American Studies

Graduate Admission

The Ph.D. program in American Studies at Brown University is highly selective. We typically receive over 125 applications each year, from which we accept four to six entering students.

Application Deadlines

Ph.D.: December 1, 2023

You can learn more and apply to our program through the Brown Graduate School.

Financial Aid

The application for financial aid is included with the application for graduate study.

The Graduate School guarantees six years of funding to all students admitted for the PhD. The aid includes tuition, stipend, health insurance and health fee, as well as three years of summer support, if students remain in good standing.

Students generally serve as teaching or research assistants for between four and six semesters; teach their own courses for one semester; and receive the first and fifth year as fellowship years, without work responsibilities. 

Application Materials

The department does not require GRE scores for admission.

Your personal statement should be a short description of what you want to study in graduate school. You do not need to have a specific dissertation topic, but you should describe a general area of interest and a time frame ("I want to look at Latinos and African Americans in the twentieth century"). We'd like to know how you came to this area of interest and what reading has influenced you. You should also explain which American Studies faculty members you especially hope to work with, and why.


Please send a writing sample of between ten and twenty pages in your area of interest. We'd be most interested in a short academic essay but something written for a wider audience would also be fine, even if contained in fewer than ten pages.

Recommendations from faculty who have had you as a student in a class are the most useful. We find that employers and friends don't really understand how graduate school works and so are less able to predict your strengths as an applicant.

Campus Visits/Interviews

We do not arrange individual meetings with prospective Ph.D. students before their applications are submitted. If you do reach out to particular faculty, bear in mind that while they are free to correspond with you about your research interests (time permitting), they can't offer feedback on any materials that will be part of your application. Please also note that contacting program faculty in advance will not affect your chances of admission. If you are admitted, we will invite you to visit campus and meet faculty and current students before you decide whether to accept. If you have questions as you prepare your application, please email