Psychology Schools in Tennessee

The following guide to psychology schools in Tennessee contains important information on the undergraduate and graduate psychology programs, including profiles of several programs in the state, and is designed to make choosing the best program for your goals easier. Tennessee’s colleges and universities afford students the opportunity to earn a general psychology degree or to specialize in a number of areas, including clinical psychology. Students in search of a more flexible and convenient option may wish to consider pursuing a bachelor’s or a master’s psychology degree online.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 38 colleges and universities with psychology degree programs in Tennessee.
  • 17 schools provide a master’s or advanced degree in psychology.
  • Highest graduation rate: Vanderbilt University 92%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Cumberland University 45%1
  • Highest net price: Belmont University $28,8701
  • Lowest net price: Tennessee State University $8,2641
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for schools in Tennessee with psychology and counseling programs: $8,496 – $38,578.2
  • 1 School in the Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2013: University of Tennessee (69).
  • 1 School ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): Vanderbilt University (17).
  • We found 3 highly ranked psychology doctorate programs by the National Research Council (2005-06) S-Ranking: Vanderbilt University (19), University of Memphis (118), and the University of Tennessee (136).

Below you will find several profiles of graduate and undergraduate psychology programs offered at a few of Tennessee’s top universities.

Psychology Undergraduate Programs in Tennessee

East Tennessee State University
Psychology majors at East Tennessee State University may earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology in one of five specializations: behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, child psychology, cognitive psychology, or general psychology. Psychology majors, who maintain a 3.50 GPA, may want to enroll in the psychology honors program. Students may also want to become involved with such on-campus organizations as the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology students. All psychology majors must complete an exit exam prior to graduation. The exam is not graded nor does it impact the student’s GPA; however, it is designed to assess what students have learned during study in the psychology department.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Students in the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s undergraduate psychology program must complete 30 core and elective psychology credits to fulfill major requirements. Psychology majors will take such classes as biological bases, child psychology, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. Students are also encouraged to become involved in research with faculty members and graduate students with research conducted in psychological areas including clinical psychology, biological psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Academically eligible students may apply for membership to Psi Chi.

Psychology Graduate Programs in Tennessee

East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University offers a PhD program in psychology that allows students to choose between a Clinical Concentration in preparation for practice in clinical psychology with a focus on rural behavioral health and an Experimental Concentration in preparation for careers in translational research. Both concentrations are guided by the scientist-practitioner model, with a strong emphasis on research and interdisciplinary training. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredited program includes courses such as Diversity in the Psychological Sciences, Group Psychology, Cultural Anthropological Applications, and Advanced Child Psychopathology. East Tennessee State University is committed to upholding diversity in its student body and faculty roster, and its Department of Psychology applies itself to establishing and maintaining a climate of respect. Graduate students may be interested in joining the school’s chapters of the Graduate Student Association of Psychology and/or the Graduate and Professional Student Association for networking and further learning opportunities. The clinical and experimental faculty at East Tennessee State are experienced professionals and academics with a wide variety of research interests.

Tennessee State University
Graduate students at Tennessee State University can pursue a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling Psychology or a Master of Science (MS) in Guidance and Counseling Psychology. Students in the counseling psychology program may opt for the thesis track or the non-thesis track. The thesis track requires 53 credits and the non-thesis track consists of 58 credits to fulfill degree requirements. The program generally takes two years to complete and includes four semesters and one summer. Guidance and counseling psychology students must complete 51 credits over three years. The third year of the program is split into semesters with one semester devoted to an internship at the elementary school level and the second semester in a secondary school level internship.

Middle Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University confers the Master of Arts (MA) in five areas of psychology: clinical psychology, experimental psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, school psychology, and quantitative psychology. The clinical psychology program consists of 46 credits with students required to complete both a practicum and a thesis. Experimental psychology students, who generally intend to pursue a doctorate, take 36 credits, including six pre-approved electives. The industrial and organizational psychology program requires 43 credits, which includes a mandatory thesis and several comprehensive examinations. Students in the school psychology program complete 44 credits and, to obtain licensure as a school psychologist in the state, must also earn the EdS, also offered by the psychology department. The quantitative psychology degree program prepares students to work as data analysts, statisticians, and psychometricians and requires 45 credits to complete.

Schools with Psychology Degree Programs in Tennessee

East Tennessee State
1276 Gilbreath Dr
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 439-1000

Student Review: “The very first class I took at ETSU was Intro to Psychology – what I assumed would be a generic and boring class. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the instructor as well as the content. Learning about different areas of the brain is what made me fall in love with the program in general. East Tennessee State University is not known for its psychology department, and aside from the entry level classes, the rest were difficult and challenging. For the most part my instructors seemed competent and were able to ask any question that I threw at them. Some of them were able to go into great detail concerning my questions causing me to probe into deeper into the matter. The technology use at ETSU was a little sparse, they did have projectors in every room, but I felt like I was stuck in 1995 with most of the technology available. Their online homework assignments were always a little quirky, but mostly the online portion functioned as it should. I do wish they had utilized the calendar aspects of the online tool, as I always had to ask my classmates about upcoming events because there was no section devoted to such things. Even though the online structure of my education was lacking, I must say that the courses and instructors were great and I did feel challenged most of the time.” – Student at East Tennessee State

Freed-Hardeman University
158 E Main St
Henderson, TN 38340
(731) 989-6000

Student Review: “Freed-Hardeman University has a great psychology program; the teachers are very interesting and very well versed in their field. Most teachers at Freed-Hardeman have their own practices and have other professions as well, such as counselors or ministers. Another thing I like about their program is that Freed Hardeman is a Christian school, so we also look at the topics in our classes along with what the bible says and how they compare and differ. Most people that go through Freed Hardeman University end up either becoming counselors or therapists. The quality of the program is very good and I would recommend it to anyone who is wanting to pursue a degree in psychology.” – Student at Freed-Hardeman University

Student Review: “The Freed-Hardeman University undergraduate program for psychology utilized two main professors. My experiences were mainly positive but this depended highly on the teacher I had for the psychology class. One professor was incredibly helpful, he was all of the psychology students’ adviser, and he taught his classes well. His courses were not easy but with a little effort, an A or B was easily possible. The other teacher did not teach well or efficiently and showed more focus in buying students’ favor. However, both teachers were always willing to give extra help after class or during their office hours. Another issue is the university does not offer online courses in psychology. Yet, even with the one lacking teacher and the need for online courses, I still feel that the Freed-Hardeman psychology program prepared me for graduate studies.” – Student at Freed-Hardeman University

University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

Student Review: “The University of Tennessee’s psychology program was overall a pleasant experience. The university offers a wide variety of psychology courses that cover nearly all forms of human growth and development. Also, most courses are very flexible in that they are available in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Also in comparison to other universities within the state of Tennessee, it has one of the lowest tuition rates, making it more affordable.” – Student at University of Tennessee

Student Review: “Coming into the University of Tennessee’s psychology department, I had no idea what to expect. I had taken AP psychology in high school, and did moderately well, but I did not know how I would do in such a large SEC environment. I had heard horror stories about academics taking the back seat to football season, and professors not caring about their 200 students in the class. I am fortunate that this was not my case at all! Most of my undergraduate career was taught by doctoral candidates, who made the classes extremely relatable and applied psychology to modern issues. All of my professors were flexible beyond their mandatory office hours, and had a genuine desire for students to achieve. Being in such a large school had an advantage because there were always opportunities to experience lab research firsthand. Besides this, there were many prominent speakers from the psychology community, including interesting talks such as a xTED talk series. The University of Tennessee offers an amazing program, and I feel blessed to be a Vol and to be in the program.” – Student at University of Tennessee

Student Review: “The psychology program at the University of Tennessee was an excellent program with excellent professors; however, there are some areas where the university could improve. The university offered a variety of psychology courses to choose from; however, there were some courses that were difficult to get into. For example, a psychology course on sexuality was only offered one time per semester and due to the high demand of the class, it was almost impossible to sign up for this particular course. Most professors were eager to include students on research activities and made great efforts to include students on activities outside of the class room. Also, due to the large number of people graduating with a degree in psychology, the department offered a workshop on the many different uses and paths to take after obtaining an undergraduate degree in psychology. One aspect that the program could improve on is assisting students with obtaining jobs relevant to the degree upon graduation.” – Student at University of Tennessee

Student Review: “The psychology program at the University of Tennessee is an excellent program that offers a variety of helpful psychology courses. Teachers are very intelligent, knowledgeable, and have the work experience needed to be effective. The program however is so large that it is unable to help students successfully find employment upon graduation. Also, some courses are difficult to get into due to high demand. It would be more beneficial for more serious students if the program was a bit more selective.” – Student at University of Tennessee

Student Review: “To begin, I was not sure what I wanted to study when I started college. I knew that I wanted to prepare for law school, but I had no idea on what curriculum I wanted to focus on. I chose the english and psychology route. Psychology was a blessing at the University of Tennessee. The 100 level (first year) courses are great. They are packed with students and are designed in a way that they will let you know if psychology is a field that you want to pursue academically, while still being beneficial if you decide it’s not for you. The higher level courses are fantastic. They have a large variety of specific course topics and subjects to choose from. The best part about the upperclassmen psychology studies at UT is that the department is centrally located on a large campus. This means I was always near a large population of students, great thinkers and knowledgable scholars.” – Student at University of Tennessee

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=TN&major=psychology&sort=best