Graduate School

Open Graduate Education Provides Varied Perspectives, Novel Research, Job Market Advantage

Eight PhD students were selected for the interdisciplinary Open Graduate Education program, which provides the flexibility and resources to pursue a master’s degree in a secondary field while they earn their doctorates.

PhDs“The Open Graduate Education Program was one of the first programs I learned about when I visited Brown. I loved the emphasis on how varied perspectives breeds creativity,” says Amanda Khoo, a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering, who will add a master’s in Data Science.

Khoo is eager to apply the new tools she will learn through courses in Data Science to her lab research on how breast cancer cells change their shape and motility in novel 3D environments. “I am hopeful that the data science degree will help me answer questions I may not have even asked without this perspective.”

The seventh cohort includes:

  • Sophie Brunau-Zaragoza, French Studies, will study Political Science
  • Yifeng Cai, Anthropology, seeks a master’s in Public Health
  • Min Chen, Engineering, will study Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship Engineering (PRIME)
  • Yixiang Deng, Engineering, seeks a master’s in Applied Math
  • Brooke (Anne) Grasberger, History, seeks a master’s in Religious Studies
  • Mariz Kelada, Anthropology, also enters Modern Culture and Media
  • Amanda Khoo, Biomedical Engineering, enters Data Science
  • Qingyu Ye, Chemistry, focuses on Data Science

CaiYifeng Cai is crossing disciplinary lines to pursue a Master’s in Public Health to complement his doctoral study in Anthropology. 

“This program allows me to explore potential ways social sciences and health sciences can enter a meaningful conversation with each other,” says Cai.

He will combine anthropology's in-depth, contextualized knowledge of everyday life, with public health's population-wide knowledge production. “With training in both fields, I can explore innovative methodologies that allow me to apply fine-grained research findings generated in particular locales to a much larger scale.”

DengThe Open Graduate Education students also see the opportunity as a benefit when going on the job market. Yixiang Deng, a PhD student in Engineering says, “A second Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics will undoubtedly attract the attention of companies with the need of computational engineering and academia associated with the high demand for mathematical training.”

“It is a great chance to obtain rigorous trainings in another important field, to communicate with peers who dream big and go big,” says Deng.

Brown doctoral students from all disciplines are eligible to apply to the program, which is funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Students propose and pursue a combination of studies, without sacrificing depth in the primary field. The opportunity enables integrative research and unique dissertations while furthering professional development.