Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Asian students taking an exam

Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University: Which University is Right for You?

Are you deciding between Carnegie Mellon and Brown University? Both institutions are known for their exceptional academic programs, rigorous coursework, and talented faculty. However, each school has its unique offerings and campus culture, deciding for which school to attend a significant one. This article aims to provide you with an in-depth comparison of  Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University to help you make an informed decision.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both Carnegie Mellon and Brown University offer a diverse range of academic programs and majors. Carnegie Mellon’s acclaimed undergraduate programs are offered through its seven colleges and schools, including the College of Engineering, The Mellon College of Science, and the School of Computer Science. Brown University’s academic offerings are structured around its three schools: the College, the Graduate School, and the Alpert Medical School, which offers degrees in medicine and medical research. Additionally, Brown’s open curriculum gives students the freedom to personalize their academic experience, whereas Carnegie Mellon’s more structured curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in their respective fields.

College students walking in the campus.

However, both universities offer unique programs that set them apart. Carnegie Mellon is known for its top-ranked programs in computer science, engineering, and robotics, while Brown University is renowned for its programs in the humanities, social sciences, and visual arts. Brown also offers a unique program in Egyptology, which is one of the few undergraduate programs of its kind in the United States. On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon offers a program in entertainment technology, which combines computer science and fine arts to prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Admission to Brown University and Carnegie Mellon is highly competitive. Brown has an acceptance rate of 6%, while Carnegie Mellon has an acceptance rate of 17%. Both universities require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, essays, and high school transcripts. Carnegie Mellon places more emphasis on test scores and academic achievements, whereas Brown focuses on a holistic application review.

Additionally, Brown University offers an Early Decision program, which allows students to apply early and receive a decision by mid-December. This program is binding, meaning that if a student is accepted, they must attend Brown and withdraw all other applications. Carnegie Mellon also offers an Early Decision program, but it is not binding.

Furthermore, both universities offer need-blind admissions, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admissions process. However, once a student is accepted, both universities meet 100% of demonstrated financial need through a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.

Faculty and Student Ratio Comparison: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both Carnegie Mellon and Brown University have highly qualified faculty members and smaller class sizes with the same student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. However, Carnegie Mellon has more significant enrollment than Brown. Regardless, both schools prioritize personalized academic attention and mentorship.

In addition to their focus on personalized attention, both Carnegie Mellon and Brown University have a strong commitment to research and innovation. Carnegie Mellon is known for its cutting-edge research in fields such as robotics, computer science, and engineering. Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and collaboration, with research centers focused on topics such as brain science, public health, and environmental studies.

a computer science professor demonstrating

Furthermore, both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Carnegie Mellon has over 250 student organizations, including clubs focused on community service, the arts, and sports. Brown University has over 400 student organizations, including groups focused on social justice, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. Both universities also have strong athletic programs, with opportunities for students to participate in varsity, club, and intramural sports.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Comparison: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Attending a top-tier university such as Brown or Carnegie Mellon comes with a significant price tag. Brown’s tuition and fees amount to approximately $65,146 per year, with additional costs such as room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses. Carnegie Mellon’s tuition and fees amount to approximately $61,344 per year. Both universities provide financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students with demonstrated need. Brown guarantees to meet 100% of the determined financial need of admitted students, while Carnegie Mellon offers merit scholarships.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance may vary depending on the program of study and the student’s circumstances. For example, some programs may require additional fees or materials, and students may have different living expenses based on their housing choices and location.

Additionally, students should consider the potential return on investment when choosing a university. Both Brown and Carnegie Mellon are highly respected institutions with strong alumni networks and opportunities for career advancement. However, students should research the job placement rates and average salaries of graduates in their desired field to determine if the cost of attendance is worth the investment.

Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities Comparison: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both campuses have a vibrant and active student life. Brown has over 300 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural and diversity organizations, and community service groups. Carnegie Mellon has over 250 clubs and organizations for students to choose from, including the student-run radio station, newspaper, and theater productions. Both universities have vibrant sporting programs and facilities, with Brown being part of the NCAA Division I athletics while Carnegie Melon is part of Division III.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Additionally, Brown University has a strong focus on sustainability and environmental initiatives, with a student-led organization dedicated to promoting eco-friendly practices on campus. Carnegie Mellon also has a strong emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, with numerous resources available for students interested in starting their businesses or pursuing careers in technology and engineering.

Furthermore, both universities offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage in community service and social justice initiatives. Brown has a dedicated center for public service, which provides resources and support for students interested in volunteering and making a positive impact in the local community. Carnegie Mellon has a similar center for civic engagement, which offers programs and events focused on promoting social responsibility and community involvement.

Career Opportunities and Alumni Network Comparison: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both universities have excellent career opportunities and a well-connected alumni network. Carnegie Mellon has devoted career services and an exceptional reputation for its graduates in the fields of engineering, computer science, and business. Brown commits to promoting interdisciplinary studies in their academic programs, resulting in graduates who are well-rounded and prepared to succeed in a diverse range of professional fields. Brown’s alumni occupy leadership positions in academia, the public sector, and the private sector.

Additionally, Carnegie Mellon has a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, with many of its graduates going on to start their own successful companies. The university offers resources such as the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and the Innovation Scholars Program to support students interested in pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

On the other hand, Brown University has a unique approach to career development through its CareerLAB program. This program offers personalized career counseling, job and internship search support, and networking opportunities with alumni and employers. Brown also has a strong commitment to community engagement and social justice, with many of its graduates pursuing careers in non-profit organizations and advocacy groups.

Research Opportunities and Facilities Comparison: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both universities prioritize research and offer state-of-the-art facilities for their research programs. Carnegie Mellon has made significant contributions to the fields of science, engineering, and technology, with a budget of over $1 billion in research funding. Brown has several research centers and institutes offering opportunities for interdisciplinary research projects for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Additionally, Carnegie Mellon has a strong focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning research, with the establishment of the world-renowned Robotics Institute and the Machine Learning Department. Brown, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on social sciences and humanities research, with the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

Diversity and Inclusivity on Campus: Carnegie Mellon vs Brown University

Both universities prioritize diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. Brown offers a variety of resources and services for underrepresented students, including first-generation students, low-income students, and LGBTQ+ students. Carnegie Mellon also prioritizes inclusivity, with programs such as the Black Leadership Association and the First Generation College Program.

Happy students walking together.

However, there are some differences in the approaches taken by the two universities. Brown University has a more extensive range of diversity and inclusivity initiatives, including the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which outlines specific goals and strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Additionally, Brown has a dedicated Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, which provides support and resources for students, faculty, and staff.

On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon has a strong focus on promoting diversity and inclusivity in STEM fields. The university has several programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM majors and careers. For example, the Women@SCS program provides mentorship and support for women in computer science, while the Summer Academy for Mathematics and Science offers opportunities for underrepresented high school students to explore STEM fields.

Student Testimonials and Experiences at Both Universities

Speaking with current students and alumni of both universities can provide valuable insight into what attending each school is like. By reading student testimonials and reviews, you can get a better understanding of the campus culture, academic rigor, and overall experience attending either Carnegie Mellon or Brown University.

At Carnegie Mellon, many students praise the school’s strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. The university offers a variety of programs that allow students to combine different fields of study, such as computer science and art, or engineering and business. This approach to education has helped students develop a unique perspective and skill set that sets them apart in the job market.

On the other hand, Brown University is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their course of study. This flexibility has attracted students who are interested in exploring a wide range of subjects and pursuing their intellectual interests. Many students at Brown also appreciate the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which has created a welcoming and supportive community on campus.

Prospective Student Checklist for Choosing Between Carnegie Mellon and Brown

Deciding between attending Carnegie Mellon and Brown University can be tough. Creating a checklist of the factors that are most important to you, such as the academic programs offered, campus culture, tuition and financial aid, and career opportunities, can help provide clarity and aid in the decision-making process.

One important factor to consider when choosing between Carnegie Mellon and Brown is the location of the campus. Carnegie Mellon is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is a bustling city with a thriving arts and culture scene. Brown, on the other hand, is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which is a smaller city with a more laid-back atmosphere. Depending on your personal preferences, one location may be more appealing than the other.

Another factor to consider is the size of the student body. Carnegie Mellon has a smaller student body, with around 14,000 students, while Brown has a larger student body, with around 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. This can impact the sense of community on campus and the opportunities for networking and making connections with peers and faculty.

Conclusion: Which University Should You Choose?

The decision to attend university is a significant one, and choosing the right institution to suit your academic, social, and career needs is essential. When deciding between Carnegie Mellon and Brown University, consider the factors that are most important to you, weigh the pros and cons, and take the time to gather as much information as possible. Ultimately, the choice that best suits your needs and goals will become clear. Both universities provide exceptional opportunities for students and offer unique academic and campus experiences. With careful consideration and research, you can make an informed choice and attend the university that is right for you.

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