Academic Programs

Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program began in 1975 as a research degree aimed at advancing development in both the domestic economy, especially in the cities, and internationally, especially in less developed diasporic communities around the globe. Its first fields of specialization were therefore urban economics and development economics. Since then, it has added fields in human resources (labor/health economics) and international economics while never losing sight of the central role of the Ph.D. program in providing brilliant leaders in research, top policy positions, and education to bolster the implementation of sound economic principles in all areas of endeavor.

The Ph.D. program in Economics prepares students for positions of leadership in domestic and international institutions by providing them with high quality graduate instruction and research experience in the field of economics. The program's aim is to produce graduates who can compete successfully for appointments as top researchers, faculty, and influential policy makers in domestic or international public institutions and for research and administrative positions in private sector institutions.

The Ph.D. program consistently enrolls over 30 students and graduates, on average, three each year.The PhD program focuses on four areas: economic growth and development, urban economics, labor economics, and international economics. The program includes a special emphasis on the specific challenges facing the African American community and the African Diaspora. Its fields include foci on urban development, inequalities pervading the labor market, and the development challenges of Caribbean and African societies. The Ph.D. program leads research and instruction in such areas not only through classroom work but also by providing internship opportunities in community/faith based organization, local and national government agencies, policy organizations in the D.C. area, and in its own Center for Urban Progress and the Center on Race and Wealth.

More about our graduate programs:

Master of Arts Doctor of Philosophy

Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate program began in 1927 with the arrival of Abram Harris, who used his position as chair to build a program dedicated to the improvement of the African American community, always insisting on the highest level of rigor and objectivity even as he mobilized the African American population to use those tools for racial progress. He pioneered the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts. The leadership of Economics in that Division led to such seminal events as the 1935 National Negro Conference that paved the way for more advanced struggle for racial progress in the society at large. Harris's own leadership of the earlier second Amenia Conference similarly thrust economic analysis into the cauldron of the debates over the future trajectory of the NAACP. Since that time, the Department's program has continued to evolve, adding every greater levels of rigor to its program with the increasing emphasis on analytical statistical methods in Economics led by E. E. Lewis in the 1950s and consolidated by subsequent Howard economics leaders throughout the rest of the century.

Today the undergraduate program continues its hallmark role of inculcating rigor and social engagement. The seventeen full-time faculty in the Department teach principles of economics and statistical analysis to over 2,000 students annually from across the University, while maintaining over 100 majors.

The mission of the undergraduate economics program is to prepare students for positions of leadership in domestic and international institutions by providing them with high quality instruction in the field of economics. Our aim for the BA program is to produce graduates who can compete successfully for entry-level positions in the job market and for entry into graduate and professional programs, where they will use their acquired economic critical thinking skills to advance society towards greater equity and efficiency. The program includes a special emphasis on the specific challenges facing the African American community and the African Diaspora characterizes the BA curriculum with its focus on urban development, the inequalities pervading the labor market, and the development challenges of Caribbean and African societies. Based on this emphasis, the Economics faculty reached out to the other social science departments in initiating an interdisciplinary minor in Community Development. The economics BA program continues to lead in this area by providing internship opportunities in community/faith-based organization, local and national government agencies, policy organizations in the D.C. area, and in its own Center for Urban Progress and the Center on Race and Wealth.

More about our undergraduate programs:

Economics Major Economics Minor Community Development Minor Honors