Frequently Asked Questions about the application and admissions process.
What are the curricular requirements of the MA program?
Completion of the MA program requires twelve courses. Full-time Master's students typically complete the degree in two years (four semesters) of coursework, but may be given permission to accelerate to three semesters. Students must take PHUM2020: Methods in Public Humanities and PHUM2010: Introduction to Public Humanities. Students also must take one semester practicums (PHUM2025); nine electives, of which at least three must be 2000-level PHUM courses, and a required but uncredited summer practicum. See here for more detail.
Where do students generally complete their practicum requirements?
The selection of practicum sites is limited only by students’ imagination and logistics. For their semester practicums, completed concurrently with classes, students generally arrange positions at organizations in Providence, Boston, or other sites in southern New England. Summer practicum choices are not limited geographically and students have selected placements with organizations in New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, and Hong Kong, as well as numerous historic sites, museums, libraries, and cultural organizations throughout the U.S. More details about practicums here. Back to top
What kind of jobs do your students get after graduation?
The careers of our graduates are very much dependent on their interests and the ways in which they have shaped the program to reflect those interests. Our alumni work for various arts and cultural organizations of all types, including local and national historical societies, museums, galleries, libraries, government, foundations, and many other organizations. More details about public humanities alumni here. Back to top
What is the relationship between the MA in Public Humanities and the Ph.D. program in American Studies?
The MA degree can be completed either as a professional (terminal) master’s program or as part of the Department of American Studies Ph.D program with students receiving this degree instead of the MA in American Studies. It is also available to Ph.D. students in other Brown departments through Brown's Open Graduate Education program. Doctoral students in other Brown departments also have an option to complete the Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities program, which requires four courses. Back to top
Should I apply to both the public humanities MA and the American Studies Ph.D. programs if I want to study public humanities?
No, the programs serve students with different interests. The MA program in Public Humanities is a professional degree designed for students who intend to work for cultural organizations. The Ph.D. program in American Studies is aimed at students interested in careers in college and university teaching, though it also provides excellent training for jobs in cultural or non-profit institutions that require a doctorate degree. Back to top
I’m applying for the Ph.D. in American Studies but want to get the MA in Public Humanities on my way to the doctorate. How do I indicate that on the application?
Do not apply to both programs. Apply for the Ph.D. and indicate in your personal statement that you are interested in the M.A. in Public Humanities. Back to top
Can I take courses outside of the Public Humanities?
Students are encouraged to take courses throughout the university. Past students have taken classes in the departments of American Studies, History of Art and Architecture, English, History, Modern Culture and Media, Africana Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and Political Science, among others. Students may also take courses at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University through cross-registration. You can brown current course offerings on [email protected]. Back to top
What is the deadline to apply?
January 19. Back to top
How do I get an application for the MA in Public Humanities Program?
All applications are submitted online, including a personal statement, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Materials are accepted mid September – January 15. Please visit the Brown Graduate School Admission Portal to create an account and apply online. Back to top
If I have supplemental application materials that I can't upload to the online application system (such as a portfolio, DVD, or CD), where should I send them?
We welcome the submission of additional multimedia materials as part of students’ applications. Send supplemental application materials to Brown's Graduate School Admissions Department, Box 1867, Providence, RI 02912-1867, USA. Please do not send materials to the Center for Public Humanities. Back to top
Are the Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE) required for Admission?
Applicants to the Master's program in Public Humanities are not required to include the official report of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test with their applications. We admitted many students who did not include their GRE scores in the past, and will not hold the absence of the GRE scores against your application. If you choose to submit your GRE score, visit Brown’s Graduate School GRE Information site for more details on the GREs. The GRE Reporting Code for Brown is 3094. Back to top
Is a language proficiency test required for international students?
The Graduate School requires that all international applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. More details about this requirement can be found on the Graduate School website here. Back to top
How many applications do you receive? How many students do you accept?
We usually receive about 70-80 applications and accept 10-15 public humanities Master's students per class year. Back to top
What are you looking for in a personal statement?
Your three to five page personal statement should address the ways that the public humanities program connects to your background, interests, and plans for the future. Include information on how you came to your current area of interest, what reading, work, and experiences have influenced you, a short description of what you want to study in graduate school, and the kind of work you are interested in after graduation. Your essay, like most good public humanities documents, should be personal, convincing, and well written. Back to top
What kind of writing sample should I send?
Please send a writing sample of up to twenty pages in your area of interest. That might be a short academic essay or something written for a popular audience. For example, you might send an artist’s statement, exhibition script, brochure, strategic plan, or grant proposal. Several shorter pieces are fine. If submitting collaborative work, please indicate what part of the work is yours. Back to top
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
You should try to present a mix of recommendations from faculty who had you as a student in a class and employers or supervisors who have observed you in a public humanities or other work setting. Back to top
Is financial aid available for MA study?
Public humanities M.A. students may request financial aid when they apply for admission. In the most recent years, most admitted students were awarded a tuition scholarship equal to 40% of the cost of tuition. The public humanities program also provides provides partial summer support for students undertaking practicums to offset expenses. For students looking for jobs during the academic year, the public humanities program also makes available a few degree-related employment opportunities both at the Center. Additional employment opportunities are available at Brown and at local institutions. One Fellowship for the Study of Public History of Slavery is extended per class per year. Public Humanities is also a participating department in the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative Fellowship, which grants one fellowship per year to an applicant to a participating Master's program. These fellowships cover tuition, stipend, and fees for the two years it takes to complete the MA in Public Humanities. Current tuition rates are posted on the Graduate School web site. A small number of MA in Public Humanities students are awarded Curatorial Fellowships. Back to top
Can I make an appointment for a campus interview? Can I meet faculty or graduate students as I prepare my application?
We do not offer an undergraduate or doctoral degrees in Public Humanities. Students applying for an undergraduate degree can contact Brown's Undergraduate Admissions [email protected] for more information. Students applying for a PhD program can explore available doctoral programs on the Graduate School's website.