University Statements

Mission Statement

Brandeis University is a community of scholars and students united by their commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and its transmission from generation to generation. As a research university, Brandeis is dedicated to the advancement of the humanities, arts and social, natural and physical sciences. As a liberal arts college, Brandeis affirms the importance of a broad and critical education in enriching the lives of students and preparing them for full participation in a changing society, capable of promoting their own welfare, yet remaining deeply concerned about the welfare of others.

In a world of challenging social and technological transformation, Brandeis remains a center of open inquiry and teaching, cherishing its independence from any doctrine or government. It strives to reflect the heterogeneity of the United States and of the world community whose ideas and concerns it shares. In the belief that the most important learning derives from the personal encounter and joint work of teacher and student, Brandeis encourages undergraduates and postgraduates to participate with distinguished faculty in research, scholarship and artistic activities.

Brandeis was founded in 1948 as a nonsectarian university under the sponsorship of the American Jewish community to embody its highest ethical and cultural values and to express its gratitude to the United States through the traditional Jewish commitment to education. By being a nonsectarian university that welcomes students, teachers and staff of every nationality, religion and political orientation, Brandeis renews the American heritage of cultural diversity, equal access to opportunity and freedom of expression.

The university that carries the name of the justice who stood for the rights of individuals must be distinguished by academic excellence, by truth pursued wherever it may lead and by awareness of the power and responsibilities that come with knowledge.

As adopted at the meeting of the Board of Trustees, Dec. 6, 1984.

Accreditation Statement

Brandeis University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., a nongovernmental, nationally recognized organization whose affiliated institutions range from elementary schools to collegiate institutions offering postgraduate instruction.

Accreditation of an institution by the New England Association indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of the institutional quality periodically applied through a peer group review process. An accredited school or college is one that has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity also is addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the New England Association is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of the quality of every course or program offered or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it makes opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the status of an institution's accreditation by the New England Association should be directed to the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Brandeis University, Mailstop 134, 415 South St, Waltham, MA 02453-2728.

Individuals may also contact the association:

Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
209 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA 01730-1433
781-271-0022
781-271-0950 Fax

Diversity Statement

Established in 1948 as a model of ethnic and religious pluralism, Brandeis University:

  • considers social justice central to its mission as a nonsectarian university founded by members of the American Jewish community;
  • aims to engage members of our community as active citizens in a multicultural world;
  • seeks to build an academic community whose members have diverse cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences;
  • believes that diverse backgrounds and ideas are crucial to academic excellence;
  • recognizes the need to analyze and address the ways in which social, cultural, and economic inequalities affect power and privilege in the larger society and at Brandeis itself;
  • honors freedom of expression and civility of discourse as fundamental educational cornerstones;
  • seeks to safeguard the safety, dignity, and well-being of all its members;
  • endeavors to foster a just and inclusive campus culture that embraces the diversity of the larger society

Academic Coursework and Religious Observance

Brandeis is a university that embraces students of a wide diversity of religious traditions.

It is the policy of the university that instructors strive to facilitate students' religious observance by allowing absence from classes for such purposes and by trying to ensure that no examinations, written reports, oral reports, or other mandatory class assignments are scheduled for or due on such holy days; and that instructors provide ample opportunities for such students to make up work missed on such occasions without penalty.

The following is a list of guidelines developed by the Committee for the Support of Teaching, with the input of the Office of the Chaplaincy, regarding academic coursework and religious observances.

  1. In constructing the academic calendar, religious holy days will not be the sole factor in determining days on which classes will be held or suspended.

    In the academic calendar there are some religious holidays that are traditionally indicated as days when the university is closed (Rosh Hashannah, Good Friday); however, there are many other days of religious importance to the community (Eid) when the university is not closed.

    Jewish holidays begin at sundown of the previous evening and end at nightfall of the day listed. Therefore, a student may have a legitimate reason for missing a class, whether or not the holiday is formally recognized in the university calendar.

  2. Students should review their syllabus at the beginning of each term to determine if there are any conflicts between class time and religious observance. It is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor of these conflicts within the first two weeks of the semester.

    Students who miss class will be required to complete any work that is missed, and they may be required to submit additional assignments to make up for the missed class time.

  3. Should a student need to miss class for religious reasons, the absence should be excused. Missing a class due to travel plans associated with a particular holiday does not constitute an excused absence.

  4. If a faculty member wishes to schedule an exam or work due on the day immediately following a religious holiday, this assignment should be listed in the syllabus or be given two weeks in advance of the due date.

  5. If an instructor believes that a student's request is not one that can be accommodated, he or she should promptly notify the student in writing or by email.

    If the student feels that a reasonable accommodation is being denied, he or she should discuss the issue with the relevant department chair or program chair.

  6. If an instructor has questions about the nature of a particular holiday or would like a list of major holidays, he or she should consult either the Office of the Chaplaincy or the Office of Academic Services.

University Learning Goals

Brandeis Education: Learning in Service of Justice

A Brandeis education combines core skills, knowledge and social justice. Brandeis recognizes that learning occurs in and outside the classroom and designs its programs to enable students to meet these learning goals. Inspired by our namesake, Justice Louis Brandeis, the University seeks to produce graduates who have a desire to inquire and learn throughout their lives and who will endeavor to advance justice in the world.

Core Skills

Master communication skills.
Specifically, graduates should be able to express clearly facts, ideas, opinions and beliefs in a variety of written and oral formats.

Master quantitative skills.
Specifically, graduates should be able to:

  1. collect, interpret and effectively utilize numerical data and quantitative information;
  2. use mathematical and other abstract models to express and understand causal relationships.

Exhibit strong critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking allows for the clarification of ideas and the development of new ideas that are useful and worthy of further elaboration.

Specifically, our graduates should be able to:

  1. analyze, interpret and synthesize information and ideas from diverse sources, including different types of texts (e.g., oral, written, visual and performance-based);
  2. evaluate the relevance and validity of information, empirical evidence and theoretical arguments;
  3. solve challenging problems and arrive at reasoned conclusions.


Knowledge

Demonstrate ability to engage in research and scholarship.
Specifically, our graduates should:

  1. possess a substantial core of knowledge in their chosen field(s);
  2. understand the resources and methods of their chosen field(s);
  3. use knowledge to raise and explore new questions, theories and problems.

Demonstrate intellectual flexibility.
Specifically, our graduates should be able to:

  1. modify their conclusions based on new information;
  2. modify their approach to a problem based on the requirements of a particular situation;
  3. apply different analytic lenses to understand complex issues.

Demonstrate intellectual creativity. Specifically, our graduates should:

  1. integrate knowledge from the domain of ideas and the domain of experience;
  2. generate original ideas and insights appropriate to a given context.

Social Justice

Participate as informed citizens in a global society.
Specifically, our graduates should:

  1. engage in self reflection, inquiry and learning throughout their lives;
  2. act as socially and ethically responsible members of their communities and the world.

Demonstrate understanding of diverse societies.
Specifically, our graduates should:

  1. exhibit knowledge of and respect for cultural traditions other than their own;
  2. understand the interdependence of people around the world.

Engage in service throughout their lives.
Specifically, our graduates should:

  1. follow the example of Justice Brandeis by contributing to the creation of a just society;
  2. exemplify the value of altruism by volunteering and acting as advocates.


Note: Some of the language and concepts here were influenced by the six Principles of Undergraduate Learning developed by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and materials from the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College.