Tennessee Colleges & Universities

With seven state-run universities, including one large university system, and a plethora of private universities, the state of Tennessee is not short on options for higher education. Students who wish to study here can choose from universities and colleges of all shapes and sizes, from two-year community colleges to private liberal arts schools. In addition to the state-run universities, there are 13 community colleges, six two-year private institutions, seven private liberal arts colleges and nearly 50 private colleges and universities in the state of Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee System is one of the public university systems in the state. Its flagship campus is located in Knoxville, but there are also four other campuses across the state located in Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Tullahoma. The Knoxville campus is the largest public university in the state, with an enrollment of about 27,000 students. The school was founded in 1794 and is considered both a land-grant and a sun-grant institution. Some of its notable programs at the school include pharmacy, supply chain and management and veterinary medicine. Famous alumni from the University of Tennessee include author Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Scott Abbott, one of the creators of the popular board game Trivial Pursuit.

Probably the most well known private university in Tennessee is Vanderbilt University, which is a private research university located in Nashville. Vanderbilt University was established in 1873 after Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt donated more than $1 million to begin the school's endowment. Mr. Vanderbilt did this even though he had never visited the South, but his intention was that the donation to start the university would be a step in the right direction toward healing tensions after the Civil War ended. Vanderbilt has a unique campus because it is green and lush, but it is also located in an urban setting. Situated in downtown Nashville, almost all of Vanderbilt's facilities are located on the main campus. Vanderbilt is the most selective university in Tennessee, and often accepts just 12 percent of the applicants to the school. This makes it also one of the most elite schools in the country. Once enrolled, students have the opportunity to choose from 70 different major programs, including business programs, engineering programs and music programs. Former Vice President Al Gore attended Vanderbilt University for a while, but did not graduate from the school. Other important alumni include actress Molly Sims and performer Dierks Bentley.