The Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to Recruit Entry-Level Candidates From

Find top entry-level talent at these HBCUs.

If the goal of your recruiting strategy is to find the best entry-level and early-career talent at colleges across the country, it’s essential to include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on your list of target schools. HBCUs were originally established with the goal of educating Black Americans who were denied access to higher education institutions prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but today, they still hold an important place in higher education. HBCUs combined enroll hundreds of thousands of college students – primarily Black college students, though 25% of HBCU students are either white, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, or Native American – and offer their own unique experience and culture. Additionally, around 25% of Black students earn science and engineering bachelor’s degrees at HBCUs and HBCUs account for approximately 20% of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black graduates.

In short, HBCUs are an excellent source of qualified entry-level candidates and can help diversify your talent pipeline, especially for roles in tech, science, or engineering, which are severely lacking in representation of people of color. So which HBCUs should you target first? Using U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the top HBCUs, we’ve compiled a list of HBCUs to include in your university recruiting strategy, as well as some key facts about each of them. Here are the top 10:

Spelman College

Location: Atlanta, GA

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,417

School Type: Private, Women’s College

U.S. News Ranking: No. 1 HBCU, No. 51 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

Spelman has been a top educational institution for Black women since its founding in 1881, and is a member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, an academic partnership between Spelman, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. Spelman offers strong academic programs in the arts, humanities, and STEM fields. 46% of its student body pursed majors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics, environmental science or engineering, and 25 percent of graduates received degrees in STEM fields. According to the 2016 #ProjectDiane Report, Spelman ranked among the top 10 schools that produce Black women founders of tech companies, tying for 10th place alongside Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Howard University

Location: Washington, D.C.

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 8,964

School type: Private

U.S. News Ranking: No. 2 HBCU, No. 89 in National Universities

Howard University is a private, research university made up of 13 schools and colleges and offering over 120 areas of study. The wide range of majors produces top graduates in fields ranging from communications to business to STEM. Howard University also has several partnerships with top-tier institutions, including “Howard West” an immersive, academic partnership with Google, and the “Next Gen Business Partnership” with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote diversity in the workplace and create a strong pipeline of business talent.

Tuskegee University

Location: Tuskegee, AL

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,184

School type: Private

U.S. News Ranking: No. 3 HBCU, No. 1 Top Performers on Social Mobility

Tuskegee University is a private university founded in 1881 and located bear Montgomery, Alabama. Although the school is well-known for its career-focused programs in the sciences and engineering, it also has excellent offerings in liberal arts fields such as psychology and communications. Majors such as animal sciences, biology, and medical engineering make up 30% of the student population. In 2021, Tuskegee received the National Recognition for Achievement in Student Success award from the Educational Advisory Board for the significant results from its effort to increase educational opportunities and access to underserved students.

Morehouse College

Location: Atlanta, GA

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,554

School type: Private, Men’s College

U.S. News Ranking: No. 4 HBCU, No. 124 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

Morehouse College is a four-year liberal arts institution and the only all-male historically black college. Morehouse offers a B.S. or B.A. in Business Administration and Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Mathematics, and offers about two dozen degree concentrations for students to choose from. According to Morehouse’s website, the college is the No. 1 producer of Black men who receive their doctorate in STEM fields, as well as the No. 1 producer of Black male Rhodes Scholars across HBCUs.

Xavier University of Louisiana

Location: New Orleans, LA

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,755

School Type: Private, Catholic

U.S. News Ranking: No. 5 HBCU, No. 14 in Regional Universities South

Xavier University of Louisiana is Catholic university that offers a top-tier education, especially in the sciences. The university is ranked No. 1 in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Black students in the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences, and physics. They are also ranked #3 in the nation in the number of Black graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D., and #1 in the U.S. for Black student who complete medical school.

Hampton University

Location: Hampton, VA

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,863

School Type: Private

U.S. News Ranking: No. 6 HBCU, No. 99 in Top Performers on Social Mobility

Ranking as the No. 6 HBCU according to U.S. News, Hampton University is a top-tier academic institution especially known for its architecture, aviation, and engineering programs. The university offers a strong liberal arts curriculum with nearly 30% of students majoring in it, and boasts impressive stats for its STEM programs. The vision of the School of Science is to be recognized nationally and internationally as a leader for academic and scientific excellence, creativity, and integrity, while preparing students to diversify the STEM workforce and contribute globally to society.

Florida A&M University

Location: Tallahassee, FL

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 7,301

School Type: Public

U.S. News Ranking: No. 7 HBCU, No. 23 in Top Performers on Social Mobility

Florida A&M University, located in Florida’s state capital, offers nearly 98 bachelor’s degree programs. Its most popular undergraduate programs include health professions, business, and psychology. As a public university, Florida A&M offers a high quality education at an affordable price to Florida residents, though the university has students from across the United States, as well as international students.

Delaware State University

Location: Dover, DE

Size of undergraduate Student Body: 4,399

School Type: Public

U.S. News Ranking: No. 8 HBCU, No.16 in Most Innovative Schools

Delaware State University is a premier HBCU that has been around for over 130 years , offering more than 60 undergraduate programs, and has an excellent track record of producing graduates who go on to successful careers in the sciences, business, and engineering. Their most popular majors include business, social science, psychology, and communications. The university offers a wide range of clubs and organizations, as well as research opportunities for undergraduates. In December 2022, DCU received a five-year, $18 million research grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to support the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Health Equity Research Center on campus.

Claflin University

Location: Orangeburg, SC

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,779

School Type: Private, United Methodist

U.S. News Ranking: No. 9 HBCU (tie), No. 20 in Top Performers on Social Mobility

Founded in 1869, Claflin University was the first HBCU established in South Carolina and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university offers broad-based education in liberal arts and sciences combined with internships and other career-focused programs, including a number STEM-focused programs. Claflin offers a top-tier science and research program developed in conjunction with NASA, as well as the RISE Program, a structured biomedical research-training program for underrepresented minorities who want to pursue a career in biomedical research.

North Carolina A&T State University

Location: Greensboro, NC

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 11,596

School Type: Public

U.S. News Ranking: No. 9 HBCU (tie)

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is known for producing top-tier engineers – the university graduates the largest number of Black engineers at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level. N.C. A&T also produces the most Black-certified public accountants through its College of Business and Economics, and is the nation’s second largest producer of minority agricultural graduates.

These 10 HBCUs are simply a starting place to expand your list of target schools. With over 100 HBCUs across the country, there’s no shortage of talented students entering today’s job market. Check out the rest of the top 30 HBCUs according to U.S. News below, or head over to their website to view the entire ranking.

11. Fisk University – New Orleans, LA

12. Morgan State University – Baltimore, MD

12. Tougaloo College – Tougaloo, MS

14. Dillard University – New Orleans, LA

14. North Carolina Central University – Durham, NC

16. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore – Princess Anne, MD

17. University of the District of Columbia – Washington, DC

18. Bowie State University – Bowie, MD

19. Jackson State University – Jackson, MS

19. Norfolk State University – Norfolk, VA

19. Winston-Salem State University – Winston-Salem, NC

22. Lincoln University (PA) – Lincoln University, PA

23. Alcorn State University – Lorman, MS

23. Clark Atlanta University – Atlanta, GA

23. Elizabeth City State University – Elizabeth City, NC

26. Johnson C. Smith University – Charlotte, NC

26. Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, TX

26. Southern University and A&M College – Baton Rouge, LA

26. Virginia State University – Petersburg, VA

26. Voorhees University – Denmark, SC

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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