Examining the Data on Black Enrollments in U.S. Graduate Schools

A new report from the Council on Graduate Schools provides data on graduate school enrollments by race and ethnicity. The report shows that in 2017, 49,482 Black students enrolled in graduate schools for the first time. They made up 11.9 percent of all first-time graduate students at U.S. universities. Of these first-time Black graduate students, 68.9 percent were women.

If we break down the data by broad academic field, we find that Blacks made up 18.8 percent of all first-time graduate students in public administration and more than 12 percent of all first-time graduates in the social sciences, education, and business. But Blacks were only 5.7 percent of all first-time graduate students in engineering and 3.7 percent in the physical and earth sciences.

If we look at total enrollments in U.S. graduate schools, we find that in 2017, there were 188,838 Black students. They made up 12.6 percent of all enrollments. There were 56,765 Black men and 130,006 Black women enrolled in graduate school.

In 2017, Blacks made up less than 6 percent of all graduate students in the arts and humanities, biological and agricultural sciences, engineering, and physical sciences.

The full report, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, 2007 to 2017, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Related Articles


  1. Hello. My name is Quinn Nelson and I am working on my Dissertation concerning the fates of Black male graduate students and their challenges to retention and remuneration through their respective graduate programs. The information shared in this article is vital and any other information that you have is greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs