Welcome from the Dean

Welcome to the Flagship

It is my supreme pleasure to welcome all of you to the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University, the oldest, largest, and most diverse and relevant college on our campus.

The Howard community proudly refers to the college as COAS (pronounced ko-as) and students often boast that it is “the biggest and the baddest college on campus!”

Regarding its relevance, there are four divisions within COAS: Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.  These four divisions comprise two dozen majors and over 40 concentrations, not to mention the program of fundamental courses that are initially required of all Howard undergraduate students.   The fact is that a plurality of undergraduates at Howard pursue majors offered in COAS.  As the new Dean of the College, I want to ensure that students develop productively positive relationships with faculty and staff who are committed to treating them as the precious gems they are.   It is a treat for me to be responsible for students’ intellectual development and personal growth through our COAS courses of study and co-curricular activities.

COAS Dean Rubin Patterson

Through COAS courses and majors, Howard students receive an excellent liberal arts and scientific education. They study and critique legions of competing disciplinary schools of thought about the human experience and social transformation in historical and global contexts.  Students also learn foundational knowledge as well as technical skills to become producers of creative works of art and memorable contributors across academic disciplines.  And through training by numerous Howard University award-winning scientists, students gain the inspiration, cultivation, and preparation to earn STEM PhDs.  Howard educates more African American undergraduates who go on to earn PhDs in the natural sciences than any other university. This is a fact that we are exceedingly proud of!

For well over a century, such attributes of a quality liberal arts and scientific education have been the hallmark of the Howard COAS experience, but we are now preparing to develop innovative ways to build on that success.  I look forward to working with the faculty to produce new degree programs and co-curricular activities that reflect societal needs, career opportunities, and student intellectual interests, as well as facilitate students’ self-discovery.

Of special note, starting this academic year, the currently enriching COAS liberal arts education will be augmented with additional encouragement and opportunities for internships in the nation’s capital.  The newly appointed support staff in the Student Affairs office of the College of Arts and Sciences has been charged with implementing this vision.  That staff is also charged with implementing a program to ensure that every COAS student owns a passport, starting with the incoming class!  This requirement will become a staple of our tradition.  We will also strive to ensure that, at least, over half of COAS students will experience a study abroad adventure.  COAS produces global leaders, and global leaders need passports and a comfort level at operating in multiple countries.

In short, based on the mission, legacy, tradition, and location of Howard University, in addition to the transformative changes now being introduced in the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard, there is no better place for serious students to study and acquire a quality liberal arts and scientific education that will allow them “to own the future” – academically, professionally, and socially! Thus, I welcome you to COAS, Howard University and to experiences that will determine your future.  


Excellence in Truth and Service,

Rubin Patterson, Ph.D.


Frederick Douglass Hall Significance to Howard University