The Corporation meets formally as a full body three times each academic year — currently in October, February and May. The trustees never meet without the fellows. The fellows, however, do meet without the trustees, with the charter providing that "adjudging and conferring the academical degrees . . . shall forever belong exclusively to the Fellowship as a learned faculty." It provides, further, that "the instruction and immediate government of the College shall forever be and rest in the President and Fellows, or Fellowship."
The fellows, therefore, meet separately to discharge their responsibilities for establishing degree requirements and voting degrees. In practice, matters regarding degree requirements are generally taken up first by the relevant curricular committee of Brown’s faculty, then presented to the faculty for approval, and finally, approved by the fellows. Candidates for baccalaureate and advanced degrees are recommended by the faculty to the fellows. Honorary degrees are voted by the fellows after consultation with a faculty-student advisory committee.
A quorum of the Corporation is 12 trustees and five fellows. The charter also provides, however, for a minor quorum of four trustees and three fellows which may transact any business except siting of a building and the selection of trustees, fellows, and the president. The actions of the minor quorum must be ratified and confirmed by the full Corporation at its next meeting. The functions of the minor quorum are fulfilled by the Advisory and Executive Committee.