The Top Undergraduate Feeder Institutions for Blacks Who Earn Scientific Doctorates

labThe National Science Foundation reports that between 2002 and 2011, 9,202 Blacks received doctorates in science and engineering fields. Howard University in Washington, D.C., was the leading undergraduate feeder institution for Blacks who earned doctorate in these fields. Howard graduated 22o students who went on to earn scientific doctorates in the 2002-11 period.

Spelman College in Atlanta ranked second, graduating 175 students who went on to earn doctorates in science or engineering fields in the 2002-11 period. Also ranking among top five feeder institutions was Florida A&M University, Hampton University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University, and Tuskegee University filled out the top 10.

Xavier University was the top feeder institution for Black doctoral degree earners in the life sciences. Howard University led all other undergraduate institutions in producing the most graduates who went on to earn doctorates in the physical sciences. North Carolina A&T State University had the most graduates who earned Ph.D.s in engineering during the period.

Among non-HBCUs, the University of Maryland Baltimore County was the leader in producing Black graduates who went on to earn doctorates in science and engineering in the 2002-11 period. Other predominantly White institutions who sent the most Black graduates on to doctorates during the period were the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Harvard University.

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  1. Producing leaders for America and the global community is not just a slogan but a fact. This ranking shows the importance of HBCUs in leading America in STEM. We must support Howard and the other HBCUs so that we can continue to be a pipeline of talent.

  2. If these schools had established online graduate programs the numbers would be higher. I myself wanted to get my doctorate degree from a HBCU but when doing my research I found out that none of them had an online doctorate degree program in Computer Science.

  3. I’m in not in anyway suggesting that HBCU’s aren’t important or significant in the education of Black America, but let’s not present a skewed picture of what is going on here.

    Howard University has an undergraduate enrollment of 7,200 students, of which 98% are black. Of course they are going to graduate more students into Higher Ed. than a predominately white University of comparable size, which may average 5-10% African American students, and FAR fewer in STEM fields. You can’t compare such disproportionate numbers head to head. Shame on you JBHE for lazy reporting. You undermine the power of this story if in fact, once the data was standardized, HBCU’s are producing more scholars, which can be proven statistically.

    • Accusing JBHE of being lazy is unwarranted. We are reporting on data that was released by the National Science Foundation that we believed was of interest to our readership. The National Science Foundation chose to publish the data in this form, we simply reported it. We agree that more detailed analysis would be useful, but that could be said about almost any statistical study in education.

      • To apply the comment from JustSayin’ in other contexts would cast doubt on most of the rankings that we use every day.

        Which schools have produced more Rhodes scholars? JustSayin would suggest perhaps that we’d have to “standardize” the data based upon SAT scores of entering students.

        What are the top schools sending players to the NFL?
        Wait, we’d have to “standardize” the data to compensate for colleges which are Division III (?no athletic scholarships?) or have no football program at all.

        No, it doesn’t work like that.

        Rankings of institutions are just that – rankings.

        More data would give, of course, a fuller picture.

        A suggestion to JBHW: PLEASE include a link to the original source. I cannot find it.

    • You make a good point but it may not be valid. In my opinion, it is not about the number of students who may matriculate at an HBCU or a PWI. It is about the number who have access to undergraduate research and are encouraged and mentored to pursue a doctoral degree.

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