Brandeis University

Last updated
Brandeis University
Brandeis University seal.svg
Mottoאמת ("Emet", Hebrew)
Motto in English
Truth even unto its innermost parts [1]
Type Private
EstablishedOctober 20, 1948 [2]
Endowment $1.04 billion (2018) [3]
President Ronald D. Liebowitz
Provost Lisa M. Lynch
Academic staff
361 full-time, 150 part-time (2013) [4]
Administrative staff
961 full-time, 216 part-time
Undergraduates 3,645 (2017) [5]
Postgraduates 2,087 (2017) [5]
Location, ,
Campus Suburban, 235 acres (95 ha)
Colors      Blue      White
Athletics NCAA Division III
Nickname Judges
Affiliations AAU
MascotOllie the Owl (named for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.)
Brandeis University Logo.png

Brandeis University /ˈbrænds/ is an American private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston. [7] [8] Founded in 1948 as a non-sectarian, coeducational institution sponsored by the Jewish community, Brandeis was established on the site of the former Middlesex University. [4] The university is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the U.S Supreme Court.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Private universities are typically not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. Many private universities are non-profit organizations.

A research university is a university that is committed to research as a central part of its mission. It does not matter whether the institution is public or private, or how the research is funded. Such universities have a strong focus on research and often have well known names. Undergraduate courses at many research universities are often academic rather than vocational and may not prepare students for particular careers, but many employers value degrees from research universities because they teach fundamental life skills such as critical thinking. Globally, research universities are predominantly public universities, with notable exceptions being the United States and Japan.


In 2017, it had a total enrollment of 5,722 students on its suburban campus spanning over 235 acres (95 hectares). [5] The institution offers more than 43 majors and 46 minors, and two thirds of the undergraduate classes have 20 students or fewer. [9] It is a member of Association of American Universities since 1985 and the Boston Consortium which allows students to cross-register to attend courses at other institutions including Boston College, Boston University and Tufts University. [10] [11]

Association of American Universities international organization of leading research universities

The Association of American Universities (AAU) is a binational organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education. It consists of 60 universities in the United States and two universities in Canada.

Cross-registration in United States higher education is a system allowing students at one university, college, or faculty within a university to take individual courses for credit at another institution or faculty, typically in the same region.

Boston College private research university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States

Boston College is a private Jesuit research university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The university has more than 9,300 full-time undergraduates and nearly 5,000 graduate students. The university's name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school in Boston's South End. It is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.

The university has a strong liberal arts focus, and attracts a geographically and economically diverse student body, with 72% of its non-international undergraduates being from out of state, 50% of full-time undergraduates receiving need-based financial aid, 13.5% being recipients of the federal Pell Grant, and having the 8th largest international student population of any university in the United States. [9] [12] [13] [14] Alumni and affiliates of the university include Albert Einstein and former First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nobel Prize laureate Roderick MacKinnon, as well as foreign heads of state, congressmen, governors, diplomats, and recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, Emmy Award, and MacArthur Fellowship. [15]

A Pell Grant is a subsidy the U.S. federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Federal Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor's degree, or who are enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs, through participating institutions. The Pell Grant is named after Democratic U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, and was originally known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant. A Pell Grant is generally considered the foundation of a student's financial aid package, to which other forms of aid are added. The Federal Pell Grant program is administered by the United States Department of Education, which determines the student's financial need and through it, the student's Pell eligibility. The U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula to evaluate financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for determining the student's expected family contribution (EFC).

International student someone who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of tertiary study

International students are those students who chose to undertake all or part of their tertiary education in a country other than their own and move to that country for the purpose of studying. In 2016, there were nearly 5.1 million internationally mobile students, up from 2.1 million in 2000. The United States and United Kingdom attracted one-third of all international students in 2000, falling to 28% in 2016.

Albert Einstein German-born physicist and developer of the theory of relativity

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.



Seal of the former Middlesex University MiddlsexUniversityMASeal.png
Seal of the former Middlesex University
Usen Castle, a building on campus Brandeis-Usen Castle.JPG
Usen Castle, a building on campus

Middlesex University was a medical school located in Waltham, Massachusetts, that was at the time the only medical school in the United States that did not impose a quota on Jews. The founder, Dr. John Hall Smith, died in 1944. Smith's will stipulated that the school should go to any group willing to use it to establish a non-sectarian university. [16] Within two years, Middlesex University was on the brink of financial collapse. The school had not been able to secure accreditation by the American Medical Association, which Smith partially attributed to institutional antisemitism in the American Medical Association, [17] and, as a result, Massachusetts had all but shut it down.

Middlesex University (Massachusetts) university in Massachusetts, United States

Middlesex University, known primarily for its medical and veterinary schools, operated from 1914 until 1947, first in Cambridge, Massachusetts, later in Waltham, Massachusetts.

A Jewish quota was a racial quota limiting the number of Jews in various establishments to a certain percentage. In particular, in the 19th and 20th centuries, some countries had Jewish quotas in higher education.

American Medical Association U.S. association of physicians and medical students

The American Medical Association (AMA), founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States.

Dr. Smith's son, C. Ruggles Smith, was desperate for a way to save something of Middlesex University. He learned of a New York committee headed by Dr. Israel Goldstein that was seeking a campus to establish a Jewish-sponsored secular university. Smith approached Goldstein with a proposal to give the Middlesex campus and charter to Goldstein's committee, in the hope that his committee might "possess the apparent ability to reestablish the School of Medicine on an approved basis." While Goldstein was concerned about being saddled with a failing medical school, he was excited about the opportunity to secure a 100-acre (40-hectare) "campus not far from New York, the premier Jewish community in the world, and only 9 miles (14 km) from Boston, one of the important Jewish population centers." [17] Goldstein agreed to accept Smith's offer, proceeding to recruit George Alpert, a Boston lawyer with fundraising experience as national vice president of the United Jewish Appeal.[ citation needed ]

Israel Goldstein American rabbi

Israel Goldstein was an American-born Israeli rabbi, author and Zionist leader. He was one of the leading founders of Brandeis University.

The United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was a Jewish philanthropic umbrella organization that existed from its creation in 1939 until it was folded into the United Jewish Communities, which was formed from the 1999 merger of United Jewish Appeal (UJA), Council of Jewish Federations and United Israel Appeal, Inc. In 2009, United Jewish Communities changed its name to The Jewish Federations of North America.

Brandeis University sign Brandeis University sign.jpg
Brandeis University sign

Alpert had worked his way through Boston University School of Law and co-founded the firm of Alpert and Alpert. Alpert's firm had a long association with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, of which he was to become president from 1956 to 1961 [18] [19] He is best known today as the father of Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass). [20] He was influential in Boston's Jewish community. His Judaism "tended to be social rather than spiritual." [21] He was involved in assisting children displaced from Germany. [22] Alpert was to be chairman of Brandeis from 1946 to 1954, and a trustee from 1946 until his death. [18] By February 5, 1946, Goldstein had recruited Albert Einstein, whose involvement drew national attention to the nascent university. [23] Einstein believed the university would attract the best young people in all fields, satisfying a real need. [24]

Boston University School of Law is the law school of Boston University, located on the university's campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts.

New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad railroad that operated in the northeast United States

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, commonly known as the New Haven, was a railroad that operated in the New England region of the United States from 1872 to 1968, dominating the region's rail traffic for the first half of the 20th century.

Ram Dass American contemporary spiritual teacher and the author of the 1971 book Be Here Now

Ram Dass is an American spiritual teacher, former academic and clinical psychologist, and author of many books, including the 1971 book Be Here Now. He is known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India and his relationship with Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He continues to teach, via his website; produces a podcast, with support from 1440 Multiversity; and pursues mobile app development through the Be Here Now network and the Love, Serve, Remember Foundation.

In March 1946, Goldstein said the foundation had raised ten million dollars that it would use to open the school by the following year. [25] The foundation purchased Middlesex University's land and buildings for two million dollars. [24] The charter of this operation was transferred to the Foundation along with the campus. The founding organization was announced in August and named The Albert Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, Inc. [26] The new school would be a Jewish-sponsored secular university open to students and faculty of all races and religions. [26]

Rabb Graduate Center (1965, Benjamin Thompson) Rabb Graduate Center, Brandeis University.jpg
Rabb Graduate Center (1965, Benjamin Thompson)

The trustees offered to name the university after Einstein in the summer of 1946, but Einstein declined, and on July 16, 1946, the board decided the university would be named after Louis Brandeis. [27] Einstein objected to what he thought was excessively expansive promotion, and to Goldstein's sounding out Abram L. Sachar as a possible president without consulting Einstein. Einstein took great offense at Goldstein's having invited Cardinal Francis Spellman to participate in a fundraising event. Einstein also became alarmed by press announcements that exaggerated the school's success at fundraising.

Einstein threatened to sever ties with the foundation on September 2, 1946. Believing the venture could not succeed without Einstein, Goldstein quickly agreed to resign himself, and Einstein recanted. [28] Einstein's near-departure was publicly denied. [29] [30] Goldstein said that, despite his resignation, he would continue to solicit donations for the foundation. [29] On November 1, 1946, the foundation announced that the new university would be named Brandeis University, after Louis D. Brandeis, justice of the United States Supreme Court. [31] By the end of 1946, the foundation said it had raised over five hundred thousand dollars, [32] and two months later it said it had doubled that amount. [33]

Brandeis felt it was in no position to make the investment in the medical school that would enable it to receive accreditation, and closed it in 1947. Einstein wanted Middlesex University's veterinary school's standards to be improved before expanding to the school, [28] while others in the foundation wanted to simply close the veterinary school, [30] which, by the winter of 1947, had an enrollment of just about 100 students. [33] A professional study of the veterinary school recommended dismissing certain instructors and requiring end-of-year examinations for the students, but the foundation declined to enact any of the recommendations, to the dismay of Einstein and a couple of the foundation's trustees. [34]

In early June 1947, Einstein made a final break with the foundation. [28] [35] The veterinary school was closed, despite students' protests and demonstrations. [30] According to George Alpert, a lawyer responsible for much of the organizational effort, said that Einstein had wanted to offer the presidency of the school to left-wing scholar Harold Laski, [36] someone that Alpert had characterized as "a man utterly alien to American principles of democracy, tarred with the Communist brush." [23] He said, "I can compromise on any subject but one: that one is Americanism." [30] Two of the foundation's trustees, S. Ralph Lazrus and Dr. Otto Nathan, quit the foundation at the same time as Einstein. [28] In response, Alpert said that Lazrus and Nathan had tried to give Brandeis University a "radical, political orientation." [37] Alpert also criticized Lazrus' lack of fundraising success and Nathan's failure to organize an educational advisory committee. [37] Einstein said he, Lazrus, and Nathan "have always been and have always acted in complete harmony." [38]


Brandeis's admissions building at night Brandeis University Admissions Night.jpg
Brandeis's admissions building at night

On April 26, 1948, Brandeis University announced that Abram L. Sachar, chairman of the National Hillel Commission, had been chosen as Brandeis' first president. [39] Sachar promised that Brandeis University would follow Louis Brandeis' principles of academic integrity and service. [40] He also promised that students and faculty would never be chosen based on quotas of "genetic or ethnic or economic distribution" because choices based on quotas "are based on the assumption that there are standard population strains, on the belief that the ideal American must look and act like an eighteenth-century Puritan, that the melting pot of America must mold all who all who live here into such a pattern." [41] Students who applied to the school were not asked their race, religion, or ancestry. [42]

Brandeis decided its undergraduate instruction would not be organized with traditional departments or divisions, and instead it would have four schools, namely the School of General Studies, the School of Social Studies, the School of Humanities, and the School of Science. [43] On October 14, 1948, [41] Brandeis University received its first freshman class of 107 students. [44] They were taught by thirteen instructors [45] in eight buildings on a 100-acre (40-hectare) campus. [46] Students came from 28 states and six foreign countries. [47] The library was formerly a barn, students slept in the former medical school building and two army barracks, and the cafeteria was where the medical school had stored cadavers. [16] Historians Elinor and Robert Slater later called the opening of Brandeis one of the great moments in Jewish history. [48]

Early years

Eleanor Roosevelt joined the board of trustees in 1949. [49] Joseph M. Proskauer joined the board in 1950. [50] Construction of on-campus dormitories began in March 1950 with the goal of ninety percent of students living on campus. [51] Construction on an athletic field began in May 1950. [52] Brandeis' football team played its first game on September 30, 1950, a road win against Maine Maritime Academy. [53] Its first varsity game was on September 29, 1951, with a home loss against the University of New Hampshire. [54] Brandeis Stadium opened in time for a home win against American International College on October 13, 1951. [55] The team won four of nine games during its first season. Construction of a 2,000-seat amphitheater began in February 1952. [56]

The state legislature of Massachusetts authorized Brandeis to award master's degrees, doctorate degrees, and honorary degrees in 1951. [44] Brandeis' first graduating class of 101 students received degrees on June 16, 1952. [45] [57] Leonard Bernstein, director of Brandeis' Center of Creative Arts, planned a four-day ceremony to commemorate the occasion. [57] Held in the newly opened amphitheater, the ceremony included the world premier of Bernstein's opera Trouble in Tahiti . [57] [58] Eleanor Roosevelt and Massachusetts Governor Paul A. Dever spoke at the commencement ceremony. [59]

In 1953, Einstein declined the offer of an honorary degree from Brandeis, writing to Brandeis president Abram L. Sachar that "what happened in the stage of preparation of Brandeis University was not at all caused by a misunderstanding and cannot be made good any more." [60] Instead, at the graduation ceremony for Brandeis' second graduating class of 108 students, individuals given Brandeis' first honorary degrees included Illinois Senator Paul H. Douglas, Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, and Alpert. [61] 1953 also saw the creation of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, one of the very first academic programs in Jewish Studies at an American university. Among the founders were distinguished emigre scholars Alexander Altmann, Nathan Glatzer and Simon Rawidowicz. Brandeis inaugurated its graduate program, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in 1954. [62] In the same year, Brandeis became fully accredited, joining the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. [46] As of 1954, Brandeis had 22 buildings and a 192-acre (78-hectare) campus. [46]

Chapels Pond ChapelPond.jpg
Chapels Pond

In 1954, Brandeis began construction on an interfaith center consisting of separate Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chapels. [63] Designed by the architectural firm of Harrison & Abramovitz, the three chapels surrounded a natural pond. [63] Brandeis announced that no official chaplains would be named, and attendance at chapel services would not be required. [63] The Roman Catholic chapel was named Bethlehem, meaning house of bread, and it was dedicated on September 9, 1955. [64] Dedicated on September 11, 1955, the Jewish chapel was named in memory of Mendel and Leah Berlin, parents of Boston surgeon Dr. David D. Berlin. [65] Named in memory of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, the Protestant chapel was dedicated on October 30, 1955. [65]

Farber Library at left (1984, Abramovitz, Harris, & Kingsland); Goldfarb Library at right (1959, Harrison & Abramovitz) Brandeis University Libraries.jpg
Farber Library at left (1984, Abramovitz, Harris, & Kingsland); Goldfarb Library at right (1959, Harrison & Abramovitz)

In 1956 Brandeis received a one million dollar donation from New York industrialist Jack A. Goldfarb to build a library. [66] [67] The building, named the Bertha and Jacob Goldfarb Library in his honor, was designed by Harrison & Abramovitz, a firm which designed many campus buildings in the 1950s. [67] Built of brick and glass, the library was designed to hold 750,000 volumes. [67]

Robert Berks' statue of Louis Brandeis stands atop the outcropping in Fellows Garden, in the center of campus (1956). Louis Brandeis statue by Robert Berks.jpg
Robert Berks' statue of Louis Brandeis stands atop the outcropping in Fellows Garden, in the center of campus (1956).

A nine-foot bronze statue of Justice Louis D. Brandeis is a campus landmark. The sculpture, created by sculptor Robert Berks, was unveiled in 1956 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Brandeis' birth. [68] [69] Berks' wife Dorothy had been the Justice's personal assistant for 39 years and wore his actual robes to model the statue. [69]

After Brandeis University awarded an honorary doctorate to Israeli Premier David Ben-Gurion in 1960, [70] Jordan boycotted Brandeis University, announcing that it would not issue currency permits to Jordanian students at Brandeis. [71]

Beginning in fall 1959, singer Eddie Fisher established two scholarships at the University, one for classical and one for popular music, in the name of Eddie Cantor. [72]

On May 16, 1960, Brandeis announced it would discontinue its varsity football team. [73] President Abram Sachar pointed to the cost of the team as one reason for the decision. [73] Brandeis' football coach Benny Friedman said it was difficult to recruit football players who were also excellent students with so much competition in the Boston metropolitan area. [74] Brandeis said the discontinuation of varsity football would allow it to expand intercollegiate activity in other sports. [74] During its nine years of varsity play, Brandeis' football team recorded 34 wins, 33 losses, and four ties. [74] In 1985, Brandeis was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities, an association that focuses on graduate education and research. [75]

Student takeover of Ford Hall

On January 8, 1969, about 70 black students entered then-student-center, Ford Hall, ejected everyone else from the building, and refused to leave. [76] The students' demands included the hiring of more black faculty members, increasing black student enrollment from four percent to ten percent of the student body, [77] establishing an independent department on African American studies, [78] and an increase in scholarships for black students. [79] The student protesters renamed the school Malcolm X University for the duration of the siege, distributing buttons with the new name and logo, and issued a list of fourteen demands for better minority representation on campus. [80] The students refused to allow telephone calls go through the telephone switchboard. [81] Over 200 white students staged a sit-in in the lobby of the administration building. [82] Classes continued on campus during the protest. [78] Other campuses that had protests at the same time included San Francisco State College, [83] the University of Minnesota, Swarthmore College, Cheyney State College, [84] Queens College, [85] and San Jose State College. [86]

President Morris B. Abram said that, although he recognized "the deep frustration and anger which black students here and all over the country—and often is—the indifference and duplicity of white men in relation to blacks", [82] the students' actions were an affront to the university, [77] Abram said that "nothing less than academic freedom itself is under assault." [82] The faculty condemned the students' actions as well. [77] On the third day of the protest, Abram proposed creating three committees to "spell out in detail those points which still divide us." [87] The students rejected the idea. [87]

On the fourth day of the protest, the Middlesex Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order, requiring the students to leave Ford Hall. [78] While Abram said he would not allow the order to be enforced by forcibly removing the students from Ford Hall, he did say that 65 students had been suspended for their actions. [82] On January 18, the black students exited Ford Hall, ending the eleven-day occupation of the building. [88] Brandeis and students still were not in agreement on one of the demands, namely the establishment of an autonomous department on African American studies. Brandeis insisted that such a department be subject to the same rules as any other department. [88] There had been no violence or destruction of property during the occupation, and Brandeis gave the students amnesty from their actions. [88] Ronald Walters became the first chair of Afro-American studies at Brandeis later the same year. [89] Ford Hall was demolished in August 2000 to make way for the Shapiro Campus Center, which was opened and dedicated October 3, 2002.

21st century

The Volen Center for Complex Systems (1994, CannonDesign) Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham MA.jpg
The Volen Center for Complex Systems (1994, CannonDesign)
Landsman Research Facility (completed 2005, dedicated 2008), home to a superconducting magnet. Landsman Research Facility, Brandeis University.jpg
Landsman Research Facility (completed 2005, dedicated 2008), home to a superconducting magnet.

In 2014, Brandeis announced it would offer an honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "a staunch supporter of women's rights", [91] and an outspoken campaigner against female genital mutilation, honor killing and Islamic extremism in general. After complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and internal consultation with faculty and students, Brandeis publicly withdrew the offer, citing that Ali's statements condemning Islam [92] were "inconsistent with the University's core values". [93] 87 out of 511 faculty members at Brandeis signed a letter to the university president.

The university announced that the decision to withdraw the invitation was made after a discussion between Ayaan Ali and President Frederick Lawrence, stating that "She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women's rights ... but we cannot overlook certain of her past statements". [94] According to Brandeis, Ali was never invited to speak at commencement, she was only invited to receive an honorary degree. [95] Ali said that Brandeis' decision surprised her because Brandeis said they did not know what she had said in the past even though her speeches were publicly available on the internet, calling it a "feeble excuse". [96] Ali stated that the university's decision was motivated in part by fear of offending Muslims. [96] She argued that the "spirit of free expression" referred to in the Brandeis statement has been betrayed and stifled. [97]

While some commentators such as Abdullah Antepli, the Muslim chaplain and adjunct faculty of Islamic Studies at Duke University, applauded the decision and warned against "making renegades into heroes", [98] other academic commentators such as the University of Chicago's Jerry Coyne [99] and the George Mason University Foundation Professor David Bernstein [100] criticized the decision as an attack on academic values such as freedom of inquiry and intellectual independence from religious pressure groups.


The presidents of Brandeis University are as follows.

Presidents of Brandeis University
Abram L. Sachar 1948–1968 [39]
Morris B. Abram 1968–1970 [101]
Charles I. Schottland1970–1972 [102]
Marver H. Bernstein1972–1983 [103]
Evelyn E. Handler 1983–1991 [104]
Stuart H. Altman 1990–1991 [105] interim
Samuel O. Thier 1991–1994 [106]
Jehuda Reinharz 1994–2010 [107]
Frederick M. Lawrence 2011–2015 [108]
Lisa M. Lynch2015–2016interim
Ronald D. Liebowitz 2016–present


Aerial view of campus in Waltham, MA Brandeis University aerial 2.JPG
Aerial view of campus in Waltham, MA
Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center (2002, Charles Rose Architects) ShapiroCC.jpg
Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center (2002, Charles Rose Architects)

The Heller School

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management is notable for its programs in social policy, health policy and management, and international development. Researchers at the graduate school and research institution research policy in health; mental health; substance abuse; children, youth, and families; aging; international and community development; developmental disabilities; philanthropy; and work and inequalities. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Heller School in the top 10 schools of social policy in its 2013 rankings. [109]

International Business School

The Brandeis International Business School is a professional school dedicated to teaching and research in global finance, management, economic policy, international banking, microcredit lending, business and the environment, and related fields. Brandeis IBS has been ranked #1 in the US by the Financial Times [110] for pre-experience finance master's programs for two years.[ when? ]

The School offers four graduate programs, a five-year BA/MA and BA/MBA, and undergraduate business programs specializing in international economic policy, corporate finance]], asset management, marketing, real estate, and sustainability. Brandeis IBS offers four graduate programs: Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA), Master of Science in Finance (MSF), MBA, and PhD. In addition, business major and minor programs are available to undergraduate students, along with five-year dual-degree BA/MA and BA/MBA programs, which allow Brandeis University undergraduates to complete a master's degree at Brandeis International Business School in conjunction with their studies at the university.

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies

Carl J. Shapiro Science Center (2009, Payette) Carl J Shapiro Science Center, Brandeis University, Waltham MA.jpg
Carl J. Shapiro Science Center (2009, Payette)

With more than 4,000 enrollments a year, [111] the Rabb School of Continuing Studies develops educational offerings across four distinct divisions. It provides professional development opportunities through degree programs, personal enrichment and lifelong learning.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

One of four graduate schools on campus, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) offers over 40 programs, 18 of which are doctoral programs. Brandeis graduate students are eligible to cross-register for courses at Boston College, Boston University, Tufts University, and the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies at MIT. Brandeis is also a member of the Boston Library Consortium, [112] composed of 18 academic and research institutions in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Rose Art Museum

The Rose Art Museum (1961, Harrison & Abramovitz) Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham MA.jpg
The Rose Art Museum (1961, Harrison & Abramovitz)

Established in 1961, the Rose Art Museum is a museum dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century art.


The Brandeis Library [113] provides resources and services to support research, scholarship, teaching, and learning on campus.

The library manages more than 1,500,000 physical volumes, and more than 600,000 electronic books, as well as electronic journals and online databases. As part of the library, the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department houses Brandeis University's unique and rare primary sources, which support teaching, research and scholarship at the university and beyond. The department comprises University Archives, containing materials related to Brandeis University, and Special Collections, including rare books, original manuscripts dating from the 13th to 21st centuries, unique primary source material, and a wide variety of visual material.[ citation needed ]

Subject strengths include the Holocaust and Jewish resistance to persecution; Jewish-American and émigré writers, composers and performing artists; left- and right-wing movements in the United States and Europe; and American and European political leaders and social reformers. Major collections include material on the Spanish Civil War, novelist Joseph Heller, caricaturist Honoré Daumier, and Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis.

Brandeis University Panorama.jpg
Campus buildings viewed from Starr Plaza (1997, Pressley Associates), left to right: Shapiro Campus Center (2002, Charles Rose architects); Gryzmish Center (1959, Hugh Stubbins); Irving Presidential Enclave (1959, Hugh Stubbins); Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center (1959, Hugh Stubbins).


Slosberg Music Center Slosberg Music Center, Brandeis University.jpg
Slosberg Music Center

The schools of the University include:

The College of Arts and Sciences comprises 24 departments and 22 interdepartmental programs, which, in total, offer 43 majors and 47 minors.

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, founded in 1959, is noteworthy for its graduate programs in healthcare administration, social policy, social work, and international development. [114] [115] Internships, research assistantships and other hands-on experiences are available throughout the curriculum. The global and experiential dimensions of education at Brandeis are carried out through international centers and institutes, which sponsor lectures and colloquia and add to the ranks of distinguished scholars on campus.

The Brandeis University Press, a member of the University Press of New England, publishes books in a variety of scholarly and general interest fields. The Goldfarb Library at Brandeis has more than 1.6 million volumes and 300,000 e-journals. The library also houses a large United States Government archive. Brandeis University is a part of the Boston Library Consortium, which allows its students, faculty, and staff to access and borrow books and other materials from other BLC institutions including Tufts University and Williams College.

Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

In 1980, Brandeis University established the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, [116] the first academic center devoted to the study of Jewish life in the United States. The Cohen Center's work spans basic research on Jewish identity to applied educational evaluation studies. The center's recent signature studies include research with participants in Taglit-Birthright Israel, investigations of synagogue transformation, and analyses of Jewish summer camping. CMJS research has altered the understanding of contemporary Jewish life and the role of Jewish institutions in the United States.

Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism was launched in September 2004 as the first investigative reporting center based at a United States university. [117] It was named for founding benefactors Elaine Schuster and Gerald Schuster.

The Institute's major projects were:

In December 2018, Provost Lisa Lynch announced that the Schuster Institute would be closing at the end of 2018 due to financial considerations. [117]

Steinhardt Social Research Institute

The Steinhardt Social Research Institute [119] was created in 2005 from a gift from Michael Steinhardt as a forum to collect, analyze, and disseminate data about the Jewish community and about religion and ethnicity in the United States. The first mission of SSRI was to interpret the inherent problems with the National Jewish Population Survey of 2000 (NJPS). SSRI has done a Jewish Population Survey of the Greater Boston area, the results of which were released on November 9, 2006. [120]

The Institute collects and organizes existing socio-demographic data from private, communal, and government sources and will conduct local and national studies of the character of American Jewry and Jewish organizations. The work of the Institute is done by a multidisciplinary staff of faculty and scholars, working with undergraduate and graduate students, and augmented by visiting scholars and consultants. The Institute works in close collaboration with the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies.

Women's Studies Research Center

Women's Studies Research Center Brandeis-womens-studies-research-center.jpg
Women's Studies Research Center

The Women's Studies Research Center (WSRC) is directed by Professor of Sociology and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Karen V. Hansen. [121] The WSRC was founded in 2001 by Professor Emerita of Sociology Shulamit Reinharz. It is home to three general programs:

The Center is located at the Epstein Building on the Brandeis campus.


University rankings
ARWU [122] 70-95
Forbes [123] 97
Times/WSJ [124] 78
U.S. News & World Report [125] 35
Washington Monthly [126] 103
ARWU [127] 201-300
QS [128] 400-410
Times [129] 198
U.S. News & World Report [130] 280

Notable faculty and graduates

Among the better-known graduates are co-creators of the television show Friends David Crane and Marta Kauffman, political activists Abbie Hoffman and Angela Davis, journalists Thomas Friedman and Paul Solman, Congressman Stephen J. Solarz, physicist and Fields medalist Edward Witten, novelist Ha Jin, political theorist Michael Walzer, actress Debra Messing, philosopher Michael Sandel, Olympic Silver Medalist fencer Tim Morehouse, social and psychoanalytic theorist Nancy Chodorow, author Mitch Albom, filmmakers Debra Granik and Jonathan Newman, music producer Jon Landau, [146] and computer scientist Leslie Lamport.

Among the distinguished faculty, present and past, are mathematician Heisuke Hironaka, a Fields medalist, biologists and Nobel laureates Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall, composers Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Martin Boykan, Eric Chasalow, Irving Fine, Donald Martino, David Rakowski, Harold Shapero, and Yehudi Wyner, social theorist Herbert Marcuse, psychologist Abraham Maslow, linguist James Pustejovsky, human rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt, Anita Hill, historian David Hackett Fischer, economist Thomas Sowell, diplomat Dennis Ross, children's author Margret Rey, former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, sociologist Morrie Schwartz, poets Olga Broumas and Adrienne Rich, author Stephen McCauley, and Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Eileen McNamara.


Newspaper and yearbook




Brandeis fields 19 Division III varsity athletic programs. Brandeis athletic teams compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA).

Brandeis has won NCAA team championships in men's soccer (1976) and men's cross country (1983), as well as 24 individual titles. Brandeis teams have earned 17 NCAA Division III Tournament berths and won eight Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association (ECAC) New England crowns in the last decade. Nine teams have earned national rankings, with men's and women's basketball and men's and women's soccer all ascending to the top 10 in the nation during that span. [148] [149] [150] In 2017, the men's team reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth year in a row, and reached the Final Four for the second straight year. It was the fourth straight year they finished ranked a top ten team in the country. Also earning national rankings in '13-14 were women's cross country [151] and men's and women's tennis. [152] [153]

Brandeis also sponsors 20 club sports. Among them, ultimate frisbee, crew, archery and women's rugby have had success on a national level. The program's 15 intramural sports are open to students, faculty and staff.


Brandeis is classified as a doctoral university with "Highest Research Activity." [154] In FY 2015, Brandeis was awarded nearly $60 million in sponsored research. Funding sources included the National Institutes of Health; the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as a range of foundations. [155]

The university's Division of Science encompasses seven departments (Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology), five interdepartmental programs (Biochemistry & Biophysics, Biological Physics, Biotechnology, Genetic Counseling, Molecular & Cell Biology, and Neuroscience), six science centers (Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory, National Center for Behavioral Genomics, Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology, Benjamin and Mae Volen National Center for Complex Systems, and W.M. Keck Institute for Cellular Visualization), and more than 50 laboratories [156] that investigate fundamental life processes ranging from the structure and function of individual macromolecules to the mechanisms that control the behavior of whole organisms.

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates investigate areas such as neuronal development and plasticity, signal transduction, immunology, the molecular basis of genetic recombination, and the three-dimensional structure of macromolecular assemblies. Brandeis science faculty include 12 National Academy of Science members, [157] three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, [158] two Howard Hughes Medical Institute professors, [158] two MacArthur Foundation Fellows, [159] and 15 American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Fellows. [160]

Brandeis undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty, postdoctoral students and graduate students to conduct original laboratory research. [161] Brandeis also offers a number of funding resources to support independent undergraduate research projects. In 2008, Brandeis established a Science Posse program, a merit-based scholarship program that admits students based on their academic, leadership and communication skills, and their interests in studying science. Founded by Irving Epstein, the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, and supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, the Science Posse program is focused on increasing the recruitment and retention of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in the sciences. The program recruits, trains, and provides mentoring and other services for 10 inner-city Atlanta students each year who are interested in studying science at the undergraduate level. [162]

In 2014, the National Science Foundation renewed funding for Brandeis' Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which was established in 2008. This center supports interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary materials research and education that address fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society. [163] In particular, the center uses simplified components to create new materials that have some of the functionalities found in living organisms.

Student life

Undergraduate Admissions Center Brandeis University Admissions Bldg.jpg
Undergraduate Admissions Center
Shapiro Campus Center Brandeis University Shapiro Campus Center.jpg
Shapiro Campus Center

The university has an active student government, the Brandeis Student Union, [164] as well as more than 270 student organizations. [165] Fraternities and sororities are officially prohibited by Brandeis University, as they are contrary to a central tenet of the university, namely, that student organizations be open to all students, with membership determined by competency or interest. According to an official handbook, "[e]xclusive or secret societies are inconsistent with the principles of openness to which the University is committed.". [166]

Brandeis has 11 a cappella groups, six undergraduate-run theater companies, one sketch comedy troupe (Boris' Kitchen, founded in 1987), [167] four improv-comedy groups, and many other cultural and arts clubs, as well as student activism groups that advocate for causes including environmentalism, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, feminism, and anti-racism. Brandeis is also home to what has been cited as one of the country's few undergraduate-run law publications. [168] Of particular note is the Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society (B.A.D.A.S.S.), which consistently ranks as one of the top 10 debate teams in the United States, and participates across the globe in the World Universities Debating Championships each year. During the 2012-2013 school year, B.A.D.A.S.S. was the second most successful team overall on the American Parliamentary Debate Association Circuit. [169]

Cholmondeley's coffeehouse, commonly referred to as "Chums", is located in Brandeis' Usen Castle. Chums is a popular site for student performances and concerts, including Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Matt Pond PA, and Genesis (notable as their first American performance). Early footage of Chums appears in the short documentary film, Coffee House Rendezvous. [170] Cholmondley's is named after a notoriously ill-tempered Basset hound that was the on-campus pet for Ralph Norman, the campus photographer during the first years of Brandeis. The dog roamed the campus after dark, growling at students, often nipping at their cuffs and making a general nuisance of himself. After his death, the coffee house was named for him, not so much in remembrance but in celebration. [171]

Brandeis University's Campus Sustainability Initiative seeks to reduce the University's environmental and climate change impact. The University's accomplishments in the arena of sustainability include the creation of a student-organized on-campus Farmers' Market, the implementation of a single-stream recycling program, and the transition to GreenE certified wind power for 15% of the school's electricity needs. [172] Brandeis also offers an environmental studies academic program, which includes courses such as Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Sustainability of Brandeis and Community, which serves as an incubator for student led sustainability projects. [173] Student projects have included greening campus offices, running after-school environmental education programs for children in the Waltham schools, and cleaning up local streams and ponds. [174] In addition, a student-led project in 2014 established a rooftop farm atop the Gerstenzang science building consisting of 1,500 potted milk crates. [175]

Students also have the option of taking courses with a "Community Engaged Learning" (CEL) aspect. Community-engaged learning is an aspect of the university's broad-based commitment to experiential learning.

Emergency medical services are provided by the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps, a Massachusetts-certified EMT-Basic volunteer student organization [176] which does not charge a fee for any of its emergency services. [177]

Security escort services are provided around the campus and into Waltham by the student-run "Branvan," which runs on a daily schedule from 4:00 pm to 2:30 am on weekdays and from 12:00 pm to 2:30 am on weekends.

The university is 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston and is accessible through Brandeis/Roberts station on the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line, a free shuttle that services Boston and Cambridge (Harvard Square) Thursday through Sunday, [178] the nearby Riverside subway station (above ground) on the Green Line, and the 553 MBTA Bus. [179]

Wien International Scholarship

Wien International Scholarship [180] was instituted by Brandeis University for international undergraduate students. It was established in 1958 by Lawrence A. and Mae Wien. The family had three objectives: to further international understanding, to provide foreign students an opportunity to study in the United States, and to enrich the intellectual and cultural life at Brandeis. The Wien Scholarship offers full or partial tuition awards; these awards are need-based and require the applicants to present outstanding academic and personal achievement. Each year, the recipients of the scholarship take a week-long tour of a destination in the United States. In previous years, the students have visited the United Nations in New York City, and did relief work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In April 2008, the university hosted a three-day-long celebration for the 50th anniversary of the program.

Institute for Informal Jewish Education

The Institute for Informal Jewish Education aims to support Jewish educators in creating meaningful Jewish experiences through professional development opportunities including pre-service experiences, in-service experiences related to educators' practice, practitioner research, curriculum development, and strategic organizational support. [181] The IJE is funded partially through grants, from The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, The Legacy Heritage Fund, The Covenant Foundation, and AVI CHAI Foundation. [182]

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Coordinates: 42°21′56″N71°15′35″W / 42.365664°N 71.259742°W / 42.365664; -71.259742