The College

Completion of Degree Requirements in Fewer than 8 Semesters

Eligible students who wish to apply for a second semester of advanced standing or who otherwise wish to complete requirements without the equivalent of 8 semesters of full-time enrollment may petition for an exception from the Committee on Academic Standing. Approval of such exceptions is exceedingly rare.

Download the Petition

Brown University’s enrollment requirement and advanced standing policy, as set by the Corporation, stipulate that all undergraduates must enroll for eight semesters of full-time study or the equivalent in order to receive a degree from the University, and students may not graduate with more than one semester of advanced standing or the equivalent without obtaining prior approval for an exception from the Committee on Academic Standing. Students who wish to graduate with seven semesters of full-time study or the equivalent may use one of the three available, regular pathways in place of one semester of required enrollment by applying to the Advanced Standing Dean, no later than the fifth semester of enrollment. These three pathways are:

  1. One semester of effective standing based on successful completion of four Brownsummer and/or Brown Wintersession courses; or
  2. One semester of advanced standing based on a minimum of three qualifying Advanced Placement (AP) exams, international exams, or transfer credits for (non-Brown) pre-matriculation college courses taken during regular fall/spring terms; or
  3. One semester advancement from approved domestic (or home country) study away at another institution during a regular fall/spring term post-matriculation (not Brown abroad) full-time (or the equivalent).

Students who already have successfully applied for a semester of advanced standing from one of these pathways, however, should note that they may not obtain a second semester of advanced standing or the equivalent to graduate with fewer than seven semesters of enrollment without petitioning and receiving approval from the Committee on Academic Standing for exceptional circumstances.

Petition for (Early) Completion of Degree Requirements Under Exceptional Circumstances

Students (including transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education students) who wish to advance their standing or complete requirements early and who do not meet the Advanced Standing criteria, or who miss the fifth semester application deadline, or who wish to request a second semester of advanced standing or the equivalent may petition for an exception from the Committee on Academic Standing. Petitions will only be approved under exceptional circumstances, and it is anticipated that most petitions will not be approved. The Committee on Academic Standing may consider an exception to Brown’s standing/enrollment requirements when:

  • A student faces an extraordinary personal or family circumstance, emergency, or call to duty to which they must attend, and the emergency would unreasonably delay the  student’s ability to meet the ordinary enrollment unit requirement; or
  • There is a significant, rare, and time-sensitive opportunity for the student and delaying graduation would have significant negative consequences for taking up the opportunity;

In all cases, the student would have to meet all other graduation requirements except the enrollment unit requirement and be actively enrolled. Petitioning students also must be without existing or pending academic or behavioral code of conduct violations. In no case will an approval of exception provide for graduation with less than 4 semesters of full-time enrollment at Brown. (Brown study abroad semesters do not count toward the required four semesters.)

Student letters of petition should delineate:

  1. How a student has or will have completed all other requirements for graduation;
  2. What exceptional circumstances the student faces, and documentation that the circumstance requires immediate attention.

Petitions must be received no later than the first Monday of the month for consideration by the Committee on Academic Standing’s monthly meeting. Petitions may be submitted online only with prior approval to submit a petition from the Deputy Dean of the College or the Advanced Standing Dean.


Full details and notes are available in the petition document.