 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 by the end of the third week of their 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 relevant staff in the Graduate School.

Brown-Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program

In this five-year program, students earn a bachelor’s degree from both Brown and RISD. BRDD students may earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) from RISD in any undergraduate major, with the exception of the 5-year BArch program. BRDD students typically earn a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree from Brown, although permission to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Sc.B.) degree may be granted on a case-by-case basis because of their heavier curricular requirements. 

To gain admission, students must apply to and be admitted by both schools as well as to the BRDD program. 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.

Program in Liberal Medical Education

Each year, Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) matriculates approximately fifty first-year students pursuing an undergraduate degree and medical professional studies 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 permissible 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 help 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 students have the guidance and support they need to make informed choices, the University assigns each first-year student two advising partners: an exploratory advisor and a Meiklejohn peer advisor. The exploratory advisor is a faculty member or administrator who provides a 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 selection balance, prerequisites, and the like.

As first-year students transition to the sophomore year, they are encouraged to stay with their exploratory advisor to 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. 

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 in 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 Support Services provide one-on-one consultation to all students who request it. Additional support is available from the Sheridan Center's Academic Tutoring Program, the Curricular Resource Center, the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, the Brown Center for Students of Color, the LGBTQ Resource Center, the First Generation and Low-Income Student Center, the Center for Career Exploration, the professional staff in University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. Peer advising includes Brown’s Meiklejohn advising program; Matched Advisor Program for Sophomores (MAPS); residential community coordinators; minority peer counselors; women, gender and sexuality peer counselors; TRUE peer advisors; Peer Career Advisors (PCA); Health Careers Peer Advisors (HCPA); and athlete peer advisors.

Academic Support Services

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

  • The Curricular Resource Center (CRC) provides advising, facilitation, and reference materials for students wishing to design their own courses (ISPs and GISPs), craft independent concentrations, and explore options for time away from Brown. It also provides peer mentoring support for sophomores and coordinates an academic coaching program staffed by juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
  • Student Accessibility Services (SAS) coordinates and facilitates services for students with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities.
  • The Math Resource Center assists students in introductory mathematics courses.
  • The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning offers opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in their own learning and support the learning of their peers. One of the programs offered by the Sheridan Center is the Academic Tutoring Program. The Tutoring Program provides small-group tutoring for select gateway STEM and language courses. The peer-led groups meet weekly to review key concepts and learning objectives and discuss problem-solving techniques.
  • The Sheridan Center's Writing and English Language Support Hub provides individual and group communication support to any member of the Brown community. In the Writing Center, associates help students with all stages of the writing process, from finding a topic through drafting, revising, and final editing. Students can request a virtual or in-person appointment on the Writing Center's website. Multilingual students can also work directly with English Language Support on any aspect of English language development, including writing, speaking, reading, listening, and US academic and cultural norms.

Academic Standing

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

More information about the number of courses a student should complete to maintain good academic standing, and more information about academic standing generally, can be found here.

In addition, students making satisfactory academic progress will complete a minimum of seven courses in any two consecutive semesters. Before the summer of 2016, academic standing was determined based only on courses completed at Brown. Effective Summer 2016, academic standing is determined based on courses completed at Brown or via approved transfer credit noted on the transcript after a student has been enrolled as a degree candidate. Any pre-Brown matriculation credit, such as Advanced Placement (AP) credit, IB credit, college credits for transfer students, etc., do not determine 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 their 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 must obtain special academic advising from an assigned dean.

Guidelines for Study Elsewhere

Students who wish to transfer credit for study completed at an institutionally 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 nuanced; consult with a Degree Completion Dean before enrolling. This section describes the policies and procedures 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 Brown course credits for work undertaken during one academic year. Nearly all Brown courses carry one Brown course credit (1.0cc). One Brown course credit is equivalent to four semester credit hours (or 6 quarter units). Therefore, the number of courses taken while on study away from Brown may not be equal to the number of course credits earned. Once a plan is approved by the College, all coursework must meet Brown’s transfer credit policies. Students should also keep all records from their work away, including course syllabi, exams, papers, notes, projects, and portfolios, should the student’s concentration department require it for concentration credit.

The Brown transcript will indicate the host institution's name, when the student studied there, and 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 coursework 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 they have been enrolled in. In such cases, the student must request copies of their transcripts from the study-away institution.

Full-Time Study Away

Students planning to study away from Brown full-time must receive approval in advance from the College. This pathway is generally for U.S.-based students interested in studying at another U.S. school during the academic year, but also for international students (F1) interested in studying away in their “home country.” Full-Time Study Away awards students one semester of standing. Learn more about the policies that govern Full-Time Study Away here and how to apply. This is distinct from Study Abroad, which is outlined further below. 

Study Away during the Summer

Two avenues of study are available to undergraduate students interested in summer coursework. 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. Most students will not be eligible to transfer course credit from a non-Brown summer program, as it generally requires a credit recovery need. Consult with a Degree Completion Dean before enrolling. Whether studying in the U.S. or abroad, students must study at institutionally-accredited, degree-granting institutions. Students must obtain preliminary approval for summer study away from Brown by the College.

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 Winter Session courses count towards the 4 maximum allotment (Winter session courses from other institutions are NOT transferable). No more than the equivalent of two Brown course credits will be transcripted for any given summer of enrollment. Concurrent enrollment in Brown’s Summer Session and outside coursework is not permissible. Summer transfer credit may not be used to advance a student’s graduation date. Students interested in summer study elsewhere should consult staff in the Dean of the College office or Study Abroad staff, as appropriate.

Semester Study Abroad

Study Abroad |

Brown University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study abroad through a wide variety of academic programs, some offered directly by the University and others sponsored by institutions that Brown approves for academic credit. Hundreds of Brown students study outside of the U.S. each year and are transformed by their experiences in the most positive and profound ways.

Study abroad advisors work closely with students to consider and select one of Brown’s many study abroad program offerings. For decades, Brown has offered its own programs in France, Italy and Germany. As the administering lead institution of the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad, Brown also provides students with study opportunities in Australia, Chile, Cuba, Ireland and Spain (Barcelona and Granada). Additionally, the University partners with leading world universities in Japan and the United Kingdom, and you may consider more than 70 approved programs in other countries.

It’s never too early to begin thinking about studying abroad. Brown encourages you to plan ahead to incorporate study abroad into your academic planning.

The Senior Associate Dean for Study Abroad oversees the approval of course credits earned in study abroad programs, and summarizes petitions for courses of study to the Committee on Academic Standing. Guidelines for approving such petitions are below. When exceptions to these guidelines are sought by students, petitions are made to the Senior Associate Dean, who presents the petitions to CAS for consideration on the students’ behalf.

Study abroad is intended to provide students with opportunities not available at Brown, and to complement the university’s curricular offerings. In order to qualify for transfer credit back to Brown, the courses taken must be either a part of a degree-bearing program at a foreign institution of higher learning, under the aegis of the responsible office of that country, or offered by a study abroad program provider that is able to document completed coursework through a U.S. school of record who provides a transcript for the earned credits. Brown students are ordinarily subject to the same rules and regulations governing the degree-seeking students of the host university. Special arrangements may be approved for the evaluation of student work if the local institution does not normally evaluate student work at the end of the student’s study abroad period. This exception, however, does not permit students to deviate from the host university’s normal program of study or its calendar.

Students may study abroad through programs that are Brown sponsored, Brown approved, or CAS-petition approved. In all cases, pre-approval from the Study Abroad Office is required before a student may study abroad for academic credit. Under no circumstances are students allowed to study abroad without first obtaining pre-approval if they intend to use those courses toward their Brown degree requirements. It is also not possible to study abroad without pre-approval and then apply retroactively for transfer of study abroad credit, unless this coursework is completed during the summer. Credit earned independently on a summer study abroad program is eligible for transfer if the program meets the above-described accreditation standards, transfer credit policies are adhered to, and the student has a demonstrated credit recovery need.

Home Tuition Policy

All students who matriculate to Brown after July 1, 2006, are charged Brown University tuition while studying abroad for academic credit. The revised fee structure enables study abroad to be integrated into the Brown four-year academic experience while ensuring equity across the broad socioeconomic spectrum of Brown students.

Academic Standing Requirement

Study abroad is usually not appropriate for students in academic difficulty; therefore, students must be in good academic standing in order to obtain approval to study abroad. Students on Warning may petition the Study Abroad Office for an exception to this rule, and must have a degree completion plan developed with their CAS dean to be considered for an exception.

Language Requirement

Students who wish to attend programs in countries where Brown offers a language concentration (French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese) must demonstrate proficiency in the host country’s language before studying abroad. Competence is certified by the appropriate language department at the level required for study abroad by the language departments and the Study Abroad Office. When studying abroad in these countries, students are required to take all courses in the local language. Some approved programs, such as Granada, allow students to begin study of the language at lower levels.

In host sites where the local language is not routinely available for study by the average Brown student, students may enroll in English language programs administered by or on behalf of the host university. Such students are generally required to study the local language as part of their study abroad programs.

Enrollment Requirement

Study abroad requires that a student enroll full time for courses in an accredited undergraduate study abroad program. Students must register for study abroad courses for a letter or number grade (i.e., not Pass/Fail), and must pass each course with the equivalent of a C or better. Students may receive up to ten transfer course credits for work undertaken during one academic year. The maximum number of courses accepted for concentration credit may not exceed four. Courses taken for general credit towards graduation are reviewed and approved by the Study Abroad Office in consultation with relevant departments. Transfer of courses taken for concentration credit requires written post-approval by the student’s concentration advisor. As is the case with all courses transferred back to Brown, letter grades are not recorded on the Brown transcript.

Special Programs

Study abroad institutions created primarily for American and other foreign students will not ordinarily bear credit at Brown. Exceptions to this rule include programs that provided a structured curriculum in areas represented in Brown’s curriculum but often not available at universities in other countries (e.g., theater and studio arts, development studies, environmental studies, and community health); programs in which students pursuing a relevant field of study or language at Brown cannot be expected to have mastered the local language well enough to function alongside local students; and programs in a specific area of study or field of research either unavailable at Brown or better pursued at a foreign site with special opportunities.

Excluded Programs

Credit is not granted for “itinerant programs” (those in which students spend a week or less in different locations or countries), shipboard education programs, or most programs created primarily for American and other foreign students (see Special Programs above for exceptions). To earn transfer credit for courses completed in a non-university-based program, students must spend the majority of their time living and studying in the country in which the program is based, or working with members of the host country.

Computing Transfer Credit

The maximum number of credits earned abroad in one semester that will transfer to Brown is five, even if the student completed more than the equivalent of a full Brown course load abroad. Because of differences in the way credits are calculated throughout institutions of higher education, the number of credits taken in a program abroad may not transfer one-to-one to Brown.

Academic Standing upon Returning to Brown

Students studying abroad are subject to the same academic standing regulations as when they are in residence at Brown. Students who return from study abroad with fewer than the equivalent of 4 Brown courses should be aware that their academic standing could be negatively affected, and that they must address the resulting credit shortfall, if any, in the subsequent semester.

Enrollment Unit Requirement

In order to earn a degree, students must accumulate eight semesters of enrollment units (i.e., 32 enrollment units), signifying the completion of eight semesters of full-time study. A minimum of three course credits per semester from study abroad will grant a student one semester of enrollment units. A minimum of seven course credits per year will grant a student two semesters of enrollment units. In the event that a student earns fewer than three transfer credits for a semester of study abroad or fewer than seven transfer credits for a year abroad, the student’s expected date of graduation may be altered.

Study Away |

In addition to study abroad options, some students are interested in studying away at another college or university in the U.S. or in their home country of permanent residence. At Brown, you have the opportunity to apply for full-time study away status to earn a semester’s equivalent of standing and course credits for degree requirements after a semester of study at Brown. Academic deans are available to help you plan ahead to ensure your plans meet requirements and support your degree completion, academic and personal objectives. 

With the appropriate permissions, Brown students are allowed to earn credit from other colleges and universities as part of their Brown degree requirements. U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States may petition the College (by the Associate Dean of the College for Curricular Integration or designee) to study at a institutionally-accredited two- or four-year degree-granting college or university in the U.S.; students studying on F-1 visas may petition to study at a two- or four-year institution in their home countries. Students must obtain advance review and approval of their proposed coursework from the College in order to transfer course credit back to Brown, using the transfer credit approval process. Students who wish to use non-Brown courses to satisfy concentration requirements must independently obtain permission from their concentration advisor. Many departments will allow only two concentration requirements to be fulfilled with transfer courses; students should confirm departmental rules in advance. Transfer credit cannot be granted until the student has completed their work with a grade of C or better, submitted an official transcript from the visited institution, and finalized approval in ASK.

One option for studying at other institutions is “Study Away,” which connotes full-time study at an approved institution as a visiting (non-matriculated) student. With appropriate approvals, students may receive enrollment units for such approved study away. Students should discuss their plans well in advance with a degree completion dean and with their concentration advisor to review and gain approval for both academic courses and enrollment unit calculations. In some cases, students eligible for financial aid may be able to arrange aid at the other institution through a consortial agreement worked out with the financial aid office. The Associate Dean of the College for Curricular Integration (or designee) will make regular reports to the CAS on approved study away plans.

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 maintain 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 similar to those followed during the academic year. The courses are equivalent to academic year offerings, are approved by the College Curriculum Council, and count toward official determination of academic standing.

Brown undergraduates may complete up to two courses in any given summer and may apply four summer courses toward their bachelor’s degree (Brown Winter Session courses are also included in the four-course maximum 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 a waiver of one semester of enrollment credit (Note: This provision does not extend to students enrolled in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program). 

For more information, visit

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

Brown Winter Session

In 2016-2017, Brown Launched a Winter Session for Brown undergraduate degree candidates. Following Brown Summer Session rules, students can count no more than four Summer/Winter Session course credits toward their bachelor’s degree and may also apply for a waiver of one semester of enrollment credit if four Brown Summer/Winter course credits are earned (Note: This provision does not extend to students enrolled in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program).

For more information and guidelines as they relate to Brown's Winter Session please visit https://wintersession.brown.ed