10 Best Christian Colleges in Tennessee

For a Christian, living with the consciousness of Christ’s presence should be a way of life, not restricted to certain places or times, or activities. In Christian colleges, this is made possible. Christian colleges do not only strive to integrate the Christian faith and study conventional academic subjects, but they also nurture you in the virtue of seeing life through the lens of God’s word.

If you are a believer who seeks a robust all-around development of your person through biblical truths, then you are right to consider Christian colleges.  And if you are in Tennessee or you are looking to explore the Christian colleges in Tennessee, you have got a good choice and you have found yourself at the right place. 

During your college search, you’ve probably encountered several institutions that identify as Christian colleges. It can be challenging to understand the true meaning of this title since the definition of “Christian college” is broad.

One would think that colleges are labeled ‘Christian colleges’ because they were founded on Christian principles or by a specific church group. If this is the only criterion to be labeled a Christian college, then, one can say that the oldest college in Tennessee and one of the first coeducational institutions is a Christian college. 

Tusculum College was established on September 9, 1794, by the Southwest Territory government, making it the oldest college in Tennessee. The Reverend Hezekiah Balch and the Reverend Charles Coffin founded it as Greeneville College, and it later amalgamated with Tusculum College, which was established by the Reverend Samuel Doak and the Reverend Witherspoon Doak.

Like Tusculum, many of the country’s most prestigious private colleges and universities began as religious institutions linked with a single denomination within the larger Christian tradition. More examples will include Duke, Emory, Yale, and Wesleyan University.

However, some of these colleges can not be called Christian colleges. While some private schools continue to receive money from the church that founded them, many no longer have religious expectations for students, nor do they link their curriculum or extracurricular offerings with specific religious beliefs or practices.

In today’s article, we will explore the criteria that make a college a Christian college. We would also share with you the ten best Christian colleges in Tennessee; lay out the options before you and enable you to make an informed decision.

What makes a college a Christian college?

The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) is an association of 185 Christian colleges around the world. Every college in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) has a mission explicitly Christ-centered and grounded in the traditional Christian faith. Although many people self-identify as evangelicals, member institutions are defined by the following doctrines:

  • Integrate what they believe to be biblical truth into all facets of the academic business, not simply the “spiritual” components of the organization. Their faculty agrees that God is the source of truth, which has ramifications for every field of study.
  • Commit to students’ moral and spiritual formation. Students who exhibit Christian values like love, courage, and humility are the ones they aim to nurture.
  • Graduate students “who are redemptive voices in the world, making a difference for the common good.” They view their graduates as “hopeful realists” with the potential to “play a redemptive and restorative role in the world as doctors, teachers, marketers, engineers, parents, soccer coaches, and in a host of other ways.”

Schools that do not have this Christ-centered mission or follow the three doctrines stated above cannot be considered Christian colleges.

10 Best Christian Colleges in Tennessee

Below is the list of the top 10 best Christian colleges in Tennessee:

  • Johnson University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Union University
  • Sewanee – The University of the South
  • Milligan University
  • Trevecca Nazarene University
  • King University – Tennessee
  • Maryville College
  • Lee University
  • Belmont University

#1. Johnson University

Johnson University is a remarkable community where students can prepare for both a rewarding job and a fulfilling personal life. The school’s curriculum includes a major in Bible and theology, a core of courses in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 majors in fields as diverse as ministry leadership, music technology, and history. This is because they believe that education should prepare you for ALL of life.

Rankings of Johnson University

Johnson University’s dorms were named the BEST IN THE COUNTRY by Niche.com! There is a separate bathroom in each bedroom. The brand-new Athletic and Recreation Complex on our lovely campus also has a 10-lane pool, a basketball court, a fitness facility and weight room, a game room, and the Habaneros cafe.

The school was also ranked #12 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category and #9 out of 392 universities in the Best Colleges for Religious Study category.

Tuition and Cost

Johnson’s tuition is said to be  HALF the national average for private colleges and universities. The school costs a net price of $ 19,985 per year but offers an average total aid of $9,212 per year. 94% of students in the school receive financial aid. At Johnson, you get an exceptional education at an amazing price.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 81%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 980 – 1190, and 19 – 24 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. While applying, an admission fee of $35 is required. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#2. Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, has over 4,600 students from 45 countries and almost every state. You get to choose from more than 200 subject areas in small classes with 14 students per professor on average. From nationally acclaimed business and nursing programs to NCAA Division I athletics, Lipscomb is dedicated to offering great academics with a foundation in the Christian faith woven throughout your entire college experience. You will join a genuine Christian community at Lipscomb that is ready to invest in you so that you can go on to invest in the world.

Rankings of Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University is rated #14 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #56 out of 958 universities in the Best Colleges of Education in America, and #57 of 589 universities in the Kinesiology and Physical Therapy in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net $ 26,614 per year but offers an average total aid of $24,624 per year. 100% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 74%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1100 – 1270, and 22 – 29 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. While applying, an admission fee of $50 is required. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#3. Union University

Union University is a top-ranked private university dedicated to the authority of Scripture, rigorous academics, the Christian community, and preparing students for success in their lives and careers. You will find Union University between Memphis and Nashville near Jackson, Tennessee.

The renewing of your mind will transform you at Union University. Godly educators who care about your advancement will oversee your studies. The bonds you make with your classmates will last a lifetime. Then, as a young adult, you will depart prepared to advance Christ’s cause in the world.

Rankings of Union University

Union University is rated #4 out of 1371 universities in the Best College Dorms in America category, #15 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, and #20 out of 762 universities in the Best Colleges of Nursing in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net price of $27,660 per year but offers an average total aid of $27,090 per year. 99% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 53%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1120 – 1330, and 23 – 30 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. While applying, an admission fee of $35 is required. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#4. Sewanee – The University of the South

The University of the South, also known as Sewanee, was established in 1857 and consists of a prominent School of Theology, a nationally renowned College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a School of Letters. Sewanee is an undergraduate school with 1,700 students that is situated on 13,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The university is committed to creating a sense of community and continues to be purposely small. Sewanee has produced 27 Rhodes Scholars, 53 Watson Fellows, and many Fulbright Scholars, which clearly indicates the success of such specialized education.

Rankings of Sewanee – The University of the South

The University of the South is rated #29 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #54 out of 651 universities in the Best with No Application Fee in America, and #68 out of 314 universities in the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net price of $29,626 per year but offers an average total aid of $35,383 per year. 96% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 60%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1200 – 1390, and 26 – 31 respectively. The portal for admission will be opened by 1st August 2023 and applications can be done online. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#5. Milligan University

Milligan is a high-quality private Christian institution in Elizabethton, Tennessee, near Kingsport. A total of 741 undergraduate students attend this little university. Since 60% of applicants are accepted, admissions are a little competitive. Psychology, business, and nursing are all well-liked majors. Alumni from Milligan earn an entry-level income of $30,600, with 70% of students graduating.

Rankings of Milligan University

Milligan University is rated #64 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #87 out of 958 universities in the Best Colleges for Education in America category, and #93 out of 314 universities in the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net $20,448 per year but offers an average total aid of $26,768 per year. 100% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 60%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1080 – 1180, and 21 – 29 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. While applying, an admission fee of $30 is required. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

Christian Colleges in Tennessee
Christian Colleges in Tennessee

#6. Trevecca Nazarene University

A Christian university in the middle of Nashville, Trevecca Nazarene University strives to equip its students for lives of leadership and service. Trevecca, which was established in 1901, is dedicated to comprehensive education and promotes students’ academic, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development.

The campus of Trevecca is within a mile of vibrant downtown Nashville. Trevecca offers associate degrees, 80 undergraduate majors, 16 master’s programs, and 3 doctoral programs to students from 47 states and 25 countries.

Rankings of Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca Nazarene University is rated #87 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #69 out of 276 universities in the Best Colleges for Music in America category, and #47 out of 1607 universities in the Most Conservative College in America Category.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net $15,795 per year but offers an average total aid of $19,966 per year. 100% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 78%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1040 – 1180, and 20 – 25 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online.

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#7. King University – Tennessee

King is a doctoral-level comprehensive university that was founded in 1867 and serves the Southeast as well as other regions. It is linked with the Presbyterian Church.

King cultivates a climate of academic achievement where scholarly work, stewardship, and faith are blended in a setting that is modeled after a small institution. The goal of the university is to develop intellectual, resourceful, and responsible citizens who are passionate about serving God, the Church, and the wider community.

The university grants degrees in two-year, four-year, and graduate-level programs and offers more than 90 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs.

Rankings of King University – Tennessee

King University is rated #100 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #72 out of 270 universities in the Best Colleges for Information Technology in America category, and #38 out of 252 universities in the Best Online Colleges in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net $22,029 per year but offers an average total aid of $22,613 per year. 100% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 66%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1000 – 1160, and 18 – 24 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#8. Maryville College

Maryville College offers a thorough and tried-and-true curriculum that enables students to study everything, so they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, to engage with any audience, and, thanks to a commitment to integrate career readiness throughout their four years, to launch successful careers right away. Maryville College is ideally situated between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville. Simply expressed, we want to produce graduates who have a sense of purpose, who will be kind citizens and talented leaders, and who will accomplish well on the biggest possible scale. This is the same ambition we had when we were founded more than 200 years ago.

Rankings of Maryville College

Milligan University is rated #102 out of 345 universities in the Best Christian Colleges in America category, #121 out of 427 universities in the Best Colleges for Design in America category, and #129 out of 314 universities in the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America.

Tuition and Cost

The school costs a net $22,320 per year but offers an average total aid of $28,678 per year. 100% of students in the school receive financial aid.

Admission details

The school records an acceptance rate of 68%. The acceptable SAT and ACT range is 1100 – 1320, and 19 – 29 respectively. The school doesn’t seem to have a deadline for admission and applications can be done online. 

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#9. Lee University

Lee University is a top-tier private Christian university in Cleveland, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. It is a modest university with 3,041 undergraduate students enrolled. 83% of applicants are accepted by Lee. Nursing, business, pastoral counseling, and specialized ministries are popular degrees. Alumni from Lee University graduate in 58% of cases, and their beginning pay is $28,200.

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

#10. Belmont University

Nashville, Tennessee’s Belmont University is a top-notch private, Christian institution of higher learning. With 6,792 undergraduate students enrolled, it is a mid-sized university. 88% of applicants are accepted by Belmont. Popular majors include nursing, arts, entertainment, media management, and music management. Alumni of Belmont University graduate at a rate of 68% and go on to make a starting income of $34,600.

For more information on how to apply to one of the best Christian colleges in Tennessee, click here

FAQs

What is Bible Academy?

The Bible Academy is a global seminary organization whose goals include spreading the gospel and giving believers the tools they need to transform the world through the power of God’s word.

Who invented Bible school?

The “Everyday Bible School” was established in 1898 by Virginia Sinclair Hawes (sometimes referred to as “Mrs Walker Aylett Hawes”), the director of the children’s ministry at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City. It was held in the summer at a rented beer parlor on the east side of the city.

Conclusion

One of the key advantages of Christian education is that it frees you from having to decide between your education and your faith and encourages you to approach morality and global social challenges from a biblical perspective. We have laid the best Christian colleges in Tennessee options before you; we hope it helps you match your goals to a college that can help you achieve them most. 

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