Progress Toward the Degree

Like all Ivy League universities, Brown requires students to make progress toward the degree according to a required number of courses each semester. The academic progress chart on the Dean of the College website spells out the minimum number of courses that students are normally expected to complete according to their semester level. Students who meet this minimum requirement stay in "Good Standing" during their time at Brown. Exceptions to the minimum progress requirement are recommended by deans when a student's individual circumstances warrant special consideration. 

Grades and Transcripts

Parents are naturally interested in their students' academic choices, performance, and progress toward the degree. We encourage you to speak regularly with your student about his or her academic experiences, choices, and goals. Ideally, such conversations begin prior to your student's arrival at Brown. Regular conversation will allow you to support your student and may alert you to potential issues that are best addressed proactively.

Federal law and Brown policy grant parents or legal guardians access to a dependent student’s grades if a written request is submitted to the Registrar’s Office (email to, paper request to Box K), and if the request is accepted by the student. A paper copy of each subsequent semester’s grades is then sent to the parent making the request. Complete academic transcripts can be requested only by the student. Similarly, details about course registration activity and progress towards degree requirements can be divulged only to the student. Additional information is available on the Registrar's website.

Academic Difficulties

When a student’s academic progress fails to meet University expectations, he or she is placed on Academic Warning, Serious Warning, or Academic Suspension. In such cases, the Dean of the College office notifies the student's parents or legal guardians. Students on academic warning, serious warning, or suspension are assigned to academic deans who help them develop a plan for returning to good standing.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that ensures the privacy of student education records. The rights delineated under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student when the student reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. FERPA also limits universities' rights to share information about students with anyone, including parents. Generally speaking, Brown expects students to communicate details about their academic and personal experiences to their parents. However, the University will contact parents or guardians in emergencies, if a student's academic standing is in jeopardy, or if personal circumstances warrant such communications.