HBCU Grads Fuel Surge in Science, Engineering Doctorates


More and more Blacks are obtaining doctoral degrees in science and engineering and historically Black colleges and universities are largely responsible, according to the National Science Foundation.

The proportion of doctorates awarded to Blacks by tertiary education institutions in the United States rose from 4.2 percent in 1991 to 6.1 percent in 2011. In the fields of science and engineering, that represents 9,202 doctorate recipients from 2002 to 2011.

Howard University in Washington, D.C., was the leading undergraduate feeder institution for Blacks who earned doctorate in these fields, according to an analysis of the data by the {Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.} Howard graduated 220 students who went on to earn scientific doctorates in the 2002-11 period.

Coming in second was Atlanta’s Spelman College, where 175 graduates went on to earn doctorates in science or engineering fields in the 2002-11 period.

Rounding out the top five feeder institutions was Florida A&M University, Hampton University in Virginia, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

The top 10 also included Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University and Tuskegee University.

Howard University was also the top feeder institution in the field of physical sciences, such as physics. Xavier University led all other undergraduate institutions in producing the most graduates who went on to earn Ph.D.s in the life sciences, such as biology. And North Carolina A&T State University had the most graduates who earned doctorates in engineering during the period.

Among non-HBCUs, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, led by the renowned Freeman Hrabowski, was the leader in the institutions from which Black graduates earned Ph.D.s in science and engineering in the 2002-11 period. Other traditionally White institutions that produced the most Black graduates that earned science and engineering doctoral degrees included the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Harvard University.

HBCU Grads Fuel Surge in Science, Engineering Doctorates

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