Accredited colleges and universities have had their educational programs and faculty evaluated by an outside agency. Those agencies ensure that the school provides a high-quality education to its students, so to have your degree recognized by employers, it’s critical to attend an accredited institution. Below you’ll find information on higher education in the state and helpful resources on online colleges in Tennessee.
- School Search
- Accreditation Agencies
- Education Links
- Notable Schools
Accredited Online Colleges Database
There are many accrediting agencies recognized by the state. Below are the most common. Keep in mind, however, that this list only includes institutional accreditation – not program-specific accreditation.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Higher Education Links
For more information on higher education in Tennessee, you can refer to the state’s department of education and higher education commission. There, you’ll find information on the state’s universities, community colleges, Colleges of Applied Technology, and more.
Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are in the state. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific area. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable accredited online and campus-based schools in the state to help you begin your school search.
Tennessee’s public higher education is spearheaded by two state university systems. One is the University of Tennessee, which is comprised of nine undergraduate colleges and eleven graduate colleges. The other is the Tennessee Board of Regents, which supervises all other public higher education in state, including comprehensive four-year universities, as well as all of the state’s community colleges and Colleges of Applied Technology.
University of Tennessee Knoxville
The University of Tennessee Knoxville is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee public school system. It is also the largest university in the state, with more than 27,000 students enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is ranked among the country’s top universities by U.S News & World Report and Forbes. Prominent alumni include NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, authors Alex Haley and Kurt Vonnegut, and IBM and PC innovator Mark Dean.
University of Memphis
The University of Memphis is the the flagship institution of the Tennessee Board of Regents public higher education system and enrolls more than 23,000 students. It is one of only two doctoral-level public research universities in the state, and it is designated as “community engaged” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Notable alumni include a number of NFL football players and Miss USA contestants.
Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University is the only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee. It offers more than 40 degrees through its colleges of business, engineering, and education. Notable alumni include Oprah Winfrey and Jess Russell, the inventor of the cell phone microchip.
Tennessee is home to several private, four-year schools intimately tied to the history of collegiate academics in the south. Learn more about the standout private universities of Tennessee below.
Vanderbilt University is a liberal arts institution founded in 1873 and the largest private university in the state. It is comprised of four undergraduate schools and six graduate programs. Its academics are renowned, especially for its school of music and medical center, and the school ranks among the top 40 schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes, which also ranks it among the top schools in the south.
Union University is an evangelical Christian, liberal arts institution. It has three campuses in the state, including Jackson, as well as Germantown and Hendersonville. Football fans know it as the place where Bear Bryant began his coaching career. It is also well-known for its academics, and U.S. News & World Report ranks it among the top universities in the South.
This liberal arts institution is the largest Christian university in Tennessee, as well as the state’s second-largest private university. Its Master of Accountancy program is the only private such program in Tennessee to be accredited by the AACSB International, and the school is among a small elite that has AACSB accreditation in both its business and accounting programs. It is ranked among the top 10 universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.