Names of 1,500 semifinalists in the 17th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students, an annual competition for college undergraduate scholarships, were announced yesterday by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

More than 70,000 black students enrolled in about 7,000 U.S. secondary schools entered the scholarship competition as high school juniors. Semifinalists are the students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test in 1979 and requested consideration in advance placement.

Semifinalists were selected on a regional allocation basis, in numbers proportional to the black population of the states assigned to each region. The most outstanding of the semifinalists will compete for about $2 million in college undergraduate scholarships to be awarded next spring.

District semifinalists are: Rudolph E. Knott, of Ballou; Emmanuel F. Tillman, of Calvin Coolidge; Elizabeth R. Fortson, Lauren K. Foster and Derek A. Peake, of Georgetown Day; Sophie L. Folly and Leslie F. Spencer, of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory.

Also Michael Duhaney and Jeffrey H. Madison, of Gonzaga; Kara L. Amis, Gloria G. Lawiah, Geralyn R. Lawrence and Michelle L. Sedgewick, of Immaculata Preparatory; Pamela K. Cothran and Meta J. Mickens, of McKinley; Jocelyn C. Frye, Angela Harris, Angela S. Kennedy and Jacqueline M. Sanders, of National Cathedral School; Michele E. Booth, of Oak Crest; Archie L. Minix, of School Without Walls; Hurley H. Doddy, Howard R. Epps and Yvonne L. Jones, of Sidwell Friends; Larue R. Gibson, LaSalle D. Leffall and Samuel R. Lucas, St. Alban's.

Also Gregory C. Banks, St. Anthony's; Robert A. Burney, Floyd D. Feeling, Joseph S. Oliver and Darryl S. Willis, St. John's College High; Richard J. Kelley, Karyl T. Spriggs, of Washington International School; Horace Cocroft, Allan A. Griffith and Joan A. Lindo, of Woodrow Wilson and Velma D. McLeod, of H.D. Woodson.