Nashville, TN Leads in Higher-Education Choices

The Nashville Area is often referred to as the Athens of the South for the high concentration of colleges and universities that make the region a center of knowledge.

Stephanie Stewart-Howard
On Monday, September 12, 2011 - 07:42
Nashville, TN

The Nashville Area is often referred to as the Athens of the South for the presence of 18 colleges and universities that make the region a center of knowledge.

It’s a roster that includes Vanderbilt University, a world-renowned center of learning and research. With undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 11,700, Vanderbilt offers nationally ranked programs across a range of disciplines from business, education and law to music, engineering, nursing and medicine. Including the stellar Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt employs more than 17,000 people and is the region’s largest private employer.

With an enrollment of more than 25,000 students, Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro is a key driver of economic success in Rutherford County and the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee. MTSU’s academic offerings include highly regarded colleges of business, education and mass commu­nication as well as standout programs in fields as diverse as aerospace, concrete industry management, manufacturing, music production and entrepreneurship.

Nationally Ranked Schools

It doesn’t take shear size to generate high-quality educational offerings. Belmont University (enrollment 5,400) was named one of the top two Schools to Watch in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In 2011, Belmont recently opened a College of Law to go along with more than 75 areas of study, 20 master’s programs and three doctoral degrees it offers.

Lipscomb University (total enrollment 3,400) was named one of the top 25 best master’s degree institutions in the South in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 America’s Best Colleges guidebook, which also cited the university as one of only 70 schools in the nation on its up-and-coming list.

Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and Aquinas College join a distinguished list of higher-learning institutions that also includes American Baptist College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville School of Law and Watkins College of Art & Design.

Career Training Programs

A healthy selection of national colleges and universities, such as the University of Phoenix, Strayer University, DeVry University and Remington College, have established campuses in the Nashville area, with many of their programs appealing to nontraditional and working students.

Strayer’s first campus in Tennessee opened in Nashville in 2003, says Udoh Udom, the Nashville campus dean. Strayer, a 70-campus, four-year university based in Arlington, Va., offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education and public administration, and recently introduced a criminal justice program.

“There is a growing need for quality adult education, and Tennessee’s increasing focus on the service and technology sectors places the educational programs offered by Strayer in high demand,” he says.



Journalist Stephanie Stewart-Howard is the author of The Nashville Chef's Table and the forthcoming Barbecue Lover's Guide to Memphis and Tennessee Style and a yet-to-be named boo