The Heavyweight Champion of Black Doctoral Degree Awards

According to data collected by the National Science Foundation, Walden University, the online educational institution headquartered in Minneapolis, has become the largest producer of African American doctoral degree recipients. And it is not even close.

The data shows that African Americans were awarded 682 doctoral degrees by Walden University from 2011 through 2015. This is almost double the number of doctoral degrees awarded by Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C., which ranks in second place. Walden University’s doctoral degree awards to Blacks over the 2011 to 2015 period are six times the number of doctoral degrees awarded by such large state institutions as the University of Illinois and Michigan State University.

The National Science Foundation data shows that about one third of all doctoral degrees awarded by Walden University went to African Americans. Nearly 12 percent of all doctorates awarded to Blacks in the United States in 2015 were from Walden University. The number of Blacks earning doctoral degrees from Walden University more than tripled between 2010 and 2015.

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  1. So proud to work for this university and to get to mentor doctoral students. Our students are committed to our mission of effecting positive social change–one doctoral degree at a time!

  2. Proud to be a graduate receiving my PhD in Health Services Administration with a concentration in Public Health Policy.

  3. I got the best education from Walden University and I am the proud holder of a DBA from there. Never worked so hard in my whole life. I really earned my doctorate. The program changed me. I think differently. I am more analytical. I can research anything in no time. Opportunities are opening for me everywhere

  4. Jah love. I think that Walden University’s great record of awarding large numbers of doctorates to Black students is indication that we may be victims of discrimination when professors and administrators have to deal with us face to face. And, I hope and pray that Walden develops Ph.D. programs in Social Science and Arts/Humanities fields soon. Blessed love.

  5. We desperately want to know what effective strategies Walden University is using to attract, retain and graduate so many African American students relative to other universities, so we can increase their PhD graduation rates elsewhere. I fear that Walden University may not wish to share their commercial secrets and hence retain their competitive advantage.

  6. I would love to see the job placement rates of these Walden black PhDs. Online for-profit colleges carry less weight when it comes to prestige and name recognition which matters in most circles in academia and corporate america.

    • I’d love to view such statistics in 2017 as well. However, around five years ago, I’ve seen some instructors with doctoral degrees from Capella University and Walden University with teaching positions at traditional universities and colleges. By no means am I degrading for-profit online universities and their degrees, but I’m also very curious, particularly at the doctoral level, how said graduates are viewed in corporate America and academia.

      • Mr. Smith,

        Currently, I am attending Walden University and I am working on my PhD in Public Policy Administration and I can tell you from experience that Walden University is highly respected by my employer and by my government supervisors. (work at the Pentagon as a Senior Protection Policy Analyst). My current salary is $130,000 per year and my online degrees (AS, BA,MS, and future PhD) are a large reason for my compensation and position.

  7. I would also like to see more compelling stats. I want to see the post graduate employment by race and gender, income and most importantly wealth and debt holdings five years out. I’m very, very skeptical.

    • As a current fully-funded Ph.D. student at a leading research-oriented institution, I am very skeptical. Hearing that Walden University is awarding the most PhDs in history, raises a red flag for me. I question their motive because there is still a significant gap in faculty diversity. I think they’re simply making money off our black students and not ensuring a successful postgraduate career. As Academics stated “Online for-profit colleges carry less weight when it comes to prestige and name recognition which matters in most circles in academia and corporate america”
      How many graduates actually work in academia (assistant professorship, etc), conduct federally funded research, obtain competitive postdoctoral positions, etc.

  8. But here’s the problem: None of these “doctoral degrees” qualify faculty to teach at high quality academic institutions. Walden’s accreditation rarely meets the high standards required by respected institutions.

    As a result, the black PhD graduates teach almost entirely at Historically Black Colleges and Universities or other schools where the quality of the education provided is suspect. These PhD graduates rarely publish and are not considered to be highly regarded scholars by other PhDs. They typically will end up teaching as part-time adjuncts or at second and third tier schools.

    • It all really seems to be a Racket, taking Kid’s money. A handful do ok because they were already there (good Job to begin with) the rest just grabbing for straws!! You get what you pay for!

  9. I formerly taught at Walden. I have a PhD from a respected state university. I can tell you that the requirements at Walden are not nearly as rigorous. A PhD is a degree designed to produce persons who research and further knowledge. I suspect, however, that many of the PhDs from Walden simply have three letters to hang after their names. That Walden awards more PhDs than a respected institution like Howard University tells you one thing, and that is that Howard has rigorous standards.

  10. Although attaining a PhD is not easy wherever you attend, but across the board all PhD programs are not equal. Some PhD programs subject their doctoral students to a higher level of academic rigor than other programs do. Additionally, some schools subject their doctoral students to intense coursework relating to statistics and research methods and they place a heavy emphasis on publishing, especially during their student tenure. I did not earn my PhD at a R1 (Tier 1) university, but I would imagine that they all function that way. Many, but perhaps not all R2 (Tier 2) universities would be similar. I earned my PhD at a research-based R2 university. However, once you leave the R2 ranks, you will most likely begin to see the slightly diminished rigor that the aforementioned top tier universities exert upon their doctoral students.

    But I was told as a beginning PhD student that if you earn your degree from a lower-ranked university, and once you demonstrate the capacity to publish in top-tier research journals, evidenced by a satisfactory publication record, then where you earned your PhD will become more or less a non-issue as far as academia is concerned. For PhD’s PUBLISHING in top peer-reviewed journals is the key!!

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