Q:Heyyy, I'm an incoming student. I just wanted to know what's the normal amount of classes a student takes per semester? Is there anything special you need to do in order to enroll into bio or calc classes?
Hey! Welcome to our awesome little club of Brunonians, pre-frosh :)
Simple answer to your first question: The normal/recommended amount of classes for a student to take each semester is 4. That means by graduation, you will have taken 32 classes. However, Brown understands that you might decide to drop a class and take 3 classes one semester, so to graduate, you only need 30. This means that you can take 3 classes in one semester twice in your time at Brown. The maximum number of classes you can take each semester is 5. To be honest, many people decide to try taking that many their freshman year. However, these said people also realize that it was a stupid choice since you’re still adjusting/classes are difficult. So for your first year, Josiah recommends taking 4, and then if need be, drop down to 3.
More in depth answer: As we mentioned above, it is possible to take only 3 classes in two of your semesters. The way this generally works is that you can take one of your three class semesters during your first two years and another during your last two. If you were to take three classes your first two semesters, you’d be in danger of losing your good academic standings (which is bad). So basically: four classes for three semesters and three classes for one semester of your frosh/soph years; four classes for three semesters and three classes for one semester of your jr/sr years.
Bruno actually sort of recommends taking five at first and then whittling it down as the semester wears on, because you’ll probably figure out about 3 weeks into one of your classes that you don’t like it and don’t want to do the work for it. That happened to me and I was only taking 4 classes, so I lost my shot at doing 3 classes later on (it’s good to save this option in case something really time consuming/problematic comes up).
In terms of Bio and Calc, that depends on what level you want to go into and if you’ve taken IB or AP. This page for AP and this page for IB can tell you what you’ve earned. Once you know what your appropriate level is, you can use self-service to find classes that are right for you.
So, let’s say you got a 4 on AP Bio and you want to take Bio 0380 (The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease), which has a Bio 0200 prereq - you’re set! If you haven’t taken AP or IB Bio, you might need to take an FYS or Liberal Learning class in fall and wait for Bio 0200 in the spring. The math levels are a little more nuanced, so you might want to check out the Calculus Placement FAQ.
Also, both departments offer a placement test that might help you figure out where you belong.
If you need more help, let us know what background you have in both subjects, and we can help give idea of what you should do! Bruno shopped a lot of the calc classes and has a good grasp on what’s what.