Blacks Continuing Their Strong Gains in Master’s Degree Attainments

In the 2004-05 academic year blacks earned 49,065 master’s degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. This was 8.5 percent of all master’s degrees awarded that year. The number of blacks earning a master’s degree was up more than 8.8 percent from the previous year. Since 2000 the number of blacks earning master’s degrees is up by more than 36 percent.

Blacks have made significant progress over the past 20 years in increasing the number of master’s degrees earned. In 1990, 15,336 African Americans were awarded master’s degrees from U.S. universities. During the 2004-05 academic year, this figure had more than tripled. The percentage of all master’s degrees earned by blacks has increased from 5 percent in 1985 to 8.5 percent today.

As in almost all areas of higher education, black women are leading the way. In the 2004-05 academic years, black women earned 35,100 master’s degrees compared to 13,965 for black men. Thus, black women accounted for 71.5 percent of all master’s degrees awarded to African Americans.