【School profile】Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 as "The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," Brown is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges established before the American Revolution.
At its foundation, Brown was the first college in the United States to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation. Its engineering program, established in 1847, was the first in the Ivy League. Brown's New Curriculum—sometimes referred to in education theory as the Brown Curriculum—was adopted by faculty vote in 1969 after a period of student lobbying; the New Curriculum eliminated mandatory "general education" distribution requirements, made students "the architects of their own syllabus," and allowed them to take any course for a grade of satisfactory or unrecorded no-credit.
Brown's faculty and alumni include 7 Nobel Prize laureates, 5 National Humanities Medalists, and 10 National Medal of Science laureates. Other notable alumni include 55 Rhodes Scholars, 14 MacArthur Genius Fellows, 19 Pulitzer Prize winners, eight billionaire graduates, a U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, 4 U.S. Secretaries of State and other Cabinet officials, 53 members of the United States Congress, members of royal families, as well as leaders and founders of major companies.
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." Adopted in 1969, the New Curriculum is a milestone in the University's history and is seen as the realization of Wayland's vision.
The curriculum was the result of a paper written by Ira Magaziner and Elliot Maxwell titled "Draft of a Working Paper for Education at Brown University." The paper came out of a year-long Group Independent Study Project (GISP) involving 80 students and 15 professors.
The paper made concrete proposals for the new curriculum, including interdisciplinary freshman-year courses that would introduce "modes of thought," with instruction from faculty brought together from different disciplines. The aim was to transform the traditional survey course—often experienced passively by first-year students—into a more engaging process, an investigation of the intellectual and philosophical connections between disciplines. A grading option of Satisfactory/No Credit would be introduced to encourage students to try courses outside their grade-point comfort zone..
Founded in 1764, the College is the oldest school of Brown University. About 6,400 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in the College, and 79 concentrations (majors) are offered. Completed concentrations of undergraduates by area are social sciences 42 percent, humanities 26 percent, life sciences 17 percent, and physical sciences 14 percent. The concentrations with the greatest number of students are Biology, History, and International Relations. Undergraduates can also design an independent concentration if the existing programs do not align with their curricular focus.
The highest fields of employment for graduates of the College are business 36 percent, education 19 percent, health/medical 6 percent, arts 6 percent, government 6 percent, and communications/media 5 percent. Brown and Princeton are the only Ivy League colleges with neither business school nor law school.