Independent Concentration

Even though Brown offers 80 undergraduate concentrations, students still have the option of creating and designing their own. Independent concentrations—usually focusing on a broad problem, theme, or question, rather than a discipline— must be sponsored by at least one faculty member (above the rank of lecturer) and reviewed and approved by the College Curriculum Council.

Students interested in pursuing an independent concentration (IC) must submit a proposal prior to the end of their fifth semester. To do so, they must work closely with a faculty advisor to ensure that their ideas are developed properly. Preparing, revising, and approving an independent concentration is a process that requires several months. Therefore, a student whose independent concentration has not been approved and declared by the end of the third semester must declare a standard concentration and have it approved by the regular deadlines under which all sophomores are held. Exceptions to the concentration declaration deadline will not be made for students who plan to pursue an independent concentration but who have not yet received approval. A student whose independent concentration is later approved can then switch from the approved standard concentration to the new independent concentration.

Proposals for independent concentrations must include a letter of support from a member of the University faculty above the level of lecturer. (Emeriti faculty, adjunct instructors, and visiting lecturers are ineligible to serve as independent concentration advisors.) The faculty letter must endorse the proposed concentration and indicate the faculty member's commitment to serve as the student's primary advisor. See the "IC Faculty Advisor Info Sheet" on the CRC website for more information.

Students interested in an independent concentration should consult with Dean Peggy Chang, who oversees the IC program, and the CRC's peer advisors.