Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Brown's unique Open Curriculum offers students enormous freedom to shape their own course of study. Nonetheless, every Brown undergraduate has four basic obligations to fulfill before graduating.

Complete at least thirty courses

Students are required to achieve a passing grade in a minimum of 30 Brown course credits, or their equivalent in approved transfer courses. A maximum of fifteen transfer courses and no more than four summer courses (at Brown or elsewhere) or winter courses (taken at Brown) may count toward this requirement.

Complete a concentration

Brown offers nearly 80 standard concentrations, or majors, that lead to either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree. Students also have the option of creating an independent concentration, with the approval of the College Curriculum Council. Focal Point, our concentration search engine, contains comprehensive information on all concentration programs. 

Learn about the resources for exploring your concentration options at Brown and the process of declaring a concentration.

Demonstrate competence in writing

Learning to write well is a developmental process that occurs over time. Brown students are therefore required to work on their writing at least twice: once in their first two years of study, and a second time as juniors or seniors. Students must complete an approved writing course at Brown in their first two years of study. Exceptions are made for transfer students, who may meet this part of the requirement with an appropriate course from their prior institution.

As juniors and seniors, all students must demonstrate that they have worked on their writing a second time in a course they have taken at Brown. Students may take another approved writing course to meet this part of the requirement, or if approved by the concentration, they may upload a substantial piece of writing developed within the concentration. Writing completed in courses taken away from Brown will not meet Part 2 of the writing requirement. 

Students with an uncleared writing check will not be able to graduate, even if they have completed at least two writing-designated or approved (English, Comparative Literature, Literary Arts) courses. 

Learn more about the University Writing Requirement.

Fulfill eight-semester enrollment requirement 

Brown students must be enrolled for the equivalent of eight full-time semesters of instruction, four of which must be in residence at Brown during fall and/or spring semesters. Tuition payments are based on the norm of thirty-two courses, four courses in each of eight semesters. Advanced standing based on advanced placement credits and/or college-level work completed before Brown may be applied toward this requirement. Approved study during the school year at another institution in the United States or abroad may also count toward this requirement. Students who successfully complete four summer and/or wintersession courses at Brown—and who have completed all other degree requirements—may request a waiver of the eighth semester of the enrollment requirement.