Best HBCU Graduate Programs

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: March 20, 2024, Reading time: 10 minutes

Find your perfect college degree

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Finding the right graduate program can be tough, especially for students wanting diversity and inclusion. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) offer just that. We’ve compiled a list of the best HBCU graduate programs, understanding their power to shape academic and career paths.

Best HBCU Graduate Programs

We will examine the best HBCU graduate programs and why it is a great idea to get your master’s degree from one of these distinctive and historically significant schools.

A man in a graduation gown and cap

Alabama A&M University

Alabama A&M University, nestled in Huntsville, AL, stands as a beacon of academic excellence and community engagement. With a commitment to fostering success beyond graduation, the university provides state-of-the-art facilities and personalized instruction to its diverse student body.

Program Highlights:

Howard University

Howard University, a historic institution in Washington, DC, boasts a rich legacy of producing influential leaders and scholars. With a focus on research and innovation, Howard provides a vibrant academic environment where students can thrive and make meaningful contributions to their fields.

Program Highlights:

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU)

Florida A&M University, located in Tallahassee, FL, is renowned for its innovative education technology and high success rate among graduates. With a focus on academic excellence and faculty expertise, FAMU provides a supportive learning environment for students pursuing advanced degrees.

Program Highlights:

A laptop and glasses on a desk by a window

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina A&T State University, the largest HBCU in the country, prides itself on its hands-on approach to learning and research sponsorship. With a commitment to academic excellence and student success, NCAT prepares graduates to excel in their chosen fields.

Program Highlights:

Alcorn State University

Alcorn State University, the oldest public HBCU land-grant institution, provides competitive graduate degree paths for students from diverse backgrounds. With a commitment to academic excellence and faculty expertise, Alcorn State prepares graduates for long-term career success in various fields.

Program Highlights:

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University, founded by Booker T. Washington, stands as a historic institution dedicated to academic excellence and community service. With a focus on environmental stewardship and sustainability, Tuskegee prepares graduates to address pressing challenges in the field.

Program Highlights:

A woman sitting at a table explaining something

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University, located in the vibrant city of Nashville, provides a valuable education at an affordable tuition. With a focus on academic excellence and faculty scholarship, TSU prepares graduates to succeed in every way.

Program Highlights:

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a prominent institution known for its commitment to cultural diversity and heritage preservation. With a focus on academic excellence and community engagement, UMES prepares graduates to become leaders in their fields and positively impact society.

Program Highlights:

Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana, rooted in Catholic tradition, is known for its strong pharmacy and health sciences programs. With a commitment to social justice and equity, Xavier prepares graduates to become leaders in their fields and agents of positive change.

Program Highlights:

A quaint bookstore with a variety of books neatly displayed

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University, a progressive HBCU, is known for its academic excellence and student-centered approach to learning. With a focus on social mobility and value-driven education, WSSU prepares graduates to be adaptable and successful in their career fields. 

Program Highlights:

What Are HBCUs Known For?

HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are renowned for their role in providing affordable and quality higher education to African-American and diverse student populations. They cater to low-income, first-generation students who may face barriers in accessing higher studies.

These institutions boast a rich history and legacy, having educated influential figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris. Their tight-knit alumni networks offer valuable support and employment opportunities to graduates.

HBCUs are known for having excellent medical schools. Howard University, located in Washington, DC, is a standout example. It’s considered one of the best in the country. This adds to HBCUs’ reputation for providing top-quality education.

An Overview of the History of HBCUs

In the 19th century, Black Americans recognized the importance of education and created HBCUs. One of the earliest was the African Institute, founded by benefactor Humphreys in 1837. This institution, now called Cheyney University or Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, offered valuable training to Black Americans, helping them secure employment opportunities.

Today, there are 59 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that provide graduate degree programs, according to the HBCU Career Center. 

Man in suit by chalkboard with mathematical equation

Why Choose an HBCU Graduate Program?

HBCUs are trustworthy and proud institutions that embrace Black culture. They provide a welcoming environment where your community supports you. You have endless opportunities to find your purpose and pursue your passions, whether you choose to attend in person or online.

Consider these reasons why the best HBCU graduate programs should be on your list of potential degree programs:

Save Money on Tuition for More Affordability

Attending HBCUs saves students money, with costs averaging 27 percent less compared to other institutions. On average, students pay around $25,412 for attendance at HBCUs, while at similar non-HBCU colleges, the average cost is $35,049.

Rapidly Prepare for the Real World

Compared to graduates of predominantly white institutions (PWIs), those from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are 50% more likely to advance in their careers and are more prepared for the workforce.

Everyone Can Find Their Perfect Community

So, what piques your interest? Many HBCU activities, such as student groups, civic organizations, marching band, and athletics, contribute to these schools’ well-known enrichment and sense of community.

Be a Part of the Black Achievement Legacy

The work that black people have done is important. By enrolling at an HBCU, you have the opportunity to continue the rich legacy of Black intellectuals, artists, athletes and business moguls.

Improved Possibility of Networking

As if the rich history and cultural traditions of an HBCU weren’t enough, graduating from one of these schools also gives you access to a network of influential alumni who can help you launch your professional life.

Expect Genuine Inclusion and Diversity

HBCUs combine the familiar culture with your desired welcoming environment. These schools also teach students with diverse nationalities, cultures, races, and ethnicities.

How Do You Find the Right HBCU for You?

Finding the best HBCU graduate programs that will be right for you involves considering various factors. Here are some tips to navigate this important decision:

People of different backgrounds gathered around a table, writing and discussing

What Does It Mean to Graduate From an HBCU?

Graduating from the best HBCU graduate programs means completing your studies at a historically Black college or university. Before the Civil Rights movement, HBCUs were important for Black Americans seeking higher education. These schools provided career opportunities, graduate degrees, and education in an inclusive setting.

Does New York Have HBCUs?

No, New York has no Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Although there’s a common misconception about CUNY Medgar Evers in Brooklyn, it’s classified as a predominantly Black institution (PBI), not an HBCU. HBCUs are mainly found in the Southern United States.

Which HBCU Is Called Black Harvard?

Howard University in urban Washington, D.C., is often referred to as the “black Harvard” among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It is renowned for its academic excellence and is comparable to Harvard University in terms of prestige and rigorous educational standards.


HBCUs provide top-notch graduate programs rich in tradition and excellence. Schools like Alabama A&M, Howard, and Florida A&M offer diverse opportunities. Prospective students should consider programs, aid, resources, and locations to find the perfect fit for their goals. Finding the best HBCU graduate programs is key to success.

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.