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Online Master's Degree Programs in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee is home to numerous colleges and universities that offer students who hold a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to earn their master’s degree online. Most of Tennessee’s public universities and many of the private, non-profit schools in the state have online programs that allow students to pursue a master’s degree without having to attend any campus-based classes or with only a limited number of on-campus requirements.

There are an even larger number of out-of-state schools that offer online master’s programs that are authorized to enroll students who reside in Tennessee. This page provides details about online master’s programs offered by Tennessee schools and schools located in neighboring and regional states in many common areas of study, including business, nursing, social work, education, and counseling.

Schools in Tennessee That Offer Online Master’s Programs

There are two public systems of higher education administered by the state in Tennessee: the University of Tennessee System (UT System); and the Tennessee Board of Regents. The University of Tennessee, which is the largest state school based on enrollment data collected by the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), has its main campus is Knoxville, additional campuses in Chattanooga and Martin, a Health Science Center in Memphis, and a Space Institute in Tullahoma. The Tennessee Board of Regents administers the College System of Tennessee, which includes community colleges, colleges of applied technology, and state universities located throughout the state. Tennessee State University in Nashville, Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, and Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville are among the larger graduate institutions that are part of the Tennessee Board of Regents system.

Most of Tennessee’s state universities offer online master’s programs in various fields and disciplines. The University of Tennessee centralizes most of its online offerings through Vols Online, which aggregates online and hybrid master’s programs offered through the university’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Communication and Information Sciences; Education, Health, and Human Services; Business; Engineering; and Social Work. The College System of Tennessee maintains TN eCampus, an online resource that includes a searchable database of online degree programs offered by schools administered by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The table below lists the ten largest state schools in Tennessee along with the location of their main campus and whether or not they offer online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
The University of TennesseeKnoxvilleYes
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)MurfreesboroYes
University of MemphisMemphisYes
East Tennessee State University (ETSU)Johnson CityYes
The University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaChattanoogaYes
Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech)CookevilleYes
Austin Peay State University (APSU)ClarksvilleYes
Tennessee State University (TSU)NashvilleYes
The University of Tennessee at MartinMartinYes
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC)MemphisYes

In addition to public universities that offer online master’s programs, there are many private, non-profit colleges and universities in Tennessee that are active in offering online programs, including Vanderbilt University in Nashville, which offers a variety of online master’s programs through the Peabody College of Education and Human Development’s Peabody Online. The table below lists the ten largest private, non-profit universities in Tennessee, the location of each school’s main campus, and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleYes
Belmont UniversityNashvilleNo
Bethel UniversityMcKenzieYes
Lee UniversityClevelandYes
Lincoln Memorial UniversityHarrogateYes
Lipscomb UniversityNashvilleYes
Trevecca Nazarene UniversityNashvilleYes
Union UniversityJacksonYes
Southern Adventist UniversityCollegedaleYes
Carson-Newman UniversityJefferson CityYes

Regional Out-of-State Schools That Offer Online Master’s Programs

One of the advantages of online programs is that they offer students who would prefer not to relocate or commute in order to attend classes an alternative to traditional, campus-based degree programs. Tennessee residents who would like to remain in Tennessee while earning a master’s degree can explore the wide array of programs offered by out-of-state schools, including online master’s programs offered by schools in regional states. Moorhead State University in the neighboring Kentucky is one such school. Among the online graduate programs offered by Moorhead State are online master’s programs in fields such as education, communication, counseling, English, sociology, public administration, and engineering management.

Missouri State University, a public university located in Springfield, is another school in a state bordering Tennessee that offers online master’s programs. Among the programs offered by Missouri State Online are online master’s programs in business administration (MBA), communication, cybersecurity, elementary education, special education, and project management.

Georgia Southern University (GA Southern) and North Carolina State University (NC State) are two additional state schools in the Tennessee region that offer online master’s programs. GA Southern, which is located in Statesboro, offers online programs through its Parker College of Business, College of Education, Waters College of Health Professions, College of Arts and Humanities, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. Among the online master’s programs offered by GA Southern are master’s in accounting, business administration (MBA), teaching, and nursing (MSN) programs. NC State in Raleigh offers a broad range of master’s programs online in business, engineering, science, counseling, and agricultural fields.

Finally, Tennessee residents may be interested in the online master’s programs available through Maryville University, a private, non-profit school located in St. Louis, MO. Maryville’s online offerings include master’s programs in accounting, business administration (MBA), business analytics, cybersecurity, data science, health administration (MHA), nursing (MSN), software development, and strategic communication.

The 15 Most Common Fields for Master’s Degree Studies in Tennessee

Using recent IPEDS data on the number of students graduating from different types of degree programs offered by schools in Tennessee, OnlineEducation.com has identified the state’s 15 most common fields of study at the master’s level. These fields are listed below, beginning with the field in which the largest number of students received master’s degrees from schools in Tennessee.

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
  3. Curriculum and Instruction
  4. Social Work
  5. Education
  6. Accounting
  7. Educational Leadership and Administration
  8. Physician Assistant
  9. Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  10. Counseling Psychology
  11. Public Health
  12. Divinity/Ministry
  13. Family Practice Nurse/Nursing
  14. Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  15. Teacher Education and Professional Development

Each of the sections below provides details and information on schools in Tennessee and regional states that offer online master’s programs in many of the fields listed above.

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Programs in Tennessee

Several of Tennessee’s publicly funded state schools offer online MBA programs, including Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), the University of Memphis, Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech), and the University of Tennessee at Martin. MTSU’s online Flex MBA is offered through the university’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business and has a general business administration curriculum and two optional concentrations: Healthcare Management; and Music Business. The MTSU program can be completed in two to three years of part-time enrollment. The online MBA program offered by the University of Memphis has a general business administration curriculum and a two- to three-year completion time. Tennessee Tech’s online MBA program has an accounting concentration that requires students to hold an undergraduate degree in accounting or the equivalent, or to complete a seven-course bridge program prior to enrolling in the program’s graduate accounting courses. And the University of Tennessee at Martin’s online MBA program is designed for students who have two or more years of professional experience and has an 18-month completion time.

There are also several private universities in Tennessee that have online MBA programs. Bethel University offers an online MBA program with concentrations in: Finance; Management; Healthcare Administration; and Strategy and Execution. Lee University has a flexible MBA program that allows students to take courses online or on campus and that has a two-year completion plan. Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) offers an MBA program that can be completed entirely online or through a mix of online and on-campus courses. The LMU MBA program has five curriculum options: General Business; Management; Marketing; Sport Management; Healthcare Administration; and Operations Management. Trevecca Nazarene University offers an online MBA program that has six curricular tracks: Information Technology; Healthcare Administration; Project Management; Management and Leadership; and Human Resources. And Carson-Newman University has an online MBA that features specializations in: Human Resources; Leadership; Marketing; Operations Management; and Sports Management.

Kentucky’s Moorhead State University, Georgia Southern University (GA Southern), and Missouri State University offer three additional options for earning an MBA degree online that Tennessee residents may want to explore. Moorhead State’s program has a general business curriculum and a Health Systems Management concentration. GA Southern has a WebMBA program that requires students to complete several undergraduate prerequisites (statistics, microeconomics, financial accounting, and finance) prior to starting the graduate curriculum. And Missouri State offers an online MBA program that gives students the option of earning a graduate certificate as part of their degree. The program has certificates in: Computer Information Systems; Cybersecurity; Entrepreneurship; Finance; Financial Analysis; International Business; Leadership; Management; and Marketing.

Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Programs in Tennessee

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is one of several public universities in Tennessee that offer online MSN programs. Through MTSU’s School of Nursing, Registered Nurses (RNs) with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) degree can pursue a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) MSN specialization online as full-time or part-time students. RNs who hold a BSN degree can also earn an MSN with an FNP specialization online through the University of Memphis, which also offers online MSN programs in Nursing Education and Nurse Executive Leadership.

Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU) has an online MSN program with four concentrations: FNP; Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP); Nursing Administration; and Nursing Education. In addition to RNs who hold a BSN degree, the ETSU program accepts RNs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees provided they complete a four-course bridge program. And Austin Peay State University (APSU) has an online MSN program with Nursing Education and FNP specializations. RNs who hold a BSN degree are eligible for the APSU program.

Bethel University, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), Union University, and Carson-Newman University are four private, non-profit schools in Tennessee that offer online MSN programs. Bethel has an online MSN program with a Nurse-Midwifery specialization that requires students to attend an annual one-week, on-campus session and that can be completed in two to three years. The program features a bridge program for RNs who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. LMU’s Caylor School of Nursing has several MSN specialization programs, including a Nursing Administration program that is offered in an online format. The program features tracks for BSN graduates and for RNs with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). Union University also has tracks for BSN and ADN program graduates who want to earn an MSN in Nursing Administration or Nursing Education online. And Carson-Newman offers an online MSN program with an FNP specialization that requires students to attend a three-day campus residency and that has tracks for BSN and ADN graduates.

RNs in Tennessee may also want to consider several online MSN programs offered by schools in neighboring states, including the programs offered by Moorhead State University in Kentucky, Georgia Southern University (GA Southern) in Georgia, and Maryville University in Missouri. Moorhead State has an online FNP MSN program for RNs who hold a BSN degree. The program is designed to be completed in three years. The Waters College of Health Professions at GA Southern has an online MSN program with specializations in Chronic Care Management and Nursing Education. In addition to holding a BSN degree, GA Southern requires students to obtain RN licensure in Georgia prior to beginning the program. And Maryville University’s online MSN program offers training in five Nurse Practitioner (NP) specializations: FNP; PMHNP; Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP (AGACNP); Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP (AGPCNP); and Pediatric NP (PNP).

Note: There are several important factors to consider prior to applying to online MSN programs, particularly to programs offered by out-of-state schools. Most online MSN programs require students to complete in-person practicums and/or clinical internships at sites approved by the program. Applicants to out-of-state programs should contact a program administrator to ensure a convenient site can be found. Applicants to MSN programs offered by out-of-state schools who intend to apply for licensure in an advanced practice (APRN) specialization after earning their degree may also want to research Tennessee’s nursing licensing requirements to ensure the program they choose will meet these requirements, as these requirements vary by state.

Online Master’s in Education Programs in Tennessee

There are numerous schools offering many different types of online master’s programs in education and teaching specializations in Tennessee. The University of Tennessee, for example, has an online Master of Science (MS) in Educational Technology program and an online MS in Educational Psychology program with concentrations in Adult Education and Applied Education Psychology. Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU) has an online Master of Arts (MA) program in Early Childhood Education, as well as Master of Education (MEd) programs in four specializations: Educational Leadership; Student Personnel Leadership; Reading (K-12); and School Librarianship (K-12). And Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech) offers an online Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning MEd program and an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program.

The University of Memphis has several types of online master’s programs for teachers and educators, including online MS programs in four specializations: Educational Research; Instructional Design and Technology; School Librarian Information Specialist; and Literacy. The University of Memphis also has online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs in Secondary Education and Special Education, and an online MS in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program. Austin Peay State University (APSU) also has several types of programs: an online Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in Curriculum and Instruction program; an online MAE Reading Specialist Licensure program; and an online MAE in Educational Leadership program. And the University of Tennessee at Martin has online Master of Science in Education (MSE) programs in the following specializations: Curriculum & Instruction; Literacy Education; Higher Education Leadership; Instructional Leadership; and Special Education. For unlicensed teachers, the University of Tennessee at Martin offers an online MSE Initial Licensure program with Elementary, Secondary, and Special Education tracks.

In addition to public universities offering online master’s programs in teaching and education, there are numerous private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Tennessee that offer these types of programs online. Bethel University has a MAE K-12 program with six concentrations: Educational Leadership; ENVoY Classroom Management Strategies; International Baccalaureate; Special Education; Technology for Educators; and Work Based Learning. Lincoln Memorial University has an online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program with an Instructional Leadership licensure track and an Educational Leadership non-licensure track. And Trevecca Nazarene University has an online MS in Instructional Design and Technology program, as well as online MEd programs in Educational Leadership and English as a Second Language (ESOL).

Union University, Southern Adventist University, and Carson-Newman University also offer online master’s programs in education fields. Union has an online MEd program with three specializations: Teaching and Learning; Instructional Leadership; and Teacher Leadership. Southern Adventist offers an online MSE in Instructional Leadership program. And Carson-Newman has online MEd programs in six specializations: Curriculum and Instruction; Coaching; Reading Specialist; Special Education; Teaching ESL; and Educational Leadership.

There are two public universities in the neighboring state of Virginia that offer online master’s programs for teachers and educators. George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax offers an online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program with an Assistive Technology concentration and a Blended and Online Learning in Schools concentration. GMU also has an online MEd in Special Education program and an online MEd in Education Leadership program with an Independent School Leadership concentration. Old Dominion University (ODU), which is located in Norfolk, has online MS in Education programs with specializations in: Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Special Education; Educational Leadership (K-12); Instructional Design and Technology; Reading Education; STEM Education; Mathematic Specialist (Elementary School); and School Librarianship.

Note: Some online master’s in teaching and education programs require the completion of student teaching and other types of field experiences at schools and other educational sites approved by the program. Tennessee residents who are considering programs offered by out-of-state schools should contact program administrators regarding these types of site-based, in-person requirements prior to submitting applications. Tennessee residents who intend to apply for a teaching license after completing an online master’s program should also be aware that licensure requirements vary by state. Prior to applying to an out-of-state online master’s program that may lead to licensure, Tennessee residents should familiarize themselves with the state’s licensure requirements.

Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Tennessee

There are several options for Tennessee residents interested in earning a master’s degree in social work through an online program offered by a school in the state. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville offers an online Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program that is equivalent to an MSW program and that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program has a clinical track and a macro practice track, as well as several enrollment tracks. Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the CSWE may be eligible for the Advanced Standing track, which can be completed in as few as 12 months of full-time enrollment or 18 to 24 months of part-time enrollment. Traditional students can opt for full-time (two years) or part-time (three to four years) enrollment.

The University of Memphis offers an online Advanced Standing MSW program for qualified graduates from CSWE-accredited BSW programs. The University of Memphis program has two clinical specializations: Advanced Practice with Children, Youth, and Families; and Advanced Practice with Adults and Families. It can be completed in one to two years, depending on how many credits are earned per semester. And Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Human Services program that provides graduate training in social service program administration; grant writing; and community advocacy. However, the MS in Human Services program is not designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice or for licensure in clinical social work.

Tennessee residents who are interested in exploring out-of-state options for earning a master’s in social work degree online may want to consider the University of Louisville in Kentucky, which offers an online MSSW program. The program features five concentrations: Psychosocial Oncology; Mental Health; Alcohol and Drug Counseling; Military Social Work; and Gerontology. It has a traditional track that can be completed in two to three years and an Advanced Standing track that takes one to two years to complete. And Campbellsville University, which is also located in Kentucky, has an online MSW program with an advanced generalist curriculum and an average completion time of two years. The Campbellsville program has an Advanced Standing track that can be completed in one year.

Note: Online MSW programs require students to complete field education placements in person at sites approved by the program. Applicants to out-of-state programs should take this into account and may want to contact a program administrator prior to initiating the application process. For Tennessee residents who intend to apply for clinical social work licensure, researching the state’s licensure requirements may also be advisable, as licensure requirements for clinical social workers vary by state.

Online Master’s in Accounting Programs in Tennessee

In addition to online MBA programs that offer an accounting specialization, there are also several schools in Tennessee and surrounding states that offer online master’s program in accounting. These programs provide advanced training and instruction in accounting and may help prepare students to qualify for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech) offers an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that has a one-year full-time track and a two-year part-time track. The program incorporates two required campus residency sessions. Georgia Southern University has an online MAcc (WebMAcc) program that is designed to be completed in two years of part-time enrollment by students who hold an undergraduate degree in accounting. Students who have a non-accounting bachelor’s degree must complete seven undergraduate prerequisite courses prior to admission.

The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill offers an online MAcc program with a flexible enrollment policy that allows students to take between one and three years to complete the program requirements. The program does not require an undergraduate degree in accounting and gives students the option of incorporating an internship at an accounting firm, which may help fulfill eligibility requirements for CPA licensure. And the Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has an online MAcc program with an 18-month completion time for students who hold an undergraduate degree in accounting. Students who do not have a bachelor’s in accounting degree can enroll in UAB’s online MAcc program after successfully completing nine undergraduate course prerequisites.

Note: Eligibility requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA exam and apply for CPA licensure vary by state. While a master’s degree in accounting is not typically required for CPA licensure, earning a master’s in accounting degree can be a pathway to qualifying for licensure. Tennessee residents who are considering earning a master’s in accounting degree online through a program offered by an out-of-state school should research CPA eligibility requirements carefully prior to submitting an application in order to ensure the program will provide the training required to qualify for CPA licensure.

Online Master’s in School and Mental Health Counseling Programs in Tennessee

Among the schools in Tennessee that have master’s in counseling programs, the University of Tennessee at Martin and Vanderbilt University are two that offer programs online. The University of Tennessee at Martin has an online Master of Science in Education (MSE) program with two counseling specializations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; and School Counseling. The program requires students to attend a three-day campus residence and to complete two 300-hour internships at a clinical or school counseling site approved by the program. Students can complete the University of Tennessee at Martin’s online MSE in Counseling program in roughly two years.

Vanderbilt University offers an online Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling program with a curriculum designed to prepare students for counseling roles in K-12 schools. The program requires students to attend two campus residency sessions and to complete three internships. Most students are able to graduate from the Vanderbilt program in two to three years.

Tennessee residents may want to explore the options for earning a master’s degree in counseling online through out-of-state schools, including two in the Tennessee region. North Carolina State University (NC State) has an online MEd in Counseling program that has three specialization tracks: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling; and College Counseling and Student Development. All three specializations require students to complete 600 internship hours and are designed to prepare graduates for licensure. Moorhead State University in Kentucky offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in School Counseling program that can be completed in two years. The program incorporates a school counseling practicum.

Note: Online master’s in clinical and school counseling programs typically require students to complete 600 or more hours of clinical or school-based internships in person at sites approved by the program. Tennessee residents who are considering online master’s in counseling programs offered by out-of-state schools should contact program administrators regarding potential internship sites prior to submitting applications. Tennessee residents should also research licensure requirements for clinical and school counseling in Tennessee. Counseling licensure policies vary by state, so it is advisable to compare program curricula with licensure requirements prior to applying to out-of-state programs.

Online Master’s in Psychology Programs in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the University of Memphis, and Austin Peay State University (APSU) are three schools in Tennessee that offer online master’s in psychology programs. The Educational Psychology & Counseling Department at the University of Tennessee has an online Master of Science (MS) in Educational Psychology program that gives students the option of two concentrations: Adult Education; and Applied Educational Psychology. The University of Memphis also offers an MS in Educational Psychology program that is designed for teachers and educators. APSU has an online MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology that aligns with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. The program has a thesis track and a track that culminates with a comprehensive exam.

The University of Alabama, the University of Georgia, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) are three schools in nearby states that offer online master’s in psychology programs. Through Bama By Distance, the University of Alabama offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Educational Psychology program with a Learning and Assessment concentration. The University of Georgia has an online Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Psychology program with an Applied Cognition & Development focus. And Missouri S&T offers an online MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program that has a thesis option and a non-thesis track, and that gives students the options of earning certificates in two specializations: Applied Workplace Psychology; and Statistical Methods in Psychology.

Online Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Programs in Tennessee

The University of Memphis offers an online MPH program that allows students to pursue specializations in five areas of public health: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; Environmental Health; Health Systems Management; and Social and Behavioral Sciences. In addition, the University of Memphis has an online Master of Science (MS) in Health Studies program with a Health Promotion specialization that may be of interest to students who want to pursue a career in public health, health education, or health policy. And Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers an online MPH program with three concentrations: Community Health; Epidemiology; and Public Health Administration. All three concentrations have field experience and capstone project requirements.

Tennessee residents may want to explore the online MPH program offered by the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. The UNC program has four concentrations: Leadership in Practice; Health Policy; Nutrition; and Registered Dietitian (RD). The RD concentration is designed to prepare students to become RDs; applicants to the MPH/RD program must complete undergraduate prerequisites in chemistry, biochemistry, human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, human nutrition, psychology, and sociology or anthropology. The other concentrations do not have specific undergraduate prerequisites. Western Kentucky University (WKU) is another out-of-state school in the Tennessee region that has an online MPH program. The WKU program has a general public health curriculum that requires the completion of 100 hours of applied practice experience at an agency or site approved by the program.

Note: Some online MPH programs require students to complete fieldwork internships at sites approved by the program. It is thus advisable to research online programs carefully to determine whether a program requires on-site experiences and where students are expected to complete field placements, particularly if the program is offered by a school located outside of Tennessee.

Online Master’s in Biology Programs in Tennessee

Currently, there are no fully online master’s in biology programs offered by schools in Tennessee. However, there are several types of online master’s in biology programs offered by schools in the neighboring states of Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri, and Virginia. Western Kentucky University (WKU) has a Master of Science (MS) in Biology program that it offers online. The program is designed primarily for students whose undergraduate major was in biology, however applicants who have an undergraduate degree in a related field may be accepted into the program. The University of West Alabama (UWA) offers an online MS in Conservation Biology program that does not require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in biology. The University of Missouri offers an MS in Biological Engineering program through Mizzou Online that is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics). And Virginia’s George Mason University (GMU) has an online MS in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program that requires applicants to have an undergraduate degree in a science, mathematics, engineering, or computer science field.