Open Curriculum

<p>I am clueless when it comes to Brown’s open curriculum. I am in love with Brown. The campus, the feel, the professors, the students. The only thing that frustrates me is this “open curriculum”. I have no idea what it is or what it means. I’ve been researching and still, nothing. So please, if anybody is willing to explain what the open curriculum is and what it’s purpose is… it would be much appreciated!!</p>

<p>An open curriculum is a curriculum with no (or minimal) requirements outside of a major/concentration -- that is, without distribution requirements or core courses. </p>

<p>Brown has a 'true' open curriculum, with zero course requirements outside of your major. Brown also has grade reform measures (a pass/fail option; no recorded failure grade) designed to enhance the open curriculum.</p>

<p>You can see one set of ideas about the benefits of an open curriculum here: Open</a> Jar Foundation | Curricular Freedom: Why Freedom?</p>

<p>I think that you should get to understand the curriculum well before you decide Brown is right for you -- it is a very important part of the experience.</p>

<p>Thank you so much. Can you further elaborate on the grade reform? What is the pass/fail option?</p>

<p>The open curriculum means that there are no core requirements, but this doesn't mean that you have no one to help you choose your courses. There are still advisors to help you and the pass/fail option is there to allow you to see if you like a class without worrying too much about your grade. But I talked to a couple of Brown students and they for the most part don't use to the P/f option too heavily because it's still important to the grades and classes you need.</p>

<p>A (lengthy) post about the Open Curriculum: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/brown-university/385841-brown-curriculum-university-college-explained.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/brown-university/385841-brown-curriculum-university-college-explained.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>What is the pass/fail option?</p>

<p>Any and all courses may be taken pass/fail instead of for a grade. One need not do this, but it's fairly standard to take 1 course outside of one's concentration pass/fail each term.</p>

<p>Personally, I wouldn't get as much out of a course I take pass/fail because I would not prioritize it highly enough, so I haven't taken a course with this grading option in my time at Brown, but it can be a good option for many.</p>

<p>Just to provide another perspective on the S/NC (satisfactory/no credit) option; I tend to take one course per semester S/NC - usually for me, it's one outside of both the music concentration and the PLME curriculum. For example, my second semester, I took a psychology course that sounded interesting but where I had absolutely no background in the subject where many people in the class had taken psych classes before. The S/NC option was great because it allowed me to enjoy the class without worrying about my exact grade.</p>

<p>bruno,
was this a non intro course?
im wondering if its necessary and when you would do this</p>

<p>for the psych course, why were there so many psych majors if there were no prerequisites? and why would you think you wouldn't get a good grade?</p>

<p>also how do grad programs and business programs view this</p>

<p>In many departments, some upper level courses have no prerequisites. However, you'll find that frequently, the prerequisites are only guidelines. Many professors are happy to let you in if you think you can handle the work, while in other cases, having more than the listed prerequisites is necessary to do well.</p>

<p>Some comparable schools (Princeton comes to mind) let you take a certain number of courses pass/fail, so it's not like this idea is entirely novel. Generally, graduate schools seem to care primarily about your work in the field you plan to study, and most students don't take courses pass/fail in their primary concentration. Incidentally, graduate schools seem to find those who take everything pass/fail to be interesting, and such students also get accepted. One can request course performance reports from professors and include these with one's transcript, which I'd imagine would help too.</p>