Department of Mathematics

Department of Mathematics

We equip our graduates with the tools necessary to participate fully in a technological society in a competitive global environment.

Dr. Bourama Toni, Chair
Department of Mathematics
Howard University
204 Academic Service Building B
Washington, D.C. 20059

Phone: 202-806-6830
Fax: 202-806-6831

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University Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The University continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, as additional cases are confirmed in the United States and other countries. The University continues to formulate and adjust its plans as needed.

Mathematics at Howard

The Department of Mathematics at Howard University was established in 1867 and today offers courses leading to degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. If you are interested in mathematics as a major, you should know that a concentration in actuarial science prepares you for the foundations of actuarial practice, which involves statistically calculating risks, premiums, etc. for insurance. A concentration in mathematics education prepares you for teaching mathematics at the elementary and secondary level.

A concentration in pure and applied mathematics, the more traditional course of study, ordinarily attracts students who expect to pursue higher degrees in mathematics, as well as those preparing for careers as mathematicians in industry and government.

For a sample of prospective mathematical careers, please see the Careers and Employment page of the American Mathematical Society.

What Do Mathematicians Do?

Major and Minor Programs

A Mathematics major may choose an area of concentration from among Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Mathematics Education, and Pre-medical/Pre-dental Studies. Each of these has a full-fledged program aimed at producing competent professionals in the area. The division into areas of concentration was to facilitate the production of career professionals, in certain fields, among the hitherto underrepresented groups, especially the African-American.

In addition to the Senior Comprehensive Examination mandated by the College of Arts and Sciences, the effectiveness of our programs is assessed by the performance of our students on nationwide examinations such as the first few examinations of the Society of Actuaries and the subject test of the Graduate Record Examination.

Undergraduate Program in Mathematics

Graduate Program

The mathematics graduate program offers an opportunity to do research in both pure and applied areas of mathematics. Our program is designed for students who expect to pursue a career in academia as well as those preparing for careers as mathematicians in industry and government.

The Department of Mathematics offers programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in both pure and applied areas of mathematics. Faculty research interests include algebra and number theory, applied mathematics, combinatorics, differential equations, functional analysis, geometry, mathematical biology, numerical analysis, probability and statistics, and topology, among others.

Graduate Program in Mathematics

David Blackwell

Mathematician, Statistician

David Harold Blackwell (1919 – 2010) was an American statistician and mathematician who made significant contributions to game theory, probability theory, information theory, and Bayesian statistics.

He taught at Howard from 1944 to 1954 and chaired the Howard math department during the later part of that period.

He was the first African American inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, the first black tenured faculty member at UC Berkeley, and the seventh African American to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics. He was also posthumously awarded the National Medal of Science in 2012.

My really serious mathematical work started at Howard . . . . A lot of my most interesting work was done at Howard.