At Brown, students are encouraged to pursue a broad course of study that reflects their own interests and challenges them to explore unfamiliar academic terrain. Brown's grading system is designed to support this endeavor. Our approach to assessment highlights individual student choice while reducing anxiety about grades.
For most courses, a student may choose to be graded on the basis of one of two options: A,B,C/No Credit or Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC). A small number of courses are designated by the instructor as mandatory S/NC; such courses are indicated by an asterisk (*) on the academic transcript. Students must choose a grade option for each course by the end of the fourth week of classes.
Brown does not compile grade point averages or class standings, and we do not name students to a Dean’s List. University honors at graduation are also simple: one level of honors--magna--is awarded at Commencement to no more than 20% of the graduating class.
Communicating about Grades
Course instructors establish the standards of achievement for grades in their classes. Students who have questions about a grade should contact the instructor as soon as possible after the grade was received. Students should raise concerns about grades received on assignments or midterm exams during the semester in which the grade is received. Questions about final course grades should be communicated early in the following semester. Most concerns about grading are resolved in this way.
Students are encouraged to consult with one of the academic deans if they have questions about grading or any other course-related issues.