A Snapshot of Pre-Pandemic Black Enrollments in U.S. Graduate Schools

A new report from the Council of Graduate Schools finds that enrollments in U.S. graduate schools increased from 2018 to 2019, before the onset of the global pandemic.

African Americans made up 12.1 percent of all first-time graduate enrollees in 2019. Yet African Americans were just 6.1 percent of all incoming graduate students at doctoral universities with very high research activities. This was only a slight improvement from 2009 when Blacks were 5.3 percent of total first-time enrollments in graduate programs at these research universities.

In the fall of 2019, nearly 50,000 African Americans enrolled in graduate school for the first time. Of these, 69.4 percent were women. Blacks were more than 18 percent of total first-time enrollments in graduate programs in public administration and more than 13 percent of first-time enrollments in graduate programs in education and social and behavioral sciences. But Blacks were only 4.5 percent of first-time graduate enrollment in physical sciences and 5.8 percent in engineering.

In 2019, there were 188,478 Blacks enrolled at all levels of U.S. graduate schools. Of these nearly 70 percent were women.

The full report, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, 2009 to 2019, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Related Articles


  1. Good information in this article. Nevertheless, I wonder why it’s necessary to begin sentences that follow something contrasting with phrases like “But Blacks were only…” as if what’s coming next is inherently negative.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Placed on Accreditation Probation

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education stated that the university fell short in meeting requirements in financial planning and budget processes and compliance with laws, regulations, and commission policies.

Two Black Women Scholars Who Are Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education

Penelope Andrews was appointed the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and Angela D. Dillard, the Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, was given the added duties of the inaugural vice provost for undergraduate education.

Tuskegee University Partners With Intel to Boost Black Presence in the Semiconductor Industry

Participating Tuskegee students will have a chance to gain hands-on skills in engineering design, semiconductor processing, and device fabrication technologies and an overall valuable experience working in the microelectronics cleanroom fabrication facility at Tuskegee University.

K.C. Mmeje Honored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation

K.C. Mmeje is vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The NASPA Pillars of the Profession Award acknowledges remarkable individuals within the student affairs and higher education community who demonstrate exceptional contributions to both the profession and the organization.

Featured Jobs