Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Public Humanities – Master’s in Integrative Studies (A.M.)

The Master’s in Integrative Studies, focused in public humanities, provides students with an interdisciplinary exploration of issues surrounding race, decolonial practices and social justice with specific references to cultural work in museums and other cultural organizations. Students will gain the knowledge and tools to lead institutional change within their organizations.


The Master’s in Integrative Studies explores the humanities and contemporary human experience through the lens of race, social justice, democracy and decolonial curatorial and knowledge practices. The program is designed to collapse the dichotomy between the languages of practice and scholarship through the creation of an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum incorporating both theory and practice, linking current academic debates to conversations taking place in museums and other cultural institutions. 

An expansive set of courses led by Brown faculty prepare students for successful careers in areas such as museums, cultural heritage sectors, and nonprofits.

Students will be guided by a track-based curriculum that provides structure and direction. Tracks include:

  • Museums/Public History
  • Art/Curation
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Digital Humanities


Completion of the A.M. program requires eight courses, six of which are required, as outlined below, and completion of a required uncredited summer practicum. Full-time A.M. students will complete the degree in two years, taking two courses per semester. This track-based curriculum will provide structure and direction for students, focusing their elective course selections.

All students must take the following required courses: 

This introductory course must be taken during the first semester. It is a survey of issues in the public humanities field. Readings will ground students in these topics faced by museums, cultural institutions, and nonprofits.

Students will focus on methodologies and practices within the public humanities field. Topics may include restitution and repatriation; curatorial practice; non extractive practices for working with communities; decolonial practices within collections and archival based systems. Students will complete a final project that has both a written and public humanities project based component.

Students must complete a summer practicum between their first and second year. At the end of their first fall semester, students will submit a proposal outlining their proposed practicum to faculty and staff connected to the program. With a wide network of partners, the Simmons Center proposes to be able to place students at projects based at partner institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, RISD Museum, and Mystic Seaport Museum. This will help to ensure that students are able to have meaningful work opportunities and mentorship opportunities working with supervisors who are thinking critically about these issues in the field. Students may also propose and pursue practicum opportunities at other institutions. Students will be expected to have check in conversations with faculty/staff during the summer work to share about their work and experiences. Presentations of summer work will be shared with faculty and staff in the program during the following Fall semester. Faculty and staff will be available for conversations with site supervisors throughout the summer as needed, and will be in conversation before and after the practicum.

During the course of the student’s first year spring semester, students will propose a public humanities thesis or capstone project connected to their chosen track. This project could be in curation; public programming; K-12 curricular activities; digital humanities; oral history based work; theoretical examination on a chosen subject; collections based work at the Simmons Center or partner site at Brown or partner institution. Faculty and staff will help to review and provide feedback to the students’ proposal and facilitate the students’ work throughout the process. This project will give students a critically important hands on learning experience and project to add to their CV/portfolio. During the second year Fall semester students will take an independent study seminar course to allow them to focus on this project, read relevant scholarship on their chosen area of interest, and be in conversation with their cohort with feedback and conversation.

This course will examine the ways in which decolonization and restitution have become major national and global issues since the 2018 French Report.  It will examine the ways in which both nations and cultural institutions have had to grapple with these issues, under the rubric of decolonization.

What changes are now demanded in curatorial practices? How does one curate spectacles of violence? How does one engage the public? This course will focus on these issues on contemporary concerns about curation and museums. This course will include seminars by leading international curators.

The remaining 2 courses may be selected from across departments. Students will meet with their advisor regularly to discuss their proposed course selection. 

Electives Include: 

  • Aesthetics, Art and Social Change - Professor Anthony Bogues 

This course will examine the debates around art, politics, and social change. Drawing from contemporary literature on the relationship between aesthetics and politics, the course will deploy examples of how art practices have been critical to social change and how social change has shaped art practices. 

  • Black Digital Scholarship - Professor Kim Gallon

Application Information

Application Requirements

  • GRE Subject: Not required
  • GRE General: Not required
  • TOEFL/IELTS: TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international applicants; however, the Graduate School at Brown does offer a list of exceptions. Applicants should submit official TOEFL scores to code 3094 (Brown University). IELTS scores are also accepted.
  • Transcripts: Required. All applicants may upload unofficial transcripts for application submission. Official transcripts are ONLY required for enrolling students before classes start. An international transcript evaluation (WES, ECE or SpanTran) is required for degrees from non-U.S. institutions before enrollment.
  • Letters of recommendation: 3 letters
  • Resume/CV: Required
  • Personal Statement: Required

Application Process & Deadlines

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

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Tuition & Funding

Partial funding may be available for students who demonstrate need. Students must complete the FAFSA by April 1 to be considered. Please note, funding may not meet full demonstrated need.

Leadership & Faculty

Director of Graduate Studies