Brown’s Department of Political Science offers exceptional resources for the advanced study of politics across a wide range of areas. Committed to excellence in research and teaching, to methodological diversity, and to interdisciplinarity, the department is a stimulating intellectual community situated on a vibrant university campus. Our students benefit from the opportunity to work closely with leading scholars; they enjoy access to first-rate libraries, a variety of research centers and institutes, and strong support for their own scholarship – from fieldwork to methods workshops to conference travel.
The community of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty members in political science is a close and collegial one. All of our graduate students receive five years of guaranteed funding with summer support, and a 6th year of support is provided for eligible students. All first year students enter the program on fellowship and the department provides an additional year of fellowship after students defend their dissertation prospectus. Additionally, there are other fellowship opportunities within the university community that political science PhD candidates are eligible for and secure on a regular basis. In addition, Brown provides in-depth pedagogical training through Teaching Assistantships and research opportunities with faculty.
Brown political science provides extensive support for professional development, including workshops on topics such as publishing, grant-writing, conference participation, and navigating the academic and non-academic job markets. Our placement record with graduates at tenure-track faculty positions includes Auburn University, Barnard College, Carroll College, University of Chicago Harris School, Clark University, Coastal Carolina University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Copenhagen, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, University of Florida, Fordham University, University of Georgia, Indiana University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, King’s College, Lewis & Clark, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Merrimack College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, University of Oregon, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Queen’s University, Rutgers University (Newark), Sewanee University of the South, Skidmore College, St. Johns University, Stetson University, Texas Christian University, University of Tulsa, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington State University at Vancouver, University of Waterloo, Wheaton College, and Worcester State University.
American Politics. The American politics subfield is especially focused on the interaction of institutions, political behavior, urban affairs, and public policy. We are quite unusual in several ways in that we cross the boundaries to other subfields especially with respect to political theory, race and ethnicity, and methods. We focus on big questions that matter for American politics and we pay particular attention to the policy implications of our research. Our faculty and graduate students enjoy especially close ties with Brown’s Urban Studies Program, the Taubman Center for Public Policy, and the Annenberg Institute. Building on these ties, Political Science faculty and students have become national leaders in the study of American political institutions, race, health policy, and education policy.
Comparative Politics. Comparative politics at Brown has particular strengths in the political economy of development; ethnic identity and conflict; the politics of social welfare; and regimes and regime change. Our faculty are engaged in broadly-comparative as well as regionally-focused research, including China, Latin America, Russia, and South Asia, and employ qualitative and quantitative methods in their research. Graduate students also have access to interdisciplinary faculty through Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies, which hosts the Development and Governance lecture series (among many other things) and provides interdisciplinary training opportunities through the Graduate Program in Development Studies among others.
International Relations. The subfield of international relations has traditionally been divided into areas such as international security, international organization, and international political economy. While offering expertise in each of these areas, the International relations faculty at Brown seeks to emphasize how the study of 'the international' in a post-cold war, globalized environment necessarily stretches beyond such categories and invites linkages across other fields such as comparative politics, political theory, political psychology, and political economy. Our faculty structure their research and teaching thematically, offering graduate courses in areas such as money and finance, continuity and change in international orders, post-Cold War conflict, and International Relations theory.
Political Theory. The political theory subfield at Brown specializes in democratic theory and in classical and contemporary liberalism, with particular strengths in the foundations of democratic authority and the meaning of rights; political theory and the law; race, ethnicity, and gender; democracy and political economy; political judgment and democratic deliberation; theories of freedom; American political thought; and civic engagement and the public/private divide. The faculty and students approach these topics both analytically and through the history of political thought. Graduate students work closely with department faculty as well as with associated faculty in departments that include Philosophy and Religious Studies. They also benefit from engagement with the postdoctoral fellows in the Political Theory Project at Brown and from the political philosophy workshop, which brings together faculty members, graduate students, postdocs, and prominent scholars from other departments and universities for a vibrant and wide-ranging exchange of ideas.
In addition to the expertise found within each of the four subfields, the department as a whole has strengths in several interdisciplinary areas that cross between the subfields, such as ethnicity and politics; political economy; the politics of race and gender; political psychology; world politics; political development/political history; mass politics in democracies; public policy and administration; urban politics; and politics and the law. Detailed descriptions of faculty research interests can be found by clicking on the people link.