The College

Degree Options

As an undergraduate student at Brown, you may choose to complete more than one concentration, either as part of a single degree or single combined five-year degree program. You also may complete both your bachelor’s and master’s within four or five years.

Earning a Single Degree with more than one Concentration | 4 Years

Approximately 20 percent of Brown students complete their Baccalaureate degrees with more than one concentration within the standard eight semesters of full-time study. They receive one degree (either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science) and both concentrations are noted on the official transcript. This student's transcript might list "Bachelor of Science: ScB-Environmental Science and AB: Math" or "Bachelor of Arts: AB-Africana Studies and AB: English." If one or both of the concentrations is a bachelor of science program, the degree earned will be a bachelor of science. Students who wish to complete with more than one concentration must meet the Registrar's deadlines to declare a second concentration.

Earning a Single Combined Degree with more than one Concentration | 5 Years

There is also an option for students pursuing a concentration in a humanities or social science field and a second concentration in a life or physical science field to graduate with a single, combined Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Science (A.B.-Sc.B) degree, which requires at least 38 course credits and 10 semesters of enrollment. (The Dean of the Faculty's website lists academic departments, centers, and programs, and their respective divisions. Not included on this list are Engineering (physical science), Biological Sciences (life sciences), and Public Health (life sciences)). Students who follow this path organize a five-year program of study in which the work for the single, combined degree proceeds concurrently. Students interested in pursuing this five-year option must declare their intentions before the end of their fifth semester. In rare instances, students who miss the fifth-semester deadline due to qualifying extenuating circumstances may seek approval from the Committee on Academic Standing to join the program late. All cases where exceptions are sought must be resolved before the end of the petitioning student’s sixth semester. Petitions from seniors will not be approved nor considered by the Committee on Academic Standing.

Students planning to join the combined degree program must seek initial and final approvals from the Combined Degree Dean. Initial approvals are given to students who are very close (within 2-3 courses) to finishing at least one of their combined set of program requirements before the end of their fifth semester. These students can then seek final approval providing they are in their 7th semester and are on track to completing their second concentration. Upon successful review of the academic record, these students will receive a final approval to be combined degree candidates. This student's transcript would list, for example, "Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Science: SCB - Computational Biology, AB-History."

Candidates for the combined degree program may petition the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) for a one semester reduction of enrollment to be allowed to complete the combined degree program in nine semesters, rather than ten semesters (without a semester of advanced standing). Such exceptions will be rare and considered on a case-by-case basis by CAS only on an irrevocable basis, and when the student is in their 8th or 9th semester of enrollment and has planned accordingly, If approved by CAS, students must meet all combined degree graduation requirements with a one semester reduction in their enrollment. Students granted permission by CAS to graduate in 9 semesters (or the equivalent) of enrollment cannot reverse this request to regain ten semesters of enrollment to complete the program. Contact the Combined Degree Dean for more information.

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Petitioning for an Optional 9th Semester*

Undergraduates may seek an additional semester, for 1-5 courses, to supplement required features of their degree programs.  A student might pursue an Optional 9th semester to complete a second concentration, to take courses to satisfy or strengthen pre-professional or graduate applications, to complete an honor's thesis or another type of capstone, to complete remaining courses at Brown to reach the 30 required to graduate if those courses may be transferred in from elsewhere, or for another compelling academic reason.

Tuition for courses in an optional 9th semester is billed per course (in semesters 1-8 of full time study, tuition is billed per semester as described on the Bursar's website). Students approved for an optional 9th semester remain in active degree-seeking status, but they are not eligible for university housing—unless vacancies are available, and they are not eligible for Brown institutional financial aid, even if they received financial aid from Brown before their optional 9th semester. Students receiving University financial aid would be regularly enrolled, however, and may be eligible for other kinds of financial aid. Students must be enrolled "at least half-time" to be eligible to apply for federal aid.  (At least half-time is two course credits at Brown.)

Petitions for an Optional 9th Semester is available in ASK and must include an academic justification, a plan for the 9th semester, listing the intended courses, and a letter of support from the concentration advisor or director of undergraduate studies. 

*Note: Undergraduates who have taken a medical leave or who have had approved course-load reductions and need an additional semester may be eligible for a "Necessary 9th Semester" and should consult with the Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing about your situation. 

Earning a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree | 4 Years

The concurrent degree program allows students who plan early to combine their last year or two of undergraduate study with graduate study, resulting in the simultaneous completion of both a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree. Students must demonstrate achievement of breadth and depth, as defined by the program guidelines, by the time they apply for entrance to the program. Entrance requirements into this program are numerous and quite specific. Interested students are advised to acquaint themselves with program guidelines early in their college career and during their first year of study for planning purposes.

Students who meet entrance requirements for the Concurrent Degree Program apply to both the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) and to the Graduate School in their sixth term of study. No late applications are accepted. Approved applications are then reviewed by the Graduate Council and the appropriate department, which may place additional requirements on admission to this special program.

Review the petition

In extremely rare instances, a student who would otherwise be a strong candidate for the concurrent degrees program, can be granted provisional approval in their 6th semester (or equivalent semester) based on the following three criteria:

  1. The student’s application has been approved or endorsed by the department’s Master’s program.
  2. The student will have no more than two breadth requirements remaining by the end of their 6th semester.
  3. The student will have completed all breadth requirements prior to starting their 8th semester of enrollment.

It is expected that students seeking to complete the program requirements in 9 semesters instead of 8 semesters are doing so in order to complete their already approved concurrent degree requirements.  All breadth requirements must be completed by the end of their 7th semester but no later than the beginning of their 8th.

Petition for late admission may be considered if a student has not actually completed 6 semesters of enrollment (or the equivalent) but appears to have because they returned from a medical leave of absence with 25-28 enrollment units.

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Earning a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree | 5 Years

Brown’s 5th-year Master’s Program allows degree-seeking Brown undergraduates to pursue a master’s degree in select departments in the year immediately following completion of the undergraduate degree. Eligible students must apply for admission to this program before they complete the baccalaureate degree. Admission must be approved by the department in which the master’s degree is sought as well as by the Graduate School. Academic departments that participate in this program are listed in this PDF document. Students interested in pursuing this option are encouraged to contact Shayna Kessel, Associate Dean for Masters and Professional Programs in the School of Professional Studies.