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Joint masters program to expand

New partnerships will make early graduate-level study possible in more countries, including Spain

Students will have more opportunities to get a head start on their graduate studies while abroad as undergraduates through the Brown Plus One program with a newly-launched University partnership in Spain and other locations under consideration.

This semester, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona became the fourth location for Brown Plus One, a joint master’s degree program coordinated by the Office of International Programs. The University also offers complementary master’s degree programs at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Edinburgh and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“We want to have Brown Plus One partner universities on each and every continent,” said Associate Dean and Director of International Programs Kendall Brostuen.

Participants in the program spend either a semester or a year at a partner institution during their junior years, earning credit toward their master’s degrees. After students graduate from Brown, they may finish their graduate degrees elsewhere. Though participants are encouraged to continue their relationships at the partner institutions after graduation, they must reapply to those schools, according to the OIP website.

As the University expands the program’s offerings, it seeks universities that offer classes taught in languages other than English, Brostuen said.

“When we were developing Brown Plus One, we were looking at some of the lead universities that offer one-year master’s degree programs,” he said. “Pompeu Fabra is certainly one of them.”

Pompeu Fabra ranks considerably lower than Brown and its other international university partners, which tend to earn high marks from the QS World University Rankings. This year, Pompeu Fabra placed 281st on the QS global ranking system. Trinity College ranked 61st, Chinese University ranked 39th and Edinburgh ranked 17th. Brown placed 47th.

Some students said the strong reputations of the partner schools attracted them to the joint degree program.

“Edinburgh is ranked highly, and I was definitely interested in attending a strong school for my study abroad experience,” said Lisa Goddard ’14. “That, coupled with its great rankings for linguistics (and) language sciences, made it pretty clear that it would be a good fit for me.”

Brostuen said other factors also play into the selection of partner universities.

“We’re looking at schools that are leading in their part of the world,” he said. Brostuen said the University looks for one-year master’s programs in non-English speaking areas that “run across many disciplines and cater to as many concentrations as possible.”

Brostuen said a Brown Plus One option for engineering students is currently in the works, adding that he expects more information about the program to be available by the end of 2014. A lower number of engineering students choose to study abroad, The Herald previously reported.

“If we only look at ranking, we’re not going to get diversity of geography, which is very important for getting different perspectives,” Brostuen said.


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