The College

Academic Standing

"Academic standing" refers to the number of courses you are expected to complete each semester as you progress toward your degree starting with your first semester of enrollment at Brown. All undergraduates start their studies at Brown in “good” academic standing.

The chart below shows the number of course credits you must ordinarily earn each semester in order to stay in good academic standing from one semester into the next. If you are a transfer student, your academic standing is measured according to the number of course credits you earn each semester after matriculation at Brown; transfer credits awarded for pre-Brown courses do not impact your academic standing.

  Semester Good Standing Academic Warning Serious Warning Academic Suspension
First Year I 3 2 1 0
  II 7 6 5 4
Sophomore III 11 10 9 8
  IV 15 14 13 12
Junior V 18 17 16 15
  VI 22 21 20 19
Senior VII 26 25 24 23
  VIII 30 -- -- --

If you fall below academic progress requirements, you will be placed on “academic warning” or "serious warning” or potentially separated from the University for one or more semesters, depending on the extent of your credit shortfall. In addition, students who earn no course credits in a given semester or fewer than five course credits in two sequential semesters are eligible for academic suspension. An academic suspension involves a mandatory one-year separation from the University.

Exceptions to the rules that apply to the calculation of academic standing are made when documented disabilities, health, personal, or family issues significantly interfere with your ability to focus on your studies.

If you are placed on “warning” or “serious warning,” a notation will appear on your internal academic record; this notation will not appear on your official transcript.  You may improve your academic standing by completing incomplete courses, or by taking one or two courses in Brown’s summer session, or by taking a course in a Brown Wintersession if you were enrolled in the immediately preceding fall semester. Pre-approved summer courses taken elsewhere and transferred back to Brown can also improve your academic standing at Brown.

Committee on Academic Standing

The Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) is a faculty committee responsible for monitoring the academic progress of undergraduate students at Brown. The committee is comprised of four faculty members, three deans from the Office of the Dean of the College, and the registrar, working in consultation with other deans from the College and colleagues across campus. At the end of each semester, the committee reviews the progress of all students in the College. Depending on the number of course credits below the level required for good academic standing, the committee may place students on warning or serious warning; or it may refuse to allow students to register for the next semester until certain requirements are met; or it may suspend a student for a year or more.

If you are having academic difficulty in a particular semester, we advise you to see an academic advising dean as soon as possible, and not to wait until the end of the semester. Seeking advice early may enable you to connect with academic and personal support resources and provide you with more options. Academic advising deans can help you develop your academic plans for each semester and help you explore pathways to degree completion that may involve leavetaking options and/or permission to take fewer than four courses in a semester due to extenuating circumstances, as well as potential credit recovery options. 

The committee also considers requests from students who wish to alter their academic plans in other ways. If you want to add a fifth year of study to complete a combined degree, for example, you will need to petition the Committee on Academic Standing to have your proposal considered.

Handbook of the Committee on Academic Standing