Professor Brown graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1979 with an MA in Modern and Scottish History, and was awarded a PhD also from Glasgow in 1983.
He was appointed Glenfiddich Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews in 1983 and went on to hold a number of fellowships there until becoming a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Stirling in 1991.
In 1995 he returned to the University of St Andrews as Professor of Scottish History and was appointed Head of the School of History in 1997. He became Vice-Principal (Teaching) for the University in 2001 and in 2003 was appointed Master of the United College, managing the overall academic operation of the University. His remit was extended to include the role of Deputy Principal in 2006.
In 2010 he joined The University of Manchester as Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. The Faculty of Humanities is the largest of the University’s three faculties with 17,000 students, around 2,000 academic and professional support staff and a diverse portfolio of disciplines organised around the Schools of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Environment, Education and Development, Law, Social Sciences, and Manchester Business School.
Professor Brown is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His field of research is early modern Scottish and British History. He led the team that in 2007 launched the acclaimed online archive of the proceedings of the original Scottish Parliament, from its first surviving act of 1235 to its union with the English Parliament in 1707 (see RPS.ac.uk). He has published four monographs and three volumes of essays on aspects of early modern Scottish History. Currently he is concluding working on Scottish migration to England in the sixteenth to eighteenth century for which he held an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Network Grant. A number of articles are now in journal pipelines.