Political Science

Graduate Program

Brown's community of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty members in political science is a close and collegial one.

We are committed to excellence in research and teaching, to methodological excellence, and to interdisciplinarity. We have grown from 35 Ph.D. students in 2008 to 52 Ph.D. students today. 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.

Incoming doctoral students receive five years of guaranteed financial support, including summers, a stipend, tuition remission, a health-services fee, and health and dental insurance. The Graduate School guarantees a sixth year of funding for all doctoral students in good standing in the humanities and social sciences. There are also additional interdisciplinary fellowship opportunities at Brown which many of our students secure.

Overall, Brown provides in-depth research and pedagogical training through research and coauthorship opportunities with faculty, as well as to be Teaching Fellows. 


American Politics
The American politics subfield at Brown focuses on the interaction of institutions, political behavior, race and ethnicity, urban affairs, and public policy, each studied under the rubric of multimethod analysis. Our faculty and graduate students enjoy especially close ties with the Taubman Center for American Politics & Policy, the Urban Studies Program, and the Annenberg Institute. Building on these ties, Political Science graduate students have become national leaders in the study of American political institutions, race & ethnicity, gender, 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 regime change. Our faculty are engaged in broadly comparative as well as regionally focused research, including China, Latin America, Russia, South Asia, and they employ qualitative and quantitative methods in their research. Graduate students also have access to interdisciplinary faculty through Brown's Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs, as well as interdisciplinary training opportunities through the Graduate Program in Development Studies, and the Population Studies Training Center.
International Relations
The International Relations faculty at Brown seek 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 political psychology, political theory, 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. With the recent creation of the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, there are expanded opportunities for students who want to focus more intently on the interaction of politics and economics in the global context.
Political Theory
The political theory subfield at Brown has a shared interest in envisioning, contesting, expanding, and critiquing democracy and its historic aspirations to equality and freedom. This is a central concern of the subfield, which has strengths in Black political thought; environmental and ecological thinking; political economy; work and socialism; political refusal, resistance, and disobedience; affect and politics; the foundations and practice of authority; law and constitutionalism; political judgment and deliberation; theories of freedom; American political thought, and gender studies, feminist and queer theory. Our faculty and students approach these topics drawing on agonistic, analytic, critical, and phenomenological approaches in contemporary theory and the history of political thought. Graduate students work closely with department faculty as well as with associated faculty in other departments. We also have strong connections to various centers, including the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice; the Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics; the Political Concepts group, the Environmental Humanities at Brown initiative, and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.