Brown University - Atlas Academy

Brown University

Brown University, often dubbed the “hippy Ivy”, is a highly undergraduate-focused institution offering something for everyone: whether you want to explore every side of yourself as a person and learner or really focus into your chosen field (or anything in between!). Located in Providence, Rhode Island – the capital of the smallest state in the US – the campus retains the small college town vibe while still being in the heart of the action with Boston a 1-hour-drive North and New York City – 3 hours South.

It’s been scientifically proven to be impossible to talk about Brown University without mentioning the Open Curriculum. Started in 1969 by students themselves, the Open Curriculum means complete freedom over your own education. Brown doesn’t have any core requirements, meaning it is entirely up to you to design your academic experience out of the long list of courses offered.

To help with those choices, each semester starts with a 2-week-long shopping period – a time where any student can attend any course, without registration or commitments. This allows everyone to explore and make informed choices about the rest of their semester as well as peek into courses they might’ve never imagined taking.

Additionally, Brown encourages students to explore fields outside of their comfort zone without having to worry about the negative impact on their grade average – students can choose to take any course satisfactory/no credit, which means they will not receive a letter grade for the completion of that course, but rather just need to pass in order to get a credit.

In the exploration spirit of the Open Curriculum, Brown students are as active in their academic lives as they are outside of the classroom. The opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities seem endless with the highest number of acapella groups per capita and the best Ultimate Frisbee team in the country.

In addition to that, Brown offers some unique academic programs and opportunities. The PLME (Program in Liberal Medical Education), for example, is an opportunity for aspiring students to combine their undergraduate and medical school education into an 8-year continuum at Brown – in other words, once you get in, you’re guaranteed a place in both The College and, after that, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. It’s the only such combined baccalaureate-MD program in the Ivy League.

Additionally, Brown is a close neighbor and partner with RISD – Rhode Island School of Design, one of the first art and design schools in the US. Brown University students benefit not only from the ability to visit most RISD buildings and events, but also to cross-register to RISD courses. For students interested in getting involved in research as an undergraduate, Brown offers the UTRA (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards) – a stipend supporting undergraduates in collaborating with faculty on their research projects throughout the semester or the summer.

The university also has many long-standing traditions. One of the most important ones – the opening of the iconic Van Wickle gates during Convocation for incoming first years and Commencement for graduating seniors. It is said that one should only walk through the gates twice in their lifetime, otherwise they will never graduate. And let’s not forget the Halloween Midnight Organ recital performed on a one-of-a-kind 100-year-old organ with students camping outside the Sayles Hall for several hours to guarantee themselves a spot (and, trust me, it is 100% worth it!)
Brown University is a unique academic institution committed to encouraging exploration and self-expression not only through its unique Open Curriculum, but also through applying the same philosophy outside of the academic environment.