Best Accredited Psychology Colleges and Schools in Tennessee [Updated for 2024]

In Tennessee, there are numerous colleges that offer exciting opportunities to study psychology. From major cities to smaller towns, Tennessee’s colleges and universities provide a range of psychology programs to suit your interests. These schools have world-renowned faculty to help you build a strong foundation in psychology.

Whether you aspire to become a therapist, researcher, or counselor, this guide will introduce you to some of the popular psychology colleges in the state, helping you take your first steps toward a rewarding career in understanding and improving the human psyche.

Best Accredited Psychology Colleges and Schools in Tennessee

Psychology Colleges in Tennessee

Listed below are some of the popular psychology colleges in Tennessee:

  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Memphis
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Lipscomb University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Lee University
  • King University

To find out how we select colleges and universities, please click here.

University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, is a public land-grant research institution. Established in 1794, just two years before Tennessee achieved statehood as the 16th state, it serves as the flagship campus within the University of Tennessee system.

The university comprises ten undergraduate colleges and eleven graduate colleges, accommodating a diverse student body of over 30,000 individuals from all 50 states of the U.S. and more than 100 foreign countries. It has earned the classification of “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.”

The University of Tennessee is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It has an acceptance rate of 75% and a graduation rate of 72%. As of 2023, the average annual in-state cost for undergraduate and graduate programs before any aid or financing is $33,910 and $35,142 respectively.

Psychology Department

Within the University of Tennessee, the Department of Psychology holds distinction for having the largest undergraduate program in the state of Tennessee. It offers two undergraduate degree options: a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. These programs provide students with a comprehensive understanding of both experimental and applied psychology, allowing them flexibility in selecting courses aligned with their specific interests.

In addition to standard coursework, students can gain credit toward their degrees by engaging in hands-on research with faculty members or volunteering with local community agencies.

The Department of Psychology also provides opportunities for graduate studies, offering three graduate programs. The graduate programs include Experimental Psychology, featuring concentrations in Cognitive and Developmental Science, Social Psychology, and Neuroscience and Behavior. Additionally, the department offers two nationally accredited doctoral programs: Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology.

Psychology Major (BA)

For the Psychology Major with a Bachelor of Arts degree, students are required to complete 30 major credit hours, with at least 21 credits at the 300-level or higher. No more than 6 credits from courses outside the psychology department are applicable to the major.

Maintaining a GPA of 2.0 is essential for continued enrollment in the major, and students on Academic Probation risk removal from the program. Furthermore, psychology majors must fulfill coursework in seven core areas and choose a minimum of three additional courses, with at least one at the 400-level.

A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology opens doors to diverse career paths, including education, law enforcement, public relations, advertising, human services, research, and more. Graduates with a BA in psychology also frequently pursue advanced degrees in fields such as medicine, law, psychology, counseling, education, or social work.

Neuroscience Major (BS)

The Neuroscience major consists of 32 credit hours. Some courses may require prerequisites or corequisites specific to the neuroscience concentration.

The Neuroscience collaborates across various departments, including the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, and the Graduate School of Medicine/UT Medical Center.

The Neuroscience major equips students with a strong foundation in neuroscience, emphasizing hands-on research training. Students can select from specialized courses covering basic, clinical, and applied neuroscience topics to align with their career goals, be it graduate studies, health profession degrees, teaching, or research roles.

Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology

The University of Tennessee offers a Master of Arts program in Experimental Psychology. This program focuses on areas of research in Neuroscience & Behavior, Cognitive & Developmental Science, and Social Psychology. Students must complete 32 semester hours of graduate-level psychology courses and focus their research primarily on a specific area within psychology.

The Graduate School mandates that Master’s degree requirements be completed within five years of admission, with possible extensions upon departmental recommendation. Annual evaluations of students’ progress are conducted, factoring in coursework, research endeavors, and recommendations from the Student Advisory Committee. The program culminates in a thesis project.

Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology

The Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville boasts full accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1949. The program’s aim is to train competent clinical psychologists capable of contributing significantly to research, teaching, and clinical practice.

Adhering to The Tennessee Model, students receive comprehensive training in research, psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and teaching. Faculty members approach clinical work from various theoretical perspectives, including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused, and systemic orientations.

Applicants to the Clinical Program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and take the GRE general exam, although the GRE requirement is optional for admission. A minimum grade point average of 2.7 out of 4.0 or a 3.0 during the senior year of undergraduate study is also required. While a master’s degree is not mandatory for admission into the doctoral programs, applicants with master’s degrees are encouraged to apply.

Graduate Assistantships

The university offers graduate assistantships that includes a stipend, as well as tuition and fee waivers for the academic year, including the summer semester. Typically, students in the Ph.D. program commit to 20 hours of service to the department each week for nine months, starting in August and concluding in May.

These assistantships fall into three categories: Graduate Research Assistants (GRA), Graduate Teaching Assistants (TA), and Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA). GRA duties often support university research, while TAs assist course instructors, and GTAs take on primary teaching responsibilities for undergraduate courses.

UT Psychological Clinic

The University of Tennessee Psychological Clinic serves as a multidisciplinary training facility for doctoral programs, as well as the master’s program in Social Work. Master’s and doctoral students within the clinic assess and treat individuals of various age groups, including children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families, for a wide range of behavioral and mental health issues. The clinic prioritizes providing quality mental health care in a confidential and comfortable environment.

With a rich history of serving both UT students and the wider Knoxville and East Tennessee community, the Psychological Clinic embodies the university’s commitment to training, research, and service. Approximately 80% of the clinic’s services are extended to the general public, demonstrating its dedication to improving mental health care access in the region.

Psychology Department Contact Information

College of Arts and Sciences,
Austin Peay Building, 1404 Circle Dr,
Knoxville, TN 37916.
Phone: (865) 974-3328

University of Memphis

The University of Memphis, situated in Memphis, Tennessee, is a public research university founded in 1912. It boasts an enrollment of over 22,000 students and holds the classification of “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High research activity.”

This institution offers a wide array of academic programs, including 17 bachelor’s degrees in more than 250 areas of study, 54 master’s degrees, 26 doctoral degrees, 2 Education Specialist degrees, and 44 graduate certificate programs.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It has an acceptance rate of 85% and a graduation rate of 54%. As of 2023, the average annual in-state cost before any aid or financing is $26,429.

Psychology Department

As of 2023, the Psychology Department at the University of Memphis comprises around 30 full-time faculty members, 20 adjunct faculty, 5 postdoctoral fellows, 90 doctoral students, 58 master’s students, and over 700 undergraduate majors and minors. Notably, the department houses the Center for Applied Psychological Research, recognized as one of the successful centers established under the State of Tennessee’s Centers of Excellence program.

For doctoral students, the department provides four years of assistantship funding, along with a tuition waiver and health plan. Graduate students also receive office space and conference travel funds while actively participating in research during their initial year, working on individual research projects with faculty mentors.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology aims to broaden students’ understanding of various fields and improve communication and analytical skills. The program introduces students to psychology’s theoretical and empirical aspects, equips them with scientific skills, and encourages them to apply psychological principles to enhance human well-being.

Undergraduate psychology majors are expected to meet five key objectives:

  1. Describe fundamental concepts, themes, content areas, and applications of psychology.
  2. Apply basic research techniques and scientific reasoning.
  3. Embrace ethical and socially responsible behavior, acknowledging workplace diversity.
  4. Demonstrate competence in communication skills.
  5. Utilize psychological knowledge and skills for postgraduate employment, graduate school, or professional pursuits.

The Psychology Department actively involves undergraduate students in research through various channels, including recruitment via flyers, academic advising centers, in-class requests, and club meetings. Some undergraduates may secure paid assistantships, although these opportunities are not guaranteed and vary in pay rates.

Graduate Programs

The Master of Arts (M.A.) and Educational Specialist (EdS) programs are tailored for individuals seeking nondoctoral training to practice as school psychologists, mainly in public school settings. The combined MA/EdS program typically spans three years and consists of 37 semester hours for the MA degree and an additional 30 semester hours for the EdS degree, which includes an internship. Graduates of this program receive credentials to practice as school psychologists, accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program holds continuous accreditation by the APA since 1972. It focuses on research and emphasizes scientific inquiry as the foundation of clinical psychology. The program offers rigorous clinical training, with faculty supervision at the Psychological Services Center and various clinical training opportunities in the Memphis community. The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program may lead to licensure as a psychologist in Tennessee.

The Experimental Psychology Doctoral Program trains students for research and teaching careers in diverse settings. The program follows an apprenticeship model, with students and major professors developing individualized training plans. Students engage in research, culminating in an empirical Master’s Thesis, a Mid-Point Project, and an empirical Doctoral Dissertation.

The School Psychology Doctoral Program prepares students for roles in school and community settings, emphasizing scientific thinking, research design, statistics, and clinical experiences. The program entails clinical, supervision, and teaching experiences, along with a year-long internship and the completion of a research-based thesis and dissertation.

The graduate admissions process includes optional GPA scores. Applicants must list complete academic history including psychology-related coursework, provide references, and write a 1500-word essay.

Psychology Department Contact Information

Department of Psychology,
202 Psychology Building, Memphis, TN 38152-3230.
Phone: (901) 678-2145

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is a public research institution that traces its roots back to 1911 when it was established as a normal school. The university comprises eight undergraduate colleges and a graduate studies college, collectively offering over 300 degree programs across more than 35 departments.

MTSU has engaged in research collaborations with esteemed entities such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the United States Army, and the United States Marine Corps. Notably, it holds the classification of “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity.”

Before 2017, MTSU operated under the governance of the Tennessee Board of Regents as part of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee. However, governance was transferred to an institutional board of trustees in 2017.

MTSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It has an acceptance rate of 68% and a graduation rate of 46%. As of 2023, the average annual in-state cost before any aid or financing for undergraduate and graduate programs is $25,2278 and $29,166 respectively.

Psychology Department

The Psychology Department at MTSU is committed to fostering the personal and professional success of its students by providing a comprehensive academic experience both inside and outside the classroom. The department boasts a diverse and well-trained faculty with expertise in various psychology domains, eager to guide students through the study of the mind and behavior.

The department serves a substantial student body, including over 1,000 undergraduate and nearly 100 graduate students, and numerous university students fulfilling General Education requirements and minors. Classes are intentionally kept small to encourage meaningful interaction between students and faculty.

The psychology department also offers limited graduate assistantships and research assistant positions, depending on faculty grants and research opportunities.

Psychology Undergraduate Major

The Psychology major at MTSU is an excellent choice for students intrigued by the workings of the mind and human behavior. This popular major accommodates diverse career aspirations and interests. It leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The Psychology major is available both in online and in-person formats.

The Psychology major consists of 38 credits, including 24 credits of required coursework and 12 credits of elective courses. A minimum grade of C- is required in core courses. Students have the flexibility to select electives in psychology and other fields like the arts, sciences, humanities, and pre-professional curricula to align with their career goals.

The curriculum of the Psychology major is thoughtfully designed to equip students with a foundation in the scientific aspects of psychology, prepare them for graduate studies in psychology, and provide the necessary academic and technical skills for careers in health-related, business, or research settings. The major also requires two 15-hour minors, one of which may be a specialty minor in psychology, with the other coming from a non-psychology field.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology Undergraduate Major

For those interested in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology major, the program is tailored to prepare students for entry-level positions in personnel departments of businesses and industries. Additionally, it offers a foundation for those considering graduate studies in psychology, I-O psychology, or related fields.

The major requires a minimum of 9 upper division hours from the core required courses and a minimum of 6 additional psychology hours to be taken at MTSU. A minimum grade of C- is mandatory for all major coursework, making the undergraduate major a 46-hour program.

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

The M.A. program in Clinical Psychology at MTSU focuses on a comprehensive scientist-practitioner approach. The curriculum emphasizes training in clinical interviewing and psychological assessment, aligning with the certification requirements for the State of Tennessee’s Certified Psychological Assistant credential. Furthermore, students can specialize in either general clinical or health/neuropsychology. Limited graduate assistantships and research assistant positions are available within the program.

Admission requirements for the Clinical Psychology program include a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and a satisfactory score on the GRE (combined Verbal and Quantitative sections). Applicants who lack prerequisite undergraduate courses may be required to complete them alongside their graduate program. Application deadlines vary for Summer/Fall and Spring admissions, with late applications considered on a case-by-case basis.

Master of Arts (M.A) in Experimental Psychology

The Experimental Psychology Program at MTSU aims to enhance students’ research skills, statistical analysis proficiency, and core psychological principles knowledge. The program is inclusive and designed to support students from diverse backgrounds. Students collaborate with faculty experts across various psychology domains and engage in research using state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, a Behavior Analysis Specialization is available, allowing students to pursue board certification as behavior analysts.

To be considered for unconditional admission to the Experimental Psychology program, applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GRE score of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) on the combined Verbal and Quantitative sections. Conditional admission may be granted to other students. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in core areas of experimental psychology, which can be achieved through undergraduate or graduate coursework.

Master of Arts (M.A) in Quantitative Psychology

The M.A. program in Quantitative Psychology equips students for careers as statisticians, psychometricians, data analysts, and quantitative psychologists. Graduates are prepared to conduct research, analyze empirical data, and provide statistical consulting services in various sectors, including education, business, and government.

Admission to the program involves evaluation by both the graduate college and the quantitative psychology program. Applicants must meet specific criteria, including a bachelor’s degree, a satisfactory GPA, and a minimum GRE score.

Master of Art (M.A) and Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) in School Psychology

The School Psychology program at MTSU offers a combined M.A. and Ed.S. program leading to licensure as a school psychologist in Tennessee. The curriculum comprises 65 credit hours, including on-campus courses, school-based practica, and a year-long capstone internship. Graduates are trained to provide evidence-based assessment, consultation, and intervention services in educational settings.

MTSU’s School Psychology program is approved by NASP and offers an option for an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) specialization.

Upon completing the program, students earn both a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology and a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in School Psychology. Graduates find employment opportunities in various educational settings and related fields, including public schools, clinics, universities, community agencies, and private practice.

Master of Art (M.A) in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

MTSU’s I-O (Industrial-Organizational) Psychology program stands out for its combination of rigorous academic education and practical, real-world experience. The program spans two years and requires in-person attendance. Various funding options, including graduate assistantships and paid internships, are available to students.

The cohort model fosters a close-knit learning community, with small class sizes promoting interactive and engaging instruction. The curriculum aligns with the training guidelines of reputable organizations in the field, preparing students for careers in human resource departments, consulting firms, or further studies in I-O psychology.

Applicants to the I-O program must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or higher, a minimum GRE score of 141 (current scale) or 450 (former scale) on the GRE quantitative measure, and a foundation of 15 semester hours in psychology classes.

Psychology Department Contact Information

Suite 240, Academic Classroom Building (ACB), MTSU,
1301 E. Main St. Murfreesboro, TN 37132.
Phone: (615) 898-2706

Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University, situated in Nashville, Tennessee, is a private educational institution with affiliations to the Churches of Christ. The campus is positioned in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, nestled between Belmont Boulevard in the west and Granny White Pike in the east.  In addition to its primary campus, Lipscomb University operates a satellite location known as “Spark” in Downtown Nashville, serving the needs of the business community.

Lipscomb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It has an acceptance rate of 74% and a graduation rate of 67%. As of 2023, the average annual in-state cost before any aid or financing for undergraduate programs is $53,628.

Psychology Department

The psychology department at Lipscomb University is committed to providing a student-centered environment, boasting faculty members renowned for their excellence in teaching and advising. Students actively engage in internship experiences, collaborate with faculty on psychological research, participate in local conferences to present their research, and take part in the activities of the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology or the Chi Sigma Iota National Honor Society in Counseling.

The department offers undergraduate programs in Psychology, available in both traditional and online formats, as well as Family Science. Additionally, a graduate program is offered, encompassing a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, an M.S. in Psychology, and a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Lipscomb’s undergraduate programs in psychology and family science equip students to comprehend the human condition and serve individuals and families in achieving personal and relational well-being. Students receive guidance from experienced faculty members who have received awards for their contributions. Graduates can pursue careers as clinicians or apply their broad-based skills in various fields.

The graduate programs in clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and psychology are tailored for aspiring professionals aiming to become licensed counselors or therapists or pursue advanced degrees in the field. Rooted in faith and best practices, these master’s programs provide students with the tools to assist individuals facing mental or relational challenges.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology

The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Psychology program offers foundational content in psychology while nurturing scientific thinking and enhancing communication and interpersonal skills. The curriculum encompasses coursework on behavior, cognition, social influences, as well as applied psychology in practical settings. Graduates emerge with a robust knowledge base and interpersonal skills applicable to diverse career paths, including graduate school or employment in various sectors.

Faculty advisors offer guidance on additional courses based on students’ aspirations, whether for graduate school or employment. Recent graduates have gained acceptance into graduate programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work, Law, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Business Administration.

The program emphasizes competency in six key areas for effective leadership: communication, drive and energy, influence, organizing and planning, problem solving and decision making, and relationship building. Combining these skills with a scientific analysis of human development, cognition, and behavior enhances students’ versatility and appeal to diverse industries. Moreover, the program serves as a foundation for future graduate studies in fields such as advertising, communication, education, psychology, or social work.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Family Science

The Bachelor of Science in Family Science program acknowledges the central role of families in society. With increasing complexity and vulnerability of some families to external and societal influences, the academic field of family science gains popularity among students and various organizations. Lipscomb’s Family Science program aligns with the requirements set by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).

This program equips students with strong foundations for graduate work and versatile career prospects. Graduates are prepared to serve families in a variety of settings, addressing their unique challenges.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology

The 39-credit Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology program at Lipscomb allows students to develop their identity as psychological researchers while acquiring clinical knowledge. The program offers a range of electives and supports individualized thesis projects, enabling students to tailor their education to specific clinical and research interests. Graduates often receive acceptances into prestigious Ph.D. programs or apply their knowledge to excel in fields such as human resources, public relations, and law enforcement.

Students work closely with faculty thesis advisors throughout the thesis process, ensuring a successful research experience. The program fosters a community of like-minded students through small class sizes, and opportunities for competitive internships and research assistantships enhance students’ career prospects.

The program encourages students to engage in research projects, including reviewing psychological literature, identifying gaps in current knowledge, designing studies, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing results for presentation and publication. This research experience aligns with the expectations of doctoral programs in psychology.

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The 61-credit Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Lipscomb equips students with essential skills to support individuals on their mental health journeys. It emphasizes ethical competence, disposition development (such as empathy), personal and professional growth, and interprofessional collaboration. The program offers a generalist track as well as specializations in play therapy and addiction, preparing students for various counseling fields.

Small class sizes ensure personalized guidance, and the curriculum aligns with licensure expectations, boasting a 100 percent pass rate. Lipscomb’s program is the first faith-based, CACREP accredited counseling program in Tennessee.

Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy

The 60-credit Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Lipscomb is dedicated to preparing students with academic and clinical training grounded in science. Graduates are equipped to work with individuals, couples, families, and social systems from diverse backgrounds. The program offers COAMFTE accreditation and specialized experiences, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for licensure and rapid employment.

Through rigorous coursework and a minimum of 300 hours of clinical training, the program prepares students for the MFT licensing exams. This program be completed in two years through a cohort format, following a specific course sequence.

Psychology Department Contact Information

Department of Psychology, Counseling & Family Science,
One University Park Dr, Nashville, TN, 37204.
Phone: (615) 966-5237

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.