The Ph.D. program 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, its 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 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, working with faculty both in the department and throughout 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.
The primary goal of the graduate program in American Studies 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. Graduates of the department now work in a variety of college and university departments including history, English, women's studies, communications, Art History, and American Studies, as well as in archives, museums, and historical societies.
Our students work closely with faculty in Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, as well as those in more traditional departments. The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown provide additional opportunities for collaboration. Brown offers numerous 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)
Ten courses, including AMST0210 (Interdisciplinary Methods) and AMST2520 (Professionalization Workshop), no more than half of which may be in a single discipline; oral preliminary exams in three fields developed by the student; and dissertation.