Welcome to the History Graduate Program at Brown University
Director of Graduate Studies: Prof. Robert Self
Welcome to Brown's doctoral and master's programs in History. Our program is a small, selective community that offers professional training in historical research, theory, criticism, and teaching. We are a diverse faculty of more than thirty-five historians representing a wide range of interests and specialties. We regularly publish books and articles dealing with research in periods from the Ancient to the Modern, from the Americas to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Our interests spread widely across topics and fields, including intellectual, cultural, political, and social history. The department is continually at work to expand into new areas and to establish thematic connections among distinct fields. For a guide to the interests and research areas of the faculty, see: faculty interest page.
The History Department has close ties with the departments of Africana Studies, American Civilization, History of Art and Architecture, East Asian Studies, Italian Studies, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and with the Cogut Center for the Humanities, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Urban Studies Program, the Committee on Science and Technology Studies, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, the John Carter Brown Library, the Watson Institute for International Studies, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.
The Brown History Department annually enrolls a cohort of 10-12 promising students in its doctoral program. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds and academic careers, though most have majored, or taken significant coursework, in history. They come from the United States and diverse countries around the world. Each cohort is unique, with a distinct blend of regional, national, and topical interests among its members. The average student takes 5-7 years to complete the doctoral degree.
The first two and a half years of the doctoral program are devoted to coursework and the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement. We expect graduate students to take the qualifying examination in the middle of the third year (at the end of the fifth semester). The remaining time in the program is devoted to the writing of the dissertation. We expect this project to involve substantial archival research and to demonstrate potential to become a publishable book during the early years of the student's career as a college or university professor. Though non-academic career options are less plentiful in history than in other fields, the department can assist students in job searches outside academia.
Brown's doctoral program emphasizes professional development and teaching, in addition to research. Students learn to become citizens of a larger academic and professional community and to develop their skills as teachers, speakers, grant writers, and evaluators of the work of others. As part of their required course work, all students take a series of courses—the Colloquium, Writing Workshop, Professionalization Seminar, and Dissertation Prospectus Seminar—designed to prepare students to be professional historians.
Because the vast majority of Brown’s PhD graduates find teaching positions at the college or university level, the program emphasizes teacher training. With rare exceptions, students teach for three years as assistants to members of the History Department faculty. This teaching begins in the second year of the program. To facilitate the development of their teaching skills, we assign students to work in both large and relatively small courses and actively coordinate with Brown’s Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, which runs a two-year teaching certificate program. We are convinced that the intellectual relationship between teaching and research is one that stands a college or university teacher in good stead for the duration of his or her career.
|A typical 5- or 6-year Ph.D. program typically unfolds as follows:|
|Summer:||Research, Language study (if necessary)|
|Year 3:||Exams, Dissertation Prospectus|
|Year 4:||Dissertation Research|
|Year 5:||Dissertation writing|
|Year 6:||Dissertation writing (if necessary)|
|[Students should expect to TA in years 2, 3, and 5.]|