Bowie State University is the oldest historically black university (HBCU) in Maryland. The present-day public university, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, was founded by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People in 1865. Then known as the Baltimore Normal School, the institution’s goal was to train African Americans to become teachers.
The Board of Education provided funding and assumed control of the school in 1908. The school relocated to Prince George’s County and received the name Maryland Normal School in 1914. The first four-year programs began in 1935 and the institution became a state college in 1963. The first graduate degree was in 1970 but Bowie State did not receive university status until 1988, when it became one of the first members of the just-established University System of Maryland. The school’s first doctoral program graduates earned their degrees in May 2005.
Bowie State is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The school’s mission statement includes the desire to “provide high-quality and affordable educational opportunities at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels for a diverse student population of Maryland citizens and the global community.”
The university emphasizes the education of minority students as well as students who struggle with socioeconomic issues. It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.