Department of English

Professional Development

Throughout the year, the Department of English offers seminars that address a variety of timely academic topics meant to enhance students' professional development, as well as expose them to important elements of an academic career.

In a challenging academic job market, Brown's  Department of English affirms its commitment to preparing our students for success in their academic search. The English department offers regular stand-alone seminars that address a variety of topics meant to enhance students' professional academic development, as well as introduce them to important aspects of an academic career. These seminars are led by department faculty members with topics determined each year by the Graduate Committee. Students in all years of the doctoral program are strongly encouraged to attend.

While we are dedicated to providing an environment that prepares graduate students for work as professors, we know that not everyone who begins a PhD finishes it being able to, or wishing to have an academic career. Given this, we hope also to encourage and support an interest in the broad range of non-academic careers made possible by the skills our graduate students will develop and hone throughout their time in the program. While many of our PhDs go on to successful academic careers, we also recognise that our graduate students need resources to explore the wider world of options made available to them by their education, research and teaching at Brown. These pages represent one of the steps the Department is taking toward providing such resources.

Our students have gone on to pursue many varied vocations in and beyond the academy: from tenure-track professorships and post-doctoral fellowships, to work in publishing, administration, marketing, instruction, and law. Although the Department has a long and successful history of tenure-track placement, Brown English is also committed to helping students find and successfully begin careers which center the practices of writing, teaching, critical thinking, theorizing, and close reading that are at the core of an English PhD.

Past Seminar Topics

  • External Fellowships
  • Conferences: How to Apply and Write Papers
  • Publishing in Journals
  • Article Writing and Submitting for Publication
  • Library Materials/Research
  • Archival Research
  • Genre of the Dissertation
  • Developing Reading and Writing Research Habits
  • Gender & Sexuality/Professional Ethics and Protocols
  • Sexual Harassment Training
  • The Digital Humanities
  • Zotero and Scrivener¬†

Additional Information

Brown's doctoral program in English offers professional training in literary criticism, critical theory, intellectual history, and all aspects of research and pedagogy in the humanities. 
Brown's doctoral program in English offers professional training in literary criticism, critical theory, intellectual history, and all aspects of research and pedagogy in the humanities.
In the first two years of graduate study, students are engaged in course work.

Spotlights on Alumni

Recent Spotlights

News from the English Department

Spotlights on Alumni: David Liao

The best piece of advice I can think of is to be flexible and adaptable to the changing realities of the field/job market/this crazy and precarious world, and be creative and expansive in your conception of what a PhD in English can contribute (a lot!)
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News from the English Department

Spotlights on Alumni: Katie Fitzpatrick

Remember that your own happiness is more important than proving to yourself or others that you can succeed in a job market that is fundamentally broken.
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News from the English Department

Spotlights on Alumni: Chris Holmes

By dumb luck I got at tenure-track job my first year on the market. You must keep that in mind: Brown will get you in the mix, but from there it is 75% luck.
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News from the English Department

Spotlights on Alumni: Rebecca Van Laer

As writers, teachers, editors, and researchers, our skills are broadly applicable. It might feel difficult to communicate that to potential employers without a full-time job on your resume, but a little experience here and there during graduate school can help get your foot in the door.
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