Jul 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog


University History

Bowie State University is an outgrowth of a school opened in Baltimore, Maryland by an organization dedicated to offering educational opportunities that the state failed to provide for its black citizens. From those humble beginnings, Bowie State has become a comprehensive university with more than 6,100 diverse students, offering 22 undergraduate majors and 35 master’s, doctoral and advanced certification programs in a broad range of disciplines. Bowie State University continues to build on its legacy of providing access to high-quality education.


The Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of the Colored People was organized in 1864 by 46 men, comprised of businessmen, lawyers, clergymen and Quakers, committed to opening schools to educate the state’s newly emancipated citizens. One of those men was Joseph M. Cushing, an outspoken champion for the education of the black population.

As chairman of the Educational Committee for Maryland’s Constitutional Convention in 1864, Cushing chastised the committee’s refusal to fund schools for black people: “There will come a time when this state will be forced by public opinion to provide means for educating our colored population.”

The association opened its first Baltimore school, School #1, on January 9, 1865, in the African Baptist Church in Crane’s Building on the corner of Calvert and Saratoga streets. The school offered courses in the elements of education. Courses to train teachers were added in 1866. 

The facility was woefully inadequate. In 1867, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the Quakers of England and others, the Baltimore Association purchased and renovated the Old Friends Meeting House at the corner of Saratoga and Courtland streets to house the Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers.


After repeated petitions from the Baltimore Normal School trustees, the state legislature authorized the Board of Education to assume control of the school in 1908 and redesignated it as Normal School No. 3, finally fulfilling the dream of Cushing and the Baltimore Association. By 1910, the state decided to relocate the school to Bowie, Maryland, purchasing a 187-acre tract formerly known as Jericho Farm dating to 1716. The school opened at the new location in 1911 with about 60 students and Don Speed Smith Goodloe as the first black man to head the school as principal. 

In 1914, its name changed to the Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie.

Under President Leonidas James, the school began a two-year professional curriculum in teacher education in 1925, which expanded to a three-year program in 1931. A four-year program to train elementary school teachers was introduced in 1935, and the school was renamed the Maryland Teachers College at Bowie.

Teacher education continued to expand under the 25-year tenure of President William Henry. The institution established programs to train teachers for junior high school (1951) and secondary education (1961) and advanced toward becoming a liberal arts college. 


The Maryland State Legislature authorized the college to become Bowie State College in 1963, following the establishment of a liberal arts program. New majors in English, history and general social science were added, expanding offerings beyond teacher education.

Under President Samuel Myers, the college established its first graduate degree program, offering the Master of Education in 1969. The first director of the graduate division was Dr. J. Alexander Wiseman, a graduate of the Maryland Teachers College at Bowie and the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.


In 1988, Bowie State College became Bowie State University under President James Lyons, reflecting significant growth in academic programs, enrollment and community service. On the same day, the university also became one of the member institutions of the newly formed University System of Maryland.

Bowie State University gained recognition as a leader in the education of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In 1995, Bowie State won an 11-year, $27 million award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration/National Science Foundation, becoming one of only six national Model Institutions for Excellence in STEM.


Bowie State University ranks among the nation’s top comprehensive universities, cultivating next-generation leaders by providing opportunities for students to discover their strengths through focused academic experiences and opportunities to tackle real-world problems. 

Money lists Bowie State among the nation’s best value colleges and universities, and U.S. News & World Report continues to rank Bowie State among the top 25 historically black colleges and universities. Bowie State’s cybersecurity programs are recognized as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. 

Now more than ever, Bowie State University is committed to preparing students for success in a highly technological, global society

Mission Statement

Bowie State University empowers a diverse population of students from Maryland, the nation, and the world to reach their full potential through its high-quality, liberal arts-based bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. The University provides a nurturing environment distinguished by a culture of success that supports students in completing their course of study. 
As Maryland’s first historically black university, Bowie State inspires and prepares ethical and socially responsible leaders who can think critically, discover knowledge, commit to lifelong learning, value diversity, and function effectively in a highly technical and dynamic global community.


Bowie State University’s quintessential priority is academic excellence.
This refers to the educational achievements of our students, including their intellectual growth, and the scholarly and pedagogical achievements of our faculty members. Bowie State University will be widely recognized as one of the nation’s best public comprehensive universities. Bowie State’s ability to increase its national stature will depend in part on its ability to enhance its graduation rate, the reputation of its faculty, and the excellence of its undergraduate and graduate programs.

To achieve this vision, Bowie State is committed to:

•          Enrolling, educating, and graduating the most promising diverse student body possible.

•          Fostering a success-driven undergraduate and graduate culture, culminating with a degree that positions graduates to be part of an educated citizenry that positively contributes to the community.

•          Cultivating an institutional culture of high expectations and climate of success that advances student learning and emphasizes efficient time to degree.

•          Providing all students with an education that is innovative, distinctive, and of the highest quality that inspires life-long learning.

•          Implementing and sustaining a strategic approach to building BSU’s reputation and brand recognition as a nationally preeminent university.

•          Continuing to explore additional institutional revenue streams and operating in an efficient and effective manner.

•          Supporting faculty in scholarly and creative endeavors.

Core Values

  EXCELLENCE   Bowie State University expects students, faculty, staff and administrators to demonstrate outstanding levels of performance by fostering a stimulating learning and work environment. 
  CIVILITY   Bowie State University cultivates an environment in which the interaction between individuals is one that is inherently imbued with value, respect, and appreciation.
  IINTEGRITY   Bowie State University students, faculty, staff, administrators and the larger community demonstrate high ethical standards in their interactions with one another.
  DIVERSITY   Bowie State University nurtures an awareness of, and sensitivity toward, differences of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, culture, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability
  ACCOUNTABILITY   Bowie State University expects each member of the University community to be responsible and accountable for the outcomes of his or her efforts and actions.

Institutional Goals

Goal 1   Deliver high quality academic programs and relevant co-curricular experiences. 
Goal 2  

Develop and implement programs and services that promote access, affordability, and completion for a diverse student body with an emphasis on underserved populations.

Goal 3   Conduct and sustain academic transformation initiatives to improve student success and promote greater faculty collaboration. 
Goal 4   Develop a comprehensive model of regional, national, and global engagement to address societal needs. 
Goal 5   Advance the overall effective and efficient use of resources and identify new revenue sources to support the university’s core mission.
Goal 6   Define and communicate the university’s distinctive identity and value proposition.

Academic Accreditation

Bowie State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, www.msche.org.
The College of Business is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), www.acbsp.org.
The College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), www.ncate.org.
The Department of Nursing is accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN), www.acenursing.org.

The B.S. in Computer Science Program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org
The B. S. in Computer Technology Program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org
Maryland Board of Nursing
Maryland State Department of Education
National Council on Social Work Education
National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission

American Association for Higher Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education 
American Association of State Colleges and Universities 
American Association of University Women
American Council on Education
Association of American Colleges and Universities 
Association of Teacher Education and Institutions 
College Entrance Examination Board
Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education
Maryland Association of Higher Education
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
National League for Nursing