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Programs are available for the following advanced degrees: master of arts, master of fine arts, master of public health, master of science, master of medical science, master of arts in teaching, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of medicine.

Degree Requirements

Listed below, in brief, are general degree requirements of the Graduate School. For specific degree requirements, consult the latest edition of the Bulletin of the University .

Specific departmental requirements for degree programs are listed in the Divisions, Departments, Centers, Programs, and Institutes section of the Bulletin of the University. More detailed information may also be obtained directly from the appropriate departments. Students should understand that the mechanical fulfillment of stated basic requirements will not by itself earn any advanced degree; the faculty of the program concerned must also be satisfied as to the intellectual merit and scholarly potential of the candidate.

Both the general requirements of the Graduate School and the specific requirements of the individual programs must be met.

Grade Requirements

A minimum grade of either Satisfactory or C in a 1000 or 2000 level course carries credit toward all advanced degrees. Individual departments may, subject to the approval of the Graduate Council, set higher grade requirements.

Advanced degree candidates may be required to register in courses primarily for undergraduates (numbered 1-999); these courses do not carry advanced degree credit. On occasion, however, and with approval of the student's department and the Dean, a student may register for such a course with extra work for advanced degree credit. This course then has the same standing as a 1000 level course and an E is noted on the transcript. This provision for extra work does not apply to courses of the level of 1-999 taken for graduate credit by students in the Master of Medical Science or School of Medicine programs.

Tuition Regulations  

1. Tuition Requirements for the Master's Degree -- The minimum total tuition that must be paid for a master’s degree is an amount equal to one annual tuition payment (eight tuition units). Some multi-year master’s programs have either a higher total tuition requirement or an eight unit requirement sparsed out for more than 2 semesters. If the Graduate Council approves a standard program leading to a master’s degree that requires fewer than four courses per semester, but more than one year of the equivalent of full-time enrollment, or in the event that the normal enrollment pattern is not consistent with the normal academic year (e.g., the MAT and MFA programs), students officially enrolled in such programs will be charged at the rate per semester as set forth by the Graduate Council or by approval of the Dean of the Graduate School for the length of the program. (See item 3 below for more information regarding terminal masters programs)

2. Tuition Requirements for the Ph.D. -- Ph.D. students must pay tuition for the equivalent of three years of full-time study. Students who have fulfilled the tuition requirement, but not the academic requirements for their degree, continue to pay full-time tuition until their academic work has been completed. After the residency requirement has been met, Ph.D. students may continue to enroll in additional course work and receive academic credit. (Note that the Graduate School offers incoming doctoral students five years of guaranteed financial support, including tuition remission.)

3. Terminal Master’s programs are structured as follows:

A. One-Year Masters Programs: Students in one-year master’s programs (including those that begin in Summer term) are charged for the total number of units required by the program in one academic year and are expected to complete theprogram in one academic year. Enrollment time status is classified based on the number of Brown course credits a student is enrolled in and units charged inrelation to those credits on the following schedule:

■ 3 or more course credits & units = Full Time

■ 2 course credits & units = Half Time

■ 1 course credit & unit = Less than Half Time

*In Summer term (1-2 course credits & units depending on program is considered Full Time)

B. Multi-Year Master’s Programs: By default, students in programs that span more than one year are charged a tuition rate of 2 units per semester and are therefore expected to complete 2 Brown course Credits per semester. Students in these programs are classified as full time by being enrolled and charged for the equivalent of 2 Brown course credits per semester. In cases where an approved program structure requires more than 2 courses per semester, students will be charged tuition accordingly; students who deviate from that structure will default to having 2 courses considered full time.

C. Regardless of program structure, students who need to complete only one course in their final semester may contact the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School to petition to have their tuition rate lowered; but their enrollment status (full time, half time, less than half time) will be adjusted accordingly. For students in one-year programs, one course is less than half time; for student in multi-year programs, it is half time. Students with loans should contact Financial Aid to confirm whether changes to their enrollment status will result in changes to their loan repayment requirements. In order to ensure compliance with visa requirements, international students should contact OISSS before submitting requests to lower the tuition rate.

D. Terminal master’s students who have a legitimate academic reason for enrolling in more courses than their program requires may do so only before they have completed all of the requirements for the program and must pay for those additional courses above those being charged for the actual program. Students may not extend their enrollment in the program after they have satisfied the program's structure and enrollment requirements.

E. Master’s students who have exhausted the duration of the stated program structure yet have not completed their program’s course requirements may, with the approval of the student’s advisor, the DGS, and the Graduate School, extend their enrollment. Such extensions are allowable for no more than 2 semesters beyond the stated program length. Students who are granted such extensions will be classified as half time for 1 course credit or full time if registered for 2 or more courses.

4. The tuition requirement must be satisfied prior to the awarding of a degree and no portion thereof will be waived. However, Ph.D. candidates who have completed all academic requirements for the degree but have spent without interruption less than the equivalent of three full years in residence, may appeal to the Graduate Council for a reduction in tuition requirements.

Subject to conditions established by the Graduate School, candidates for the Ph.D. degree may earn up to two master's degrees with no further payment of tuition beyond the minimum of twenty-four units required for a doctorate. One of the master's degrees must be in the field of the Ph.D. (unless approved by the Graduate School) and the other in a related or complementary field. The second master's degree must be approved both by the department of the Ph.D. and the department of the second master's. See also Advanced Degree Programs.

5. The total tuition required for a degree will be reduced by one tuition unit for each semester course of transfer credit (to a maximum of one tuition unit for a master's degree--two in 14-course programs--and eight tuition units for a doctorate).

6. If a Ph.D. candidate applies to be awarded a degree prior to the normal accumulation of credit for the required minimum number of annual tuition payments, the unpaid balance of the minimum tuition requirement for the degree will be charged at the rate in effect during the year in which the requirements for the degree are completed.

7. The following students will be charged tuition at the rate of one tuition unit per course:
a) Part-time degree candidates enrolled for courses.
b) Non-degree students.

8. For students enrolled in combined degree programs which include the M.D. degree, the tuition requirement for the M.D. degree covers the minimum total tuition requirement for 1 year of PhD. Study. (In short, rather than 24 units, 16 are required.)

9. No student may take examinations, use any of the facilities of the University, including the services of a dissertation or thesis advisor, submit a thesis or dissertation, or be a candidate for an advanced degree unless properly enrolled.

10. In general, enrollment privileges, other than registration for courses, will be extended beyond the end of one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year (that is, over the summer months) without additional tuition charge. Official certification of a specific enrollment status (full-time or part-time) during all or part of this period, however, will be subject to conditions established by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Registrar in cooperation with the appropriate academic departments.

 11. Readmission: Students who reenroll after an approved leave of absence or a withdrawal with the advance permission of the Dean of the Graduate School, including for the sole purpose of filing a thesis or dissertation, will be charged a readmission fee equal to 6.25% of half the annual tuition. Students who are withdrawn on the University's initiative for failure to register or some other cause will, if subsequently readmitted, be charged both the readmission fee and a re-enrollment equal to 6.25% of half the annual tuition. For current rates please visit https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/bursar/student-account-billing/graduate-fees .

 Students who re-enroll either after a medical leave or after a leave approved by the Dean of the Graduate School for care of a newborn child or a newly adopted child, or for other extraordinary circumstances, will not be charged a readmission fee.  Students experiencing financial hardship should contact Associate Dean Shayna Kessel to request a fee waiver.

Annual tuition
the course fee fixed by the Corporation of the University for a given academic year.
Tuition Unit
one-eighth of the annual tuition.

Special Graduate Study

If, after at least one year of full-time graduate study at Brown, a student wishes to pursue scholarly work which cannot be accommodated within an existing Ph.D. program, the student may apply for permission to enroll as a doctoral student in special study. This entails drafting a self-designed plan of study, submitting a petition to the Graduate Council for approval and fulfilling the general requirements of the Graduate School for the Ph.D. at Brown.

Only current graduate students or recent graduates of one of the regular graduate programs may apply for special graduate study.

For more information, see Faculty Rules and Regulations, Part 2, Section 5, VIII, or contact the secretary of the Graduate Council.

Second Master's Degree in a Field Related to the Ph.D.

A candidate for the Ph.D. may earn a master's degree in a field related or complementary to the Ph.D. in addition to the master's degree in the same field as the Ph.D. Degree requirements for both master's degrees must be separately met, and the advisors from both degree programs must approve. No tuition is charged beyond that charged for the Ph.D. program (see "Advanced Degree Programs"). Application forms for the second master's degree program are available from the Graduate School.

Doctoral students who transfer credit for a master's degree earned elsewhere are limited to earning only one master's degree at Brown.

Exchange Scholar Program

Brown University participates in an Exchange Scholar Program that enables advanced graduate students to study for one or two semesters in the graduate schools of one of the other participating institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Yale University. Courses taken and research conducted with particular faculty members at one of the institutions above will be registered on the academic record and official transcript at Brown. Students are eligible to be Exchange Scholars only after completing an academic year of study in a doctoral degree program at Brown. Participating students will be registered as Exchange Scholars with Brown and will hold special nondegree status at the host institution.

Graduate Degree Conferrals and Associated Deadlines

Beginning in Fall 2019 graduate students are eligible to have degrees conferred, and to receive their diploma, on three different dates over the course of the academic year:

October (for students who complete their terminal* degree requirements the preceding summer term)

February (for students who complete their terminal* requirements the preceding fall term)

May (at Commencement, for students who complete their requirements over the preceding spring term)

*The October and February Conferral dates were created to satisfy the need for terminal graduate degree candidates to obtain their degree/diploma in advance of the traditional May Commencement Ceremony. Doctoral students picking up a transitional master's degree en route to the PhD must wait until the May degree conferral.

October and February degree recipients are welcome to participate in the subsequent May Commencement. The Graduate School will reach out in late January, to the email address recorded on the Application to Graduate, with instructions for registering to attend and participate.  

Graduates who choose this option must bring their diploma covers with them, as the Office of the Registrar cannot provide additional covers

There is no ceremonial commencement in October or February. Students whose degrees are conferred at those times are listed in the May Commencement Bulletin, and noted as prior-term completers.  

The required steps and deadlines for each degree conferral are outlined below:

1. October degree conferral

  • Application to Graduate - open 07/01/23 through Friday 09/08/23. This degree conferral is for those who are no longer enrolled after August. Candidates who are active for any part of Fall semester must wait until the February conferral. (*see note above regarding transitional master's degrees)

The Application to Graduate is a required step to graduate, and is available in Banner Self Service, under Applicant and Student > Student Records. Students who fail to apply by the deadline would need to wait until next degree conferral cycle to apply. 

  • Thesis Defense Deadline/Grade Deadline – Friday 09/08/23.  All degree candidate grades must be entered, and Thesis/Dissertation must be recorded by the Graduate School by this date.
  • Degree Conferral - October 22, 2023

2. February degree conferral 

  • Application to Graduate deadline - open 10/02/23 through Friday 01/12/24This degree conferral is for those who are no longer enrolled after December. If you are a graduate degree candidate active for any part of Spring semester, you need to wait until the May conferral. (*see note above regarding transitional master's degrees)

The Application to Graduate is a required step to graduate, and is available in Banner Self Service, under Applicant and Student > Student Records. Students who fail to apply by the deadline would need to wait until next degree conferral cycle to apply.

  • Thesis Defense Deadline/Grade Deadline - Friday 01/12/24.  All degree candidate grades must be entered, and Thesis/Dissertation must be recorded by the Graduate School by this date.
  • Degree Conferral - February 11, 2024

3. May degree conferral (University Commencement Weekend) 

  • Application to Graduate deadline - open 01/15/24 through Friday 04/19/24This degree conferral is open to all terminal and transitional degree candidates eligible to complete degree requirements.

The Application to Graduate is a required step to graduate, and is available in Banner Self Service, under Applicant and Student > Student Records. Students who fail to apply by the deadline would need to wait until next degree conferral cycle to apply. 

  • Thesis Defense Deadline/Grade Deadline - Wednesday 05/01/24. Thesis/Dissertation must be recorded by the Graduate School by this date.
  • Degree Conferral is Commencement Sunday, May 26, 2024

Please note that the Graduate School will not grant extensions beyond the Thesis deadline.