Department of Religious Studies


Listing of advisors by area and the advising structure.


Asian Religious Traditions (ART)

Islam, Society and Culture (ISC)

Religion and Critical Thought (RCT)

Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (RAM)

Advising Expectations

Advising relationships are a cornerstone of scholarly development. Every graduate student in Religious Studies will have a designated advisor, who is a primary point of contact, but students are encouraged to seek advising from more than just one person.

Students will have a pre-dissertation advisor and a dissertation advisor, who may be the same person, but not necessarily.  Although rare, changing graduate advisors is possible through conversation with and by petition to the DGS.  The graduate advisor-student relationship is governed by mutual expectations and responsibilities.  No two advising relationships will look the same due to differences in both faculty and students.

Nonetheless, a baseline of professional and collegial conduct should be observed as follows: 

Student Expectations

  • Respect and abide by the Brown Academic Code;
  • Embrace and facilitate an environment of inclusion, respect, and generosity in the Department and University;
  • Familiarize yourself with and adhere to the Departmental Ph.D. program guidelines as outlined in the RS Departmental Graduate handbook;
  • Make sufficient annual progress in the program, whether regarding coursework, teaching, preliminary exam preparation, prospectus, research and writing, and producing the dissertation in a timely manner;
  • Take the lead in establishing an understanding with their advisor about their progress in the program each year;
  • Meet with advisor (at least annually) to discuss one's Advisory Plan;
  • Solicit and be responsive to the advisor's communications about and input on course selection, intellectual directions, knowledge of the field, preliminary exam preparation and dissertation writing and research;
  • Make requests for letters of support well in advance of the deadline, and include accompanying materials as early as possible (four weeks is ideal).

Download the Advisory Plan here

Graduate Advisor Expectations

  • Act with the highest level of integrity and according to the best practices of the profession;
  • Embrace and facilitate an environment of inclusion, respect, and generosity in the Department and University;
  • Remain informed as to the program's structure, requirements, and deadlines, and be in conversation with the student about such dates;
  • Remain in regular contact regarding academic progress throughout the student's program;
  • Meet with advisee at least once per semester to discuss the progress through the program; 
  • Meet advisee at least once per year (early in the spring) to discuss their Individual Development Plan;
  • Provide substantive written feedback on the student's progress through the program (subsequent to meeting with the student about the Advisory Plan) at least once per year;
  • Help identify opportunities that contribute to their professional development;
  • Produce timely feedback on submitted writing (within four weeks is the standard turnaround time for essays and dissertation chapters unless the student and advisor discuss and agree on a different time frame);
  • Write letters of recommendation and support in a timely manner;
  • Continue their responsibilities to their advisees even while on leave and during the summers, within reasonable parameters;
  • Clearly inform the advisee and DGS if they are no longer able to discharge any of these duties.


Additionally, graduate advisors should familiarize themselves with the Graduate School's Advising and Mentoring Resources for Faculty site, along with its recommended Best Practices for Faculty Advising.

Additional Information

The Department of Religious Studies expects that all Ph.D. students will make satisfactory and timely progress through the graduate program, and all funding is contingent on such progress.
The primary purpose of this Handbook is to provide information geared to the needs of graduate students at all levels in Religious Studies.
The Graduate Student Organization for the Department of Religious Studies promotes the development of community in the department across faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate concentrators.