Graduate School

International Students

Brown’s Graduate School attracts students from all over the world, providing rich opportunities to learn and collaborate in our increasingly global community.

About a third of Brown’s graduate students come from outside the United States. A number of campus offices and local organizations are dedicated to helping international students make the transition to life in the U.S.

Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISSS)

The Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISSS) is a frequent first stop for admitted international students with questions — even before arriving on campus. On behalf of Brown University, OISSS issues applicable immigration documents to international students and scholars and guides them through processes such a maintenance of nonimmigrant status, employment, social security card and driver’s license applications and more, all of which require dealing with various governmental agencies. 

Externally, OISSS keeps in contact with government agencies and officials to keep abreast of policy and regulatory changes affecting its international clientele and to address specific issues.

OISSS offers immigration and employment focused presentations at Orientation and throughout the year. Students are encouraged to set up an appointment online or by calling (401) 863-2427. Please visit the OISSS website.

English for International Teaching Assistants Program

The English for International Teaching Assistants (ITA) Program evaluates the English language proficiency of non-native English speaking graduate students who have been awarded teaching assistantships. If a student’s English language skills do not meet the minimum standards of certification, provisional approval of the appointment may be made on the condition that the student enroll in an English-language training course during the first semester of the appointment and be assigned to other duties that will prepare them for teaching. Students who might be appointed teaching assistantships in the future are strongly encouraged to be evaluated for English proficiency in their first year so that those who need to improve their English language skills have time to do so.

During the academic year, the ITA program offers non-credit ESL courses (English for Internationals) that are designed to improve the spoken English language skills of international graduate students. The ITA program is a part of the Center for Language Studies (CLS). 

English Language Support at Brown

English Language Support at the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning offers a suite of services to support students whose primary language is not English. International and multilingual students are encouraged to take advantage of these supports to enhance any aspect of their English use or cross-cultural communication during their time at Brown. 

Key programs run by English Language Support include the Summer English Language Program and the Conversation Partners Program. The two-week Summer English Language Program fosters a supportive social, academic and language community for incoming international graduate students to develop social and academic English language skills in low-stakes contexts, receive direct and tailored feedback from English Language Support, connect with staff and university resources and services, and interact with other graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines. The Conversation Partners Program aims to promote inclusion at Brown by pairing individuals with diverse language backgrounds for regular conversation in English and cultural exchange. In the program, multilingual students and Brown staff members are paired for a semester and meet a minimum of twice per month for informal English speaking practice. 

Additionally, international graduate students can schedule individual consultations with English Language Support staff for focused support and feedback on a wide range of topics including reading, writing, listening, speaking, and U.S. cultural norms.

International House of Rhode Island

Located just a few blocks from the Brown campus, IHRI is an independent non-profit, community-based organization that provides a sense of belonging for international students and visitors; facilitates cultural expression and exchange; creates opportunities for cross-cultural learning; supports partners/children of visitors from other nations; aids language development through teaching and tutoring and works towards creating a community of global citizens. In a typical year approximately 1,000 unique individuals from over 70 countries participate in activities at IHRI.

IHRI serves as a residence for six graduate students. Rooms are available on a rolling basis and are reserved for international graduate students and scholars. Once a month IHRI hosts the Rhode Island International Spouses & Partners Association (RIISP+). The monthly gathering provides connections, networking, and resources to partners, spouses, or family members of graduate students and others who have moved to RI for work or school. Lastly, IHRI has an International Friendship Program that matches international graduate students with local families for friendship and cultural exchange. Students do not live with their American hosts, but have an opportunity to share their own culture and learn more about the local Rhode Island community.

All current Brown University students who come to IHRI receive free membership.