Graduate School

Diversity and Inclusion

The University is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive academic community.

Brown’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Brown’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) aims to develop a diverse graduate student body by:

  • Expanding graduate fellowships to departments to diversify the pipeline
  • Investing in enhanced graduate education through programs
  • Developing research opportunities for aspiring Ph.D. students
  • Expanding residential summer programs for aspiring PhD students
  • Hiring staff who are dedicated to recruiting diverse graduate students (Step completed)

One of the goals is to double the number of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups.

Learn more about Brown's DIAP

The Graduate School’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Graduate School is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive academic community and educating and training a distinguished and diverse cohort of master’s and doctoral students. Exposure to a broad range of perspectives, views, and outlooks is key to fostering both breadth and depth in intellectual knowledge.  

At Brown, the term “diversity” is used in the broadest sense to encompass many things such as race, color, religion, age, national and ethnicity origin, caste, disability, status as a veteran, language, socio-economic background, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political ideology, theoretical approach, and the list can go on. It is through the interaction among individuals from a diverse set of experiences, histories, and backgrounds that true intellectual diversity is achieved.

Recruiting and Admission

The Graduate School actively recruits students who are and have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, including but not limited to underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, women, and people with disabilities. The associate dean for diversity initiatives works in partnership with individual departments and programs at Brown and cultivates relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).  

Mae Williamson Simmons Fellowships

The Graduate School offers fellowships to assist in the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of students in doctoral programs who will contribute to the diversity of the graduate student body. Mae Williamson Simmons Fellowships provide a higher level of stipend support funding for three years and a one-time $1,000 research fund. The fellowships are named after Mae Belle Williamson Simmons, who earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Brown in 1962 — the earliest known Black woman to earn her doctoral degree from the University. 


The Graduate School works closely with the Leadership Alliance to identify potential graduate program applicants among the pool of undergraduate students who are conducting research at Brown for eight weeks during the summer. Similarly, the Graduate School works in close partnership with students from Tougaloo College who spend time at Brown throughout the year while participating in various aspects of Brown-Tougaloo Partnership programming. The Graduate School also recruits at various annual meetings and conferences around the country. 

Super Monday

Every spring, the Graduate School invites newly admitted underrepresented minority students to attend a one-day campus visit called “Super Monday.” Throughout the day, students are exposed to various aspects of graduate student life at Brown through interaction with faculty, staff and students from their prospective departments, deans of the Graduate School, and representatives from various centers and offices on campus. The day ends with a reception and dinner, which is attended by matriculating graduate students, faculty, and staff of color from across the campus. The Graduate School covers the costs associated with prospective students’ transportation to and from Providence and overnight accommodations for this event. 

Retention and Advancement

The Graduate School sponsors Multicultural Graduate Student (MGS) events for underrepresented minority students, including dinners with invited guest speakers, academic achievement and cultural celebrations, and social-networking activities. The Graduate School provides assistance to a variety of student associations and clubs that represent Brown’s diverse graduate student population. In addition, the University offers individual and group support to students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ). 

Program Review

Diversity is one of several criteria used by the Graduate School to assess the performance of graduate programs.