Graduate Program

History | Graduate

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.


Nikki Taylor

Department Chair

Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie

Director of Graduate Studies

Paulina Harper

Administrative Coordinator

Program Details

  • Degree Classification: Graduate
  • 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


Ana Lucia Araujo



Elizabeth Clark-Lewis



Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie



Petronella Kigochi

Associate Professor of Geography


Jean-Michael Mabeko-Tali



Edna Medford

Professor of History


Daryl Scott



Dr. Nikki Taylor

Professor of History, Department Chair


Emory Tolbert



Kay Wright Lewis

Associate Professor