HBCUs With the Best Computer Science Programs 2022

Updated September 9, 2022

HBCU computer science programs offer many student benefits. Explore our ranking of the top bachelor's in computer science programs from HBCUs.

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Many students are choosing careers in computer science, since the field offers a strong job outlook, high starting salaries, and opportunities to impact lives. Demand for computer science professionals is growing rapidly. In turn, academic institutions are competing to prepare students to work in this industry.

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were established in the late 19th century to provide higher education opportunities to Black students. When HBCUs began, Black Americans were denied entrance to majority universities on the basis of race. HBCUs were founded to give Black students access to higher education.

Today, students of all races attend HBCUs to start their careers in computer science and other fields. As of 2019, 24% of HBCU students were not Black.

Read on to learn why you should consider getting an HBCU computer science degree, how to choose a program, and the best programs for 2022.

Why Get a Degree from an HBCU?

Most HBCUs pride themselves on creating open, inclusive academic environments. These schools aim to give their students a strong educational background to compete in today’s workforce.

Before the Civil War, most Black Americans were prevented from attending school in many Southern states. Still, there were a few higher education institutions in the North. For this reason, many HBCUs formed in the South.

Today, there are over 100 HBCUs. Nearly a quarter of HBCU students are not Black, and these learners come from all over the world. Other reasons to attend an HBCU include lower health risks later in life and the benefits listed below.

Support

HBCU graduates report that they benefited from a supportive environment and caring professors. They say these factors helped them both during school and in their careers after graduation.

Culture

HBCUs are known for their diverse and inclusive academic environments. Of alumni from North Carolina A&T, the largest HBCU, 96% say they would attend again.

Wage Advantage

A decade after graduation, HBCU alumni tend to earn more than Black graduates who attended other colleges.

Choosing the Right HBCU Computer Science Program

The college or university you attend can impact your entire professional life. Apply due diligence when choosing a school.

When evaluating potential universities, prospective students should consider the following factors:

  • Admission requirements
  • Advanced degree offerings
  • Cost and financial aid
  • Earning potential
  • Location
  • School reputation and prestige
  • Speciality tracts
  • Staff credentials
  • Student-to-teacher ratio

Aspiring learners should also consider schools' accreditation status. Graduating from a non-accredited school or program may limit your job opportunities and salary potential.

For a computer science degree, consider HBCU programs accredited by ABET or the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.


Other Educational Paths

Many science and technology professions call for a bachelor's degree or higher. However, this is not true for all careers in computer science.

For some occupations, computer science certifications may satisfy job requirements. Students can obtain a certification in weeks or months, compared to years for a traditional degree.

HBCUs offer bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in computer science. Advanced degrees such as a master's in computer science can improve your job opportunities and salary potential throughout your career.


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Questions About Computer Science Programs at HBCUs

What is the hardest HBCU to get into?

Coppin State University, a public school in Baltimore, Maryland, has a 40% acceptance rate. This makes it the hardest HBCU to get into.

Which HBCU produces the most computer science graduates?

Not all HBCUs provide data on how many students graduate each year. Howard University, Hampton University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Xavier University, and North Carolina A&T are known for producing high-quality graduates.

What is an HBCU?

Historically Black colleges and universities were founded to offer higher education to Black Americans, who were not permitted to attend most other universities at the time. Now, HBCUs admit students of all races.

Can anyone go to an HBCU?

Yes. Anyone who meets the academic eligibility requirements for a particular HBCU can gain admission and attend school there.


Top Five HBCU Computer Science Programs

We carefully analyzed recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics to create the following ranking of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) for 2022. These top five HBCU computer science programs offer prestige, affordability, and quality.

Morehouse College

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse College has been empowering Black men since 1867. This college celebrates a brotherhood culture where professors mentor and guide enrollees to become the next world leaders. Morehouse has over 2,200 students and notable alumni like Martin Luther King Jr.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Morehouse's computer science degree program offers a comprehensive curriculum that adapts to the evolving tech field. Graduates can pursue jobs as software engineers, programmers, and database managers.

Classes include programming, software engineering, data structures, and set theory. Math forms a crucial part of the curriculum. Each enrollee must take probability and statistics, linear algebra, and two calculus classes. Students must also complete two research-intensive seminars. These junior and senior seminars allow enrollees to develop and design computer science projects.

The bachelor's in computer science stems from Morehouse's division of mathematics and computational sciences, which promotes leadership and global problem-solving in various fields.

Applying to Morehouse

Morehouse applicants must submit high school transcripts, two recommendation letters, a personal essay, application forms, and a $50 fee. Morehouse does not require test scores but does consider them. Students need at least a 3.5 GPA for early admission.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $27,038/year
  • Program Length: 3-4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 66%

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City State University began in 1891 as a two-year training school for Black teachers. Over 130 years later, ECSU offers 30 undergraduate programs in a student-centered learning environment. This North Carolina school strives to provide accountability, diversity, and excellence for its students.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

ECSU reports almost 70% of students in its computer science program receive a job offer before graduation. This undergraduate curriculum prepares enrollees for various tech jobs such as full-stack developer, computer systems analyst, and software engineer.

Students can choose between two concentrations: data science or information systems. Both programs include foundational courses like programming I and II, discrete methods, web design, and data structures. However, the programs diverge in the second two years of study. The information systems concentration includes a business focus. Students explore statistics, finance, management, and cybersecurity courses. The data science specialization focuses on advanced computer science classes. Enrollees learn Python programming, symbolic computing, and data mining.

Applying to ECSU

Students must complete an online application and submit all transcripts. ECSU also requests SAT or ACT scores and a $30 enrollment fee.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $42/credit (in state); $208/credit (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 62%

Claflin University

Claflin University began in 1869 as the first South Carolina institution to provide higher education for African Americans. Today, the school continues its innovation by emphasizing five core competencies: leadership, intellect, creativity, service, and activism.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Claflin's undergraduate computer science curriculum aligns with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology's (ABET's) standards. The classes teach students to build software systems, communicate effectively, comprehend legal and ethical issues, and develop problem-solving skills.

Enrollees participate in three seminar courses that develop research skills and prepare them for the final capstone project. This research focus allows students to specialize their computer science degree in fields such as engineering or medicine.

While studying at Claflin, degree-seekers partner with outreach initiatives like STARS Alliance and the National Society of Black Engineers to promote computer science education and interest.

Applying to Claflin

Claflin requests SAT and ACT scores. Candidates must also submit GED scores or official high school transcripts and the $30 fee with their application.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); program accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET
  • Tuition: $8,238/year
  • Program Length: 3-5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 85%

Oakwood University

Several Seventh-Day Adventists founded Oakwood University in 1896 to provide industrial training to freed African Americans. Located in Huntsville, Alabama, this school continues to emphasize Christian values. The motto "God first" resonates in the curriculum, activities, and general atmosphere.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Oakwood University's computer science degree program prepares students for work as computer programmers or computer systems analysts. Oakwood University's curriculum shows how math and technology relate to Biblical concepts.

Students also learn foundational skills in programming, operating systems, and algorithms. They explore how to implement algorithms, write a C++ program, and understand computer networks. The various math courses include probability and statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. Enrollees learn to translate those math principles into data structures and functioning programs.

To graduate, students must complete at least one research and independent study class. They identify a problem in the computer science field and create a working solution.

Applying to Oakwood University

Candidates must complete an online application and submit high school transcripts. Oakwood University expects SAT or ACT scores and a personal essay. Students with a GPA under 2.0 must also submit a recommendation letter.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $9,487/year
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On-campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 68%

Philander Smith College

A Protestant institution, Philander Smith College aligns with the United Methodist Church to develop social justice advocates and world-changers. This historically Black college began in 1877 and is the only Arkansas institution to hold membership in the UNCF.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

PSC offers two concentration options for the bachelor's in computer science program. The cybersecurity concentration includes six classes covering network security, risk management, cryptography, and ethical hacking. The health information technology concentration comprises seven courses. Topics encompass health informatics, data analysis, healthcare systems, health information privacy, and a health science information technology seminar.

Enrollees can also opt for a 3/2 program through PSC and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UARK) to graduate with two degrees in five years. Enrollees study computer science at PSC for three years and an engineering degree at UARK for two years.

Applying to PSC

PSC applicants must complete the application form, pay a $25 fee, and submit SAT or ACT scores plus high school transcripts. Applicants also need to show proof of immunization.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $11,804/year
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 82%

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