The Best Online Colleges in Tennessee

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Many of Tennessee’s colleges and universities offer distance education programs.

Knoxville’s Johnson University has 22 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, while Bethel University has 17 bachelor’s and master’s programs. Several schools offer specialized online programs, such as Lee University’s online master’s degree in marriage and family studies and Carson–Newman’s online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. The Tennessee eCampus website helps students search for online courses and degrees at public colleges and universities in the state and provides them with more information about online learning.

Students enrolled at online colleges in Tennessee enjoy the increased flexibility and affordability that comes with online learning. Distance learners often save money on college expenses like transportation and commuting, housing, and other fees associated with living on campus. Students who attend online schools in Tennessee can also enjoy completing coursework on their own schedules. With many online learning options, as well as affordable tuition and financial aid opportunities, Tennessee has a lot to offer undergraduate and graduate students.

Top 10 Online Colleges in Tennessee 2020

#1 University of Memphis - UM Online Memphis, TN
#2 King University Bristol, TN
#3 Johnson University Knoxville, TN
#4 Lee University Cleveland, TN
#5 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, TN
#6 Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville, TN
#7 The University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN
#8 Carson-Newman University Jefferson, TN
#9 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN
#10 Bryan College-Dayton Dayton, TN

The Best Online Colleges in Tennessee

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4

Lee University 

Cleveland, TN

About this school

Founded in 1918, Lee University is a Christian college affiliated with the Church of God. The college, located in Cleveland, Tennessee, serves nontraditional learners with a suite of online degrees that faculty deliver in fully online or hybrid-intensive formats. Students choosing the intensive format study mostly online and attend classes on campus during two weekends.

One of the top online schools in Tennessee, the school administers bachelor's degrees in business administration, criminal justice, and liberal studies. Learners pursuing careers in Christian ministry choose baccalaureate degrees in Bible and theology, Christian studies, and ministry leadership. The school accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions. Online learners pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Undergraduate ministry students also benefit from tuition discounts. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

5

Austin Peay State University 

Clarksville, TN

About this school

Austin Peay State University, established in 1927, originally admitted men only, but today also admits female students. The university was a Presbyterian university for a short time, but splintered off on its own not too long afterward. The school has six academic colleges and more than 10,000 students.

Austin Peay State University offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through APSU Online. Associate’s degrees include liberal arts. Bachelor’s degree options include computer science, homeland security, political science and medical technology. Master’s degree offerings include military history, music education, professional science and communication arts.

Resources made available to online students include online academic advising, technical support and an online library with librarians available via live chat, text, email or over the phone.

6

Trevecca Nazarene University 

Nashville, TN

About this school

Trevecca Nazarene University provides learners with a liberal arts education grounded in Christian values. The school offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees designed specifically for nontraditional students. Trevecca uses an online cohort model that fosters community learning; students take one asynchronous course at a time to accommodate busy schedules.

The school's undergraduate options include associate degrees in business management, general studies, and human services. One of the top online colleges in Tennessee, Trevecca also offers bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration and computer information technology. Graduate students seeking to advance business careers may choose the master's degree in business administration, which offers several specializations -- including information technology and project management. The organizational leadership major, meanwhile, focuses on developing business professionals in the areas of personal leadership development, interpersonal/group leadership, and organizational impact.

7

The University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, TN

About this school

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, established in 1794, is a sun-grant and land-grant university. The university is one of the oldest and largest universities in America with more than 25,000 students in attendance.

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville offers baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs online through the University of Tennessee Online. Bachelor’s degrees include nursing. Master’s degree options include agricultural leadership and nuclear engineering. Doctoral degree offerings include social work, while specialist degrees include educational administration. Available certifications include nuclear criticality safety.

Online student resources include an online job board and an online library.

8

Carson-Newman University 

Jefferson, TN

About this school

Carson-Newman University gives students a rigorous liberal arts education within a supportive Christian community. Located in Jefferson City, C-N provides working adults with the option to complete baccalaureate degrees entirely from a distance in a select number of fields.

As one of the best online colleges in Tennessee, C-N offers a bachelor's in organizational leadership that emphasizes economics, project management, and entrepreneurship. The 18-month curriculum provides unique electives covering topics such as novels and emotional intelligence and women changing the world. Students transfer at least 48 credits into the bachelor's degree in business administration or interdisciplinary studies, completing either major in as few as 12 months. Licensed RNs receive up to 30 credits for their nursing education when they enroll in the RN-to-BSN, a fully online program they can complete in as few as 14 months. The school's small classes facilitate personalized learning whether students study on campus or online.

9

East Tennessee State University 

Johnson City, TN

About this school

East Tennessee State University, established in 1911, is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The school provides an array of graduate and undergraduate degree programs. The school has more than 15,000 students.

East Tennessee State University offers baccalaureate, master and certificate programs entirely online through its ETSU Online platform. Online bachelor’s degrees include cardiopulmonary science, information technology, human services and public health. Online master’s degrees include teacher leadership, nursing, digital marketing and professional studies. Available online certifications include athletic administration, archival studies, forensic document examination and epidemiology.

Online student resources include technical support, academic advising, career counseling, an online job board with internship services, online tutoring and an online library.

10

Bryan College-Dayton 

Dayton, TN

About this school

Students at Bryan College receive an education that prepares them for servant leadership. The Dayton-based evangelical college serves working adults with several degree completion programs delivered online. The 124-credit bachelor of business administration offers specializations in leadership, HR management, and healthcare management.

One of the top online colleges in Tennessee, Bryan also offers baccalaureate degrees in applied psychology and criminal justice. Those seeking to complete a two-year degree that prepares them for business careers enroll in the associate of science in business. The degree transfers into the bachelor's program, giving learners the option to seamlessly pursue advanced credentials. All students receive credit for prior learning experiences. Faculty deliver coursework using a six-week accelerated format. Online students pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

11

Middle Tennessee State University 

Murfreesboro, TN

About this school

Middle Tennessee State University, established in 1911, is best known for its music and aerospace programs. Over the years, it has formed partnerships with the US Army, the Marine Corps and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The school has more than 22,000 students in attendance and offers majors within science, education, liberal arts, entertainment and business.

Middle Tennessee State University offers baccalaureate, master and specialist degrees online through its University College. Online bachelor’s degrees include information technology, psychology and healthcare administration. Online master’s degree options include aviation administration, ESL and library science. Online specialist degrees include instructional leadership and educational administration and supervision.

Online student resources include academic advising, 24/7 online tutoring, an online writing center, an online job board, online test proctoring and an online library with librarians available via live chat or over the phone.

12

Bethel University 

McKenzie, TN

About this school

One of the oldest colleges in Tennessee, Bethel University offers several undergraduate degrees on campus and online. The school serves nontraditional learners with several fully online degrees that facilitate credit transfer and flexible scheduling.

Students choose from associate degrees in business, criminal justice, or business-customer relationship management. Learners choose either an associate of arts or an associate of applied science in any of those majors, depending on whether they want to transfer to a four-year program or enter the workplace. Students pursuing four-year degrees transfer at least 30 credits into the bachelor of science in organizational leadership, criminal justice, or emergency services management. Bethel, one of the top online colleges in Tennessee, offers one tuition for online learners regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Students receive free books as part of tuition. They can access 24/7 tutorial support, and they do not need SAT or ACT scores for admission to the associate programs.

13

The University of Tennessee-Martin 

Martin, TN

About this school

The University of Tennessee Martin, established in 1924, first opened its doors as the Hall-Moody Institute. This school offered K-12 education alongside the equivalent of lower-division university education, quickly making it an educational cornerstone in the area. When faced with closure in the 1920s, local leaders requested that the state intervene, resulting in its assimilation into the University of Tennessee system. The university has more than 7,000 students enrolled.

The University of Tennessee Martin offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through the University of Tennessee Online. Bachelor’s degree options include agriculture, interdisciplinary studies and management, while master’s degree offerings include financial services, school counseling and educational leadership.

Resources made available to online students include technical support, online tutoring and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email or over the phone.

14

Union University 

Jackson, TN

About this school

Union University is a private liberal arts college located in Jackson, Tennessee. The oldest college affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Union integrates rigorous academics with Christian faith in all of it programs. Union oversees a select number of eLearning degrees designed for working professionals.

The school offers an associate degree in professional studies with concentrations in human services, organizational leadership, and Christian leadership. The bachelor of science in organizational leadership offers several concentrations, including project management and information technology. Students complete the RN-to-BSN online in as few as 18 months, some fulfilling the general education requirements face-to-face at local colleges. One of the top online schools in Tennessee, learners at Union receive online support, such as tutoring from the writing center. The school's competitive tuition rates make their degree offerings affordable.

15

Tennessee Technological University 

Cookeville, TN

About this school

Tennessee Technological University, established in 1915, is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The university has more than 11,000 students in attendance and offers over 60 degree programs, which include fields within the arts, science, agriculture, education, engineering and business.

Tennessee Technological University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degree programs. Online bachelor’s degree options include professional studies and interdisciplinary studies, while online master’s degree offerings include business, exercise studies, education and nursing.

Online student resources include an online job board, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.

16

Tennessee State University 

Nashville, TN

About this school

Established in 1912, Tennessee State University, a land-grant university, is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The university’s offerings originally centered on agriculture and industry, but it rapidly expanded to include teacher training. The school has more than 9,000 students in attendance and provides over 75 programs of study.

Tennessee State University offers baccalaureate and master’s degree programs through its TU Online platform. Online bachelor’s degree options include health administration, information technology, sociology and urban studies. Online master’s degree offerings include training and development, holistic nursing, strategic leadership and applied geospatial information systems.

Resources available to online students include an online job board, an online math lab and an online library with librarians available via fax or over the phone.

17

Lincoln Memorial University 

Harrogate, TN

About this school

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Lincoln Memorial University offers 30 majors in a close-knit learning community. Students unable to study in person enjoy many of the same benefits as on-campus students, including small class sizes and affordable tuition.

The school's online degrees include an RN-to-BSN that nurses pursue entirely online. The degree enrolls RNs who want to advance their careers or pursue graduate education. LMU, one of the top online colleges in Tennessee, also offers an MBA program that does not use a cohort model. Instead, students decide which courses best suit their career goals from a curriculum that faculty deliver in hybrid format. The online master of science in criminal justice prepares learners for administrative and managerial careers in a variety of criminal justice organizations. All learners enjoy affordable tuition, and LMU admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

18

Cumberland University 

Lebanon, TN

About this school

Cumberland University serves 2,300 students with academic programs steeped in the liberal arts. The private college administers programs through three schools and offers a select number of online degrees. Registered nurses with an associate degree or nursing diploma pursue the fully online RN-to-BSN. Faculty prepare nurses for advanced practice with practical, targeted coursework delivered asynchronously.

One of the top online schools in Tennessee, Cumberland also offers a master of science in nursing that students complete in as few as 18 months. Nurses choose one of two areas of specialization: nurse educator or nurse executive leadership and administration. Learners interested in pursuing an advanced business education can complete the school's 12-course MBA in as few as 12 months. Cumberland's online master of arts in education enjoys recognition from Tennessee for excellence in teacher preparation. Online learners at Cumberland receive support services such as free online tutoring and competitive tuition.

19

Tennessee Wesleyan College 

Athens, TN

About this school

Situated on a 40-acre campus in downtown Athens, Tennessee Wesleyan College enrolls 1,100 students in 30 undergraduate majors. Students learn in classrooms with a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Nontraditional students choose one of three degrees delivered in fully online or hybrid format: a bachelor's in management, an RN-to-BSN, and an MBA.

The bachelor's degree in management serves as a degree completion program that students complete in as few as 16 months. The degree provides several areas of emphasis, with the healthcare management and management information systems concentrations delivered fully online. The RN-to-BSN builds on nurses' education and practical experience with a curriculum that stresses clinical projects. Nurses with an associate degree take courses online and complete the degree in as few as three semesters. One of the best online colleges in Tennessee, TWC offers a fully online MBA that prepares business leaders with concentrations in accounting and management and offers full-time and part-time enrollment. TWC admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

20

The University of Tennessee - Chattanooga 

Chattanooga, TN

About this school

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, established in 1886, offers more than 250 programs of study and has more than 12,000 students.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs online through University of Tennessee Online. Bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice and nursing. Master’s degree options include elementary education and engineering management. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing, while specialist degrees include learning and leadership. Available certifications include engineering management and nonprofit management.

Online student resources include an online job board and an online library.

21

Tusculum College 

Greeneville, TN

About this school

Tusculum College holds the distinction as Tennessee's first college. The school enrolls 1,700 students on campus and online. The online associate of arts in general studies gives students flexibility in crafting a degree that meets their career and educational goals.

Students receive a comprehensive academic foundation and practical experience through the school's online bachelor of science in business administration. Some learners choose to continue their business education with Tusculum's online MBA program, which uses five modules that emphasize the application of business principles such as accounting, finance, and management. Graduate students interested in careers as corporate trainers, strategic planners, or project managers can complete the master of arts in talent management in as few as 12 months. Areas of study include curriculum design, instructional design, and best practices in adult learning. As one of the best online schools in Tennessee, Tusculum offers one tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Tennessee Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in Tennessee based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

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