Brown's doctoral program in English offers professional training in literary research, theory, criticism, and the teaching of literature and writing.
The English department has a diverse faculty representing a range of theoretical approaches. They regularly publish books and articles in such areas as literary history, theory of the novel, poetic form, literature and visual arts, African American literature, Asian American literature, critical race theory, postmodernism, new historicism, feminist theory and criticism, gender and sexuality studies, cultural materialism, postcolonial literature, and film studies.
The English department has close ties with the departments of Africana Studies, American Civilization, Comparative Literature, Modern Culture and Media, and with the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.
The first two years of the doctoral program are devoted to course work and the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement. We expect graduate students to take the qualifying examination by the end of the third year. Their remaining time in the program is given to the writing of the dissertation. We expect this project to involve research and to demonstrate potential to become a book or series of articles during the early years of the student's career as college or university professor.
Brown's doctoral program trains graduate students to become teachers as well as researchers. Thus we require that, with some exceptions, our students teach for three years as assistants to members of the English Department faculty and as instructors of sections of Nonfiction Writing ENGL0900 (formerly ENGL 0110) and seminars in English Literatures and Cultures (ENGL 0200). This teaching begins in the second year of the program. As part of the requisite course work, all students are required to take a seminar in Pedagogy and Composition Theory (ENGL 2950). To facilitate the development of their teaching skills, we assign students to a graduated sequence of teaching positions, from assistant in a large course to instructor of a virtually autonomous workshop. Convinced that the intellectual relationship between teaching and research is one that stands a college or university teacher in good stead for the duration of his or her career, we try to establish this relationship early on by assigning graduate students, whenever possible, to teach courses related to their general area of research and thus to work with faculty who may serve as appropriate mentors.