Parts of the Graduate Application

Parts of the Graduate Application

The application to HIAA's doctoral program consists of five main components: a biographical data form, statement of purpose, CV, writing samples, and recommendation letters. We encourage you to review your application materials, especially your statement of purpose and writing samples with mentors, former professors, and students you may know who are pursuing similar graduate degrees. It is also very helpful and we encourage you to contact the HIAA faculty with whom you would like to work before you start your application. You will find their email addresses and research statements on the Faculty page of our website.

Statement of Purpose:

Your statement of purpose should tell us about the questions and ideas that motivate you to conduct graduate research in art and architectural history. We are interested in understanding how you arrived at these questions if you wish to relate them, but primarily we would like to understand the depth of your knowledge and experience of the field you are interested in entering, how your own questions intervene in that, and the wider field, and why pursuing graduate studies at Brown and in this department is the best way to engage with the issues you raise. A strong statement of purpose will illustrate your familiarity with the work of individual faculty members at HIAA.

The Department of the History of Art & Architecture at Brown University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic global community. Our commitment to diversity reflects the changes in our field and extends to the composition of our intellectual community and the content of the work of our faculty and graduate students. Please be as specific as possible in telling us about your intellectual story. Your statement should be 2-4 pages long.

Writing Sample(s):

Your writing sample should illustrate how you frame a research question, your command of the relevant scholarship, and your familiarity with academic writing. It should be no more than 25 pages long (and may be shorter). If you are sending us an excerpt from a longer piece, feel free to include a cover page that situates the sample within the larger work, such as a Table of Contents or a short written explanation. Please include relevant visual materials, notes, and a bibliography. You may submit more than one writing sample to total ca. 25 pages. Writing samples may typically be theses, published articles, revised conference papers, papers from advanced undergraduate seminar courses, revised versions of previous work, or new essays.


Your CV should list the milestones that form your scholarly background, publications (if any), work and volunteer experience related to the formation of your interests in the history of art and the history of architecture, and the acquisition of specific skills relevant to doctoral work in these fields.

Recommendation Letters:

Recommendation letters are an important part of your application. Have a conversation with each person from whom you would like to request recommendation letters in order to share your goals and preparation for graduate school, and to ensure that they feel able to write you a positive recommendation. This process should start months before the application is due.


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