Brown University
Development Studies

Thesis Advisors

Choosing an Advisor for Senior Thesis

Students are required to secure a primary advisor by the beginning of the spring semester junior year. The advisor must be a faculty member who will be in residence at Brown throughout the student's senior year. You should be proactive in the search for your advisor – identify faculty members who might be interested in your thesis topic and approach them. The more interested they are in your project and the earlier you approach them, the more likely you are to benefit from their mentoring. The DS Concentration Advisor, Advisory Committee, and DEVL 1500 and DEVL 1980 instructors are available to help students identify potential advisors.

It is important to view the thesis as a 3-semester undertaking as you are expected to work alongside your advisor and DEVL 1500 instructor to define a viable research topic and appropriate research method before undertaking research during the summer of your junior year.

Students are also expected to engage along with their supervisor in meeting the outputs for the DEVL 1980 class.

There are at least three possible foundations on which a good working relationship may be built:

1. A faculty member you find interesting and stimulating, and someone who will engage your work and your ideas.

2. A faculty member who either has expertise in the area you are investigating (knowledge of the issue or region) or is conducting similar research.

3. A faculty member who has theoretical or methodological interests and expertise in areas that will be useful to your research topic. Such a person might actually know very little about the specific topic you are researching (e.g., access to agricultural land in Bihar, India) but may know a lot about a body of theory (gender and household dynamics) that is essential to your ability to develop the appropriate analytical framework for your research, or may have skills in a technique (statistics, ethnography) that will help you develop the appropriate investigative tools.

By early in your Senior year, you should also have secured a second reader. The second reader can be a visiting fellow or post-doc, so long as they are here for the full academic year.

If a senior capstone project requires the use of quantitative methods, by the end of the junior year students should take at least one course in statistics for social science in any of the following departments: economics, political science, sociology.

Past Thesis Advisors

Geri Augusto – Visiting Assoc. Professor
Africana Studies 

Mark Blyth – Professor 
Political Science 

Barrymore (Tony) Bogues – Professor 
Africana Studies 

Robert Blair - Assistant Professor
Politcal Science

Lundy Braun - Professor
Africana Studies, Pathology & 
Laboratory Medicine 

Christopher Bull - Senior Lecturer
Engineering

Rebecca Carter– Assistant Professor
Anthropology 

Kenneth Chay – Professor
Economics 

Wendy Chun – Professor 
Modern Culture and Media 

Melissa Clark – Professor
Public Health- Epidemiology 

Linda Cook – Professor
Political Science 

Anani Dzidzienyo – Associate Professor
Africana Studies 

David Egilman – Professor
Bio Med Family Medicine 

Gregory Elliott – Professor
Sociology 

Paja Faudree – Associate  Professor
Anthropology 

Edward Feller - Clinical Professor
Medical Science

Andrew Foster– Professor
Economics 

Lina Fruzetti – Professor
Anthropology 

Abigail Harrison – Assistant Professor
Population Studies & Training Center 

Barrett Hazeltine –Professor Emeritus
Engineering 

Patrick Heller - Professor
Sociology 

Paget Henry – Professor
Sociology, Africana Studies

Marida Hollos – Professor
Anthropology 

Evelyn Hu-DeHart – Professor 
History

Paget Henry - Professor
Africana Studies, Sociology

Elizabeth Hoover - Assistant Professor
American Studies

José Itzigsohn – Professor
Sociology 

Nancy Jacobs – Associate Professor
History 

Michael Kennedy – Professor
Sociology 

Robert Lee – Associate Professor 
American Studies 

Dore Levy – Professor
Comparative Literature & 
East Asian Studies

Patsy Lewis - Visiting Professor
International and Public Affairs

Richard Locke– Professor, Provost
Political Science  

Mark Lurie – Associate Professor 
Public Health - Epidemiology 

Stephen McGarvey – Professor
Public Health – Epidemiology 

Don Operario – Associate Professor
Public Health 

Josh Pacewicz – Assistant Professor
Sociology

Louis Putterman – Professor 
Economics 

William Rakowski - Professor
Public Health 

J. Timmons Roberts – Professor
Sociology 

Daniel Rodriguez - Assistant Professor
History

Cynthia Rosengard – Associate Professor
Public Health 

Dietrich Rueschemeyer – Professor Emeritus
Sociology 

Anja Sautmann – Assistant Professor
Economics 

Andrew Schrank - Professor
Sociology

Elena Shih - Assistant Professor
American Studies

William Simmons – Professor
Anthropology 

Bhrigu Singh - Assistant Professor
Anthropology

Daniel Smith – Professor
Anthropology 

Richard Snyder – Professor
Political Science 

Barbara Stallings – Professor
Watson Institute 
(political science, economics) 

Vanwey, Leah - Professor
Environment and Society, Sociology

Ashutosh Varshney – Professor
Political Science 

Kay Warren – Professor
Anthropology

Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro – Assistant Professor
Political Science

Michael White - Professor
Sociology

Vazira Zamindar – Associate Professor 
History