Best Research Universities in Tennessee 2022

Best Research Universities in Tennessee 2022

Interested in attending a STEM school in Tennessee? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

About one third of the higher learning institutes in Tennessee are public schools. Students who attend these schools can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 to $13,000 in tuition and have the option to pursue degrees in fields such as economics, history, nursing, literature, education, and criminal justice. Tennessee’s largest public school, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, boasts some impressive alumni, including Oprah Winfrey, Kurt Vonnegut, and Cormac McCarthy. The private school alumni are equally as notable. For example, author James Patterson and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus both attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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Tennessee also offers nearly 30 religiously affiliated schools, the largest being Belmont University in Nashville, located just blocks from the famous Music Row. Here, students can study a wide range of fields including Christian leadership, audio engineering technology, and biophysics. Additionally, Tennessee offers students several loan forgiveness programs. Math and science teachers, minority teachers, and registered nurses interested in becoming teachers or administrators who meet certain requirements may be eligible.

Tennessee is home to mouthwatering barbecues, electrified blues, and the sweeping majesty of the Smoky Mountains National Park. And with access to countless historic sites, unique museums, and lush green spaces, students attending one of the more than 60 colleges and universities in The Volunteer State will have plenty to do and see in their downtime.

Discover more about the top programs and higher education learning opportunities available in Tennessee.


What are Tennessee’s Colleges & Universities?

Tennessee’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. We’ve identified 14 research universities in Tennessee. To be included in our ranking, schools must be a fully accredited universities and must must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

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Best Research Universities in Tennessee 2022

  1. #3

    University of Memphis

    Memphis , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    University of Memphis’s Online Degrees

    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Business Information and Technology
    • Management
    • Marketing Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online (requires an in-person field placement with 460 contact hours)
    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Hospitality and Resort Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Child Life Specialist
    • Legal Studies
    • Early Care and Learning
    • Early Intervention (ages 0-3)
    • Health Services
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Information Technology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    Degree Concentrations
    • African American Literature
    • Professional Writing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sport and Leisure Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in African and African American Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Applied Ethics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in African and African American Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Information and Technology
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    Degree Concentrations
    • African American Literature
    • Professional Writing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Real Estate
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Hospitality and Resort Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in International and Global Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Applied Ethics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Services
    • Child Life Specialist
    • Child Development and Family Studies
    • Legal Studies
    • Early Care and Learning
    • Early Intervention
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Information Technology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    7K

    Tennessee State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN to BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Administration
    • Information Technology
    • International Organizational Leadership
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    East Tennessee State University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrated Marketing Communications
    • Marketing Analytics
    • Marketing Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Allied Health Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Dental Hygiene
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Radiologic Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Respiratory Therapy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Allied Health Leadership
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Applied Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Culinary Leadership
    • Industrial Leadership
    • Professional Development
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Dental Hygiene
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Liberal Studies
    • Professional Studies
    • Individual Track
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrated Marketing Communications
    • Marketing Analytics
    • Marketing Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Radiologic Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Respiratory Therapy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    Lincoln Memorial University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/24

    Tennessee Technological University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #11

    Lipscomb University

    Nashville , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    Lipscomb University’s Online Degrees

    BA/BS/BPS in Business Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Customer Experience
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Data Analytics
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Entertainment Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Organizational Communication
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Psychology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC)
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Strategic Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS/BPS in Supply Chain and Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #12

    Union University

    Jackson , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/26

    Union University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Christian Leadership
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    Degree Concentrations
    • Organizational Management
    • Project Management
    • Health Management
    • Church Leadership
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #13

    Carson–Newman University

    Jefferson City , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/24

    Carson–Newman University’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 133
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1179/23

    Trevecca Nazarene University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Ministry
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Find the Best Research Universities in Tennessee for Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Vanderbilt University
  2. University of Tennessee
  3. Tennessee State University
  4. Middle Tennessee State University
  5. University of Memphis
  6. Lincoln Memorial University
  7. Carson–Newman University
  8. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  9. Lipscomb University
  10. Union University
  11. Tennessee Technological University
  12. East Tennessee State University
  13. Trevecca Nazarene University
  14. Belmont University