Throughout the United States, there are historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) with deep roots and a proud sense of heritage. Most HBCU’s were established in the late 19th century and have since expanded and diversified academic offerings. There has also been an addition of top value historically black graduate programs, preparing students for a long, successful career in specialized field areas.
Below are the nation’s top 50 best value historically black graduate schools. We selected these advanced degree programs out of approximately 110 colleges and ranked them based on a methodology model for students seeking an HBCU with graduate degree options.
In determining the order of this ranking, we awarded points based on quality of course curriculum as it relates to the job market (1-5 point range), accolades or other noted recognition by education publications (1-4 point range), faculty expertise with terminal degrees in the field (1-4 points), affordability and return-on-investment (1-3 points), graduate, fellowship, or other tuition assistance opportunities (1-3 points), career assistance (1-4) points). An additional point was awarded for features of particular distinction. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition is ranked higher.
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Top 50 Best Value Historically Black Graduate Schools in the U.S.
A world-renowned academic institution, Florida A&M University tops both our list and U.S. News and World Reports "Top Public HBCU's in the Nation." This college has won numerous accolades for its innovative education technology, academic and faculty excellence, a high success rate among its graduates, and more. One of the best historically black graduate schools, FAMU currently has 29 master's degrees and 12 doctoral degree programs; among the more notable advanced degrees include its award-winning pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, nursing, education, allied health sciences, architecture, and engineering. One of Florida A&M's outstanding features is the "Graduate Feeder Program," wherein students may take courses at partnering graduate departments.
Alabama A&M University is a small, prestigious academic community that identifies as a teaching, research, and public service institution. This college has state-of-the-art education facilities, designed to optimize student success both throughout their degree program and beyond graduation. Alabama A&M's top value historically black graduate school is renowned for its wide spectrum of specialized degree options; among its high-ranked 23 master's programs include food science, biology, family and consumer sciences, social work, business management and administration, kinesiology, and education. Alabama A&M's school of graduate studies has numerous scholarship opportunities for qualified candidates.
Located in Montgomery, where the civil rights movement began, Alabama State University has diverse undergraduate and graduate programs that are eagerly sought by applicants. This college welcomes students from 40 states and many countries around the world. Alabama State's top-value historically black graduate school has expanded to provide 28 advanced degrees in its catalog; among these degree tracks include numerous master of education specialities; a master of arts in history, a master of science in applied technology, and doctorate programs in physical therapy and philosophy. Alabama State provides immersive career counseling and awards academic excellence scholarships to qualifying students.
University of the District of Columbia is at the heart of the nation's capital and the country's only urban land-grant university. This college has the most affordable tuition in the District, and the location of this college alone leads to tremendous career opportunities. UDC is also historically black graduate school with 21 available degree paths; among these including master's in computer science, electrical engineering, homeland security, adult education, business administration, counseling, public administration, and more. UDC has a moderately competitive admissions process and does require minimum GRE and GPA scores.
An award-winning HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University is a research institution with an enrollment now reaching over 11,000 students. NCAT values a hands-on approach to learning, ensuring students can adapt their education into their chosen job market. This historically black graduate school has earned numerous accolades for its research sponsorships, breadth of educational resources, top-value tuition return-on-investment, and much more; among the degrees found in the enormous graduate catalog includes MBA opportunities, education, agriculture and environmental systems, nutritional science, mental health counseling, and social work. This esteemed college has generous assistantships and fellowships available to all qualifying graduate students.
Bowie State University is among the top-performing historically black colleges and universities in the country. Further, according to recent salary statistics, BSU came in second for top starting salaries among all of the nation's HBCU. The graduate school is comprised of nineteen master's degrees, fourteen advanced certificates, and two doctorate programs. These degrees are earned in promising field-areas including education, business administration, public administration, science, and nursing. Bowie State has an extensive list of resources and workshops designed specifically for the needs of graduate students.
The oldest HBCU in the state of Georgia, Savannah State University considers itself a student-centered institution that values academic potential. SSU is, as well, a historically black graduate school with multiple higher learning programs to pursue; enrolled graduate students can find future careers in business administration, marine sciences, mathematics, social work, or urban planning. Each Savannah State master's students is provided a 1-1 advisor, who will provide guidance on how to best perform both during and after the graduate degree program. This college has an actively engaged alumni network that is accessible to all students.
Fort Valley University, founded in Georgia, is proud to be an HBCU with a long history of academic success. This school is over 100 years old and celebrates its high achieving students in both undergraduate and graduate education. FVU's high-value, low-tuition historically black graduate school offers master of science degrees in environmental health, early childhood education, mental health counseling, animal science, biotechnology, and school counselor education. Fort Valley has generous graduate assistant programs to enhance education and make tuition even more attainable.
Clark Atlanta University is among one of most comprehensive historically black college or universities in the nation, continuing a rich African-American heritage. This college's specialty is in its research institutions and an impressive amount of learning resources for its students. CAU's low-cost historically black graduate school has top-notch academics and many educational tools that are dedicated only for use by graduate students; among Clark Atlanta's 35 unique master's programs are computer and information science, foreign languages, history, mathematics, public administration, and social work policy.
West Virginia University recently celebrated its 125th year of commitment to widely respected academics. Founded as a historically black college, WVSU is located just outside the state's capital. This institution is particularly proud of its public service programs, and WVU alumni continue to uphold this tradition through successful community leadership around the world. West Virginia University's affordable historically black graduate college include career-making programs including criminal justice administration, public administration, biotechnology, media studies, instructional leadership, and social work.
The Xavier University of Louisiana is a faith-based HBCU with strong roots in Catholicism. This college holds the honor of being one of the top four producers of African-American Doctor of Pharmacy degree graduates. Xavier's historically black graduate school offers eight advanced degree options, which include a master's in education in counseling, teaching, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership; the graduate program also offers a master of theology degree and doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D). Xavier University has received numerous accolades in rankings published by Fiske Guide to Colleges, Wall Street Journal, among others. In addition, the Equal Equality of Opportunity Project ranked Xavier sixth in the nation for upward mobility.
Consistently counted among the top ten HBCU's by U.S. News and World Report, Claflin University fosters leadership, creativity, and intellectual development. A great value historically black graduate school, Claflin has competitive master's degree tracks such as an MBA, masters of education in curriculum and instruction, and a master of science in biotechnology; for added accessibility, this school's MBA program and master of education can also be attained online. Claflin master's graduates have reported finding promising long-term careers in the field of their advanced degrees; this school has a widespread and engaged alumni network that frequently attend networking events. Claflin was recently awarded a $6 million grant from the Lilly Endowment and United Negro College Fund.
Morgan State University is a student-centered urban research college that combines core values of integrity, innovation, diversity, and leadership. This HBCU has a comprehensive range of academics, spanning from undergraduate straight through doctoral degree programs. Morgan State is a top-notch historically black graduate school with 37 competitive master's programs; among the more noteworthy of these degrees include engineering, public health, city and regional planning, psychometrics, museum studies, and much more. To make tuition even more affordable, MSU has a variety of assistantships and fellowships.
Lincoln University, founded in 1854, holds the distinction of being the nation's first degree-granting historically black college and university. Since that time, Lincoln has diversified in both faculty and its student body, attracting students from cultures around the world. One of the best features of this college is its mentor-based approach to learning in all field areas. Lincoln is a top value historically black graduate school, in particular for its wide spectrum of curriculum, high tuition return-on-investment, and stellar instructor faculty. Lincoln University's graduate degrees include master's in human services administration, human resources delivery, early childhood education, business, and counseling.
Originally established in 1877, Jackson State has since flourished into a respected HBCU and the fourth largest higher learning institution in Mississippi. JSU offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs that foster many different career goals. The historically black graduate school provides comprehensive course curriculum in over 40 degree areas; some of these areas of study include history, accounting, chemistry, education, criminology, political science, sport science, and many others. Jackson State University holds high standards for its instructor faculty, ensuring all students receive an excellent education. Although JSU has affordable graduate tuition rates, the administration works with each student for merit scholarship or grant eligibility.
Spread throughout three central cities in Oklahoma, Langston University is the only historically black university in the state. Langston's graduate department is found on the Tulsa campus, where students can enroll in challenging master's degree programs including urban education, entrepreneurial studies, and rehabilitation counseling. Additionally, LU has recently been accredited for offering a doctorate in physical therapy, one of only two doctorates of this type in Oklahoma. This top-deal HBCU graduate school regularly welcomes guest speakers and prospective employers to the campus for career-building network opportunities.
Fayetteville State University, based in North Carolina, is an affordable, high-quality education option for advanced students. FSU is in part a historically black graduate school with a long list of higher learning opportunities; the graduate academics department covers field areas that include sociology, business administration, psychology, social work, criminal justice, and education. The majority of graduate faculty have terminal degrees in their respective teaching area, and most alumni are regularly welcomed back into the FSU student community for networking.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a prominent institution both in the state and nationwide. This college has multiple international connections in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America to encourage its mission to promote pride in heritage and cultural diversity. UMES is also a historically black graduate school with a course of study for many academic goals; some of the degrees include a master of science, master of education, master of arts, as well as doctoral programs in philosophy and physical therapy. University of Maryland Eastern Shore works toward linking graduate students with community, government, and field industries for career prospects.
Another member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, North Carolina Central University is an HBCU with competitive academics. NCCU has been highly ranked consistently by education publications including College Choice, U.S. News and World Report, College Values Online, among others. This affordable historically black graduate school has an impressive 39 graduate degree options, some of which include biomedical sciences, education, criminal justice, music, human sciences, and social work; this graduate school also has a doctoral program in integrated biosciences. North Carolina Central works with each student to determine if there are graduate degree-related scholarships to further assist with tuition financing.
One of the most prestigious historically black colleges, Howard University has recently hit a 150-year milestone in its history. Howard has produced over 120,000 graduates since its inception, many of whom have made a genuine impact in science, arts, and humanities. Additionally, Howard is an affordable HBCU graduate school with an impressive return on investment in most field areas; among Howard's 28 master's and 27 doctoral programs are STEM fields, electrical engineering, nutritional sciences, African studies, and much more.
A progressive HBCU in rural Virginia, Hampton University is an institution with well-rounded academic offerings. This college also has an extensive list of notable alumni in numerous fields and industries. Hampton is a great deal historically black graduate school, boasting 23 master's programs, and eight doctoral programs; among these graduate opportunities include applied mathematics, education, nursing, atmospheric and planetary science, psychology, sports administration, and chemistry. HU's graduate curriculum is rigorous and well-rounded, and faculty works closely with each student's degree path in best career-planning.
The only historically black college in the southern half of the state, Florida Memorial University has gone strong since 1879. This college's faculty is both scholarly and culturally diverse, offering a broad range of perspective. FMU is also a historically black graduate school, providing higher degrees in both business administration and education; those seeking an MS in the school of education can specialize in teaching elementary, exceptional students, computer, or reading and ESOL (K-12). Florida Memorial has career development students that regularly connects its graduates with job opportunities.
Originally founded by a Quaker philanthropist, Cheyney University has had a fascinating journey since 1852. CU strives to maintain its legacy of developing both the intellectual and ethical minds of its student body. This top value historically black graduate school has programs that include a master of public administration, educational leadership, a master of arts in teaching, along with numerous specialized certificate opportunities. This school has a relatively selective admissions process in keeping with the high standard of academics. Cheyney's graduate department has continuous academic advising built into all degree areas.
A private non-profit institution, Charles R. Drew University has a mission to develop leaders in the medical field who serve the underserved. This HBCU prides itself on its leadership skills, assembling a faculty who values academics, compassion, and integrity in education. Charles R. Drew is also an esteemed historically black graduate college, providing top-notch education options in higher learning; the available graduate degrees include master of public health in urban health disparities, master of health science, master of science in biomedical sciences, and two options for master's of science in nursing.
Ranked among the top value historically black colleges and universities, Elizabeth State has earned nationwide respect of the academic world. ECSU's core educational values include accountability, diversity, and excellence in every capacity possible. This HBCU graduate school offers master's degrees in field areas that include elementary education, biology, administration, and mathematics. Elizabeth State has a highly engaged graduate council that encourages department-wide conversation about any related matters affecting students. ECSU has a dedicated staff and excellent resources for graduate students both online and on-campus. Full tuition scholarship assistance is currently being offered for the M.S. in Mathematics and the M.S. in Biology Degree Programs for qualified students.
Johnson C. Smith University is a North Carolina HBCU that was recently ranked 7th in diversity by U.S. News and World Report. 89% of this school's faculty has terminal degrees in their fields, and with a 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students benefit greatly from instructor leadership. Recently, JCSU became a historically black graduate school, bringing a rigorous master of social work degree program to the academic offerings; this program has already prepared thousands of students to become effective and professional social workers. Thanks to a sizable endowment, JCSU provides generous scholarships to qualified applicants.
Founded in 1891, Delaware State University is one of the nation's best historically black colleges and universities. DSU is a smaller school, but still, it thrives as a top-value HBCU graduate school; this graduate school has sixteen master's degree programs and five doctoral degree programs, all with a broad range of specializations from which to select. Delaware State's school of graduate studies includes fields such as agriculture, human ecology, arts and humanities, business administration, social work, and sports management. Some of DSU's graduate programs are also available through online distance programs.
Grambling State University, found in Louisiana, holds the honor of being one of the top producers of African-American graduates in the country. Following the motto "Where everybody is somebody," this school celebrates the spirit of individuality. GSU is among the best value historically black graduate schools as well, providing masters degrees in nursing, social sciences, special education, sports administration, and more. Grambling State has a highly committed career development center and regular job fairs that are known to ensure post-master's success.
Prairie View A&M University is the second-oldest public college institution in all of Texas; in part a highly affordable historically black graduate school. The college has 32 master's and doctoral programs; these advanced degrees are in specialized colleges that include agriculture and human services, education, business, engineering, juvenile justice and psychology, nursing, and architecture. PVAM has stellar educational resources for graduate students, and many of the graduate degrees can also be attained online.
Texas Southern University is a large academic complex, with multiple specialized schools and degree programs. An affordable HBCU, Texas Southern provides a comprehensive and well-rounded education for both undergraduate and graduate students. TSU's low-tuition historically black graduate college has consistently expanded since its 1947 founding, now home to 36 advanced degree selections; these graduate degrees are under categories in communications, science, humanities, technology, education, behavioral science, management, and pharmacy. Texas Southern's graduate faculty is carefully selected by the department's graduate council.
Lincoln University of Missouri has been the start of many promising futures in a multitude of careers. This HBCU was founded in 1866 for the benefit of newly freed African-Americans and continues to take pride in nurturing the mind of the individual learner. Lincoln's best value historically black graduate college now has master's programs in education, business, and social sciences; the concentrations in these field specialty areas include environmental science, natural sciences, sociology, and public administration. Lincoln University has an active graduate council that carefully oversees the policy and academic needs of its student body.
Based in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee State University is a valuable education at a low, manageable tuition rate. This HBCU holds high standards for its faculty, most of which considered scholars in the fields they teach. This college's top-ranked historically black graduate school continues to build on its already long list of degree options; new programs now include unique degree tracks such as applied geospatial information sciences, master of science in computer sciences, and master of education in technical education. Tennessee State has large and well-organized alumni chapters; one of this college's most notable alumni is the media mogul, Oprah Winfrey.
Wilberforce University of Ohio is an HBCU that is fully accredited, academically diverse, and centered in the Christian faith. WU designs its education programs to integrate quality curriculum with a strong sense of ethics. This small historically black graduate school offers one advanced degree, a masters of science in rehabilitation counseling; this stand-out masters program includes two internships in various settings such as behavior healthcare facilities, community rehabilitation settings, and other colleges. Wilberforce's faculty community allows for a great deal of career guidance and mentorship.
Among the top value historically black graduate schools, Chicago State University holds deep roots in its urban campus setting. One of this college's best features is its graduate faculty, who have collectively been widely published and recognized for field area expertise. Chicago State's master's programs are delivered by three specialized colleges that include arts and science, education, and health sciences. Chicago State is also known for its state-of-the-art graduate resources that are designed with the needs of advanced students in mind.
Based in Nashville, Meharry Medical College is both among the oldest and largest historically black health academic centers in the United States. According to a recent study, this renowned college is one of the nation's top producers of primary care physicians and graduating African-Americans with biomedical sciences Ph.D's. Meharry has a great value historically black graduate program, which has incrementally expanded in degree-areas and research facilities since 1947. Enrolled graduate students can seek medical degrees in public health, clinical investigation, health policy, or physician assistant sciences.
Based on statistics gathered on College Navigator, Bethune Cookman's historically black graduate school is clearly among the most affordable in the country; Bethune-Cookman's advanced degree options include master's in public health, athletic training, organizational leadership, criminal justice administration, and integrated environmental science. B-CU's faculty guides its graduates to be professionals with integrity and a desire to serve the community.
Founded in Mississippi, Alcorn State University has a competitive set of degree paths for a broad range of interest areas. This affordable historically black graduate school's graduate department has master degree choices in liberal arts, business administration, computer and information science, nursing, biology, and much more; in addition to these degree options, Acorn has multiple concentrations for further specialization. Alcorn State's graduates have found long-term career success around the world in numerous capacities. Alcorn has high standards for its faculty and applicants.
Based in the exciting city of Baltimore, Coppin State University has over a century of academic tradition. For students joining Coppin for its graduate programs, there are fifteen advanced degrees from which to select, from master's to post master's; this historically black graduate school has departments in applied psychology and rehabilitation counseling, nursing and human services, criminal justice, and education. CSU's student services department provides excellent career advice and guidance through any challenge of higher education that might arise.
One of three HBCU's in the university system of Georgia, Albany State University is known to be a student-centered academic community. ASU has a comprehensive degree profile, and also functions as a historically black graduate school; Albany State's graduate programs have a well-rounded curriculum that makes its students competitive in the job market. Among ASU's graduate programs include master of education, business administration, social work, criminal justice, and public administration; several of these graduate degrees have the option to be attained online.
A vibrant academic community, Winston-Salem State University is a progressive HBCU that has earned multiple accolades for its strong academics, high-performing graduates, and excellent return-on-investment. Winston-Salem's affordable historically black graduate school has advanced degree opportunities in fields that promise a long and successful career; WSSU's graduate degrees include, among others, master's degrees in teaching, business administration, healthcare administration, computer science, nursing rehabilitation, and occupational therapy. Additionally, Winston-Salem has doctoral degrees in physical therapy and nursing practice. Graduate students who wish to specialize their master's degrees further can add a post-baccalaureate certificate to enhance job market availability.
Just north of the Appomattox River, Virginia State University has multiple program accreditations and specialized colleges. One of its 18 academic buildings is part of this affordable historically black graduate school; this center for advanced study and research brings its students options in graduate degrees that get them hired. VSU's graduate programs have received international recognition for its comprehensive and relevant course curriculum; among these master's degrees include economics, English, history, career and technical studies, sport management, and many more.
The youngest of all HBCU's in the United States, Mississippi Valley State University is a very low-cost education with ample academic prospects. MVSU is committed to fostering the careers of its students both during their degree program and as alumni; this school has multiple career fairs, on-campus interviewing, and other resources to secure long-term success. MVSU's affordable historically black graduate programs include master's degree options in business administration, criminal justice, teaching, natural science and environmental health, social sciences, and social work.
Kentucky State University is a revered HBCU that focuses on student diversity, individualized learning, and maintaining an intellectual environment. This award-winning school is an excellent choice for those who want to be part of a socially engaged academic environment that connects with communities on a local to global scale. Kentucky State's low-cost historically black graduate school, offering programs of study that include master's degrees in environmental studies, aquaculture, computer science, business administration, public administration, special education, among others. KSU offers multiple graduate assistant roles to further lower tuition cost.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a small historically black college with a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a top-notch choice of degrees. This college's affordable HBCU graduate department has study choices that include unique master's programs in education, addiction studies, computer science, agricultural regulations, and a Ph.D. track in aquaculture/fisheries. UAPB has a generous number of career services opportunities, and prospective employers regularly recruit on-campus to seek future job candidates.
Shaw University holds the distinction of being the very first historically black university in the southern United States. Affiliated with the Baptist faith, Shaw has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and a majority faculty with terminal degrees in their field. Faith-based graduate students will find opportunities in its advanced degree department; this accredited historically black graduate college has degrees that include a master of arts in Christian education (MACE), a master of divinity (MDiv), and a master of science in curriculum and instruction for early childhood education. Shaw University's graduate curriculum strives to develop students in both intellectual and spiritual ways.
Found in the Big Easy, Southern University of New Orleans is an HBCU that is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. SUMO has greatly expanded over the years, both in academics and enrollment numbers. SUMO's historically black graduate school is home to three unique fields of study; these degree tracks include a master of arts in museum studies, a master of science in criminal justice and management information systems, and a master of social work. This college has an impressive range of notable alumni, spanning civil rights activism, deans of education, and positions in federal government.
Founded in 1896, South Carolina State University is a land-grant institution with high standards for its academics and incoming students. This HBCU has distinct graduate degree choices, not found elsewhere in the state; among the affordable graduate degrees at this school include a master of arts in teaching, a master of business administration, rehabilitation counseling, nutritional sciences, and speech pathology. South Carolina State provides its graduate students with extensive career assistance resources that get them ahead of the curve in the job market; additionally, SCSU hosts frequent recruitment efforts on campus.
Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional colleges, Oakwood University is faith-based HBCU that provides an excellent education. Although traditional in values, Oakwood stays current with its available resources for the student body. Oakwood's low-cost historically black graduate school offers one master's degree that provides a wonderful opportunity for future pastoral professionals; the master of arts in pastoral studies is designed to develop both academic and spiritual development of its students. The graduate department at Oakwood is interdisciplinary and led by top-notch faculty in the field.
Norfolk State University in Virginia was founded in 1935 with a vision to help each member of their student body achieve their professional goals. Between then and now, NSU has continued to be guided by this mission, regularly expanding its academic programs, scholarship, and community outreach. Norfolk State is an affordable historically black graduate school, providing degree options for virtually all interest areas; among this HBCU's graduate degrees include master of education, social work, engineering, computer science, and criminal justice. Additionally, this school offers graduate certification to further specialize one's master's degree.
For the prospective graduate student looking forward to a future in theology, The Interdenominational Theological Center is a distinct academic offering. This school is a HBCU that consists of a consortium of denominational seminaries; this partnership serves to integrate religious education for Christian students; this historically black graduate school has multiple degree choices that include master of divinity, master of arts in Christian education, church music, doctor of ministry, and doctor of theology. ITC has a diverse alumni population that has continued to serve on a global scale.
Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools
At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates
Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid
Admission and enrollment rates
Number of program options
Online Enrollment Score
Portion of learners taking at least one online course
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.
Historically Black colleges and universities, commonly known as HBCUs, are an incredibly important part of the higher education system in the United States. These schools, which of the nation’s colleges...
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