Brown's Grading System

With the inception of its open curriculum in 1969, Brown University eliminated breadth requirements and implemented grading policies that encourage students to explore the curriculum widely. Students may choose to take most courses for a letter grade or on an S/NC basis—Satisfactory/No Credit. The Brown transcript records only full-letter grades of A, B or C (without plusses and minuses) or S (for Satisfactory). There is no grade of D, and failing grades are not recorded.

Brown’s unique grading system, coupled with the fact that Brown does not calculate grade point averages for its students, makes it difficult to compare a Brown student transcript with one from another school. Brown students are encouraged to gather materials in their online portfolios that provide more nuanced measures of their knowledge and skills.

These materials, such as  course performance reports, letters of recommendations, and capstone projects, provide qualitative evidence that our students possess those abilities most valued by employers—analytical ability, independence, creativity, communication, and leadership skills. Employers are encouraged to review such materials when considering a Brown student for a position.