The Ph.D. program in American Studies trains students to become knowledgeable, engaged and productive scholars and public humanists.
The Department of American Studies at Brown University undertakes the interdisciplinary study of the diverse cultures, groups and experiences that make up American life. One of the oldest American Studies programs in the nation, Brown's graduate students and faculty represent a community of innovative scholars committed to defining new directions in research, teaching across the disciplines, and reaching out to diverse audiences.
The primary goal of our doctoral program is to train students to become knowledgeable and productive scholars and public humanists who will significantly contribute to the communities in which they work and live. Our graduates now hold faculty positions in a variety of college and university departments, including history, English, women’s studies, communications, art history, and American Studies, as well as public humanities positions in archives, museums, and historical societies.
The Ph.D. program in American Studies provides students with rigorous training in the methods of interdisciplinary work while allowing them the freedom to follow their own academic interests and goals. Graduate students design their own course of study within the guidelines set up by the department, drawing on seminar offerings from our own faculty as well as departments around the university. Recent graduate students have studied in areas as diverse as African American history, Asian American and Latinx culture and politics, childhood development, public history, transnational popular culture, film, material culture, religion, and the history of sexuality and gender. Students receive an A.M. in American Studies on their way to the Ph.D.
Our students work closely with faculty from numerous departments and programs, including Africana Studies; English; History; Modern Culture and Media; Native American and Indigenous Studies; Science, Technology, and Society; and Urban Studies. Brown’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women provide additional opportunities for collaboration. Brown offers outstanding facilities for research in American Studies, including the Americana Collection of the John Carter Brown Library and the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays in the John Hay Library.
Required (short sample of 10–20 pages in area of interest)
Eleven seminars, including AMST0210 (Introduction to American Studies) and AMST2520 (Professionalization Workshop); oral preliminary exams in three fields developed by the student and related exam preparation Independent Studies; teaching as a Teaching Assistant and Teaching Fellow; a dissertation proposal; and a dissertation.