J. Clifton Samuels, 53, professor of electrical engineering in Howard University's School of Engineering, died Sept. 28 at his home in Washington after an apparent heart attack.

He joined Howard in 1965 as head of the department of mechanical engineering. From 1966 until 1970, he was head of the department of electrical engineering. He also was interim chairman of electrical engineering in 1974-75.

A full professor, Dr. Samuels was a registered professional engineer.

At Howard he was active in research on problems of electromagnetic and elastic wave propagation, random processes in electrical and mechanical systems, discrete physical systems and stochastic linear systems.

More recently, he had been involved in formulating short and long range academic and research plans and coordinating the development of a major solid state electronics program. In connection with the latter, two solid state laboratories were opened formally in September.

Born in Bishopville S.C., Dr. Samuels grew up in New York City. He served in Europe with the Army in World War II.

A graduate of Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, he earned a master's degree at New York University and a doctorate at Purdue University. He also studied at Pennsyllvania State University and Case Insitute of Technology.

After working in private industry, Dr. Samuels joined the staff of Purdue University as a research assistant in 1954, and rose to full professor on 1962. He came to Howard from Purdue.

He had been visiting professor at Tuskegee Institute, the University of California at Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He had been a consultant to many private and government agencies, including the International Research and Technical Corporation, the Bureau of Radiological Health of the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Samuels was the author of many papers for professional journals. He belonged to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society of Engineering Education and the Society of Engineering Science.

He is survived by two sons, Russell F., and Frederick N; of Silver Spring., two brothers, James E. and Joseph P., and three sisters, Elizabeth S. Williams., Sara M. and Marie A. Samuels, all of New York City.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the J. Clifton Samuels Memorial Fund at Howard University's School of Engineering.