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#34 Overall Influence #7 Desirability Rank

Brown University

Private university in Providence, Rhode Island
By James Barham, PhD

Brown began life as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (officially) or Rhode Island College (unofficially). It is the twelfth-oldest institution of higher learning in the US.

Rhode Island College was established in the town of Warren on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, a few miles south of the city of Providence. The school moved to Providence in 1770.

The College was established by a group of Baptist ministers (that being the religious affiliation of Rhode Island’s founder, Roger Williams), working in close cooperation with Quakers (Friends), Congregationalists, and Anglicans (Episcopalians). The College’s charter stated that there was to be no religious test for entrance.

A family consisting of four brothers—Nicholas, John, Joseph, and Moses Brown—was heavily involved in the College’s affairs from the beginning. Joseph Brown was a professor of Physics there, and John Brown served as treasurer for some 20 years during the Revolution and after.

In addition, Nicholas’s son, Nicholas Brown, Jr., was a very successful businessmen who made a series of generous gifts to the College to boost its endowment. In 1804, the College expressed its gratitude to the Brown family by changing its name to the present one.

Brown is linked to seven Nobel Prize laureates, namely,:

  • Physicists, Leon Cooper & J. Michael Kosterlitz
  • Chemist, Lars Onsager
  • Physiologists, George Snell & Craig Mello
  • Economists, George Stigler & Vernon Smith

Other notable faculty and alumni include:

  • Early-20th century Japanese scholar, educator, and social reformer, Fukuzawa Yukichi
  • Financier and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
  • Psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck
  • Novelists, Jeffrey Eugenides & Edwidge Danticat
  • Singer, Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Actresses, Laura Linney & Emma Watson
  • Film director, Todd Haynes
  • Radio personality, Ira Glass
  • Media mogul, Ted Turner
  • Entrepreneur and investor; John Scully III
  • Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidate, Andrew Yang
  • Economist and former Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen
  • Former US diplomat, Richard Holbrooke
  • Former World Bank President, Jim Young Kim

From Wikipedia

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Brown is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$201
30K - 48K$6,684
48K - 75K$11,689
75K - 110K$21,634

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


One Prospect Street, Providence RI 02912

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

14 per 100K

Violent Crime

0 per 100K

What is Brown University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#31 World Rank
#26 World Rank
#26 World Rank
Computer Science
#25 World Rank
#68 World Rank
#42 World Rank
#63 World Rank
#53 World Rank
#27 World Rank
#22 World Rank
#35 World Rank
Political Science
#35 World Rank
#55 World Rank
#76 World Rank
#34 World Rank
#60 World Rank
Religious Studies
#131 World Rank
#47 World Rank
#60 World Rank
#76 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#84 World Rank
Criminal Justice

Other areas of influence

#43 World Rank
#53 World Rank
Social Work
#85 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Brown University's Most influential alumni?

Brown University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of History, Business, and Literature

Debra L. Lee

Debra L. Lee

American businesswoman

Eldar Shafir

Eldar Shafir


Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson

American writer

William Williams Keen

William Williams Keen

First U.S. brain surgeon.

Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett

American broadcaster

Curtis Yarvin

American computer scientist and political theorist

Jonathan M. Nelson

American businessman

Aneel Bhusri

Aneel Bhusri

Computer executive

Greg Costikyan

Greg Costikyan

Game designer

Charles Evans Hughes

Charles Evans Hughes

American judge

Sarah Cleveland

Sarah Cleveland

American lawyer

Daniel Fischel

American legal scholar