Brown University boasts a diverse and lively student body of several thousand undergraduates each year. Students hail from all 50 states and over 100 countries, bringing varied backgrounds and perspectives to the campus community. The university is composed of the undergraduate and graduate colleges, as well as four specific schools for different areas of study: Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.
Students at this highly selective university can look forward to a wide variety of disciplines available for study. Faculty and students work closely together, building knowledge through collaboration, shared research, and free inquiry. Hands-on opportunities to apply academic learning are available through internships, study abroad, and community service. As a renowned research institution, students can work with faculty members who are cutting edge in their fields to participate firsthand in the discovery and acquisition of new knowledge.
Brown University is the seventh oldest college in the United States. Founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island, the college has served as an independent and coeducational institution for nearly three centuries. Initially established as a Baptist college, the university was named for Nicholas Brown, Jr., the son of a member of the founding organization. Classes began in 1765 with the first and only student, and four years later the university held its first commencement where they awarded degrees to seven students. Brown University commencement traditions that are still in practice today, such as graduates engaging in a debate and the ceremony being held in Bristol County, were both started at the initial graduation event.
As enrollment grew over the course of the 19th century, the campus, students, and subjects offered at Brown University evolved as well. In 1847, the college was the first of the Ivy League schools to establish its engineering program, which remains one of the most popular majors at the university. In 1881, the first advanced degrees were bestowed upon graduate students by the college. The first female students at Brown University were enrolled in 1891, and were provided similar but separate instruction to their male counterparts.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, Brown University continued diversifying and increasing its student body and committing to public service. During World War II, Brown trained Army and Navy men on its campus, accelerating their degree programs and operating year-round. Faculty members also served in the war and conducted research to contribute to the war efforts. In 1971, the separate colleges for men and women were merged into one institution. In 2013, Brown opened the School of Public Health, which has provided education and support for substance abuse and public healthy policy.
Students at Brown University have the opportunity to develop close and lasting friendships through the residential system. First year undergraduate students live with a roommate in units of other freshman or newly transferred students. Upperclassmen have the chance to select their residence hall and room through a lottery system, with the option to live alone or with a friend. Students can choose between themed housing, Greek residences, and dormitories for special circumstances, such as single sex or substance free.
Engagement in extracurricular activities, community service, and athletics is strongly encouraged at Brown University. With more than 300 student groups to choose from, there is at least one organization that will meet the passion and interest of every student on campus. Students who do not play sports can demonstrate their school spirit by cheering on any of the 38 NCAA Division I athletic teams. Brown University students can also support their creative classmates by attending art shows, watching theater productions, and listening to musical performances.
Students on campus are supported by several health and wellness services. In order to exercise and maintain physical fitness, students have access to two fitness centers. The university also offers confidential and free psychological assessment, intervention and short-term therapy for students in need of counseling and mental health support. Students in need of medical services, whether routine or urgent, can receive comprehensive health care right on campus. The University Health Services also offers emergency services and medical advice 24 hours a day.
Brown University offers significant financial aid support to students who require it. The college is committed to meeting 100% of an undergraduate’s eligible financial need. Just under half of the undergraduate class receives financial support through grants, scholarships and work study employment through the college.