College of Brown University

The College of Brown University is the undergraduate school of Brown University, in College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764, the College is the university's oldest school and the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

College of Brown University
Established1764; 258 years ago (1764)
DeanRashid Zia
Location, ,
Brown University logo.svg

Compared to its peers, the College is distinguished by its Open Curriculum; adopted in 1969, the Open Curriculum permits students to study without any course requirements outside of their chosen concentration (major).[2]

Admissions is among the most selective in the United States, with an acceptance rate of 5.0% for fall 2022.[3]


On March 3, 1764, James Manning and Ezra Stiles filed a charter to create the College of Rhode Island. Their mission, as stated in the charter, was to prepare students "for discharging the Offices of Life" by providing instruction in the Vernacular Learned Languages, and in the liberal Arts and Sciences."[4] Manning became the College's first president in 1765, and five years later the school moved to its present location on College Hill on the East Side of Providence.

In 1850, Brown President Francis Wayland wrote, "The various courses should be so arranged that, insofar as practicable, every student might study what he chose, all that he chose, and nothing but what he chose." However, the College did not make any major institutional changes for over a century. In 1969, the Open Curriculum was implemented, eliminating distribution requirements and allowing students to take any course Satisfactory/No Credit. In addition, the University eliminated pluses, minuses, and D grades in the letter grading system.

The current Dean of Brown's College is Rashid Zia, a class of 2001 Brown graduate. Previous deans have included Maud Mandel and Kenneth Sacks.[5]

Carrie Tower (1904) and Robinson Hall (1878) on Brown's historic central campus


Degrees grantedEdit

The College offers two different baccalaureate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and Bachelor of Science (Sc.B.)

Dual degree programsEdit

In addition to traditional degree programs, Brown offers a number of dual degree programs.


Students have the ability to graduate in five years with both an A.B. and Sc.B. degree, provided that requirements for each degree are met. This is distinct from a double concentration, when students only receive one degree.[citation needed]


The Program in Liberal Medical Education is a single eight-year program that allows students to complete both an undergraduate degree (A.B. or Sc.B.) from The College and subsequently an M.D. degree from Alpert Medical School. Admission to PLME is highly competitive; in 2015, 90 students were granted admission out of an applicant pool of 2,290.[6]


While students at the College have long been able to cross-register for classes at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design, it is now possible to complete a degree from Brown and a B.F.A. from RISD concurrently over a five-year period. Students must be admitted to both institutions separately in order to matriculate.


  1. ^ "Common Data Set 2018-2019" (PDF). Brown University. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Brown University and others consider lessons of its open curriculum, now 50 years old". Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  3. ^ "Brown admits record-low 5% of applicants to class of 2026". The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  4. ^ Brunson, Walter C. (1972). The History of Brown University, 1764-1914. p. 500.
  5. ^ McGuire, Phyllis. "Phyllis McGuire | New Williams president 'traded the ocean for the mountains'". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  6. ^ "Admissions Facts and Figures | Program in Liberal Medical Education". Archived from the original on 2012-08-02.

External linksEdit