Declaring a Concentration

Declaring an Engineering Concentration

You will declare a concentration (hopefully in Engineering!) toward the end of your fourth semester. You can change your concentration at any time, as long as you can still meet your new graduation requirements.

Concentration Declaration Day

  1. Choose one of the engineering degree programs. This is not always easy - you can discuss your choices with any member of the faculty at any time, and in particular, your freshman and sophomore advisors, your Meiklejohn advisor, the faculty teaching your first and second year engineering classes, as well as the concentration advisors will be happy to help you understand your options.
  2. Check the detailed requirements for your concentration on the University Bulletin, and make a list of courses that interest you.
  3. Arrange a meeting with your concentration advisor, who will help you choose between courses and finalize a program.
  4. File your concentration on the ASK system. After you log into the system, navigate to the “Declarations” tab in the top menu. Then select the button that says “Declare a New Concentration” or “Change” to revise an existing declaration. You can find some answers to common problems in ASK here
  5. After you submit your concentration declaration electronically, your advisor will review and approve it or suggest changes (electronically). Once you have approval, you will be able to register for courses.
  6. You can change your course plan at any time - if you want to make a change, simply update your program in ASK and resubmit it.

It is often possible to substitute courses for one or more of your degree requirements. For example, you might need to transfer credits from a study abroad program, or substitute a more advanced version of a course in place of a listed requirement – there are often good reasons to redesign a program with a slightly different focus. It is of utmost importance to obtain approval in advance for any course substitutions, since these are not automatic. Discuss your plans with your concentration advisor. In some cases (as with transfer credits), your advisor may be able to approve the substitution. In this case, you can simply enter the substitute course into your program in ASK and your advisor will approve it.

For any transfer credit to appear on a Brown transcript, you are required to file a petition through the ASK system. There are two approaches to doing so, depending on the type of credit you are seeking:

  1. If you are seeking University credit for a course with an Engineering number, you must first receive approval through the Engineering Transfer Credit Approval Request Form. Once approved, you must then apply for University credit through ASK.
  2. If you are seeking University credit for a course that does not have an Engineering number (even if it is required for your Engineering concentration), then you should file an application directly in ASK, which will route your request to the relevant department to determine the equivalent Brown course. Note that in some cases, there may not be a Brown equivalent for a course taken elsewhere. The University may then offer unassigned credit in a certain department. If you wish to have such an unassigned course count for Engineering concentration credit, then that requires a petition prepared in consultation with your concentration advisor. 

In some cases, your advisor may ask you to prepare a petition to the Concentration Committee. Your petition should explain the reason for the substitution and, for degrees accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, show that your revised program is consistent with the educational objectives, outcomes, and credit hour requirements for your concentration. Your concentration advisor will submit the petition on your behalf. Approval is contingent on the majority vote of the committee. Courses that are officially approved by the University for transfer credit will appear on the student's transcript and count toward the 30 courses required for graduation (and, of course, toward concentration requirements).

If you wish to use an Independent Study course to meet a concentration requirement you must obtain approval from your concentration advisor before you can register for the course.