A Snapshot of Pre-Pandemic Black Enrollments in U.S. Graduate Schools

A new report from the Council of Graduate Schools finds that enrollments in U.S. graduate schools increased from 2018 to 2019, before the onset of the global pandemic.

African Americans made up 12.1 percent of all first-time graduate enrollees in 2019. Yet African Americans were just 6.1 percent of all incoming graduate students at doctoral universities with very high research activities. This was only a slight improvement from 2009 when Blacks were 5.3 percent of total first-time enrollments in graduate programs at these research universities.

In the fall of 2019, nearly 50,000 African Americans enrolled in graduate school for the first time. Of these, 69.4 percent were women. Blacks were more than 18 percent of total first-time enrollments in graduate programs in public administration and more than 13 percent of first-time enrollments in graduate programs in education and social and behavioral sciences. But Blacks were only 4.5 percent of first-time graduate enrollment in physical sciences and 5.8 percent in engineering.

In 2019, there were 188,478 Blacks enrolled at all levels of U.S. graduate schools. Of these nearly 70 percent were women.

The full report, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, 2009 to 2019, may be downloaded by clicking here.


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  1. Addie Peterson says:

    Good information in this article. Nevertheless, I wonder why it’s necessary to begin sentences that follow something contrasting with phrases like “But Blacks were only…” as if what’s coming next is inherently negative.

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