Hampton University began in 1861, just after the start of the Civil War. At the time, the Union Army controlled Fort Monroe at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia. Major General Benjamin Butler decreed that escaping slaves would be considered contraband of war and not returned to bondage from the fort. Hundreds of slaves rushed to the fort to establish freedom, requiring a camp to be set up to house the newly freed slaves. The camp was built several miles outside of Fort Monroe and named “The Grand Contraband Camp.”

Despite the fact that Virginia law forbid education of slaves, Mary Peake, a free black woman, was asked to teach the freed slaves who were kept at the camp. Under an oak tree in 1861, she held her first class of about 20 students. The tree became known as Emancipation Oak and was the site of the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. The tree still stands on the campus today.

In 1863, furthering the educational opportunities begun by Ms. Peake, General Butler founded the Butler School for Negro Children, providing students with lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and grammar. The school also taught various housekeeping skills. In 1866, Brigadier General Samuel Armstrong was appointed as Superintendent of the Freedman’s Bureau of the Ninth District of Virginia. He procured funding from the American Missionary Association to establish a school on Wood Farm, which was adjacent to the Butler School. In 1868, the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute opened to “train selected Negro youth who should go out and teach and lead their people first by example.” Paying tuition by working various jobs throughout the growing campus, because Brigadier General Armstrong did not approve of giving them “a dollar that they could earn for themselves,” students were taught trades and industrial skills. The Butler School, which became the Whittier School, provided students with strong basic educational skills to the Hampton Normal School.

By 1872, students from around the country were attending the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. That year, a young man arrived to apply for admission. His long journey had made his clothing unkempt and he was almost turned away. The assistant principal asked the young man to sweep the floor of the recitation room, which the young man did three times while also dusting the entire room four times. The principal allowed him entrance to the school, and, in 1881, the young man, at the age of only 25, helped found Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The young man was Booker T. Washington and he was invited by General Armstrong to assist in the founding of the new school.

By the 1920s, many new programs had been added to the curriculum and several buildings constructed, including the Robert C. Ogden Auditorium, which was the largest in the area. In 1930, the school became Hampton Institute and the title of principal was changed to president. The school struggled greatly during the Great Depression as enrollment dwindled, causing staff dismissals in order to keep the school operational. The outbreak of World War II brought financial relief when the federal government established training facilities on the campus.

The agricultural and trades programs were phased out due to enrollment decreases during the 1950s. However, new programs including graduate studies in math, chemistry and physics were added. During the 1960s, the school was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King visited the campus. Two years after being arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white bus passenger, Rosa Parks moved to the area and worked on campus as a hostess at the Holly Tree Inn. In 1960, a group of Hampton Institute students staged a lunch counter sit-in, the first in the country, to protest the refusal to serve whites and blacks equally.

Programs were expanded drastically in the 1970s, mostly due to student demand for wider variety. In 1984, the school gained university status. Today, more than 4,200 students attend Hampton University.

Hampton University Accreditation Details

Hampton University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This regional accreditation indicates that Hampton University offers students excellence in education as determined by criteria set forth by the agency. In addition, specific programs are accredited by the following organizations:

  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • American Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Aviation Accreditation Board International
  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society
  • Computing Accreditation Committee of ABET
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET
  • International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Hampton University Application Details

Undergraduate students who have not received college credits must hold a high school diploma. Students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or rank in the top ten percent of their graduating class have the option of sending their SAT or ACT scores. However, students who do not submit test scores are highly encouraged to submit at least on recommendation from a teacher in a core subject area. Students must complete an application for admission, an official copy of their high school transcript, as well as aa copy of their social security card if they plan to apply for financial aid. Students must submit test scores and/or letter of recommendation as well as a 250-500-word essay that describes a personal moral or ethical dilemma that impacted their life or how today’s youth can combat negative moral issues.

Students who have completed at least 15 hours of college credit are considered transfer students and must complete an application. Students must provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended as well as high school transcripts if they have completed less than 30 hours of college credit. SAT or ACT scores are also required of students who have not earned more than 30 hours of credit. Students must provide one letter of recommendation and an essay similar to those required of students without college credit. Transfer students may provide an autobiographical essay.

Graduate students must complete an application and provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. Students must provide GMAT, MCAT, DAT or GRE scores as well as two letters of recommendation. A personal statement is also required.

Hampton University Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time tuition at Hampton University is $20,526 for undergraduate study. Graduate study is $522 per semester hour. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships and loans. Students may also qualify for work-study programs and Hampton University also accepts military benefits for tuition as well. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for financial aid.

Hampton University Degree Program(s) Available

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree at Hampton University prepares students for careers in the changing world of computer science. Students develop extensive knowledge in programming languages, operating systems, scientific programming, web-based programming and software engineering. Students are able to take advantage of strong partnerships, allowing them to obtain summer internships, both industry and research, providing them with hands-on learning. Many students are able to obtain full-time employment before graduation. There is a freshman mentoring program, peer-tutoring program and one-on-one curriculum advisement. The school has a 98 percent placement rate. Graduates are actively sought by business and governmental agencies as well as graduate schools seeking students who wish to further their education.

Hampton University has a long history of providing excellence in education to those who may not have been able to achieve higher education in the past. The computer science degree offers students a strong background in the skills necessary to advance in a current career or move into a new career.

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