Current Status Report - September 2011
Text in red denotes new activity since previous status report.

Attract and support the best graduate students

Action Taken

  • Allocated an additional $600,000 in 2002 for summer support for students in the humanities and social sciences
  • Allocated $1.1 million in 2002–03 to support health insurance coverage for all doctoral students; increased funding each subsequent year as necessary to cover increasing costs
  • Increased funds to support graduate student travel to conferences and professional development in 2002–03
  • Completed an administrative review of Graduate School systems and services
  • Increased funding for departmental recruitment
  • Celebrated the centennial of the Brown Graduate School in 2003 with lectures and discussion to initiate a national conversation on graduate education
  • Revised admission procedures to enable departments to compete for the best graduate students
  • Received a three-year, $250,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation for graduate student workshops designed to shorten time to degree completion
  • Launched a new Graduate School Web site in 2004 to improve recruitment and retention and to clarify and streamline Graduate School processes for faculty and current students
  • Established a first-year housing program for graduate students through the Office of Rental Properties in September 2004
  • Guaranteed three years of summer funding to all incoming doctoral students in select programs, starting with students admitted for 2005–06
  • Revised the fee structure for graduate students starting in 2005–06, the first such revision in 20 years
  • Completed a redesign of print recruitment materials for master’s programs in public policy and public affairs; consulted with other programs on various recruitment-related projects
  • Guaranteed for the first time five years of support for students entering doctoral programs on fellowship (2006–07)
  • Completed redesign and reorganization of the Graduate School’s recruitment-related publications
  • Established interdepartmental working group with the offices of the Provost, Vice President for Research, Biology and Medicine, Dean of the Faculty, and Public Affairs to prepare for the fall 2006 National Research Council survey and ranking of research and doctoral programs in the U.S.
  • Updated and re-launched Web site with clearer distinction between master’s and doctoral programs and profiles of current students and their work at Brown
  • Completed collection and submission of institutional and program-specific data for National Research Council survey of U.S. Research Doctorate Programs
  • Increased base stipend to $18,500 for 2007–08
  • Launched the Working Group on Graduate Education, chaired by the dean of the Graduate School and composed of faculty and students, to review and make recommendations about future directions for the Graduate School, including the optimal size of different programs and future levels of support. Working now to implement the recommendations of the Working Group
  • Revised fee policies to facilitate the formal submission of dissertations by advanced students
  • Revised and updated the Graduate School Handbook, a compendium of the Graduate School’s policies and procedures; the new handbook is now deliberately written for an audience of students, faculty, and staff
  • Adapted the online application to more adequately reflect the needs of master’s applicants, in coordination with the Office of Financial Aid
  • Received more than 7,000 applications for admission to the Graduate School for 2009–10, which is a near doubling compared with the 2001 total of 3,811. Improved selectivity, accepting 18 percent compared with 27 percent, and increased yield to 49 percent from 41 percent
  • Continued to attract more applicants for a total of 8,991 in 2010-2011. Continued to improve selectivity with a 14 percent acceptance rate and 43 percent yield
  • Received 3,391 applications from international students for 2010-11
  • Increased base stipends to $19,500 in 2010-11 from $19,000 in 2009-2010 to be more competitive
  • Welcomed first Mellon Graduate Fellows and offered first Mellon supplemental courses
  • Revised indicators for program strength and student performance to better profile completion and attrition as well as student support
  • Created Dean’s Advisory Group on Graduate Student Life and convened twice to examine and address opportunities and challenges identified in the NEASC report
  • Designed new website based on needs of students, faculty and departments
  • Created and used system of electronic notification of admission decisions
  • Tested and successfully launched new website and social media in August 2010
  • Received more than 9,000 applications for admission to the Graduate School for 2010-11 and 9,300 for 2011-12, compared to the 2001 total of 3,811.  Improved selectivity, accepting 15 percent compared with 27 percent, and increased yield to 43 percent from 41 percent
  • Received 3,900 applications from international students for 2011-12
  • Increased base stipend to $20,500 for 2011-12 from $19,500 in 2010-11
  • Increased support for doctoral candidates to four summers of support, up from three, beginning with students entering in 2010-11
  • Designed and implemented a financial plan to assist participating programs in recruiting and retaining doctoral students
  • Created process for awarding of doctoral funding beyond the five-year guarantee
  • Collaborated with programs to create University-wide schedule of on-campus recruitment events and provided support
  • Increased matriculation of underrepresented minorities to 30% of new domestic students for 2011-12, compared with 21% of 2010-11

    See Phase II for other recent actions that support this objective

Action Needed

  • Continue to expand the culture of research and excellence in graduate education
  • Continue to work with individual degree programs and departments to develop more proactive recruitment strategies to identify excellent candidates
  • Continue to seek ways to increase funding for graduate student support
  • Provide incentives for programs and students to improve completion rates and reduce time-to-degree
  • Continue to work with the vice president for research to provide incentives for increasing graduate student support on faculty grants
  • Review and evaluate our various master’s programs, including funding levels for students in those programs, and make changes as appropriate
  • Continue to review the funding pattern for doctoral students in the context of the five-year commitment of support, and make changes as appropriate
  • Continue recruiting efforts to attract a diverse student body


  • Dean of the Graduate School
  • Provost

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