In 1762, a group of Baptist church leaders met in Philadelphia where Morgan Edwards made a motion that the church establish a college in New England. At the time, Rhode Island was one of the few colonies where a college had not been established but the Baptist population was growing. In 1763, James Manning was sent to determine how much interest there was among Rhode Island leaders for a college and he was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.
The Rhode island legislature granted a charter for the school in 1764 and the Rhode Island College became the third in New England and only the seventh in the United States. Despite the fact that the Baptist church began the discussion about the new college, the charter stated that no religious test be required as a stipulation for attendance. The first and only student to attend the first year was William Rogers who took classes in the Baptist Church in Warren. He graduated in 1769, became a chaplain in the Continental Army and became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
The Brown family, especially the four sons of James Brown, became associated with the college from the beginning. Nicholas, Joseph, John and Moses, more commonly known as “John, Josie, Nick and Mosie,” were merchants who contributed to the relocation of the college to Providence. In 1804, Nick donated $5,000 to the school, leading the trustees to rename the school Brown University.
In 1776, British troops seized Newport and Aquidneck Island. The university was garrisoned by American troops forcing the college president to close the college during the war. It would not reopen until 1782.
In 1861, after the attack on Fort Sumter, students raised the Stars and Stripes over University Hall. In 1863, the school became a land-grant university, the first in Rhode Island, when it received 120,000 acres in Kansas under the Morrill Act. Proceeds from the sale of the land was used to establish studies in agricultural and mechanical arts. Brown’s interpretation of appropriate coursework was not approved by the legislature and, after a battle that traveled all the way to the Supreme Court, transferred the land-grant title to Rhode Island College for the Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, which is now the University of Rhode Island, in 1894.
Today, there are over 9,000 students attending Brown University.
Brown University Accreditation Details
Brown University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Every ten years the college undergoes a process of reaccreditation, improving programs identified by the agency and meeting or exceeding criteria set forth by the association. In addition, programs throughout the university are accredited by industry specific organizations and associations.
Brown University Application Requirements
Undergraduate students who have not earned college credit after high school should complete the Common Application and pay the applicable fee. An official high school transcript as well as ACT or SAT scores are required. Some programs may require additional materials such as portfolios or auditions.
Students who have earned college credit after high school must submit a transfer application. They must have completed at least one year of full-time enrollment to be considered a transfer and must be enrolled full-time at Brown for at least four semesters prior to earning their degree. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree may not apply as transfer students. Students must provide official transcripts from high school as well as any college or university attended. ACT or SAT scores are required as well unless the student is transferring from a domestic community college, junior college or two-year college.
Graduate students must complete an online application and submit a personal statement. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended are also required. One transcript must show the conferring of a bachelor’s degree or higher. Students must submit three letters of recommendation as well as official GRE scores. Some graduate programs have additional admissions requirements so students are encouraged to speak to an admissions counselor prior to enrollment.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is $52,281 per year while graduate tuition is $52,231 per year. Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Brown University provided over $120 million in aid to students in 2016-17 and the average award was $47,940. Over 40 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid each year.
Brown University students are engaged almost from the moment they arrive on campus. Active involvement both inside and outside the classroom is central to the culture of Brown. There are many student organizations, activities, athletics and performances available to keep students active. Brown is a close-knit community with students living both on and off campus.
Brown offers a wide range of diverse programs of study. The Urban Studies program provides students with knowledge and skills in city, urban life and urbanization using several disciplinary approaches. Students learn how cities develop, thrive and decline. The program is a ten-course curriculum that allows students to pursue urban interests. Students master at least one basic research methodology by performing research or fieldwork projects. About 30 socially diverse students graduate from the program each year. There is an active Departmental Undergraduate Group that provides public speakers, films and conferences to further enhance student learning.
Africana Studies engages students in issues about historical and contemporary responses to local and global crises. It provides knowledge regarding how people of color create their own knowledge culturally and politically. The program is eight semester-long courses that include skills that allow students to ask questions about the world around them. There is both an undergraduate and graduate program available. The Rites and Reason Theatre brings artists and scholars together to communicate new or innovative thought regarding creative expression.
The American Studies program is the oldest interdisciplinary academic unit at Brown and the third oldest of its kind in the country. The program offers two undergraduate and three graduate degrees in three areas:
- American Studies
- Ethnic Studies
- Public Humanities
The program is known for its transnational approach and innovative research on are and ethnicity. Programs include studies in public humanities, policy, pop culture, social movements, racial formation and more.
In addition to the unique programs and campus life, Brown University also offers dual degree programs with the Rhode Island School of Design, one of the top art schools in the world. Students may combine disciplines such as philosophy with sculpture or art and design with math. The dual degree programs are five year programs and students may receive either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.
Brown University offers diverse and unique programs that allow students to move into leadership roles upon graduation. With the dual degree program with RISD, students may also obtain an outstanding creative education combined with one of the best liberal arts educations in the country.