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. 

Preview Day

The Graduate School provides prospective students the opportunity to visit Brown’s campus in Providence, Rhode Island, and to learn about what our graduate programs have to offer through the Brown Graduate School Doctoral Preview Day. This year the event will take place on October 15-16, 2023, and will have representatives from departments & programs in STEM (Biomedical Sciences, Engineering, Public Health, and Physical Sciences) and the Humanities/Social Sciences. Participants will have access to admissions sessions, student panels, and department-specific meetings with our faculty.

This is an application-based opportunity intended for aspiring graduate students, but those expected to enroll in graduate school by Fall 2024 are especially encouraged to apply. Additionally, limited travel and housing supplements are available for this day-and-a-half experience. Students interested in a Ph.D. that want to hear about what Brown has to offer are encouraged to apply! To complete the application, please proceed to fill out the corresponding form to your discipline of choice found here below:

Eligibility: This program is intended for prospective students, specifically domestic students, currently residing in the United States & Territories with an interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in the upcoming Fall 2023 application cycle. Open to all scholars, this program may be of special interest to prospective graduate students of color and/or scholars who display distinguished commitment and promise to enhance Brown's commitment to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of University life — recognizing that these values are essential to carry out Brown’s mission of education and research with excellence.

For more information or any questions, please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team through email at

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.