Declaring a Concentration

Students must declare a concentration no later than the middle of their fourth semester, before pre-registering for semester five (usually spring semester of sophomore year). Transfer students who matriculate with 4th or 5th semester standing must declare a concentration in their first term at Brown. Below is a step-by-step guide to the declaration process.

  1. Review the concentration's requirements on Focal PointAdditional instructions for prospective concentrators may be listed on department websites.

  2. Make a list of taken and intended courses that might count toward the concentration. Map out the remaining semesters of study to account for course availability, study abroad, etc. 

  3. Seek approval for non-Brown courses relevant to the concentration. Begin by obtaining syllabi and a copy of the transcript.  

  4. Contact a concentration advisor in your chosen area to discuss your proposed course plan. Check the concentration's website for instructions about the preferred process for meeting with prospective concentrators (some concentrations publish advisor calendars from which students must select slots, others have open office hours). If it is unclear from the website, email the concentration advisor or director of undergraduate studies to ask for an appointment. Other topics for discussion might be study abroad, capstones, research opportunities, and approval of any transfer courses. 

  5. Log into ASK to complete your declaration (see instructions and screenshots in the IT Knowledgebase). There are also a few short answer questions. You might review the questions and draft your answers in a google doc to allow yourself sufficient time to consider your responses without worrying about being "timed out." Submit your proposed courselist and short answer responses. Submit and wait for your advisor to approve your declaration. They may ask you to make revisions re-submit.

  6. Pay attention to deadlines. Students are not allowed to register for fifth-semester courses unless a concentration has been approved by the deadline. Entering fifth semester transfer students are granted an exception. Check the Academic Calendar for the deadline in a given semester.

Bear in mind that the declaration is a blueprint subject to revision (with the concentration advisor's approval, of course).