Because the Brown curriculum has traditionally placed greater weight on the act of learning than on external marks of success, the University grants only one honor at commencement: magna cum laude. Brown's Faculty Rules stipulate that this distinction should be awarded to no more than 20% of the graduating class each year.
Magna is determined not on the grade point average (which Brown does not calculate) but on the percentage of ‘A’ grades and marks of ‘S with distinction’ that a student receives in courses taken at Brown. The distinction mark is not noted on the external transcript; however, it is taken into account by the Committee on Academic Standing when determining the recipients of magna cum laude each year.
The website of the University Registrar contains more information about computing honors at graduation.
Honors in the Concentration
Every concentration program allows students to pursue honors in the concentration. Students usually apply for honors in the junior year. Admission into honors is usually based on grades and an honors thesis proposal. Concentration honors are awarded to students whose honors theses meet the criteria established by the academic department (departments are encouraged to review the College Curriculum Council's best practices). Exceptional honors theses may be nominated for the Dean of the College's Distinguished Senior Thesis award.