Student Life

Brown provides its 1,500 graduate students unparalleled educational and research opportunities through the University’s faculty, library system, technology, and campus facilities. Situated on Providence’s historic East Side and within walking distance of the newly revitalized “downcity,” Brown offers ready access to the city’s rich social and cultural life.

The following brief introduction to Student Life at Brown and beyond contains links where more detailed information can be found.

Life at Brown

The Education Department is centrally located on the Brown campus in Barus Hall, historically the carriage house for a large brown-stone mansion in the next block. In addition to office space for education faculty and staff, the building provides a computer lab and student lounge for use by both undergraduate and graduate students in the education programs and serves as a central meeting place for students and faculty.

The University’s Library system hosts one of the largest academic collections in New England, with more than five million books, periodicals, maps, microforms, videotapes, CD-ROMs, records, and manuscripts in some ten facilities on the campus. The social science collection is housed in the University’s main library, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, popularly known as “the Rock.”

Located a few steps from Barus Hall, the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Center for Information and Technology (CIT) features state-of-the-art computing facilities. The CIT features several public computing clusters, all staffed by consultants. Training and consulting on university computing services are available at no charge to members of the university community.

The Graduate School provides assistance to graduate students in all areas of campus life, including housing, transportation, childcare, meal plans, health care and insurance, and disability support services. Some on-campus housing is reserved for graduate students coming from more than 1,000 miles away who are unable to visit the campus before classes begin. Most students live off campus in the residential areas that the surround the University.

Brown offers an abundant variety of campus-wide opportunities for intellectual, cultural, athletic, and recreational activities at little or no cost to members of the university community. Programs feature national and internationally known speakers, musical and theatrical presentations, Ivy League and intramural sports, athletic facilities, and social activities. 

Life in Providence and Rhode Island

Providence, the second largest city in New England, is a newly revitalized urban center with an ethnically diverse population of 180,000. The “Renaissance City” is home to a thriving arts community, award-winning theaters, excellent restaurants, and a rich diversity of neighborhoods; Federal Hill, not far from the Brown campus, is a Italian-American community offering a variety of ethnic shops and restaurants. Waterfire, an atmospheric combination of the river, flaming braziers, and music, has become a signature event during the summer. Providence is home to four other colleges: the Rhode Island School of Design (adjacent to the Brown campus), Providence College, Johnson & Wales University, and a campus of the Community College of Rhode Island.

Dominated by Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island boasts many miles of scenic coastline and is well known for its beaches, boating, sport fishing, and seafood. Newport, famous for the summer “cottages” of wealthy New Yorkers and for its annual music festivals, is the state’s best known tourist destination. The state is home to farm teams for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins and to the national Tennis Hall of Fame. Despite being the most densely populated state in the nation, Rhode Island offers hundreds of acres of parkland, wildlife refuges, and hiking trails.