Choosing a Concentration: A Step-by-Step Guide
Choosing a concentration at Brown can be both exciting and daunting. Brown offers nearly 80 concentrations in 44 different academic departments and interdisciplinary areas of study, so students have a wealth of concentration options at their disposal. Many students have a good idea soon after their first year of study; other students change their minds any number of times before settling on a concentration. Certain concentrations, such as engineering, have a particularly high number of required courses. Students who think they may want to concentrate in such areas are well advised to take an introductory course in the concentration during their first year of study.
The steps below will help students take full advantage of Brown's open curriculum while honing in on the concentrations that are right for them.
- When choosing courses each semester, consider some of them as possible "trial runs" for a concentration. Evaluate your likes and dislikes; try to get a feel for your academic strengths and weaknesses as they might apply to a given field. Might one or more of these areas of study "fit" you as a possible concentration?
- Talk to faculty, academic advisors, Randall advisors, deans, and upperclass students. Seek advice from several different sources. Although the final choice of concentration is, of course, yours alone to make, professors, administrators, and other students can help you see new perspectives, and may have information critical to your decisions. Your intended concentration also may have an affiliated Departmental Undergraduate Group (DUG) that can provide insight into a course of study.
- Review requirements on Focal Point for concentrations you are considering. If instead of a standard concentration, you are considering declaring an independent concentration, visit the Curricular Resource Center (CRC) to consult with one of the peer counselors and to review a database of previously approved independent concentrations. You will also need to meet with Besenia Rodriguez, Dean of Upperclass Studies in the Dean of the College Office.
- Attend the Concentration Fair and visit concentration advisors during their extended open hours in early spring. Use these visits to discuss details of various concentrations with departmental advisors. You can also make appointments with departmental concentration advisors at any time of the year.
Click on Declaring a Concentration at left for information on how and when to register your concentration selection with the University.