The 21 Historically Black Universities That Awarded Doctoral Degrees in 2019

Last week, a JBHE post reported that, according to the National Science Foundation’s annual Survey of Earned Doctorates, universities in the United States conferred 55,693 doctorates in 2019. Of these, 3,095, or 5.6 percent, were earned by African Americans or Black students from foreign nations.

The report shows that 437 doctorates were awarded by historically Black colleges and universities in 2019. (Medical and juris doctorate degrees are not included in these figures.) Thus, HBCUs conferred just 0.8 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded in the United States in 2019.

Here is a list of HBCUs and the number of doctorates they awarded in 2019.

Howard University, 86
Jackson State University, 85
North Carolina A&T State University, 52
Morgan State University, 37
Tennessee State University, 32
Texas Southern University, 22
Southern University, 21
Florida A&M University, 18
University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 18
Clark Atlanta University, 16
Hampton University, 14
Grambling State University, 9
Norfolk State University, 8
Meharry Medical Colege, 7
Delaware State University, 6
Prairie View A&M University, 6
Tuskegee University, 5
Alabama A&M University, 4
Alabama State University, 4
Morehouse Scool of Medicine, 2
Bowie State University, 1

All told, 21 HBCUs awarded doctoral degrees in 2019. This is the same number of doctoral degree-granting institutions as five years ago in 2014. That year HBCUs awarded 448 doctoral degrees.

It must be noted that in all probability not all doctoral degrees awarded by HBCUs went to African Americans. But the data does not break down the doctoral degree awards from HBCUs by race or ethnic group.

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  1. Of course, these data are not accurate and are actually misleading. Doctoral degrees that are awarded by HBCUs to a highly diverse group of candidates. That has always been the case. They have only become more diverse over the years because more and more international students are coming to the U.S. to earned their doctoral degree at HBCUs. This circumstance is particular true in the STEM disciplines. I can point out a number of flaws in the articles. Morgan State University awarded more than seventy doctoral degrees during the calendar year of 2019 not 37 as reported in this article. Howard awarded more than the reported number too. However, I will admit that race/ethnic classification of those graduate is more than likely the reason for the low number.

    Both institutions have and still graduate large numbers of African and West Indian doctoral students. Many of these students are not classified as black in external official statistics even though most are and often have become naturalized citizens during their doctoral study here.

    However, if the statistics represent only native born African Americans, that is likely a partial explanation. The videos of the Morgan State University’s spring and fall graduation ceremonies is archived on their website site ( and can be viewed by anyone at any time. In addition, the actually commencement programs are online and accessible too. In those programs all of the doctoral degree candidates are listed by name, dissertation title, major advisor, and their specific doctoral degree program out of the 16 different doctoral degree programs currently offered at Morgan State University.

    Finally, I did notice that some HBCU institutions were left off the list. Fayetteville State University, Xavier University, South Carolina State University, and North Carolina Central University offers doctoral degrees and did award doctoral degrees to graduates in 2019. If HBCUs who offer the DNP which requires a dissertation, then Alcorn State University, Kentucky State University, Coppin State University, and Winston-Salem State University were omitted too. Similarly, Virginia Union University and Payne Theological Seminary offers the D.Min. doctoral degree which requires a dissertation was omitted too. Another HBCU that was left off the list was University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff which offer a Ph.D. degree program but I did check to see if they awarded a degree in 2019

    • Well said, Dr. Aubrey. I was talking to a student affairs provost at a large research state university recently who did not know, or understand the extent to which HBCUs are diverse. It’s not just international students, many US-born Caucasian, Asian, and Latin student-athletes or academically gifted students get FULL scholarship rides at HBCUs all over the country. When data is presented for HBCUs it is always prudent to look behind the curtain.

  2. Hey “Aubrey”,

    Regardless of the number of PhDs or EdDs being awarded at HBCUs, one must critically question the overall qualitative, quantitative, and the contextual quality of those resepctive doctoral degrees. Let’s be honest, how many of those doctoral degrees being awarded at any of those HBCUs have made significant impact locally, statewide, nationally or internationally?

  3. Dr. Aubrey has made several important points which should not be dismissed in this cavalier manner by HBCU Watch when accurate full data is not available to any of us. HBCUs are very significant educators of B.S. degree recipients who go on to earn Ph.D.s at RU1 institutions. There is no reason to suppose that HBCU doctorate recipients are less significant. Until there is documentation of career outcomes of HBCU Ph.D. recipients of STEM doctorates and of Ph.D. recipients generally, it is simply not possible to make judgements.

    • Hey A.J.
      Talk about being cavalier. You somehow failed to address the valid points made in my initial comment. I think you need to work on your reading comprehension. Again, can you name any dissertation that made a significant impact domestically or abroad. That said, since you highlighted about the completeness and accuracy of the data concerning doctoral degrees being awarded from HBCU only furthers prove my point. In other words A.J., HBCUs need to exponentially increase in the mere Reporting of doctoral degrees being awarded. Unfortunately, too many of these so-called HBCUs cannot even complete this simple task. Finally, it’s not about “making judgements”, but only statistically and valid inferences.. Besides, you along with many other non-Black Americans (i.e., Marybeth Gasman, etc.) so-called academics are not intellectually qualified to be a quasi-spokesperson for HBCUs and especially for Black Americans in higher education.

    • I agree.

      I’m not sure why NCES does not report Ph.D. recipients’ career outcomes especially when programs cost so much and careers are made by those 3 little letters. Retention, graduation, and career prospects data is far more critical at this level.

    • Hey John,
      Your misguided comment is not worthy of a response similiarly. In fact, your neoliberal and status quo comment is indicative of your own miseducation. Case in point, how many lives have your own dissertation have indicertly/indirectly changed?See my point!

  4. I really enjoy heathy debates. But some how, some way we cannot reframe from personal attacks. That turns something that is intellectually stimulating to something very small and ignorant.

    • Why can’t we just celebrate the fact that HBCU’s awarded Doctoral Degrees? Why are we entering into a qualitiative and quantitative subjective argument without full inforamtion. Dr. Aubrey are you questioning the value of PWI Doctoral Degrees as well? I appluad the students who put in the work and acheived this milestone. They are to applauded not discounted.

      • Hey “Alaric”,

        You need to work on your reading comprehension skills. HBCUs are in no position to be ‘celebrating’ about the low numbers of doctoral degrees it has awarded. You need to recognize that simply because someone is asking a critical question doesn’t imply as being “against someothing or not supportive”. It’s called a question of pure accountability.

  5. The spelling and glaring grammatical errors in Dr. Aubrey’s comments should be quite embarrassing for any high school graduate, let alone for someone with an advanced degree. And such errors cannot be attributed to lack of spell checking. When people speak or write improperly it’s distracting and diminishes one’s credibility. I learned that in high school.

  6. Hey “L. Thomas”,

    When did it become a requirement to be a “grammatical and sentence purists” in order to critically question anyone? Are you aware that the people who literally run the planet Are Not “grammatical and sentence purists”? I just bet if I critiqued your own “dust collecting” dissertation is peppered with errors. By the way, what Third World country do you hail from? Have a nice day with your mastery of the Queen’s English(the diluted form that is).

    • Hmmm… After reading your response and given your argument and the structure of one of your sentences, I rest my case. By the way, my dissertation, completed 16 years ago has been cited in 153 publications and lectures, in the US and in several countries. I hope that I’m not the only one here that, without sounding elitist, appreciates proper use of language. And I am a born, raised and educated citizen of the US. Sadly I have taught and mentored students from Third World countries who have a better usage of English grammar than most native Americans. This will end my discussion on this matter.

      • No need for the emotive rant “L. Thomas”. Based upon the content and word selection of your comment, we definitely know that your parents ‘immigrated’ to the USA. By the way, what Third World country do you or your parents really come from? No need to bloviate about your qualitative, quatitative, or MM dissertation, for which you somehow fail to provide the title. I wonder why! More important, it’s people such as yourself who clearly represent an existential threat to native born Black Americans on numerous levels. I would also venture in saying that you’re the product of neoliberal ‘miseducation’ and neocolonialism in the 21st century.

        Adios tonto!

    • Anyone graduating from college should be able to write a paragraph or two without making half a dozen (or more) errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

      It’s a matter of credibility. If I were invited to a White House dinner, I wouldn’t show up in clothes that were torn or stained.

  7. Not sure who or what “HBCU Watch” is but sounds like someone hacked into this discourse. The comments are seething with rudeness, racism and bigotry which this feed should not tolerate. I hope the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education finds a way to prevent a rude person(s) from adding comments that are unsubstantiated.

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