Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played a critical role throughout American history. For too long, they represented the only viable alternative to African-Americans seeking higher education. Today, they offer refuge from environments in which majoritarian presuppositions and privilege dominate. As Jasmine Burney-Clark told Essence, “There’s a level of care, compassion, and positive challenges you will only find at an HBCU.”
You needn’t be Black to attend an HBCU. In 2018, non-Black students made up 24 percent of the student body at historically Black colleges and universities. The Washington Post reports that HBCUs are currently engaged in diversity recruiting drives, “partly because African American enrollment alone is not enough to sustain them when traditionally white schools are doing more to recruit minorities.”
Although HBCUs are best known for their undergraduate degree programs, many offer robust and highly regarded graduate programs as well. Indeed, for much of the twentieth century, HBCUs were a critical source of Black teachers, doctors, lawyers, and clergy. Today, many HBCUs offer the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in one or more formats: on-campus, online, or hybrid (a combination of in-person and online).
An MBA delivers a graduate-level survey of essential business disciplines—economics, management, marketing, finance, operations—and, often, an opportunity to dive deeper into an area of specialization. It is by far the most popular master’s degree in the United States, accounting for nearly a quarter of all master’s degrees conferred in 2018.
Is an MBA from an HBCU right for you? To help you decide, we’ve identified 20 accredited MBA programs at historically Black colleges and universities, plus two more schools that partner with neighboring institutions to offer a combined bachelor’s/MBA. In this article, we discuss:
America’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) arose in the 19th century to serve Black students excluded from most other institutions of higher learning. A few such schools were founded in the early 1800s. However, most came into being after the passage of the 1862 Second Morrill Act. This federal law required states to establish separate land grant institutions for Black students if the state’s existing land grant schools barred Blacks.
Not all HBCUs are public institutions. Many emanated from the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church and from various Baptist organizations. Although many of these schools retain their church affiliation, few function as religious schools and all are open to students of all faiths.
The United States is home to 101 HBCUs, according to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which notes that “HBCUs play a critical role in the American system of higher education.” The organization points out that “for most of America’s history, African Americans seeking a college education could only get it from an HBCU.”
The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicted an average starting salary for 2019 MBA graduates of $84,580—provided those graduates found jobs in computer science, engineering, science, or business. (
Students considering an MBA or graduate business degree can choose from varied career paths, including those focused on financial management, data analytics, market research, healthcare management, and operations management. The analytical skills and problem-solving techniques gained from graduate level business degrees are in high demand across business sectors. ( )
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So, it’s obvious why a Black student would choose to attend an HBCU back when they had few, if any, other choices. But why should a Black student—or any other student—choose an HBCU today?
Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, identifies six reasons:
We’ve identified 20 HBCUs with well-regarded on-campus programs, online programs, and/or hybrid programs (which deliver some content online but also require some on-campus participation).
Alabama A&M offers an AACSB-accredited on-campus “working adults-friendly” MBA program. This “interdisciplinary program in business for students who want to advance their careers in management and leadership roles” features two specialization tracks: logistics and supply chain management, and human resources management. A&M undergraduates can apply to the school’s 4+1 BS/MBA program. In 2019-20, A&M charged residents $423 per credit, non-residents $840 per credit.
The ACBSP-accredited MBA program at Albany State follows a 30-credit curriculum: 21 credits (seven courses) of core classes and 9 credits (three courses) of electives. Students may pursue an additional three credit hours of electives to complete a concentration in accounting, healthcare management, public administration, or supply chain and logistics management. ASU offers its MBA online for all-in tuition of $9,900. In-state on-campus students pay $191 per credit; nonresidents pay $762 per credit.
Full-time students can complete the 36-credit MBA program at Alcorn State in 1.5 to 2 years. Students can choose from three areas of concentration: gaming management and hospitality management, both of which are 100 percent online; and general business, which is available in an online/hybrid format (students may attend live classes on-campus or stream them via Blackboard Collaborate). Alcorn State’s MBA program is accredited by the ACBSP. In 2019-20, Alcorn State charged students $405 per credit.
A half-hour south of Baltimore and a half-hour east of Washington DC, Bowie State is conveniently located to serve two major metropolitan areas. Its ACBSP-accredited 36-credit curriculum consists of ten courses in accounting, management, finance, management information systems, and marketing management, plus two elective courses. The school offers a general MBA only (i.e., no areas of specialization). In 2019-20, Bowie State charged residents $423 per credit; nonresidents, $709 per credit.
For students’ convenience, Claflin University offers its ACBSP-accredited MBA in both an online and on-campus format. Full-time students can complete the ACBSP-accredited 36-credit curriculum, which focuses on finance, general business, management, marketing, and entrepreneurship, in 18 months or less. Tuition for 2020-21 is $5,471 for a 9-credit course load, $7,295 for a 12-credit course load (approximately $610 per credit).
Clark Atlanta University’s full-time MBA program (the school also offers a weekend program for working professionals) enrolls approximately 160 students, facilitating a cozy 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The sequential curriculum keeps students on the same page, while six concentration options—accounting, entrepreneurship management, finance, marketing, sports and entertainment management, and supply chain management—facilitate customization. Hometown Atlanta is a major metropolitan area and a bustling business center, offering CAU MBAs plenty of career opportunities. Tuition for 2020-21 is $914 per credit hour.
Delaware State University offers both an on-campus and online (through its DSU@Wilmington) MBA that full-time students can complete in as little as 12 months. The curriculum consists of eight required courses and two electives. Students can add a third elective to pursue a concentration in finance, information systems, business analytics, or MBA-CPA. This AACSB-accredited program charges $515 per credit hour.
FayState’s MBA consists of a 27 credit hour core curriculum, followed by 9 to 12 elective credit hours. Students can concentrate their elective study in one discipline to develop a specialization in business intelligence and data analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, healthcare management, health informatics, international business, marketing management, project management, or supply chain management. The degree program culminates in a capstone project, usually involving a real-world project or business challenge. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, the world’s largest military installation; expect to see some soldiers among your classmates. Full-time in-state students pay $2,106 tuition per semester; out-of-state students pay $7,991.
The ACBSP-accredited MBA at FAMU—available in both on-campus and online formats—can be completed in one-year (three semesters, including a summer term) by full-time students. The 43-credit curriculum includes four electives, through which students “can develop depth in one or more areas, e.g., accounting, finance, marketing, supply chain management, or information systems.” Students at Florida A&M University pay $334 per credit hour.
Hampton University offers a two-year (full-time) and five-year (combined bachelor’s and master’s) MBA program. Each requires nine core courses and three electives (36 credit hours total). Hampton’s IACBE-accredited programs are on-campus only. Hampton’s tuition is $604 per credit for part-time students, $11,881 per semester for full-time students.
Howard’s location in the nation’s capital positions enables it to springboard careers in government, diplomacy, nonprofits, and government-related business. Ranked among the nation’s top 50 business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek and among the top 70 by US News and World Report, Howard offers an AACSB-accredited MBA in both an online and on-campus format. In fact, two online programs are available: one for traditional MBA students (Part-Time MBA), the other for mid-career managers and executives (Executive MBA). Students praise the program for its rigor and supportive environment. Annual tuition for Howard MBAs is $31,308.
JSU’s 30 credit-hour curriculum includes eight core requirements (24 credits) and two business electives. This general MBA is available on-campus and online; the online program is a part-time, five-semester lockstep program “designed to enable working adults to obtain a quality education while still maintaining their commitments to family and work.” JSU is accredited by the AACSB and the NIBS. Tuition is $460 per credit hour, $4,135 per semester for full-time students; nonresidents pay an additional $500 per semester fee.
The ACBSP-accredited MBA program at Lincoln University (there are several universities with this name; they are not affiliated with one another) in Jefferson City, Missouri offers online degrees in management and public administration and policy, along with on-campus degrees in accounting and management information systems. Missouri residents pay $303.50 per credit hour; nonresidents pay $564 per credit hour.
Morgan State’s MBA is a two-year, 33-credit program consisting of seven core courses and four electives. Students may diversify electives to earn a general degree or fashion an area of emphasis by focusing elective study on accounting, finance, project management, supply chain management, marketing, entrepreneurship, or hospitality management. In-state tuition is $447 per credit; for nonresidents, tuition is $802 per credit.
New facilities at the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T help ensure that MBAs here “are well-positioned… for the global, competitive environment of the 21st century.” The 12-course, 36-credit curriculum at this AACSB-accredited program includes four electives, allowing students to develop a specialization in accounting, general management, human resource management, or supply chain management. The NCAT MBA is offered both on-campus and online. For distance learning, North Carolina residents pay $399 per credit hour; nonresidents pay $1,022 per credit hour. For on-campus, full-time students pay approximately $7,000 per semester; nonresidents, $13,300.
The School of Business at NCCU offers an MBA, a joint JD/MBA, and a joining MBA/MIS. “Program emphasis has been placed on breadth” here, although “opportunities exist for specialization.” The 33-credit AACSB-accredited curriculum includes nine core courses (27 credits) and two electives (6 credits). NCCU caters to students from non-business backgrounds; only about one-quarter of MBAs here majored in business as undergraduates, while over half majored in the humanities or social sciences. Native Tar Heels make up about one-third of the student body, with the rest coming from other states (58 percent) or overseas (5 percent). Full-time residents pay $5,350.81 tuition per semester; nonresidents pay $11,827.81.
Prairie View A&M offers a conventional on-campus MBA, an online MBA, and an executive MBA; all are accredited by AACSB. In-person classes are held in Northwest Houston. The 36-credit curriculum includes 30 credit hours (10 courses) of core requirements and 6 hours (2 courses) of electives. Executive MBA students pay approximately $3,500 per course. Residents in the on-campus and online full-time programs pay approximately $2,472 per semester in tuition; nonresidents pay $6,911.
TSU offers a traditional MBA “for working professionals and non-traditional students”; an accelerated MBA “for adult learners”: and an executive MBA “designed to better accommodate the needs of busy professionals.” The executive MBA is delivered in a hybrid format; the other programs are in-person “enhanced with web-based learning opportunities.” Students in the traditional MBA can concentrate in accounting, management information systems, finance, or supply chain. TSU charges in-state tuition of $523 per credit hour; nonresidents pay $749 per credit hour.
The Working Professional MBA at AACSB-accredited Southern University College of Business holds evening classes for the convenience of its busy student body. The school provides “a quality business program that prepares students with diverse backgrounds for global career challenges and makes a positive contribution to the public and private sectors.” Students can complete a general MBA with 36 credit hours (30 core courses; 6 electives) or develop an area of concentration—in entrepreneurship, human resource management, international business, or supply chain management—with an additional 3 elective credits.
Regionally accredited Winston-Salem State University offers a part-time evening MBA to accommodate working students. The program is designed to be completed in two years by students who enter with all prerequisites met. Students complete 36 credit hours, consisting of eight core courses (24 hours) and four electives (12 hours). Students taking the recommended two courses per semester pay in-state tuition of $1,452 or nonresident tuition of $5,245.
Undergraduates at two well-regarded HBCUs—Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans—enjoy the unique opportunity to pursue a 4+1 bachelor’s/MBA with nearby partner universities. Fisk’s partnership is with Vanderbilt University; Xavier’s is with Tulane University.
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