Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

#14 National Colleges

7.07% Admission Rate
Most Selective

6,834 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, lower transfer-in
  • Four-year, medium, highly residential

Photo by Keming Tan on Unsplash

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. 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 chartered before the American Revolution.

At its foundation, Brown was the first college in North America to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation. The university is home to the oldest applied mathematics program in the United States, the oldest engineering program in the Ivy League, and the third-oldest medical program in New England. The university was one of the early doctoral-granting U.S. institutions in the late 19th century, adding masters and doctoral studies in 1887. In 1969, Brown adopted its Open Curriculum 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 (Pass) or no-credit (Fail) which is unrecorded on external transcripts. In 1971, Brown's coordinate women's institution, Pembroke College, was fully merged into the university.

Admission is among the most selective in the United States. In 2021, the university reported a first year acceptance rate of 5.4%.The university comprises the College, the Graduate School, Alpert Medical School, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health and the School of Professional Studies. Brown's international programs are organized through the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, and the university is academically affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Rhode Island School of Design. In conjunction with the Rhode Island School of Design, Brown offers undergraduate and graduate dual degree programs.

Brown's main campus is located in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. The university is surrounded by a federally listed architectural district with a dense concentration of Colonial-era buildings. Benefit Street, which runs along the western edge of the campus, contains one of the richest concentrations of 17th and 18th century architecture in the United States.

As of November 2019, nine Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with Brown as alumni, faculty, or researchers, as well as seven National Humanities Medalists and ten National Medal of Science laureates. Other notable alumni include 26 Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 billionaires, one U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, four U.S. Secretaries of State, 99 members of the United States Congress, 57 Rhodes Scholars, 21 MacArthur Genius Fellows, and 37 Olympic medalists.

"Brown University." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Providence, Rhode Island

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City: Midsize (population of at least 100,000 but less than 250,000)

New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Social Sciences 16.7%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 11.4%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 11.3%
Mathematics And Statistics 9.2%
Engineering 6.7%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 6.2%
English Language And Literature/Letters 5.2%
Business, Management, Marketing, And Related Support Services 5.1%
History 4.0%
Visual And Performing Arts 3.6%
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, And Group Studies 3.6%
Physical Sciences 3.0%
Health Professions And Related Programs 2.9%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics 2.5%
Psychology 2.3%
Communication, Journalism, And Related Programs 1.5%
Public Administration And Social Service Professions 1.4%
Education 1.2%
Philosophy And Religious Studies 1.1%
Natural Resources And Conservation 0.9%
Architecture And Related Services 0.2%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1511 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 800 770 740
Verbal 770 735 700

ACT Scores

34 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 35 33 31
English 36 35 34