Richard Fishman leading a class on the Granoff Center's opening day in 2011.

Degree Programs

Brown University offers the following concentrations in the literary, performing and visual arts:

The concentration in History of Art and Architecture (HIAA) introduces students to the history of art, architecture and visual culture. Students in HIAA explore Western and non-Western areas ranging over a wide period of time (Ancient, Medieval, Islamic, East Asian, Latin American, Early Modern, Modern/ Contemporary). Concentrators often focus on a particular period (e.g. ancient, modern architecture), a particular branch of the field (e.g. urbanism), or a methodology (e.g. semiotics, critical interpretation, archaeology), but students may choose to create their own program of study. Concentrators receive essential training in perceptual, historical and critical analysis. Concentrators often study abroad for first-hand knowledge of works of art and monuments, as well as for exposure to foreign languages and cultures. Because foreign language skills are essential for pursuing art historical studies in a professional environment or in graduate school, HIAA requires two years of foreign language study.

Brown’s Program in Literary Arts provides a home for innovative writers of fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, literary translation, electronic writing and mixed media. The concentration allows student writers to develop their skills in one or more genres while deepening their understanding of the craft of writing. Many courses in this concentration require a writing sample; students should consult a concentration advisor or the concentration website for strategies on getting into the appropriate course(s).

Modern Culture and Media (MCM) is an interdisciplinary concentration that explores the ties between media and broader cultural and social formations. We stress creative thinking and critical production: comparative analysis and theoretical reflection, as well as work that integrates practice and theory. MCM brings together aspects of modern culture that are normally separated by departmental structures, such as film and media studies, fine art, literature, literary arts and philosophy. This concentration offers the student a range of possible specializations. Students might decide to focus on the critical study and production of a certain type or combination of media (print, photography, sound recording, cinema, video, television and digital media); or they might focus on certain cultural, theoretical and/or social formations (for example, gender/sexuality in post-Cold war television, postcolonial theory and film, the changing form of the novel, theories of subjectivity and ideology, video games and theories of representation). These paths are united by a commitment to critical thinking and practice—rather than reproducing conventions, MCM concentrators learn how conventions emerge, what work they do, and explore ways to change them.

The concentration in Music integrates theory, history, ethnomusicology, technology, composition, and performance. Students may select from among three tracks within the concentration: the first track emphasizes theory, history and composition; a second track emphasizes ethnomusicology; and a third track focuses on computer music and multimedia. The Music curriculum is supported by the Orwig Music Library, a state-of-the-art facility with holdings of over 40,000 books and scores and an equal number of sound and video recordings. Concentrators are encouraged to participate in one or more of the departmentally sponsored performing organizations: Chorus, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Wind Symphony, Chamber Music Performance, Electroacoustic Ensemble, Sacred Harp/Shape-Note Singing, Old-time String Band, Javanese Gamelan, or Ghanaian Drumming.

The Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (TAPS) is the intellectual and artistic center for the aesthetic, historical, literary, practical and theoretical explorations of performance in global perspective— theatre, dance, speech, time-based art and even performative “roles” in everyday life. The TAPS concentration offers three tracks with many points of overlap among them: Performance Studies, Theatre Arts, and Writing for Performance. Concentrators gain exposure to a broad spectrum of performance modes  and methods—acting, directing, dance and writing—and chose an avenue of focus among them. In addition, TAPS concentrators with an interest in socially engaged performance that tackles complex social issues may pursue the Engaged Scholars Program. Everyone graduates having studied craft, gained familiarity with history and investigated the role of performance arts in culture.

The Visual Art concentration engages in artistic practice across a wide range of media: painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography and digital imaging. Courses in art history combine with these to frame the direction of a concentrator's work and to develop his/her critical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to cultivate an informed and thoughtful individual perspective. Students in the Visual Arts department enjoy cutting-edge facilities and a knowledgeable faculty. These two resources inspire both creativity and pleasure among concentrators while they explore the discipline. Students acquire the intellectual and practical tools to make art, as well as to interpret and critique the world of images. Students also have the opportunity to take courses at the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design.


Granoff Center

Brown University
154 Angell Street, Providence, RI

Mailing Address

Brown University
Campus Box 1987
Providence, RI, 02912