Graduate Program

History |

Our mission is to train professional historians and to provide specialized training in the methodology of historical interpretation and research as a basis for leadership in the profession and scholarly community.

The History Department's graduate program reflects the department's concurrent commitment to

  1. an accurate reconstruction and interpretation of the collective experiences of the world's people and
  2. a special emphasis on African America, Africa, and the African Diaspora.

These concordant concerns are in keeping with Howard University's unique character and role as a major American university with a predominantly Black constituency.

The program is designed to allow for both diversity and specialization and is sufficiently flexible to permit the student to have a significant role in fashioning his/her specific degree requirements. While students may major or minor in African, Latin American/Caribbean, and United States history, they may minor in European, and they may choose one of their minors from another discipline. They may also create a program, which is a combination of courses and research projects that will enable them to specialize in African American, African Diaspora, Public, comparative, and women's history.

The excellent research and educational facilities in the Washington, D. C. area –including the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution – provide an added dimension to the program's value and make its high objectives more readily attainable.


Degrees Offered

The Department of History offers a graduate program leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, with specialization at the doctoral level in the history of the United States, Africa, the African Diaspora, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Students can receive a Master of Arts degree in all of the above and additionally in the fields of Europe and Public History.

Several combinations of course clusters within the designated fields of specialization may be used to concentrate on certain areas of interest, such as Afro-American, Comparative or Public history. The student is also given the opportunity to sample courses in other departments and schools of the University, while the Consortium allows the student to benefit from courses offered at other universities in the Washington area.

The Consortium of Universities includes: American University, Catholic University of America, George Mason University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland.


Dr. Kay Wright Lewis

Department Chair

Dr. Jean-Michael Mabeko-Tali

Director of Graduate Studies

Marcus Byrd

Program Coordinator

Program Details

  • Related Degrees: M.A., Ph.D.
  • Program Frequency: Full-Time
  • Format: In Person

Program Documents

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete application forms and submit to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions copies of their transcripts with three letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examinations scores, a statement of purpose indicating their reasons for desiring to pursue graduate study at Howard University, and a writing sample. The graduate faculty of the Department is charged with reviewing applications and deciding on admissions.

Applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent will be considered for admission to the Master of Arts program if they have completed their major with a grade of B or better and have a cumulative average of 3.0 or better. Non-history undergraduate majors are advised that they will be competing on an equal basis with students who have had preparation in the discipline of history and that it may be necessary for them to make up deficiencies.

Students applying to the doctoral program must have a 3.5 or better if coming directly from a bachelor’s program and a 3.0 or better if coming from a Master’s program.

Degree Requirements

As prescribed by the Graduate School, 30 hours of graduate credit are required for the Master's degree. Additional credit hours for a total of 72 are required for the doctorate. Various factors may make it necessary for the candidate to go beyond the minimum credit requirements. All courses numbered above 200 yield graduate credit. Courses numbered 170 to 199 also yield graduate credit, but only a maximum of 9 hours earned in courses below 200 will be counted toward the degree. Credit hours earned more than five years prior to the term in which the student presents himself for the final oral examination will not be accepted in fulfillment of degree requirements.

This time limit may be waived upon the written recommendation of the Chairman of the Department, based upon special examination of the candidate. Students are expected to complete the requirements in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Graduate School and the Department of History (i.e., for the Master's degree within two years and the Ph.D. degree within seven years from the date of initial registration in the respective program).

Those who have not graduated within the time frame established will be discontinued and no longer eligible for degrees in the Department of History at Howard University. In order to become degree candidates, students must first demonstrate proficiency in the English language by passing an Expository Writing Examination course. The importance of this requirement cannot be over-emphasized. It is recommended that the course or the examination be taken as soon as possible after the student enters the graduate program. Information concerning this requirement may be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department or the Graduate School website

The graduate faculty of the Department of History awards assistantships every year on a competitive basis. Students should consult the Department’s and the Graduate School’s websites for current information concerning other sources and types of financial assistance. Some awards are open for application only upon admission for students entering the Graduate School for the first time (e.g., McNair, Douglass Scholars).

Admission to Candidacy

A student should file for admission to candidacy after completion of the following: GSAS writing proficiency requirement, the Responsible Conduct of Research Workshop, the written and oral comprehensive examination in the major field, evidence of proficiency in two foreign languages, an approved prospectus, and completion of at least 66 credits. Forms provided by the dean should be filed a semester before graduation and approved by the student's thesis committee and the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Residence Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to spend at least three semesters in full-time residence, two of which must be consecutive.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
2400 Sixth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20059

History Graduates Biographies at Howard University

Keshad Adeniyi, from Watts, California, is a doctoral student in the History Department at Howard University. He holds a BA in Political Science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an MA in American studies from New York University. His intellectual interests are Nineteenth Century discussions concerning citizenship and repatriation as it related to Displaced African people during the Civil War and Reconstruction, especially Blackness, radicalism, confinement, and incarceration. His doctoral research is focused on the Contraband Camps that served as the holding grounds for freedmen as a result of Union army troops securing Confederate land during the American Civil War. He asks: how do these carceral structures inform the present? Upon completion of his PhD, he hopes to continue to empower, teach and educate at the university level propagating intellectual findings among non-traditional interest groups via carceral spaces and traditional educational settings.

Kerri Lee Alexander, from Bloomfield, Connecticut, is a doctoral student in the History Department at Howard University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Arts Administration (Nonprofit Management) from Wagner College, and subsequently earned the Master of Arts in Theological Studies with Certificates in Black Church Studies and Theology, Women and Gender from Princeton Theological Seminary. Her intellectual interests include Women’s history and cultural praxis, Pan-Africanism and the African diaspora, contemplative spirituality, and issues of social justice. Her doctoral research will be focused on Caribbean enslaved women and Caribbean slave displacement via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Upon completion of her PhD, she hopes to continue to reach broad audiences and interest groups, with her roots firmly planted in faith-driven leadership, historical competency, ethics, and service.

Victoria Colston-Brooks, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, is a doctoral student with a concentration in African Diaspora Studies. She has a BA in History with a concentration in African American Studies from North Carolina Central University and an MA from Clark Atlanta University in Africana Women’s Studies. Her Africana Women’s Studies project is focused on Africana women and their participations and contributions to Hip Hop culture. Her other research interests include Africana Women’s intellectual history, The Black Arts Movement, Hip Hop throughout the African Diaspora, and Africana Feminisms/Womanisms. After completing her PhD, she would like to work as a tenured professor at a research institution that will allow her to teach, research, and publish on the African Diaspora.

Sharon (Jessé) Edwards, a native of Coldwater, Mississippi, is a graduate of Spelman College (BA History) and Tufts University (MAT History). She is currently ABD in the field of History with concentrations in Public History in the Department of History at Howard University. Jessé has worked as a Graduate Assistant and an intern archivist at the renowned Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Currently, Jessé is working as an inaugural Social Justice Graduate Assistant for the “Just Futures Initiative” through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Jessé’s scholarly interests include the History of Education, Black Education, Southern History, African-American History, and Public History. Her advisor is Dr. Nikki Taylor. Email:

Delan Ellington (They/Them) has worked to catalog the most marginalized, bringing the voices from the historically erased into the archives. Delan has always been motivated to protect, preserve, and empower voices underrepresented in already marginalized populations.
They are getting a Master of Public History research focuses on collecting and preserving Black queer DC history and housing. They, serve on the board of directors of the Rainbow History Project the DMV focused LGBTQ historical society & No Justice No Pride, the largest provider of LGBTQ housing in D.C. Their focus is on Public History, having experiences working with the National Park Service, and International Spy Museum. They have a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and History with an emphasis in Public History from the University of Missouri in Columbia Missouri. Delan Ellington was born in Cincinnati Ohio and raised in Chicago IL.

Majella Chube Hamilton is a doctoral student in US History and Public History. She has distinguished herself in a successful career as a writer, editor, and communication strategic planner. She attended Howard University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with honors from DePaul University in Chicago. For many years, Ms. Hamilton worked successfully in the public and private arenas as a writer, editor, communication specialist and community activist, engaged in initiatives of history, art, culture, business, and community, before choosing to pursue graduate study. She serves as Executive Director of The Ballard House Project, Inc., a 501c3, non-profit, charitable entity that serves as a community catalyst in gathering, documenting, and celebrating the history of the early African-American experience decades prior to, and during, the Civil Rights Movement. Her graduate research focuses on the impact of image, representation, and perception of race and culture in the United States from the end of slavery through the early twentieth century. Majella serves as a Graduate Assistant in the HU Department of History and interns as a Cultural Resource Specialist with the US Department of Interior, National Park Service Museum & Archives Resource Center in Washington, DC.

Lora F. Hargrove, from Baltimore, Maryland is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Howard University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University in Communications with and emphasis in Public Relations. She earned her Master of Divinity Degree with an emphasis in homiletics and ethics and public policy and her Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. She has an interest in the ties between social justice, religion and music. In 2017, she was awarded an inaugural Just-Julian Research Fellowship which provided her with the opportunity to focus on specific aspects of oral history within her research. Her overall doctoral research is focused on the combined historical and theological connections between the African Diaspora and the motherland. Upon completion of her PhD, she hopes to continue to engage in public discourse an lectures and social engagement with audiences both within and outside of the Black church globally on the diasporic relevance in spiritually fluid and broad-based spaces.

Melanie R. Holmes is a veteran educator in District of Columbia Public Schools. She currently teaches world geography in Middle School world, while serving as the Social Studies department chair. At a local and district-wide level, Melanie has written and led professional development on culturally-responsive curriculum so that children can receive an education that is inclusive of the unique experiences of people of color. In this way, she hopes students can learn more about their own history and develop a respect for people of diverse backgrounds. Prior to teaching, Melanie was a newspaper reporter for The Philadelphia Tribune and the Afro-American Newspaper in Baltimore. Her focus as a journalist was to provide a voice for underserved individuals and communities by highlighting their concerns as well as spotlighting their successes. Melanie’s work has always been highly motivated by her passion for racial justice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism from Howard University and a Master of Science degree in education
from the University of Pennsylvania. She is now pursuing her doctorate in the African Diaspora with a minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies. Her research interests include Black colonial resistance and Black Power movements. She hopes to use her doctoral work to inspire the youth to continue fighting for an equal society.

Alysha M. Page, from Indianapolis, Indiana is an alumnus of Ball State University (B.A. History, M.A. Medieval History) and Tufts University (M.A. Art History and Museum Studies). Her art historical studies focused on the memory and heritage of Blackness and American-ness as expressed through the nineteenth-century genre paintings of William Sidney Mount. More broadly her research focuses on various indexical meanings of the American flag and how various contemporary Black artists interpret it during the Civil Rights Movement and by comparison the Black Lives Matter Movement. She seeks to investigate how Black artists have historically used the flag to express how African Americans are able to function in a society where patriotism and American-ness are closely bound to whiteness. Her engagement with social justice theory, race relations, and representation in popular culture have led her to pursue a doctorate in history at Howard University, where she majors in US History with a minor in Public History. After completing her Ph.D. she hopes to continue to bring to light the nuances of the Black experience in America and educate this generation as well as the next on this subject through continued community outreach and museum work.

Matthew Quainoo is a doctoral student in US History and Public History in the history department at Howard University. He earned a BA in Africana Studies and Political Science from the University of Rhode Island. He completed an MA in Theological Studies, with a concentration in Religion and Society, from Princeton Theological Seminary. His research interests explore the interdisciplinary intersections of nineteenth and twentieth century African-American intellectual, political, and religious history. Matthew holds a certificate in Black Church Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Margaret Reed is a lifetime resident of the Washington DC area. Born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, she operated her own flower shop on Capitol Hill where she resided for over a decade until her marriage brought her back to Falls Church. Margaret earned an A.A. and an A.S. at Northern Virginia Community College, where she was selected by USA Today as the top student in Virginia and one of the top 20 community college students in the nation. She then transferred, as a history major and women’s studies minor, to the George Washington University where she completed her B.A. and M.A. During her time at GWU, she also completed coursework and research at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Margaret currently teaches Western Civilization, United States and African American history at Northern Virginia Community College. Her concentration at Howard University is in African American history with a particular interest in the US Colored Troops who served at the Union prisoner of war camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, during the American Civil War.

Albert Thompson is a doctoral candidate in United States History; minor fields Public History, and the African Diaspora. Under Professor Daryl M. Scott's supervision, his dissertation “Race and the Liberal State: 1933-68” demonstrates how the New Deal of FDR created a new federal-state that eventually collided with Jim Crow and destroyed political White supremacy. He was recently appointed a visiting professor in US history at Howard University and previously served under Professor Nikki M. Taylor as the Program Manager of the Howard University Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship from 2018-2020. He holds a Master of Arts in military history from Norwich University, focusing on modern European history with an emphasis on Great Britain and Ireland. He is from Northern Virginia.

Phillip Warfield is a doctoral student studying US History with a minor in Public History in the History Department at Howard University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Southern Adventist University. At present, Phillip is a Graduate Assistant on the Just Futures Initiative, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant which aims to cultivate critical consciousness people need to analyze injustice in their own communities. His research interests include issues of social justice, Black and Latin American representation in popular culture, African American history, and an interdisciplinary approach to sharing history with broad audiences through multimedia production. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Phillip hopes to continue to bring historical research to the forefront of public memory, galvanizing interest not limited to teaching in university educational spaces, but also through his pursuit of multidisciplinary interests in writing, publishing, producing, and filmmaking.

Tiffany Camille Wheatland is a doctoral student in the History Department at Howard University specializing in African and African Diaspora history. Since 2013 she has served as a lecturer within the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City teaching African and African-American history. Concurrently, she has worked in various capacities in the non-profit sector advancing criminal and social justice reforms for underserved communities, immigrants of African descent in particular. It was her experiences teaching and working in community, which ultimately inspired her decision to pursue formal training as an Africanist. Her research interests link African nationalism, the black radical tradition and global black solidarity towards conceptions of transnational liberation, economic and political development. Her dissertation research will examine the transnational dimensions of black political thought and praxis inspired by the 1958 All-African People’s Conference in Ghana, exploring commonalities and connections between 20th century black freedom struggles in West Africa and the Atlantic world, and the relevance of 'Global Africa' in the construction of the black international. Tiffany is an alumnus of The University of Iowa (Bachelor's degrees in International Studies and Political Science) and The New School (Master's degree in International Affairs). Upon completion of her PhD, she plans to continue researching, teaching and bridging the intellectual fragmentation in histories of Africa and its diaspora.

Blake Wilson, a Richmond native, earned his BA in US History at Virginia State University. He served a stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. Blake is pursuing his MA in US and Public History in the history department at Howard University. While earning his degree, Blake hopes to learn more about how Jim Crow and Segregation have shaped American society. Upon completing her Masters, he hopes to pursue doctoral studies and teach at an Historically Black College or University.

Kendra Woodfolk, from Havelock North Carolina, is a doctoral student in the History Department at Howard University. Prior to attending Howard she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from New York University. A storyteller by nature, Kendra chose to pursue a doctorate in history to illuminate truths about Black women's history, Black theatre history, Pan-Africanism, the cultural praxis of Black Americans, social justice, and Black Spiritual life. Her doctoral research will focus on the spiritual practice of Black women in the 20th century who engage in both Black American Christianity and Traditional African Spiritualities. At the completion of her PhD journey, she hopes to engage in teaching at the collegiate level, consulting, and documentary filmmaking.

Elijah Zehyoue is originally from Liberia, West Africa, but grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is currently a doctoral student in African Diaspora History in the Department of History at Howard University. His research focuses on the religious and political history of Liberia, which includes African American Emigration, Race & Religion in the U.S., and the missionary impulses of the emerging black church. Elijah is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College where he earned his B.A. in history and the University of Chicago Divinity School where he earned his Master of Divinity with a concentration in Black Theology and American Religious History. Upon completion of his Ph.D. Elijah hopes to teach college and seminary students while curating opportunities for the public engagement of history in the African Diaspora.

Antonio Austin, originally from Pittsboro, North Carolina, is a doctoral student in the United States field minoring in Public History. He holds a B.A. in Human Service Studies from Elon University and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University. In Spring 2021, he interned at the Archives, History, and Heritage Advanced Internship Program at the Library of Congress. He worked with the W.E.B. DuBois materials assembled for the 1900 Paris Exposition and the images captured by Gordon Parks for the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. He had the opportunity to be interviewed for the Library blog, along with curating a photo album on the Library Flickr site. In the summer of 2021, he had the unique opportunity to be the inaugural Historical Archive Creation Intern at Blandy Experimental Farm at the University of Virginia, where he researched the history of those enslaved on this property. This internship allowed him to unearth the names and information regarding the experiences of these enslaved people. Outside of Antonio’s interest in genealogy, his academic interest includes the interactions between the enslaved and free black populations in antebellum North Carolina. 

Sydney Coleman, from Dumfries, Virginia, is a doctoral student in U.S. history with a minor in Public History in the History Department at Howard University. She holds a B.A. in History and Afro-American Studies from Howard University. Her research focuses on Black women working as public historians in the United States. She currently serves as a Graduate Assistant in the department.

Ebonee Davis, a lifelong resident of the Washington DC area, is a doctoral student studying African Diaspora History with a minor in Public History. She holds a B.A. in History from Howard University and an M.A. in Museum Studies & Historical Preservation from Morgan State University. For nearly 15 years, Ms. Davis has operated within the field of public history; working for local, state, and national institutions in the U.S. and Africa. Ms. Davis currently works at Virginia Theological Seminary where, as the Associate for Programming & Historical Research for Reparations, she manages the first U.S. based reparations program to make cash payments to descendants of enslaved Africans.