Welcome from Our Dean

Dean Dana Williams

We welcome you to our Graduate School community!

Greetings from Washington, D.C.,

Thank you for your interest in attending Howard University Graduate School. We invite you to become part of the Howard University legacy.

Howard University Graduate School commits itself to producing leaders for America and the global community. Excellence, leadership, service, and truth are core values that each of our students exemplifies. It is part of Howard University’s aim to forward the development of scholars and professionals who drive change and engage in scholarship that provides solutions to contemporary global problems, particularly ones impacting the African Diaspora.

Graduate School education has been an important part of Howard University’s mission since its founding in 1867—the same year the University offered its first master’s degree. The Graduate School was formally established in 1934 and awarded its first doctorate degree in 1958 in the field of chemistry. Today, Howard University ranks No. 89 in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 list of the nation’s best universities. The Graduate School offers master's, doctoral, and dual degree programs in 44 disciplines and over 100 specializations. It is also the nation’s largest producer of on-campus African-American doctoral recipients, producing 100 or more doctoral degree recipients annually.

In the quest for truth, Howard University graduate students—masters, doctoral, and professional students —investigate problems through the pursuit of knowledge. Their research provides solutions to human complexities in a way that demonstrates a deep understanding of natural, cultural, imaginative, social, and technological needs. Howard University Graduate School research has proven to be a vital part of today’s society domestically and internationally.

Whether you are in the initial stages of considering graduate schools, presently enrolled in a degree program looking to transfer, or wanting to advance your career—Howard University Graduate School would like to help you achieve your next academic or professional milestone. 

I encourage you to learn more about our vibrant community, and we would like to learn about you as well. Please email us your questions and share your aspirations. We look forward to hearing from you.


Dana A. Williams, Ph.D.
Dean, The Graduate School
Professor of African American Literature
Howard University Graduate School


More About Dr. Dana Williams 

Dana A. Williams is Professor of African American Literature in the Department of English and Dean of the Graduate School at Howard University. Dean Williams earned her B.A. in English from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA in 1993, her M.A. in 1995 from Howard University, and her Ph.D. in African American Literature from Howard University in 1998. As a recipient of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar award in 1999, she was a visiting research fellow at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where she completed extensive research on her dissertation author Leon Forrest. Before returning to Howard as a faculty member in 2003, Dr. Williams taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for four years. In 2008-09, she was a faculty fellow at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and she assumed chairmanship of Howard's department of English in 2009. In 2019, she was named interim dean of the Graduate School, and in 2021, she became the Graduate School's first permanent female dean. 

In addition to an annotated bibliography, Contemporary African American Female Playwrights: An Annotated Bibliography (Greenwood, 1999) which she completed as her M.A. thesis at Howard, Dr. Williams has co-edited August Wilson and Black Aesthetics (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2004) with Dr. Sandra G. Shannon, edited African American Humor, Irony, and Satire: Ishmael Reed, Satirically Speaking (Cambridge Scholars, 2007), Conversations with Leon Forrest (UP of Mississippi, 2007), and Contemporary African American Fiction: New Critical Essays (Ohio State UP, 2009).  She is also the author of the first and only book-length study on Leon Forest, In the Light of Likeness--Transformed: The Literary Art of Leon Forrest (Ohio State UP, 2005). She currently completing a book-length study on Toni Morrison's editorship at Random House Publishing Company (forthcoming in 2023 with Amistad/Harper Collins). 

In addition to her book projects, Dr. Williams has published articles in CLA Journal, African American Review, Bulletin of Bibliography, Langston Hughes Review, Zora Neale Hurston Forum, Studies in American Fiction, International Journal of the Humanities, Profession, and PMLAShe is the past president of the Association of the Departments of English Executive Committee, former chair of the Black American Literature and Culture Forum and former member of the Executive Council for the Modern Languages Association, and past President of the College Language Association--the oldest and largest professional organization for faculty of color who teach languages and literatures. She currently serves as President of the Toni Morrison Society, as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Council of Learned Societies and a board member of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the Judge Alexander Williams Center at the University of Maryland, the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, and the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College.