- Almost 41% of HBCU institutions offer graduate programs.
- Of the many great HBCU graduate programs, some of the best are offered by institutions like Howard University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.
- Many HBCUs offer a wide range of graduate study disciplines, ranging from engineering and literature to nursing and agriculture.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are institutions of excellence. Since their establishment in 1837, HBCUs have helped students achieve academic, professional and personal success. HBCU graduate programs add to this rich legacy by offering students advanced educational experiences. Currently, HBCU graduate programs are offered in almost 41% of HBCUs. HBCU graduate programs span a wide range of disciplines and aim to prepare students with the skills they need to excel.
Ahead, we will discuss a little the history behind HBCUs. We will also highlight the top 20 HBCU graduate programs and the top online HBCU graduate programs.
The Historical Background of HBCUs
HBCUs were created in the 19th century to provide Black Americans with learning opportunities. In 1837, philanthropist Richard Humphreys created the first HBCU in the U.S.: the African Institute. Now known as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania or Cheyney University, the institution taught Black Americans skills to help them gain employment. Through the rest of the 19th century, more HBCUs opened, including Lincoln University near Oxford, PA; Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, OH; Morgan State in Baltimore, MD; Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
The Top 20 HBCU Graduate Programs
HBCUs have a rich history of preparing students for professional excellence. If you are thinking about going to graduate school, you may want to consider one of the top HBCU graduate schools. Learn more about some of the 20 best HBCU graduate programs below.
1. Howard University - Washington, D.C
Howard University, which was founded in 1867, has a reputation for its excellent HBCU graduate programs. Howard offers more than 70 graduate programs. The nursing school and law school are considered among the best in the U.S. The university is proud to count Vice President Kamala Harris and filmmaker Spike Lee as some notable alumni.
2. Morehouse College - Atlanta, GA
Morehouse College is an all-male, not-for-profit institution that offers 10 graduate programs. Some of the program disciplines they offer include education, business and public health. Morehouse ranks as one of the best HBCUs in Georgia.
3. North Carolina A&T State University - Greensboro, NC
North Carolina A&T State University offers almost 50 graduate programs. In addition to being known as the largest HBCU in the U.S., it is well known for its highly regarded energy and environmental programs and its MBA program.
4. Spelman College - Atlanta, GA
Spelman College is a private, women-only institution. Spelman offers an accelerated master’s degree program in partnership with the University of Michigan. Through this partnership, students interested in the sciences can apply for the following three science-related programs: biostatistics, environmental health sciences and nutritional sciences.
5. Tennessee State University - Nashville, TN
Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University offers 36 graduate programs. The school is the top HBCU in Tennessee and is recognized for its agriculture and environment sciences program. The school also offers education and teaching programs, along with unique programs in social work.
6. Xavier University of Louisiana - New Orleans, LA
Xavier University of Louisiana is a private school located in New Orleans, LA. The school established its graduate programs in 1933 at the request of local residents who wanted an opportunity to pursue graduate studies. Some of the degrees offered include a master of arts in teaching, a master of theology, a master of public health in health equity, a master of science in speech-language pathology and a doctor of education.
7. Florida A&M University - Tallahassee, FL
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University, more popularly known as Florida A&M University, is the only HBCU located in Florida. Overall, the school is ranked the second-best HBCU in the South and the second-best HBCU in the country. The school is also considered the best HBCU environmental school and offers master’s programs in environmental science and agriculture.
8. Hampton University - Hampton, VA
Hampton University, which was founded in 1868, offers a variety of master’s degrees across 13 disciplines. The school offers unique graduate programs like atmospheric physics and dynamics but also a number of teaching programs.
9. University of Maryland Eastern Shore - Princess Anne, MD
While the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a small institution with about 500 graduate students, it is regarded as one of the top HBCUs and has one of the top HBCU graduate programs in the U.S. The school offers a variety of unique graduate program opportunities, including a master’s degree in food science. It also offers a number of different teaching programs.
10. Delaware State University - Dover, DE
Delaware State University is also a small HBCU, but it offers more than 17 master’s degree programs. It is ranked as the top HBCU fashion school in the country. It offers unique master’s programs like a master of historic preservation and conservation and a master of natural resource management policy.
11. North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC
North Carolina Central University has a wide range of excellent graduate programs. The school offers graduate degree programs in seven concentrations, including the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; the College of Health and Sciences; the School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Library and Information Sciences; and the School of Law.
12. Alcorn State University - Alcorn State, MS
Founded in 1871, Alcorn State University is considered the top HBCU in Mississippi. The school offers many unique graduate programs, including a master’s in casino management and another in biotechnology.
13. Tuskegee University - Tuskegee, AL
Tuskegee University was established in 1881 by educator and author Booker T. Washington. It is one of the top HBCUs in the U.S. and the top HBCU in Alabama. Some of their unique graduate programs include master’s in agricultural economics and soil science and another in agronomy.
14. Bowie State University - Bowie, MD
Bowie State University opened in 1865. The school has 20 reasonably priced master’s degree programs that prepare students to excel in the workforce. Many of Bowie State’s programs are nationally accredited.
15. Prairie View A&M University - Prairie View, TX
Prairie View A&M University was established in 1867. The school is the top HBCU in Texas, offering more than 36 graduate programs. One of the school’s unique offerings is a master’s degree in juvenile corrections, which encourages the development of juvenile justice research.
16. Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD
Created in 1867, Morgan State University, known as Maryland’s Public Urban University, offers 80 graduate school programs. Morgan State works to provide students with a top-tier education experience that will prepare them for a range of vital careers, such as public education, research and military service.
17. Winston-Salem State University - Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem State University is a smaller HBCU that was founded in 1892. This school offers eight graduate degree programs that specialize in preparing students to make a difference in their communities. It is one of the top HBCU nursing schools and has been ranked the top HBCU for social mobility and the second HBCU for value.
18. Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD
Coppin State University was established in 1900. Even though Coppin State is a smaller school, it offers 13 graduate degree programs that can help students take their studies and career to the next level.
19. Jackson State University - Jackson, MS
Jackson State University was founded in 1877. It offers more than 40 graduate programs and many teaching courses.
20. Texas Southern University - Houston, TX
Founded in 1947, Texas Southern University is among the top HBCUs in Texas. It offers 35 unique graduate programs from seven colleges and schools.
The Best HBCU Online Graduate Programs
HBCU graduate programs provide a multitude of opportunities to continue your education. Online graduate programs offer perks, such as flexibility and accessibility. For example, you can complete an HBCU graduate program online from the comfort of your own home or any location with internet access. And, online HBCU graduate programs are just as credible as traditional in-person programs. The key is to make sure you select an accredited online program from an accredited HBCU graduate school.
Some of the top HBCU online graduate programs include:
- Winston-Salem State University
- North Carolina A&T State University
- Jackson State University
- Lincoln University
- Morgan State University
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