The Spectacular Progress of Blacks in Master’s Degree Attainments

In the 2004-05 academic year blacks earned 54,482 master’s degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. This was 9.5 percent of all master’s degrees awarded that year. The number of blacks earning a master’s degree was up 8 percent from the previous year. Since 2000 the number of African Americans earning master’s degrees has increased by more than 51 percent.

Blacks have made significant progress over the past 20 years in increasing the number of master’s degrees earned. In 1985, 13,939 African Americans were awarded master’s degrees from U.S. universities. During the 2004-05 academic year, this figure had nearly quadrupled to more than 54,000. The percentage of all master’s degrees earned by blacks has increased from 5 percent in 1985 to 9.5 percent today.

Black women are leading the way. In the 2004-05 academic years, black women earned 38,749 master’s degrees compared to 15,733 for black men. Thus, black women accounted for 71 percent of all master’s degrees awarded to African Americans.