Five Historically Black Colleges and Universities You Should Consider for Studying Away

Through our partnership with National Student Exchange (NSE), students can study away at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout the country. Read on for highlights on five that you should consider. 

By Jasmine Edmonson

Maybe, it’s the rich history of African diaspora and unique opportunities that are inspiring students from different backgrounds to attend Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in staggering numbers. Whatever the allure may be, students are realizing the immense value HBCUs can add to their college experience. 

Academic Programs Abroad is partnered with various HBCUs, through National Student Exchange, that give LSU Students the chance to have an intriguing academic and cultural experience like no other. Whether you’re eager to explore education and locales entirely different from LSU or want to engage in the incredible social activities HBCUs never fail to organize, there’s definitely a program just for you! 

Here are five HBCUs partnered with APA that are bound to enhance your semester or school year. 

Alabama A & M University 

Alabama A&M University's campus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Courtesy of Encyclopedia of Alabama

Located on the foothills of the Appalachian, AAMU is one of the smallest HBCUs. The school’s small teacher-to-student ratio makes it an ideal choice for individuals who enjoy personalized and highly interactive learning.  

The small classroom sizes aren’t the only reason students are attracted to this southern university. AAMU is known to have one of the most robust STEM programs among HBCUs.  Furthermore, the university is the only institution that offers urban planning in Alabama. 

The university is also praised for its great diversity. AAMU has over 800 professors from countries abroad and a large international student body. The institution’s appreciation for internationalism is also reflected in its State Black Archives Research Center and Museum. The ingenious exhibition provides historical and modern knowledge on the achievements and contributions of Black scholars from around the world. It’s without a doubt that students who attend this university become culturally enlightened. 

Bowie State University 

Bowie State University's campus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects

As the oldest HBCU in Maryland, BSU offers top-notch programs that honor African and Black history while providing new experiences for its students. The Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts program is one of many that exemplifies the intriguing curricula at BSU. Within the program, students can take courses on hip-hop studies and its relation to visual culture. 

The university’s STEM programs are noteworthy like its humanities. Students enrolled in bioinformatics can complete field study at one of the prestigious research centers the institution is partnered with, such as the National Cancer Institute. 

BSU is also a wonderful university for students who live sustainable lifestyles. The institution is seriously committed to sustainability and plans to have a campus with zero carbon footprint by 2021. Students can find Lucid Energy dashboard touch screens displayed throughout the university’s Student Center. The touch screens monitor energy used around the building in real time, making BSU one of a kind.

North Carolina Central University 

North Carolina Central University's campus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Courtesy of North Carolina Central University

NCCU attracts STEM students each year who want to know what it’s like to study at a state-of-the-art biotechnology research institution. Students who attend this university are destined to engage in theoretical and practical learning that will help them become well-rounded in their field of study. 

The university often collaborates with biotech brands in Research Triangle Park, a hub of companies, research centers, institutions and organizations, that promote and invest in STEM fields. Considered the largest research park in the United States, the hub hands invaluable resources to university students. 

The institution is also a pillar of change among HBCUs that support the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2013, NCCU became the second HBCU to open a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center. The safe space helps individuals, who identify as LGBTQIA+, find a sense of community and encourages others to learn about the group and support them. 

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University's campus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Courtesy of Black Past

Students at Tuskegee are surrounded by inspiring history. The private university is the only HBCU named as a national historic site by the U.S. Congress. The university is also home to captivating museums, such as The Legacy Museum. The two-floor exhibition honors the institution’s accomplishments in public health, science, medicine and the visual arts.   

Continuing the pioneering work of Tuskegee professor George Washington Carver, the institution has one of the most esteemed centers for plant biotechnology research. Campus tour guides often honor Carver by showing visitors around The George Washington Carver Museum

Booker T. Washington, a renowned Black educator and the first Black president of the university, is admired for the impact he made on the university. Students and visitors often take pictures by Washington’s beautiful home, the Oaks, which has been converted into a museum on the campus. The array of museums, influential scholars and academic achievements make Tuskegee University an ideal institution for students who want to delve deep into the beauty of Black excellence.

University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas

University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas' campus

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas

Located on a warm-year-round tropical island, the University of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas Campus provides its student body with more than beautiful beaches and calming breezes. This HBCU is a great place for students who would love to gain an invaluable learning experience while immersing themselves in Afro-Caribbean culture.   

The university’s location allows for the creative incorporation of hands-on experiences into its programs and coursework. One such program is Marine Biology. Unlike other U.S. schools that offer a marine biology major, the university is able to use the island’s crystal clear waters as the program’s laboratory.    

The richness of African diaspora is seen and celebrated throughout St. Thomas and other Caribbean islands nearby. While studying on the island students can take advantage of their proximity and visit the other Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico where they can learn about how West African traditions helped to shape Caribbean culture.

Please keep in mind that due to COVID-19 some universities have suspended their exchanges. The programs currently listed as available on our website are only a fraction of our usual full catalog. We make regular updates to our website as programs become available.

Interested in studying away at an HBCU? Visit National Student Exchange to learn more about the universities above and other HBCUs available to you, or contact to start your application process.