The Best Online Colleges in Tennessee

by TBS Staff

Updated August 15, 2022

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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 2021
#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

  1. University of Memphis - UM Online
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    The University of Memphis, established in 1912, is the home of the Center for Earthquake Research, the FedEx Institute of Technology and the Institute of Egyptian Art and Technology. The university has more than 20,000 students in attendance and offers majors within the spheres of business, the arts, science, nursing, audiology and much more.

    The University of Memphis offers baccalaureate, master and certificate programs online through U of M Online. Bachelor’s degree options include African-American studies, journalism and nursing. Master’s degree offerings include criminal justice, teaching and leadership. Available certifications include population health, TEFL and nonprofit management.

    Online student resources include an online job board, 24/7 online tutoring in several subjects, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email, text message, live chat or over the phone.

  2. King University
    Location

    Bristol, TN

    King University is a private Christian university with a standing covenant with both the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Established in 1867, the university is named in honor of Reverend James King, who donated land for the original university.

    King University, through King University Online, offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs. Online associate’s degrees include the arts. Online bachelor’s degrees include English, business administration, science, and information technology. Online master’s degrees include teacher leadership and nursing.

    Online student resources include several online libraries with librarians available via live chat, email, fax and over the phone.

  3. Johnson University
    Location

    Knoxville, TN

    Situated in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Johnson University remains one of the top Christian colleges in the nation. A leader in distance learning for more than a century, the school serves learners with a catalog of online associate and bachelor's degrees focused on Christian ministry and similar vocations.

    All degrees blend a biblical core with the arts and sciences to provide students with a comprehensive education. Students earn bachelor's degrees in ministry leadership, pastoral care and counseling, and intercultural studies. Those pursuing secular occupations may choose a bachelor's degree in nonprofit administration or business administration with concentrations in management, marketing, and sport management. One of the top online colleges in Tennessee, Johnson administers associate degrees in biblical studies, intercultural studies, and ministry leadership. All students benefit from affordable tuition. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

  4. Lee University
    Location

    Cleveland, TN

    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
    Location

    Clarksville, TN

    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
    Location

    Nashville, TN

    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
    Location

    Knoxville, TN

    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
    Location

    Jefferson, TN

    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
    Location

    Johnson City, TN

    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
    Location

    Dayton, TN

    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.

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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