10 Best Accredited BSN Programs in Tennessee – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

It’s a fact that graduates of BSN programs in Tennessee make higher salaries than graduates of ADN or hospital diploma programs. On average, BSN-prepared registered nurses in the Volunteer State earn $73,790 a year. BSN-prepared RNs in Tennessee have an easier time finding jobs and advancing their careers, too, because employers prefer hiring them. Whether you’re looking for a full-time, traditional campus immersion experience or an online course that you can fit your work and family obligations around, there are BSN programs in Tennessee that can accommodate your preference. Keep reading to learn more about the 10 best BSN programs in Tennessee for 2024.



Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 10 best BSN programs in Tennessee (Online & Campus).

1) University of TN - Chattanooga, Chattanooga

The School of Nursing at the University of TN – Chattanooga has a reputation for celebrating innovation and diversity within the nursing profession. Students can apply to the upper-division nursing track once they have completed prerequisites with a grade of C or higher. Applications to the upper division track must be submitted by April 11 for fall consideration and by October 1 for spring consideration. Applicants are also required to answer essay questions and to sit for an interview with a BSN-qualified nurse.

The BSN program maintains a low student to teacher ratio so that students have the chance to benefit from personalized attention. At each level of the nursing curriculum, students will have the opportunity to practice new clinical skills in a sophisticated simulation lab. Actual clinical rotations take place at hospitals throughout the Chattanooga metropolitan area, including the level one trauma center at Erlanger Hospital.

2) Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville

Tennessee Technological University’s Whitson-Hester School of Nursing emphasizes experiential learning with five full semesters of clinical rotation at a variety of acute care facilities throughout middle and eastern Tennessee. Lower-division nursing students can finish the prerequisite coursework either at Tennessee Technological University or at one of the two-year nursing schools in TN, but they will need to seek admission into the upper division curriculum at the end of their freshman year.

Clinical rotations focus on specialties like critical care, mental health, medical/surgical nursing and pediatrics, readying students for careers in these fields. The BSN program is known for its commitment to innovative and modern health care technology, and for preparing students to look at ways to incorporate evidence-based practice into a global health framework.

3) University of TN - Knoxville, Knoxville

The College of Nursing at the University of TN – Knoxville admits applicants in their freshman year and even provides these students with a Freshman Nursing Living and Learning community right on campus. Students spend their first two years taking general education and science requirements before beginning specialized nursing coursework at the beginning of their junior year. The program emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach and focuses on the importance of critical thinking as well as management principles and clinical skills.

The College of Nursing has gone to great lengths to provide aspiring nurses with the types of resources that will enhance their learning experiences. On campus you will find a cutting-edge clinical practice laboratory, a human patient simulator and technology-enhanced classrooms. Students also have multiple opportunities to refine their skills through placements in the many major hospitals and community clinics throughout the area.

4) Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at Lincoln Memorial University consists of 62 credits of general education classes and 60 hours of nursing coursework. The nursing program at Harrogate, the University’s main campus, and the nursing program at Knoxville both begin in the fall. Prior to admission into the program, students must undergo a 10-panel-chain-of-custody urine drug screen.

The University believes in the importance of service as exemplified by the life of Abraham Lincoln, and this belief is imbued within the educational opportunities it offers aspiring nurses. This nursing program uses the Roy Adaptation Model (RAM) as the conceptual framework for the nursing education it delivers. The RAM model focuses on the ways that changes in health status mirror stimuli and stresses in the surrounding environment. Students learn nursing interventions that promote positive adaptations.

5) Union University, Jackson

Union University is a Christian school that emphasizes a Christian perspective toward nursing. Union University’s School of Nursing offers a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree that’s designed to be completed in eight semesters. Lower division students take 65 hours of core credits that include liberal arts, Christian studies and sciences; then, as upper division students, they move on to intensive nursing coursework. They will need to submit a Request to Progress to Nursing by March 1 if they hope to begin nursing coursework in the fall of the coming year.

Students begin learning clinical skills in state-of-the-art simulation labs before moving on to clinical placements in hospitals and health care agencies throughout the western part of Tennessee. These facilities include Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and Western Mental Health Institute as well as long-term care facilities, public and regional health departments, and home health care agencies.

6) Austin Peay State University, Clarksville

Austin Peay State University’s School of Nursing maintains a close relationship with the U.S. Army, thereby educating nurses who go on to practice in practically every corner of the world. Students may be accepted in either the fall or the spring semester; the application deadline for fall is May 1 while the application deadline for spring is September 1. Three semesters of prerequisite classes with a grade of C or higher are required before students can begin taking nursing classes. Nursing program candidates are also required to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and pass the criminal background and drug screen checks.

Austin Peay State University’s School of Nursing expects graduates of its program to have a working understanding of healthcare policy, finance, and regulatory environments as well as clinical skills. The school offers a degree of flexibility with regard to clinical placements: In addition to clinical rotations throughout Clarksville and the surrounding areas, BSN clinical experiences can be scheduled at facilities closer to students’ actual homes so long as the facility is approved by nursing faculty, and the facility and the University draw up a contract.

7) University of TN - Martin, Martin

The BSN program at University of TN – Martin begins specific nursing-related classes at the beginning of the sophomore year. The curriculum consists of 52 semester hours of general education and elective courses, and 71 hours of nursing content. Application deadline for fall admission is February 15; to qualify for consideration, students must submit any relevant high school or college transcripts, scores from the Kaplan Nursing exam and a personal statement between 250 and 500 words describing why they want to pursue nursing as a career.

Before graduation, students will complete more than 900 hours of hands-on clinical experiences at hospitals and other health care facilities in all parts of Tennessee, including Tennova Hospital Martin, Tennova Hospital Regional Jackson, Jackson Madison County General Hospital and Western Mental Health Institute. The University of TN – Martin’s nursing baccalaureate program prides itself on emphasizing critical thinking skills and effective problem-solving techniques.

8) Bethel University, Mckenzie

Bethel University’s BSN curriculum emphasizes the role that nurses play in maintaining wellness as well as the traditional part they play in healing injuries and illnesses. Bethel University was founded as a Baptist seminary, and its educational programs emphasize the Christian perspective. Students typically apply to the nursing major while they are completing their general education requirements; intensive nursing classes begin in the fall of their junior year. Applications into the nursing major are due on March 1 for the semester beginning the following fall.

Students begin learning nursing skills in a simulated health care facility environment. Once they have developed skills, they move out into the community to practice at hospitals and other acute care settings under the supervision of their instructors. The student to staff ratio at the Bethel University Department of Nursing is 17:1.

9) Carson Newman University, Jefferson City

Carson Newman University is one of the renowned nursing school in TN that offers a traditional BSN program. Aspiring nurses take eight semesters of classes, and prerequisites include coursework in the liberal arts as well as in science. Clinical nursing courses begin in the spring of sophomore year.

For admission into the program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.75 or higher and pass a criminal background check. Students must also pass standardized, comprehensive examinations every semester once they begin taking intensive nursing-related classes to prove their mastery of the coursework. Carson Newman maintains strict absentee and tardiness policies for both classes and clinical instruction, and repeated absences may lead to reductions in course grades or even in clinical experience failure.

10) East Tennessee State University, Johnson City

The nursing program at East Tennessee State University follows the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing track. Freshmen who are admitted to the University as pre-nursing majors are not guaranteed admission into the major. To qualify, students must maintain a GPA of 2.6 or higher in their prerequisites and take the ATI Nursing Test. Application deadlines are October 1 for the program that begins in the spring semester, February 1 for summer semester and June 1 for the fall semester.

A criminal background check is required before students will be allowed to participate in clinical rotations. Clinical rotations take place in a variety of health care settings, including Johnson City Community Health Center and the University Health Center. Students are allowed to request rotations within specialties that particularly interest them.

East Tennessee State University’s Center for Nursing Research is known nationwide for the advances it’s helped make possible in the field of rural health care delivery. Nursing students are invited to collaborate with the Center.


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