brown university

John Brown University (more commonly known as Brown University, or just Brown) is one of the most frequently searched colleges in the United States, according to a recent internet keyword search of American universities. 

Brown is a private Ivy League research university, based in the state of Rhode Island.

Established in 1764, Brown is one of the oldest colleges in America, dating back to more than a decade before the American Revolution. 

Brown currently maintains an enrollment of approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students each semester.

The average student faculty ratio at Brown is about 7 to 1. 

Brown is especially well known for its outstanding writing programs. 

The undergraduate acceptance rate at Brown is about 7 percent. The graduate school acceptance rate is around 10 percent. But don't let that stop you from applying. 

The university has an impressively long list of successful alumni. Notable, somewhat recent graduates of Brown include singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, magazine editor John F. Kennedy Jr., CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, CNN founder Ted Turner, 21 Pulitzer Prize winners, eight billionaires, and one Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to name only a few

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brown University Q&A

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Brown University.

1. Where is Brown University?

The main campus of Brown is prominently located along the Seekonk River in the heart of the city of Providence, Rhode Island. 

Here is the official mailing and visiting address of Brown's main campus: 

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island


Above: A view of Brown's main campus in spring.


2. What is the organizational structure of Brown University?

Brown consists of the following six schools: 

  1. Alpert Medical School 
  2. Brown College
  3. Brown Graduate School 
  4. Brown School of Engineering
  5. Brown School of Professional Studies 
  6. Brown School of Public Health 

Brown is also academically affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Rhode Island School of Design. 

3. What undergraduate studies are offered at Brown University?

Undergraduate course offerings at Brown cover a wide range of topics.

Here is a list of the undergraduate majors (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree programs) offered at Brown:

  • African Studies
  • American Studies 
  • Anthropology 
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Archeology and the Ancient World 
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biostatistics 
  • Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations 
  • Chemical and Biochemical Engineering 
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences 
  • Comparative Literature 
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Engineering  
  • Computer Science
  • Development Studies 
  • Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences 
  • East Asian Studies
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology  
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Egyptology and Assyriology 
  • Electrical Engineering 
  • Engineering Physics 
  • English 
  • Environmental Engineering 
  • French Studies 
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies 
  • German Studies
  • Hispanic Studies  
  • History of Art and Architecture 
  • History
  • International Relations 
  • Italian Studies
  • Judaic Studies
  • Latin American Studies 
  • Literary Arts  
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medieval Studies 
  • Middle East Studies
  • Modern Culture and Media 
  • Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry 
  • Music
  • Neuroscience  
  • Philosophy 
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese and Brazilian Studies 
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy 
  • Religious Studies 
  • Renaissance and Early Modern Studies 
  • Science and Technology Studies 
  • Slavic Languages 
  • Sociology  
  • Theater Arts and Performance Studies
  • Urban Studies 
  • Visual Art 

Above: The Music Building on the Brown campus


4. What graduate programs are available at Brown University?

Graduate students can earn Masters degrees at Brown in any of the following areas of study:

  • American Studies 
  • Anthropology
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences  
  • Biology and Medicine 
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biostatistics 
  • Biotechnology 
  • Chemical and Biochemical Engineering 
  • Classics
  • Computer Engineering  
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering 
  • Engineering Physics 
  • English 
  • Environmental Engineering 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Healthcare Leadership 
  • History
  • Literary Arts  
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry 
  • Music
  • Portuguese and Brazilian Studies 
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy 
  • Science and Technology Leadership  
  • Slavic Languages 
  • Sociology 
  • Theater Arts and Performance Studies

Click here to see a Complete List of PhD Programs at Brown University

Above: Faunce House


5. How much does it cost to attend Brown University?

According to the school website, the total estimated cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses for admission to Brown (before financial aid) is 

Undergraduate Programs

  • Tuition and Fees: $71,000 per academic year (for full time attendance - 4 courses per semester)

The above cost includes tuition, fees, room & board, books, and personal expenses. 

Graduate school tuition at Brown varies by program, but usually falls between $54,000 and $66,000 for tuition alone.

In addition, one year of living expenses can cost up to $30,000. 

Other fees may also apply, such as application fees, parking fees, student activity fees, health fees, insurance fees, and more. 

Different types of financial aid are available to most applicants. All undergraduates must complete and submit the FAFSA form. Aid may consist of grants, loans, scholarships, work study programs, private donations, or any combination of these.

Most students enrolled at Brown do not pay the full cost of tuition. 

6. What is the Brown University campus like?

The main campus of Brown consists of 235 buildings that span 143 urban acres in the College Hill Historic District of Providence, Rhode Island. This district is considered one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the United States. 

The campus is characterized by many stunning examples of carefully restored 17th and 18th century architecture. The campus architecture perfectly matches the surrounding neighborhood. 

Among Brown's landmark buildings are the Carrie Clock Tower, the Faunce House, the Henry Pearce House, Manning Hall, Robinson Hall, Sayles Hall, and the Brown Campus Cathedral. 

Through the main campus runs Thayer Street, featuring many shops and conveniences. Thayer Street can be described as a scaled down version of Harvard Square in Cambridge, or Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. 

Attractions on the main campus of Brown include several libraries, several museums, and many local conveniences such as cafes, markets, and affordable places to eat. 

Public transportation is abundant in this region, a typically compact little northeastern college town. No personal vehicle is required to get around. 

Student housing is available at Brown, both on and off campus. 

Above: A renovated residence hall on campus at Brown.


Above: Sayles Hall


Above: The Brown campus cathedral


The school colors are brown, white, and cardinal. The varsity athletes at Brown are called the Bears. They play for the NCAA Division 1 - Ivy League. The Brown Bears comprise nearly 40 intercollegiate varsity sports teams. 

The women's rowing team at Brown has won seven National titles. Brown is also known for its award winning men's varsity football and soccer teams. What's more, the men's Ultimate Frisbee team (called Brownian Motion) has won two National Championships. 

Intercollegiate sports for men and women at Brown include:  

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cycling
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating 
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing 
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming (& Diving)
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Also available on the Brown campus are quite a few intramural sports, such as some of the ones listed above, as well as karate, sailing, skiing, and ultimate frisbee, among others. 

In addition to sports, Brown also features quite a lot of student groups and organizations, in a diverse range of interests. On-campus student interest groups include a dance club, musical groups, art associations, a school newspaper, a public service organization, and many others. 

Above: The Brown Bears in action.


7. What are the distance learning options at Brown University?

Brown offers online learning opportunities in the form of a blended (hybrid) learning program at the School of Professional Studies. Students still have to meet in Providence every trimester for a weeklong classroom seminar. 

Masters degrees can be earned online in the following three fields of study: 

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Healthcare Leadership
  3. Science and Technology Leadership

Click here for More Than 50 Top Ranked Online Colleges.

8. What is the contact information for Brown University?

To reach the main campus of Brown, or for general information, call 401-863-1000

To reach the Brown Graduate School, call 401-863-2600. 

For the Brown School of Engineering, call 401-863-2677. 

To contact the School of Public Health at Brown, call 401-863-3375. 

For the Brown School of Professional Studies, call 401-863-7901. 

To reach the Brown University Admissions office, c all 401-863-2378. 

Above: Downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence, the state capital, is home to roughly 180,000 people. It is one of the most densely populated cities in America. 


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