10 HBCUs With Excellent Liberal Arts Programs

If you’re looking for students with a strong liberal arts background, look no further.

Liberal arts cover a broad scope of disciplines, encompassing many programs such as English, social sciences, art, philosophy, or simply liberal arts studies. These interdisciplinary degrees prepare students for a wide variety of careers and provide them with a strong skill set in areas like communication, leadership, and problem-solving. Students pursuing liberal arts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) experience a unique combination of strong community and challenging academics — readying them to be standout candidates in the job field. Liberal arts students at HBCUs will be prepared for a diverse set of roles across multiple industries, meaning they’re a great resource for any recruiting strategy. We’ve rounded up 10 top HBCUs for liberal arts for some inspiration on where to find excellent talent. 

1. Spelman College

Location: Atlanta, GA

Size of undergraduate student body: 2,134

School type: Private

Spelman is an all-female liberal arts school with an impressive reputation for producing highly-skilled graduates. Their graduation rate is the highest among HBCUs at 76%, and well above the national college graduation rate of 60%. English, psychology, and social sciences are among the most popular majors at the school. One unique aspect about Spelman is their Women’s Research and Resource Center which focuses on curriculum development for women’s studies, particularly women of African descent. Notable alumni include Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple” and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Audrey F. Manley. 

2. North Carolina A&T State University 

Location: Greensboro, NC

Size of undergraduate student body: 10,011

School type: Public 

North Carolina A&T is known as a research university, and some of the most popular majors include liberal arts and sciences, communications, and humanities. It places at #6 in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of HBCUs overall. NCAT also offers a unique experience in its Department of Liberal Studies by allowing students to design their own individualized majors and learn across multiple disciplines. 

3. Fisk University 

Location: Nashville, TN

Size of undergraduate student body: 664

School type: Private

Combined, majors in psychology, biology, English, and political science majors make up 45% of the school’s graduates. Fisk has been ranked #9 by U.S. News in HBCUs overall, and within the top 50 schools for best undergraduate teaching as well as most innovative schools. Notable alumni include poet Nikki Giovanni and writer Robert Hayden, who was the first U.S. poet laureate. 

4. Delaware State University

Location: Dover, DE

Size of undergraduate student body: 3,678

School type: Public

DSU offers a B.S. in Integrated Studies where students select two areas of study and combine them into one cohesive program. Some of the other most popular majors include mass communications, psychology, social work, sport management, biological science, and agriculture. DSU has been ranked #13 in the top HBCUs overall by U.S. News’ most recent report. 

5. Fayetteville State University

Location: Fayetteville, NC

Size of undergraduate student body: 4,817

School type: Public 

This past December FSU received a $30,000 grant to create a Liberal Arts Innovation Center where students can test, develop, and report on technology trends. The center aims to better connect STEM fields with the nuances of liberal arts. FSU has been ranked #23 in top HBCUs and #29 in top performers on social mobility by U.S. News. Between psychology and biology, graduates in the programs make up 19% of degrees awarded. 

6. Tougaloo College

Location: Tougaloo, MS

Size of undergraduate student body: 789

School type: Private

At Tougaloo, students majoring in sociology, biology, English, and psychology make up for nearly 50% of graduates. Tougaloo ranks at #16 in top HBCUs overall by U.S. News. Their liberal arts department emphasizes the examination of values, ideas, ideals, and culture in their studies. 

7. Kentucky State University 

Location: Frankfort, KY

Size of undergraduate student body: 1,349

School type: Public

Kentucky State University has received many accolades from U.S. News including being ranked #2 in best value schools, #6 in top public schools in the regional south, and #35 in HBCUs overall. They offer a unique liberal studies degree where Honor’s students can double-major along with another area of study they’re interested in. This not only provides a custom-coursework option but also lays a groundwork for their pre-law track. 

8. Winston-Salem State University 

Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Size of undergraduate student body: 4,570

School type: Public 

WSSU’s liberal arts program focuses on teaching students to explore critically and creatively. The department offers two options: a customizable major in Interdisciplinary Studies, or African-American Studies. They also have a chapter of Alpha Iota Sigma, a national honors society for interdisciplinary students. WSSU has been ranked #17 in overall HBCUs by U.S. News, in addition to #15 in top performers on social mobility and #24 in top public schools. 

9. Virginia State University 

Location: Petersburg, VA

Size of undergraduate student body: 4,265

School type: Public

Recently Virginia State was given $300,000 in a grant to bring minority students into the study of climate change and its effects on the nation’s food supply. Virginia State has been ranked by U.S. News as the #5 best school for top performers on social mobility, and #21 in top HBCUs. They also provide a hub for first-year students to be set up for success called the Academic Center of Excellence.  

10. Alcorn State University 

Location: Lorman, MS

Size of undergraduate student body: 3,172

School type: Public

Alcorn has been ranked #23 in HBCUs overall by U.S. News, and #36 for top public schools. Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities make up for 10% of all graduates, making them some of the most popular majors at the school. The School of Arts and Sciences is the largest at the university and its curriculum aims to incorporate Alcorn’s heritage in all of their studies. 

All of these schools provide a great starting point for any company looking to recruit liberal arts graduates. Looking for students in business, STEM, or computer science specifically? Click the links to see which HBCUs we recommend. 


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