The class of 2025 was most represented in this semester’s poll, making up 29% of respondents, followed closely by the class of 2026 at 28% and the class of 2024 at 24%. Only 14% of respondents were members of the class of 2023. Close to 5% of respondents were mid-year graduates, or members of the classes of 2022.5, 2023.5, 2024.5 and 2025.5. This poll has been weighted by graduation year.
In previous years, The Herald did not collect specific data on mid-year graduates. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, different graduating classes have had vastly different Brown experiences, complicating the process of building community across grades. The class of 2023 will be the last graduating class to have been in college when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020.
Area of study
Physical science including math and computer science was the most popular intended concentration area among respondents, accounting for roughly 42% of respondents. Social sciences followed at 30%, then humanities and arts at roughly 27% and life sciences at nearly 24%. Just over 5% of respondents reported being unsure of their intended concentration.
Pre-professionalism is on the rise at Brown. Courses offered by departments such as computer science, economics and engineering have increased over the past decade — computer science courses have almost doubled since the 2012-13 academic year — while humanities departments such as history, English and anthropology have dropped in the number of courses offered, according to Brown’s Office of Institutional Research. Computer science, economics, biology and history were the top baccalaureate completions in 2021.
Respondents were permitted to select more than one concentration field, which is why total percentages exceed 100. In recent semesters, University departments have added new concentrations, certificates and curricular designations, all of which aim to expand the role of equity and diversity in the Brown curriculum.
A majority of poll respondents — 52% — identified as female, while 44% identified as male. Female respondents similarly represented a plurality in the spring 2022 poll, but not a majority as they did in this semester’s poll.
According to The Brookings Institute , young women are more likely than men to have graduated college in every U.S. state. In Rhode Island, women aged 25 to 34 are 25% more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree. Increased female enrollment in higher education has occurred alongside the “growing labor force participation as well as structural changes in the economy,” according to the Pew Research Center, and financial considerations were a major reason why many don’t complete their degree.
Results were otherwise similar to our previous poll. About 5% of respondents identified as nonbinary. In the 2020-21 academic year, the University reported that 52.73% of its undergraduates were women, while 47.27% were men. The University reports this information according to a gender binary per federal requirements, meaning we cannot precisely compare the demographics of survey respondents to University data.
A slight majority — 53% — of respondents identified as white, similar to the 55% of white respondents in the spring 2022 poll. About one third of respondents identified as Asian, which similarly mirrored last semester’s poll. Close to 13% of respondents identified as Black, almost 12% identified as Hispanic and roughly 3% identified as Middle Eastern or North African. Fewer than 1% of respondents identified as Native American/Alaska Native and fewer than 1% identified as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The Middle Eastern or North African option was a new addition to this semester’s poll.
For comparison, according to the University’s 2021-22 ,Common Data Set — which does not track the racial or ethnic identities of international students — just over 41% of degree-seeking undergraduates were white, 18.2% were Asian, 11.3% were Hispanic or Latino and 7.6% were Black or African American. The CDS counts those who identify as two or more races in a separate category.
Racial diversity at Brown has increased only slightly in recent years. According to the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan , the percentage of undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups — defined as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander — has increased from 20.8% in the 2014-15 academic year to 22% in the 2020-21 academic year.
About 62% of respondents identified as straight. Close to a fifth of respondents — 18.7% — identified as bisexual, 7% identified as queer, 6% identified as gay, 6% identified as questioning or unsure, just under 3% identified as pansexual, just under 3% identified as lesbian and roughly 2% identified as asexual. Brown’s Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, however, reported that about a quarter of undergraduates identify as LGBTQ+.
The Princeton Review has ranked Brown as the fourth most “LGBTQ-friendly” college campus in the United States. Brown’s LGBTQ Center will soon move to a newly renovated space near Keeney Quadrangle in order to more easily host speakers and events. In June, Rhode Islanders also celebrated their first in-person Pride month since the pandemic.
About 20% of poll respondents had a relative attend Brown. Of those who did have a relative attend, 11% had a parent attend, roughly 7% had a sibling attend and just over 2% had a grandparent attend. Previous Herald polls did not distinguish between whether a respondent had a parent, grandparent or sibling attend, instead grouping all legacy students together.
In fall 2021, some students called for an end to the consideration of legacy status in admissions, with the Undergraduate Council of Students passing a resolution calling for the end of legacy admissions. Dean of Admission Logan Powell has refuted criticisms of legacy admissions and the University has not announced plans to stop considering legacy status in admissions.