Best Doctorate Programs in Tennessee

There are many students across the country curious about how to earn a doctorate. Tennessee offers a robust assortment of doctoral programs, but you must choose the program that best suits your interests. Doctorates typically take 5-7 years to complete, and dissertations are usually required.

Most doctoral degree-holders work in academia or in the private sector as experts earning high salaries. The top earners in Tennessee take home about $81,220 a year out of the 2,986,840 workers. On average, workers in the state earn $37,700 per year, according to the BLS. In Tennessee, doctoral degrees can result in good incomes.

In today’s competitive job market, doctorates offer an advantage. Take time to carefully consider the programs listed below when conducting your search.

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Vanderbilt University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    13,537

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $52781

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $52781

    A top-ranked school, Vanderbilt University enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Nashville, Tennessee. The institution offers a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Generally, it takes two years to complete an associate degree, four years to earn a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. This makes it easier to enroll. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #2

    Johnson University

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    1,039

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16400

    From its campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, Johnson University grants degrees as a top school. The institution enrolls students across a variety of programs. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Generally, it takes two years to complete an associate degree, four years to earn a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The admissions department can help students complete the application process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. Johnson University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    The University of the South

    Sewanee, TN

    Graduation Rate

    80%

    Enrollment

    1,800

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $46960

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $46960

    A private institution, The University of the South enrolls students on its campus in Sewanee, Tennessee. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps students reach their professional goals. Bachelor's programs incorporate lower-division and upper-division requirements. Students also take general education coursework during their bachelor's degree. Upper-division requirements emphasize advanced concepts in the major. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #4

    Lipscomb University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    69%

    Enrollment

    4,884

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32080

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32080

    A private institution located in Nashville, Tennessee, Lipscomb University grants degrees through multiple programs. Students earn an accredited degree that prepares them for the workforce. The institution offers an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #5

    Union University

    Jackson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    3,071

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22080

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22080

    Union University offers programs from its campus in Jackson, Tennessee. The institution provides a variety of programs and coursework. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Learners typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Union University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #6

    Lincoln Memorial University

    Harrogate, TN

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    4,885

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $23040

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23040

    Lincoln Memorial University offers programs from its campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. The institution offers multiple degree-granting programs. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Generally, it takes two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. Lincoln Memorial University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #7

    Trevecca Nazarene University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    56%

    Enrollment

    3,968

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $25998

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25998

    From its campus in Nashville, Tennessee, Trevecca Nazarene University awards degrees as a top school. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Generally, it takes two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Trevecca Nazarene University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #8

    Southern Adventist University

    Collegedale, TN

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    2,730

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22060

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22060

    Southern Adventist University, located in Collegedale, Tennessee, grants degrees as a private institution. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 100% of learners receive financial aid, while 53% take out loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 53%. The admission rate is 74% for hopeful students. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #9

    Belmont University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    8,204

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35310

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35310

    Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Belmont University is a private institution that offers multiple programs. The school awards accredited degrees that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Belmont University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #10

    The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    3,181

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9390

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21474

    Located in Memphis, Tennessee, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center offers multiple programs as a public institution. The school offers accredited degrees that prepare students for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the institution. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #11

    Pentecostal Theological Seminary

    Cleveland, TN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    442

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $2400

    A private institution located in Cleveland, Tennessee, Pentecostal Theological Seminary offers multiple programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Pentecostal Theological Seminary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #12

    The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    30,559

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11332

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $28522

    The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers programs from its campus in Knoxville, Tennessee. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Baptist Health Sciences University

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    44%

    Enrollment

    890

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11112

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11112

    Baptist Health Sciences University, a private institution in Memphis, Tennessee, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A waiver makes it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Baptist Health Sciences University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #14

    Freed-Hardeman University

    Henderson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    2,188

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22950

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22950

    A private institution located in Henderson, Tennessee, Freed-Hardeman University offers a variety of programs. The school grants accredited degrees that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Freed-Hardeman University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #15

    King University

    Bristol, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    1,746

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $30106

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30106

    From its campus in Bristol, Tennessee, King University grants degrees as a private institution. The school's academic and technical programs help students reach a variety of professional goals. During a bachelor's degree, enrollees take lower-division and upper-division coursework. Bachelor's programs also incorporate general education requirements. Upper-division courses emphasize advanced concepts in the major. The school supports students with tutoring and career services. Students pay a per-credit fee of around 538 at the school. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #16

    Milligan University

    Milligan, TN

    Graduation Rate

    65%

    Enrollment

    1,338

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $34150

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $34150

    Milligan University, located in Milligan, Tennessee, enrolls students as a private institution. The school's academic and technical programs help students reach a variety of professional goals. The institution's bachelor's programs incorporate lower-division and upper-division coursework. Undergraduates also complete general education courses. Upper-division credits typically focus on advanced concepts within a major. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Learners at this accredited institution also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Milligan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #17

    Tennessee Technological University

    Cookeville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    10,177

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8358

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18390

    Tennessee Technological University ranks as a top college from its campus in Cookeville, Tennessee. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Degree-seekers typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Tennessee Technological University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #18

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    11,728

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7836

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23954

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga ranks as a top college from its campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #19

    Middle Tennessee State University

    Murfreesboro, TN

    Graduation Rate

    51%

    Enrollment

    22,080

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25872

    From its campus in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University enrolls students in 166 programs. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. At the institution, 98% of the students receive some form of financial aid. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 51%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The admission rate for prospective students is 94%. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores.

    #20

    University of Memphis

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    52%

    Enrollment

    22,205

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8208

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12048

    University of Memphis ranks as a top college from its campus in Memphis, Tennessee. The college offers a variety of degree-granting programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Degree-seekers can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #21

    East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    13,713

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7340

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25487

    East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, welcomes students with 179 program options. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. The institution reports that 100% of students receive some form of financial aid. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 50%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The school offers experiential learning in the form of internships, research opportunities, and practicums. The admission rate is 78%. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies.

    #22

    Tennessee State University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    7,615

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7854

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20574

    Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, welcomes students with 88 program options. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school holds a student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1. The institution reports that 96% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The public school reports a 26% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores.

    #23

    South College

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    5,171

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16450

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16450

    South College, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, offers 77 programs for students. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The school reports a 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to the school, 94% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 30%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. Learners benefit from internships, research opportunities, and other forms of service learning. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies.