8 HBCUs that Award the Most Science & Engineering Degrees

by DeShaun Bennett

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue to be leading institutions in producing Black students with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees, aiding the number of minorities in STEM related fields. Below are the 8 HBCUs to confer the most Science and Engineering (S&E) degrees from 2008-2012 according to the 2015 report by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

1) Howard University—1,946


Howard University has many STEM related programs. One signature program is the multidisciplinary Howard University Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (HUSEM). HUSEM is a collaboration of nine departments in the Colleges of Architecture, Science, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences. HUSEM goal is to promote academic achievement as well as increase the number of underrepresented minorities who receive baccalaureate and graduate degrees in STEM disciplines. HUSEM has developed many initiatives to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education at Howard University such as:

  • Funded Undergraduate Research Experiences (URE)
  • Weekly and group tutoring sessions
  • Personal, professional and academic mentoring
  • Distinguished Scholars Fellowship program
  • Early intervention for students who are prone to drop out of STEM classes
Note: HUSEM information was gathered from the HUSEM website.

2) North Carolina A & T State University—1,874 


Since 2012, NCAT has been the home of the second Guilford County early college, also known as the STEM Early College. STEM Early College at A&T is designed to serve highly motivated, high-performing students who have an interest in STEM. The STEM Early College at A&T mission is to “provide an interdisciplinary approach using critical thinking to solve real world issues in a STEM problem-based, learning environment.” STEM Early College uses problem-based methods to help students develop critical thinking skills. Freshman and sophomore year students are required to participate in a Capstone research project where students engage in the process of sustainability by developing and testing different ideas and solutions to problems facing engineers in today’s world.

Note: Information about the STEM Early College was collected from their website.

3) Florida A & M University—1,676


In 2013, Florida A&M University (FAMU) teamed up with the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) to create the FAMU/FAU Medical Scholars Program (MSP), a medical school pipeline program for pre-med FAMU undergraduate students. The program equips students with the necessary tools and knowledge to enter medical school by teaching them problem solving skills as well as introducing them to problem-based learning (PBL) in order to stimulate independent learning. FAMU students who are accepted to the program gain probationary admissions into FAU’s college of medicine as long as they complete MSP and satisfy a few other requirements.

4) Spelman College—1,503  

Spelman STEM

According to the 2015 report produced by NSF, only 11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering were awarded to minority women in 2012. Spelman has created programs like SpelBots, Spelman College’s robotics team, to encourage more women to explore STEM. Founded in 2004 by Dr. Andrew Williams, SpelBots’ mission is to encourage students and young women of African descent to explore robotics and computer science. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Boeing, and General Motors, SpelBots has made history on numerous occasions. In 2005, SpelBots was the first all-female, all African-American undergraduate team to qualify and compete in the International RoboCup four-legged robot soccer competition. In 2009, SpelBots tied for first place in the RoboCup Japan Standard Platform League Nao League humanoid soccer championship.

Note: More information about SpelBots can be on the SpelBots webpage.

5) Hampton University—1,377

Hampton STEM

For 31 years, Hampton University has been providing summer school for experimental and theoretical nuclear and particle physics graduate students, who have finished their coursework and have at least one year of research experience, through a program named Hampton University Graduate Summer Program (HUGS). HUGS is supported by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and Jefferson Science Associates (JSA).

6) Southern University and A&M College—1,273


Southern University and A&M College is 1 of 12 Louisiana institutions of higher education that make up the Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-LAMP) along with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), a research facility. LS-LAMP is a statewide coordinated program that aims to increase the number and quality of minority students receiving degrees in STEM and ultimately pursuing graduate studies in STEM disciplines. LS-LAMP also offers the Bridge to the Doctorate (LS-LAMP/BD) fellowship program, which offers twelve fellowships at $30,000/yr for two years, participation in professional conferences, individualized faculty mentoring, research and professional opportunities, academic enrichment and support, and payment of tuition and fees.

7) Morgan State University—1,256

Morgan STEM

Morgan State University is the host site of the Verizon Foundation program Minority Male Makers, a program that provides middle school minority boys with two summers of hands-on learning experiences in STEM as well as mentors that work along side them. The student participants at the Morgan site receive four weeks of summer classes, which are taught by Morgan professors, plus additional classes and mentoring from undergraduate and graduate level minority students during the school year. According to the Baltimore Sun, the program at Morgan focuses on things like app design and development, coding and programing, 3D design and modeling, and robotics

8) Alabama A & M University—1,226


Alabama A&M University supports graduate students in STEM disciplines through its STEM Knowledge Center in the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences (CETPS). The STEM Knowledge Center is a home for student learning, outreach, and development of STEM students. Students receive academic advising, tutoring, access to academic databases and resources, financial aid assistance, professional development, career planning assistance, and internships/Co-Ops. The STEM Knowledge Center also sponsors a High School STEM Experience (HSSE) and a Pre-Freshman Bridge Program (PFB), programs used to recruiting minority students into STEM fields.

Note: More information about the STEM Knowledge Center can be found on their website.

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