The Top 10 HBCUs With the Best Computer Science Programs

These top schools should be on your radar.

Of the approximately 70,000 computer science degrees awarded every year, only around 9% are received by African American students. Historically Black Colleges and Universities make up a large portion of the schools graduating black students in the sciences, with 18% of African American graduates with STEM degrees coming from HBCUs. There are 107 HBCUs in the country that all create a strong community between students and faculty, provide a high quality education for an affordable price, and engage an ongoing alumni network. Incorporating these schools into your campus recruiting strategy is a great way to expand your talent pipeline, and find standout students in CS. We’ve rounded up the top 10 HBCUs for CS to focus your efforts on. 

10. Xavier University of Louisiana

Location: New Orleans, LA

School type: Private

Size of undergraduate student body: 3,325

Xavier’s CS program focuses on the core principles of learning, discovery, engagement, and innovation. They also stand out for having a female-dominated CS program, with 67% of their CS students being female. Some topics their CS program covers are web design, software engineering, artificial intelligence, operating systems, and digital logic design, to help create a diverse set of skills for students. 

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9. Fort Valley State University

Location: Fort Valley, GA

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 2,624

FVSU’s CS program focuses on the study of logical organization, design, and functions of computers with emphasis on scientific and technical applications. Students in the program study across numerous relevant topics such as programming principles, database and operating systems, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. The College of Arts and Sciences which the CS program is housed in has the largest enrollment of any school on campus. 

8. Fayetteville State University 

Location: Fayetteville, NC

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 6,551

Fayetteville CS students work on innovative research surrounding topics like cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Their CS classes focus on building web applications, processing and modeling large data sets, defending networks against cyber attacks and more. They also offer many resources such as student organizations to get involved in, including the Association for Women in Computing and the Association for Computing Machinery. 

7. Norfolk State University

Location: Norfolk, VA

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 5,601

NSU’s CS program focuses on the practical and theoretical sides of CS and prepares students for a future as computer software engineers, system analysts, and other professions. The major covers topics such as cybersecurity, robotics, web design/development, and software engineering. They’re always working to update and improve their program and in 2015, they launched an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity. 

6. Florida A&M University 

Location: Tallahassee, FL

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 9,626

At FAMU, their Computer and Information Sciences department is split up between three majors: computer science, computer information studies, and information technology. This split system allows them to better hone in on the specialty skills of each subset within CS. They also emphasize how the department is always working to improve, and in 2017 they were awarded $2 million from the National Science Foundation in order to support opportunities for STEM students. Part of these improvements will focus on using active, collaborative teaching strategies, and creating a campus-wide STEM center. 

5. Morgan State University 

Location: Baltimore, MD

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 7,763

MSU’s CS program aims to provide a comprehensive skill set that students can immediately use in their profession, and help prepare them to adapt with the changing industry. They focus on skills such as clearly defining problems, choosing appropriate solution strategies, perform risk analysis, and communicate solutions to other colleagues. The CS department also offers numerous resources including partnerships with top companies like Google, Facebook, and JP Morgan Chase, for potential internships and other opportunities. 

4. Alabama A&M University 

Location: Huntsville, AL

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 6,172

Alabama A&M’s ABET accredited CS program focuses on both the hardware and software aspects of the profession. The university provides state of the art laboratories, and faculty who are internationally recognized authorities in their fields. The major is designed to help students stay on top of the changing CS industry, and post-grad students have gone on to work at top organizations like NASA, Google, SpaceX and Lockheed Martin. 

3. Bowie State University

Location: Bowie, MD

School type: Public 

Size of undergraduate student body: 6,171

Bowie State’s ABET accredited CS program features small class sizes and a supportive group of faculty, students, and alumni. They have an External Advisory Board to guide their department on what skills students need to be competitive in the always-changing industry. They’ve also partnered with the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security to be designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Through this initiative students can receive training, conduct research, and provide information to government entities surrounding information security. 

2. Howard University 

Location: Washington, D.C. 

School type: Private 

Size of undergraduate student body: 9,399

The CS program at Howard’s main goal is to expand and diversify the pool of qualified candidates in the computing profession by providing high quality courses and research. They don’t only want to produce talented graduates, but leaders working on cutting-edge business across many different industries. In 2018, Howard partnered with Google to create a year-long program where CS students from HBCUs and HSIs can gain real experience, training, and networking opportunities. 

1. North Carolina A&T State University 

Location: Greensboro, NC

School type: Public

Size of undergraduate student body: 12,556

North Carolina A&T is the largest public HBCU in the nation, and they’ve been named the top public school for combining research and teaching by the Wall Street Journal. Their CS department covers all sorts of relevant topics including game design, cyber security, robotics, and bio-inspired supercomputing. The goal of the department is to provide students with numerous outcomes such as the ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, the ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal, and the ability to analyze a problem, identify and define the computing requirements for its solution. N.C. A&T is home to the state of the art Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, which features a high performance computing facility for engineering, scientific computing, and research. Some events they hold for CS students include a Career Expo, Women in Science and Technology Luncheon, and outreach programs to inspire younger students to pursue STEM. 

All of these schools create a unique college experience for students and are great sources of standout CS talent. Incorporating these universities into your campus recruiting strategy will help you expand your talent pipeline and find the top graduates across the country. 

If you are looking to improve your diversity recruitment efforts and need to find where to start, download our guide for Recruiting at HBCUs.


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