Many Brown undergraduates complete specialized work or explore an area of interest in some depth in addition to their concentration. Undergraduate Certificate Programs are pathways developed by one or more academic units and approved by the College Curriculum Council (CCC) that enable degree-seeking students to pursue an integrated combination of coursework, co-curricular, and experiential learning. Together, these experiences contribute to a student’s academic and personal development, deepening their understanding of an area of interest while acquiring skills that prepare them for life after Brown. Certificates may complement a student's existing concentration or may represent an entirely distinct area of interest. However, based on the Certificate Guidelines, a student's concentration and certificate may not have substantial overlap (each certificate has a list of excluded concentrations), nor can certificate programs be developed in areas where a concentration already exists.
Key Policies - See the Certificate Guidelines for Additional Information:
Beginning in spring 2020, eligible students -- those in their fifth or sixth semester, with only one approved concentration -- will be able to declare a certificate.
A student must have completed or be enrolled in two courses toward the certificate by the time the certificate is declared.
Student certificate declarations must discuss their rationale for pursuing the certificate and how they see the relationship between the certificate and the concentration the student has declared. No more than one course may count toward the student’s concentration and the certificate.
Undergraduate Certificates may be declared no earlier than the beginning of the fifth semester, and no later than the last day of classes of the antepenultimate (typically the sixth) semester, in order to facilitate planning for the capstone or other experiential learning opportunity. Certificate advisors must approve submitted declarations by the fourth Tuesday of the student’s penultimate (typically seventh) semester.
No student may earn more than one certificate.
A student completing two or more concentrations (or a concurrent degree) may not complete a certificate; these students already pursue the integrative and interdisciplinary work that undergraduate certificates support. For the same reason, a student participating in the Engaged Scholars Program may not complete a certificate. Students pursuing 5-year combined degrees may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for the option to pursue a certificate and must do so by the certificate deadlines.
Once a student has completed all requirements for the baccalaureate degree, completion of a certificate will be noted on the student's transcript and may be independently verified by a third party such as the National Student Clearinghouse (see the Registrar's website for additional information).