US Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, USA).
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- US Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, USA).
- US Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, USA). Academics.
About Brown University
Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School and the School of Engineering.
With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.
Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.
Graduate students study in more than 70 programs. The broad scope of options vary from interdisciplinary opportunities in molecular pharmacology and physiology and master’s programs in acting and directing through the Brown/Trinity Repertory Consortium.
Brown students have a lot to smile about. Named by the 2010 Princeton Review as the #1 College in America for Happiest Students, Brown is frequently recognized for its global reach, many cultural events, numerous campus groups and activities, active community service programs, highly competitive athletics, and beautiful facilities located in a richly historic urban setting.
Brown University > History
Almost two and a half centuries of history
Brown was founded in 1764—the third college in New England and the seventh in America. Brown was the first Ivy League school to accept students from all religious affiliations, a testament to the spirit of openness that still typifies Brown today.
Originally located in Warren, Rhode Island and called the College of Rhode Island, Brown moved to its current spot overlooking Providence on College Hill in 1770 and was renamed in 1804 in recognition of a $5,000 gift from Nicholas Brown, a prominent Providence businessman and Brown alum, Class of 1786.
Women were first admitted to Brown in 1891. The Women’s College was later renamed Pembroke College before merging with Brown in 1971. The northern section of campus where the women’s school was situated is known today as Pembroke Campus.
The first master’s degrees were granted in 1888 and the first doctorates in 1889. The first M.D. degrees of the modern era were presented in 1975 to a graduating class of 58 students. Today, Brown awards some 90 medical degrees annually from the Alpert Medical School.
Undergraduate education changed dramatically in 1970 with the introduction of what has become known as the Brown Curriculum. The idea for this change came from a report written by undergraduates Ira Magaziner ‘69 and Elliot E. Maxwell ’68, as part of a GISP (Group Independent Study Project) that examined education at Brown.
The new curriculum eliminated core requirements shared by all Brown undergraduates and created specific departmental concentration requirements. This approach has defined the undergraduate academic experience at Brown ever since, demanding that students serve as the architects of their courses of study.
Constant change defines Brown’s past and future, though the university’s culture is rich in tradition. Brown’s first building, for example, the red-bricked University Hall, was built in 1770 and still stands on the College Green. Today, the campus consists of 235 buildings on 143 acres on the East Side of Providence. In spring 2010, Brown broke ground on a new state-of-the-art facility for the Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence’s historic Jewelry District.
The Plan for Academic Enrichment builds on Brown’s strengths and sets new benchmarks of excellence in research, education, and public leadership. The July 2010 transformation of the Engineering program into the newly established School of Engineering is a direct institutional result of these efforts.
Brown continues to follow its mission—seeking out ways to improve, expand its scope, and better serve the world as a leading institution for education, discovery, and global intellectual progress.
Traditions—some sacred, some silly—are part of every Brown student’s experience
Here are a few enduring customs that provide an insight to life on campus:
- The iconic Van Wickle Gates on the Quiet Green open only twice per year: inward for Convocation, when first-year students walk in and are welcomed by a gathering of the Brown community, and outward for Commencement, when graduating seniors process out past alums, family, friends and others. According to superstition, any Brown student who passes through the gates more than these two times will be cursed with bad luck.
- Each year since 1960, students crowd onto the College Green for Spring Weekend Concerts, sponsored by the student-run Brown Concert Agency. Historical acts include Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and R.E.M. Among more recent performers are The Shins, Wilco, the Roots, The Flaming Lips, M.I.A., Nas, Of Montreal, MGMT, and Snoop Dogg.
- One of Brown’s most well-known former faculty members—professor of psychoceramics (the study of cracked pots) Josiah S. Carberry—never actually existed. But his name lives—Carberry is the namesake for the beloved late-night eatery “Josiah’s” and for the Brown library online catalog.
- Students gather every Halloween at midnight in Sayles Hall for the annual organ concert. Blankets and pillows in hand, students gather on the floor of the vast hall and listen to the university organist play a selection of appropriately spooky tunes on the largest remaining Hutchings-Votey organ in the world. A similar assembly happens right before winter break, when many of Brown’s singing groups perform holiday themed concerts in Sayles.
Besides these highlights, plenty of other traditions have developed in Brown’s nearly 250 years of history. Undoubtedly, a connection to the university’s past enriches the campus culture of the present and points the way to its future.
Brown University > Brown’s Mission
The mission of Brown University is to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation. We do this through a partnership of students and teachers in a unified community known as a university-college.
Brown University > Facts About Brown
Brown University > Facts About Brown
Full-time students and part-time degree-seeking students as of Oct. 2010:
- Undergraduate: 6,102
- Graduate: 1,905
- Medical: 410
Total faculty (does not include adjunct, visiting, clinical, and other “non-regular” faculty): 682
- Number of applicants, Undergraduate Class of 2014: 30,135
- Admitted: 2,820 (9.3%)
- Ninety-three percent of applicants to the Class of 2014 were in the top 10% of their high school class.
- In 2010, the Graduate School received more than 9,000 applications, an increase of 13% over the previous year.
Tuition & Fees/Financial Aid
- Undergraduate tuition for academic year 2010-11: $39,928
- Room, board, and required fees: $11,432
Total cost: $51,360
Brown University > Administration
The Corporation is Brown’s primary governing body. It consists of a 12-member Board of Fellows and a 42-member Board of Trustees, meets 3 times per year, and makes policy decisions in areas including academic affairs, advancement, budget and finance, and campus life.
The authority and responsibilities of the Corporation, a bicameral body composed of a Board of Fellows with twelve members and a Board of Trustees with forty-two, are set forth in the Charter of the University granted by the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1764. “It is our fixed star; we can do nothing that contradicts its prohibitions or transgresses its grants of power,” states Henry Wriston in The Structure of Brown University.
Ruth J. Simmons is the 18th president of Brown University. As Chief Executive Officer, President Simmons reports to the Corporation, oversees all divisions of Brown’s administration, and is chief ambassador for the university.
The senior staff includes the provost, deans, vice presidents for finance, planning, campus life, advancement, public affairs, university governance, and other senior leaders of the University.
Brown’s various managerial offices ensure a smooth daily operation of the university. See the A-to-Z page for a complete directory of offices.
Brown University > Brown & Providence
Brown and Providence have a strong partnership rooted in more than 240 years of history
Brown students, staff, and faculty are engaged in local schools, religious groups, charities and social justice organizations.
Students are encouraged to get involved in the diverse and dynamic communities beyond the campus gates. The Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service matches over 1,000 students annually with social entrepreneurship organizations, many founded by Brown students and alumni.
There are nearly 50 campus programs for education outreach in area schools.
Additional Brown-led efforts include the RI Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, The Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, the Thayer Street Improvement Project, and a joint project with IBM that has brought a new generation of high-performance computing to Rhode Island.
Brown also has a significant local economic impact. The 6th-largest employer in Rhode Island, Brown directly and indirectly accounted for nearly 8,200 Rhode Island jobs in 2009, and $660 million in statewide economic output.
Brown spent $139 million on research in 2009, making it the leading center of scientific research and development in Rhode Island.
Since 2005, the number of Brown alumni living in Providence has grown by 23 percent, a testament to the quality of life and Brown’s culture of loyalty to the community.
Brown’s latest plans to invest $227 million in new or renovated facilities will help build not only Brown’s future, but also that of Providence and the State of Rhode Island.
Brown University > Brown & the World
Brown makes a distinctive contribution to global research, service, and education
The Brown community forges an original relationship with the world and makes a distinctive contribution to global research, service and education.
The Office of International Affairs articulates and implements Brown’s strategy for global engagement, leads efforts to raise the University’s international visibility, oversees the University’s wide array of international partnerships and programs, and works closely with faculty and administration to ensure that new initiatives serve to enhance Brown’s global standing and research mission.
More than 500 Brown students study outside of the United States each year through numerous international partnerships offered by the Office of International Programs. Students can be found in classrooms, laboratories, libraries and research sites around the globe, participating in academic programs offered by Brown or in courses approved for credit by the university.
Brown’s centers and departments work to better our world in many ways. One example is the Brown University AIDS Program (BRUNAP), an internationally known site for global HIV prevention education. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, BRUNAP trains lab researchers and clinicians around the world—especially in Southeast Asia.
The Global Health Initiative is distinguished by an integrative, overarching approach to interrelated problems of health and development. The Initiative brings the social, cultural and human dimensions of global health problems and their biomedical and technological elements together under a single umbrella. Building upon Brown’s expertise in population analysis and infectious disease intervention, the Initiative offers research, teaching and service opportunities for students and faculty, addressing issues of capacity, infrastructure, environment and health care delivery to reduce the burden of disease in impoverished communities.
From understanding climate history to coping with the present and developing plans for adapting to the changes that are coming, Brown faculty and students involved in the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) apply scientific expertise, technical innovation and personal commitment to the complex problem of climate change. The ECI and the Center for Environmental Studies form the core of Brown’s climate-related research and teaching, but activity extends to many corners of the University. Climate change requires new levels of international collaboration and response, which will transform Brown.
Support services for international students include the Office of International Student & Scholar Services and the Third World Center, both offering opportunities for the entire Brown community to celebrate diverse cultures.
A variety of programs and organizations contribute to a campus-wide culture of international awareness. In 2009, Focus on Africa presented a series of activities and events designed to strengthen Brown’s cultural and academic ties to African nations.
The academic year of 2009-10 was Brown’s official Year of India, which included major public lectures, cultural events, academic conferences, multimedia and other explorations of India and its dramatic rise on the world stage.
Brown’s global reach extends beyond the gates of campus to establish the university’s place as a positive force in a complex and interconnected world.
Brown University > Visit Brown
Brown welcomes visitors year-round
Come to Providence’s College Hill and get to know Brown firsthand.
The Admission Office offers tours and information sessions most weekdays and select Saturdays. Meet at the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center. Short on time? Pick up a self-guided tour and campus map any day. Most of Brown’s 235 buildings and facilities are within a few blocks of the campus center, the College Green.
There are many paths to Brown. Kennedy Plaza, the bus service hub, and the Providence Train Station, home to Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) service, are both downtown, just a short walk or taxi ride away from campus. T.F. Green Airport is 10 miles south in Warwick, RI.
Get driving directions and parking information.
Check out our events calendar to see what’s happening on campus the day of your visit, or get a sample of the Brown academic experience by visiting a class.
Spending the night? See our list of local accommodations.
* More information at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, USA). Academics.