Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program


About the Program

The Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars program partners with brings together scholars from Howard University's College of Arts and Sciences, the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and the School of Business in order to support them holistically and aid them in the study of their humanities and social science disciplines at Howard.


The Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program will initiate a formalized undergraduate-to-graduate school pipeline that focuses on the identification of intellectually curious and academically well-prepared students who are committed to pursuing a PhD in a humanities or social science discipline.

The Complete Package

Tuition Scholarship (either 75% or 100%)
Room + Board
Books + Supplies Stipend
Mandatory Summer Bridge Program (incoming freshmen)
Internships (required during summers)
Study Abroad
In-program Advising
Large & Small Study Groups
Cultural Activities

Addressing the Need for Underrepresented Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars

There's a crisis in the humanities and social sciences with regard to the underrepresentation of African Americans and other minorities.  The need for more Underrepresented Minorities (URMs) to earn PhDs to possibly join the professoriate, conduct needed research, participate in policy development and/or become leaders in related governmental and private organizations is critical. HBCUs are the only large class of schools where undergraduate humanities enrollment has held steady since 2008, as well as the only institutional class where a majority of students continue to report that "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" should be a major priority for college education. As a premiere HBCU, Howard University is uniquely positioned to tackle the decline in humanities majors and to produce underrepresented professors in the humanities.

How to Apply to the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program (H3SP)


  • You must first complete an application for admission to Howard University using the Common Application.
  • In addition, you must complete the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program application. The application is open to those who will be graduating high school in 2024, this is the incoming Howard class of HU28. The Application can be found here. Application period opens November 1, 2023. The application period will close on January 30, 2024 at 11:59pm EST. In order to view/complete the application, you must sign up for a Submittable account.
  • You must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • You will also need to submit, as an uploaded attachment to the application, a copy of your high school transcript. SAT and/or ACT test scores are optional when applying for the 2023-24 admissions cycle (Cohort 2). Students who were able to take the SAT/ACT and would like to submit their scores may choose to do so.
  • You will also need one recommendation letter. Before submitting the comprehensive recommendation letter, please refer to the following recommendation guidelines: This comprehensive recommendation letter must come from a teacher who has taught the student in a writing-intensive high school or college course. This could include any English, History/ Social Studies, Psychology, or Philosophy course. This letter must focus on the student's academic performance, academic habits, and writing skills while also addressing the student's character, resilience, and fortitude with illustrative examples. This letter is due on or before January 30, 2024 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Have your recommender save your letter as "LastName_FirstName_CompRec".
  • You must have your letters submitted through the Submittable portal. The letter is due no later than January 30,  2024 at 11:59pm ET.
  • You must complete and submit your scholarship essays. Guidelines for the essays are found in the application. 
  • There are several ways to gain consideration for the Howard University Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program. Students who are aware of the program (from social media, college counselors, high school teachers, family, etc.) can apply online, or applicants who apply for Early Action and who meet the H3SP criteria will be invited to apply.  While all applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Action deadline of November 1, no matter how they apply, all prospects are given equal consideration if they meet the minimum criteria and present a complete application.

Eligibility Criteria

  • An overall high school GPA of 3.30 or higher
  • Committed to pursuing a PhD in a humanities or social science discipline
  • Documented previous community service experience.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Additional consideration given to applicants with documented leadership and research experience.
  • Applicants interested in the Humanities and Scholars Program should be interested in research, or research and clinical practice.
  • Applicants for the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program (H3SP) cannot apply to Howard University's Karsh STEM Scholars Program (KSSP). You may ONLY apply to ONE of the two programs (either KSSP or H3SP)
  • Howard University has made the submission of SAT/ACT test scores optional for the 2023-24 admissions cycle. This means SAT/ACT test scores will not be required to complete your application for admission, nor will SAT/ACT test scores be required for application/consideration for the Humanities & Social Science Scholars Program’s 2nd cohort. Students who were able to take the SAT/ACT and would like to submit their scores may choose to do so.

Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program's Recruitment Calendar

After all application packets have been reviewed, the top applicants will be invited to participate in a selection process. We expect that the Selection Weekend Program will be in person and will include among other activities, a panel interview and a Q & A session with current scholars. 

After Selection Weekend has concluded, information gleaned from the Selection Weekend experience will be assessed. Offers will be made to selected finalists to build a cohort of 15 students. Responses to offers must be received by May 1st. To matriculate in the Fall as a H3SP Scholar, students must participate in and successfully complete the Summer Bridge Program. 

Humanities & Social Sciences Scholars Program's Recruitment Calendar
Application Opens November 1, 2023
Application Closes January 30, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Virtual/Online Placement Testing March 1, 2, or 3, 2024
Selection Weekend March 22 and 23, 2024
Offer Notifications April 1, 2024
Decision Day May 1, 2024
Summer Bridge Program Move-In June 15, 2024
Summer Classes Begin June 24, 2024
Summer Classes End July 26, 2024
Leave for Educational Experience Abroad July 27, 2024
International Experience July 28 - August 11, 2024

More Information

Eligible Degree Programs

Applicants must be interested in pursuing a career that corresponds with one or more of the program’s six Academic Pillars, and must commit to majoring in one of the humanities and social science bachelor’s degree programs offered at Howard:

  • Accounting
  • African Studies
  • Afro-American Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities: Ancient and Modern Philosophy
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • World Languages and Cultures
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology & Criminology
  • Art
  • Music
  • Theatre Arts
  • Media, Journalism, and Film
  • Strategic, Legal, and Management Communication

The Six Academic Pillars of the Program

Activities will be developed around the program’s six Academic Pillars, which represent broad areas of knowledge in which students will pursue expertise:

  1. Academic exploration: Provides traditional preparation for advanced academic study in the humanities and social sciences with a focus on research, scholarship, and pedagogy.
  2. Public exploration: Prepares scholars for the work of extending engagement beyond the classroom by developing public content and programming for diverse audiences. Public exploration may be conducted at cultural and heritage sites such as museums, archives, and libraries and often involve public-facing professions such as writing/journalism, community relations, and arts administration.
  3. Digital exploration: Prepares scholars to apply digital tools, methods, and resources to inquiry and analysis while simultaneously interrogating and critiquing the human impacts of technology use and digital culture.
  4. Legal exploration: Explores relationships between jurisprudence (legal theory) and law (legal practice) and human experience and interaction. The inquiry recognizes the reflexive interaction between the law and the social world and the influence of the law on foundational social institutions.
  5. Medical and health exploration: Explores experiences of health, disease, and illness in their broader social, cultural, historical, and ethical contexts with the goal of developing insights that inform humane medical and healthcare policy and practice.
  6. Workforce exploration: Explores experiences of workers in a variety of corporate, professional, industrial, and entrepreneurial settings with the goal of using inquiry to gain insight into 21st century labor relations.

Program Model

Recruitment & Selection

Offers will be made to selected finalists to build a cohort of scholars for each academic year.

The selection committee will send offer letters for the program in April, and candidates will be required to confirm participation by May 1. To matriculate in the fall as a H3SP scholar, students must successfully complete the Mandatory Summer Bridge Program.

1. Summer Bridge Program

Incoming Humanities and Social Science Program Scholars will be required to participate in a 6-week Summer Bridge Program, which will begin in late June. As a critical component of the program, the Summer Bridge Program will prepare incoming scholars to pursue study at the university-level and introduce the skills and competencies necessary to pursue advanced inquiry. College Success Seminar will focus on time management, study skills, critical and creative thinking, and effective written and oral communication, and will introduce students to the program’s Academic Pillars. The Summer Bridge Program will also incorporate courses for six academic credits, including instruction in writing and Afro-American Studies. Scholars will be engaged in a full schedule each week, which will include learning in a traditional classroom environment and off-campus enrichment activities. The Summer Bridge Program will increase college-readiness, enhance scholars’ knowledge, develop their career interests before beginning the first formal semester of matriculation at Howard University.

2. Educational Experience Abroad

The Summer Bridge Program will conclude with a 14-day trip to an international location. The Humanities and Social Science Scholars program will determine a location that is ideal for helping students develop a global perspective of humanistic study. Scholars will gain facility in cross-cultural communication and an understanding of the global heritage and worldview.

3. Summer Internships

Scholars will be required to engage in internships every summer after their freshman year. Summer internships will provide Scholars with preparation for their PhD studies and provide experiences that are directly related to or correspond to one of the program's Academic Pillars. With assistance for the program, scholars will be responsible for finding and applying for internships with local, regional, or national organizations.