Explore HBCU – Selma University

Staff Writer
May 3, 2022

Selma University is a private historically black university located in Selma, Alabama.


In 1868 a group of like-minded Black Alabama pastors and their respective congregations united to form the Alabama State Colored Baptist Convention. The convention was later renamed the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention, and the assembly worked to strengthen local churches and better promote the Christian mission, evangelism, and education. 

The leaders of the convention felt that one of the most efficient methods to achieve their goal was to provide their congregation members with a Christian and liberal arts education, leading to the construction of a school to train preachers and teachers throughout the state who would go on to teach members of the congregation and larger community. The Convention established the school in Selma, Alabama and by 1878 classes were being held at Saint Phillips Street Baptist Church of Selma. The school’s name changed to Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School of Selma in 1881, and in 1908 the institution’s name was again changed to Selma University.

In the late 1980s, Selma University became a four-year institution, becoming accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education in the United States and Canada in February of 2009. In October of 2013, the school received a ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education. 

Today, Selma University remains a major project of the Alabama Missionary Baptist State Convention. 

Programs & Opportunities

Selma University offers targeted academic programming with degree offerings such as: Associate of Arts in Theology, Associate of Arts in Health Science (Patient Care Technology track available), Bachelor of Theology and Christian Education, Bachelor of Science in Biology (Health Science and Physical Education track available), Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Biology (General track available),  Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Pastoral Ministry, Master of Arts in Bible and Pastoral Ministry (Pastoral Ministry), Master of Arts in Bible and Christian Education (Christian Education).

Selma University also makes it a priority to provide a variety of opportunities to develop the spiritual life of its students. Students are required to attend the “Selma University Family” tradition of Chapel/Convocation period on Wednesdays, to participate in Christian Service opportunities, and provided the chance to become involved with several extracurricular activities and other student life activities such as Founders’ Day, musical concerts, religious retreats, classes, and talent shows. Students are also offered both academic and personal career counseling through the Office of Academic Affairs. 

Learn more about Selma University’s educational curricula here.  

Alumni Affairs

Selma alumni become scholarly and devoted leaders in all the areas they choose to serve. Some notable Selma University alumni include, but are not limited to:

  • Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, studied classical music and choral singing at Selma. Dr. Clark became a nationally renowned gospel choir director. Dr. Clark is also the mother of the Grammy award-winning gospel group, The Clark Sisters. 
  • Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth earned a bachelor’s degree from Selma University in 1951. Called the “the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Reverend Shuttlesworth was a major leader in the civil rights movement. Additionally, Reverend Shuttlesworth was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 2001.
  • Autherine Lucy earned a teaching certificate from Selma University before going on to graduate from Miles College and becoming the first African American to attend the University of Alabama.

Financial Information

The total yearly cost of Selma University is a reported $9,380, composed of a $7,200 tuition, and an estimated $2,180 of room and board and other fees. For both in-state and out-of-state residents, Selma tuition remains a $7,200 universal price.

Selma University is not currently eligible to participate in the Federal Financial Aid program, but university officials are working diligently to regain eligibility for its students.


Selma University remains committed to creating communities of academic inquiry, fostering faithful members of society, and reaching students who may be disadvantaged and have been unable to achieve normal education opportunities.

The institution continues to change lives and strives to be a great producer of graduates who demonstrate the reciprocal tenets of Christian servant leadership. Students are taught and encouraged to help themselves and others, who will then help themselves, their families, and their greater communities.

Learn more about Selma University’s offerings here