Howard University to Drop Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs in Philosophy

Howard University, the historically black educational institution in the nation’s capital, has announced plans to eliminate bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in philosophy. At the present time, Howard is the only historically black university to offer a master’s degree in philosophy. The university stated that the small number of students majoring in the discipline and the costs of running the program were the reasons for the decision.

The philosophy department at Howard University was founded by Alain LeRoy Locke in 1921. Locke, one of the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the first African-American Rhodes scholar, served as chair of the philosophy department from 1921 to 1953.

Richard A. Jones, professor of philosophy at Howard, told JBHE, “The loss of this program — for fiscal considerations — reflects a growing trend: the elimination of humanities and social programs for more ‘practical’ training programs. It is a postmodern reenactment of the debate between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington over liberal education versus vocational training.”