Brandeis University Top Questions

What are the academics like at Brandeis University?


Brandeis professors are known to be friendly, engaging, caring, flexible, and of course, experts in their field! They go out of their way to help you with your academics, professional career, and overall Brandeis experience to ensure you maximize your potential and take full advantage of your college years. The students are definitely stimulated outside of the classroom and always engage teachers over lunch, in general professional forums, career fairs, internship opportunities, and more! Students at Brandeis may be competitive, but you only feel the competition between you and yourself! Brandeis students are known to go out of their way to help one another, even in the most cutting edge classes like pre-med. This says something about the culture of Brandeis and the integrity and deep care students have. I am majoring in Business and Education Studies, with a minor in Near Easter Jewish Studies. The Business major is the only major at Brandeis that you have to apply for, and the school is only about 2 years old. It is a wonderful program! Because the business school is at Brandeis, which has a liberal arts focus, many students do double major to pair business with psychology, sociology, economics, math, etc. Brandeis makes it very easy to double major because the professors are understandable and accommodating. There are also multiple advisors to help you organize your schedule to ensure you are on track and not overburdened. Every single one of my teachers knows my name! Even in my large intro classes, I have introduced myself and build a personal relationship with my professors! They want students to seek them out and contact them--they love it! The school has academic requirements, however you can fill the quota in several ways. For example, if you are not a "science kid," you can take an intro to computer science class.... the truth is that will fulfill most of the requirements when you just complete requirements for your major, it is nothing to worry about!


Going into college, I was expecting the academics to be like high school: I'd get through each day by chatting with friends during and between classes. Classes would be something I did because I was paying for them and to earn a degree and open doors in the future. Instead, I'm able to take classes I love that interest me, and I look forward to going to class, rather than dreading it. Instead of a dull lecture, most of my classes are small discussions with lots of participation, and the conversations continue after class ends. I've even brought up interesting topics or new information at dinner that night with my friends in other majors. General distribution requirements makes exploring different focuses easy and helps guide undecided majors to their passions. As a first year, I had no idea what I wanted to study, and that made choosing a college difficult. I chose Brandeis because I knew I would get a quality liberal arts education no matter what I ended up focusing on, and after taking Women in American History, I knew I wanted to be an American Studies major with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. With additional minors in Business and Journalism, I'm confident that my Brandeis education is preparing me for nearly any career I could imagine.


Brandeis is known for its rigorous and rewarding academic program. Professors are attentive and engaging; they want to make sure that you get the most out of their class as possible. They are always available via email or through office hours they hold twice a week. Every Brandeis student does major studying- that's the name of the game here. Surely pre-med students are going to have more than other majors but you will see every one of your friends slaving other that test or paper in the library at some point during the semester. Brandeis gives their students a well-rounded liberal arts education. Students must take a class in the Creative Arts, the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. I am an American Studies/Theater Major with a minor in Journalism. What I have loved most about my classes is that the conversation continues outside the classroom. In my Communications and Media seminar, it is common for students to walk out of the classroom discussing or critiquing the virtues of social networking or the latest campaign controversy. My favorite classes have been in the Journalism program such as Ethics of Journalism and News on Screen. These are small seminar based classes where students are encouraged to speak their mind and analyze the material. There are many big lecture classes of 200 or so students such as Intro to Economics or Intro to Psychology, but professors do their best to learn all their students' names. Some of the most unique classes I've taken are in the theater department such as Collaborative Process, a class in which students create their own original theater pieces using aspects of their own lives and experiences.


I have an interesting view of academics. I do not really like the traditional approach to academics that have been a standard for the past century. I really like to engage with my material and apply it to the broader community. I feel like Brandeis has made a great attempt to balance both my view and the traditional view. I strongly believe real world skills and experience is very important and Brandeis makes it easier for me to do so. I am majoring in Computer Science and I have had a lot of experiential learning opportunities with the field which has made my experience with it much more fulfilling.


While lecture halls at Brandeis can be pretty big classes, it is easy to be as known or unknown to the professor as you want to be. From my experience, professors have generally been scholarly and devoted individuals who are genuinely caring and compassionate about their students and their subject material. Academic classes usually present clear requirements and expectations from the beginning, and they often can be rigorous and demanding, especially in certain areas of study such as science. However, professors are often approachable, hold office hours, and are willing to help you succeed. Maintaining a high GPA may not be a cakewalk, but any student willing to put in the time and effort can do well. Studying is a must, as there will be many papers to write and tests to study for. It is necessary to spend afternoons and occasional weekends in the library. At Brandeis, I am a psychology major, film studies major, and journalism minor, so I have gotten a taste of many different areas. My science-related classes have all incorporated more challenging work and the understanding or learning of more difficult concepts than my humanities classes, which often allow for more freedom and interpretation when writing papers or having discussion. I have generally found my professors to be interesting lecturers and passionate about their subjects. One of my favorite current classes is my Bollywood Cinema class, where we not only get to watch really cool Indian movies from the past seven or so decades, but we also receive compelling commentaries and cultural lessons from the Indian-native professor. From the start of the class, she has made it clear that she wants us all to visit her country, and she reinstates that during almost every class session, though she still ensures we have an understanding of negative aspects of India as well as the positive. She is strict and has high expectations of us to complete all movie and reading assignments, participate in class, write good papers, and study intensively for tests, but the experience and knowledge gained is worth the effort. Additionally, she has almost 100 students but quickly learns everyone's name and encourages students to speak during class sessions. Students are enthralled enough to often hold conversations about her lectures, concepts introduced or discussed, and the movies for this class outside of class time. Many other professors at Brandeis are similar to her, and many other classes are generated like this one.


At Brandeis academics are a huge priority. Almost every student on campus has at least a major and minor, if not two majors. I personally am majoring in sociology, while minoring in journalism and classical studies. While that might seem daunting, the school makes it very easy to double major or minor. As well, unlike most schools, most students don't take part in "Thirsty Thursdays" once the semester gets going. Instead, Sunday through Thursday Brandeis students are doing homework or taking part in activities on campus. As well, intellectual conversations are a normal part of campus life. Partying is left for Friday and Saturday nights only for the most part. Brandeis professors are also very approachable, and the difficulty of the classes vary. The hard sciences are considered the most difficult by most people, however, humanities and social science students can expect to do a lot of writing.


The university requirements are great, mostly because there are hardly any. They've already made more requirements for the latest freshman class, but they're still totally reasonable. I didn't realize how much I'd care about that, but it makes it a lot easier to take classes I am genuinely interested in.


Every professor I have had knows my name. In general, professors care about teaching. I would estimate that class participation has counted toward the final grade in about half of the classes I have taken, indicating that it is an important part of a Brandeis education. I love that I can have intellectual conversations with other students outside of class.


I am a double major in Computer Science and Economics. I went into Brandeis undeclared, but with a wide array of interests. I took a bunch of different courses freshman year, without a particular focus on a major or area of study. I highly recommend that everyone does this, because as human nature and statistics are bound to show you, most people end up changing their major at least once over the course of four years at school. Out of the 800 or so people in my graduating class, more than 400 people came in as pre-med. I think roughly half have changed their majors. (Speculation, I don't know for sure.) Double and triple majors, or multiple minors are commonplace at Brandeis. It is probably because so many of the students are dedicated to their own education, and the quality of the classes here. I decided on my Economics major early in my college career, and was still doing some 'freshman year dabbling' at the beginning of my sophomore year when I took a course in the Computer Science department. Having taken several courses in programming in high school, I had a pretty comfortable background in CoSi. The class I took is one of the 'intro' courses, but it is intense, both in workload and difficulty of material. I thought the professor was engaging, smart and he really taught the material well. The very personal nature of the CoSi department is probably what made me decide to stick with the major. The quality of the education I have received at Brandeis is top-notch, and after talking with students who are majoring in similar fields at other schools, I can say that Brandeis is right up there with the Ivies in terms of the resources it offers and the professors it staffs.


The courses and professors, for the most part, are stimulating and interesting. We sometimes forget that Brandeis is a really prestigious school and that we are lucky to be receiving such a fantastic education! The requirements are reasonable and still allow enough freedom for exploring interesting electives.