The charter for Southern University was ratified by the Louisiana General Assembly in 1880. Originally, the campus was located in central New Orleans. The university received land grant status in 1890, entitling it to federal support. At the same time, an agricultural and mechanical department was founded. Steady growth into the twentieth century compelled the university to relocate to its present main campus location in 1914. Later, campuses of Southern University and A&M would be founded in New Orleans and Shreveport. The Southern University system also incorporates the Southern University Law Center and the Southern University Agricultural Center.
Southern University and A&M College awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The curriculum is divided into 7 colleges and 4 schools, with several additional supporting units like ROTC and the eLearning Unit. The Division of Continuing Education performs outreach both within the student body and the local community. Non-credit professional and personal development programs allow working adults to add skills, learn new hobbies and meet people with similar interests.
The College of Education confers more degrees than any other at Southern. The college is subdivided into three departments: Behavioral Studies, Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Leadership. Students hoping to enter the teaching profession can select from elementary, middle school and secondary education programs. The secondary education programs prepare students to teach within a specialty area. Every prospective teacher is expected to build a strong foundation in language arts and mathematics. Above the baccalaureate level, educators can earn both the master’s degree and the Ph.D. in Education.
The School of Nursing at Southern University and A&M has produced more African-American bachelor’s level health care professionals than any other school. Admission to the school is not guaranteed and is contingent on grade point average and the student’s qualifications relative to other candidates. Limited space necessitates a pool of applicants waiting for admission, as nursing and the health professions continue to be high-demand careers.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The admissions policy at Southern University and A&M College is competitive, with less than half of applicants being admitted. Prospective students must graduate high school with a minimum GPA of 2.0 and pass the ACT test with a score of at least 20. Some leeway exists with both of those numbers. For example, a student who graduates in the top half of his or her class may be eligible for remedial coursework to bring up a low score on the ACT test.
Freshman applicants can complete their application online or on paper, both of which include a small fee. New students must also submit a current immunization record.
Students with at least 12 hours of college credit earned at another institution will be considered transfer applicants. In addition to all freshman admission requirements, transfer students must submit transcripts of previous course work. A transfer reference sheet must be completed by the dean at the last institution attended.
International applicants must hold the appropriate residency documents, such as an F1 visa. Official transcripts of all prior education and a letter of good conduct are both required as part of the admissions process. International students should arrange to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Southern requires a minimum score on the TOEFL of 500 for the paper-based test and 173 for the computer-based test.
A historically black college for over 100 years, over 90% of Southern’s enrollment identifies as African-American.
Southern provides students with a variety of housing options. Most freshmen reside in campus dorms. Overall, about a third of the undergraduate student body avail themselves of campus housing. Special housing is available for students with physical disabilities. Wellness housing options feature strict prohibitions on smoking and drinking. National and local Greek organizations hold membership drives at the start of each academic year.
A radio station, television station and student newspaper all give voice to the student body. Those with a creative turn can seek publication in the university’s literary magazine. With over 80 unique student-led organizations, every student at Southern has an opportunity to network with classmates.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Southern University and A&M College participates on the NCAA Division I level in most of its athletic programs. The football team competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly NCAA Division I-AA. The mascot for all Southern teams is the Jaguar, and the team colors are Columbia Blue and gold. Unless otherwise noted, the following sports at Southern feature both men’s and women’s teams:
- Baseball (men’s)
- Bowling (women’s)
- Football (men’s)
- Golf (men’s)
- Soccer (women’s)
- Softball (women’s)
- Tennis (women’s)
- Track and Field
- Volleyball (women’s)
Southern University football matches up with Grambling State University each year on the day after Thanksgiving. Known as the Bayou Classic, the game is carried live on national television.
- Willie Davenport, Olympic track star
- Avery Johnson, NBA Coach of the Year (2006)
- Randy Jackson, music producer and judge on American Idol
- Branford Marsalis, jazz saxophonist
- Russel Honoré, Lieutenant General during Hurricane Katrina recovery
Women and men populate the ranks of Southern’s faculty in equal numbers, however full professors are far more likely to be men than women. Most women on the faculty are either instructors or assistant professors. Like the student body, an overwhelming majority of faculty members are African American.
- The College Board. Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. 2011. Web. 24 July 2011.
- Gale Group. The College Blue Book. 37th ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2010. Print.
- Southern University and A&M College. Southern University and A&M College. 2006. Web. 24 July 2011.
Josh is a full-time professional writer and organic farmer who lives in rural Kentucky.