The Myth That a Large Number of African-American College Students Major in Black Studies

The stereotype held by most people in the U.S. is that African-American college students are rushing into black studies majors. This is totally false. According to new Department of Education statistics, only 960, or 0.7 percent, of all African-American bachelor’s degree recipients in 2004 received their degree in any type of ethnic studies discipline. Therefore, only one out of every 143 bachelor’s degrees awarded to blacks was in ethnic studies. In fact, there are more blacks who majored in the physical sciences — a field in which there are very few African Americans — than African Americans who earned their degree in black studies.

There are more than seven times as many blacks majoring in computer science and more than five times as many blacks majoring in the biological sciences than in black studies.

Blacks make up only 13 percent of the students earning bachelor’s degrees in ethnic studies disciplines. Whites earned 58 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in ethnic studies in the United States in the 2003-04 academic year.