4 Best Medical Schools in Tennessee

Not just a chief destination for country music lovers, the state of Tennessee is dominated by the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, a rich history and a tradition of agriculture and manufacturing. There are lots of tourism destinations beyond Nashville, such as Memphis, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but also the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. However, in terms of education, Tennessee also makes a great stop for those looking for medical schools. In fact, one of the leading universities in the US is located there – Vanderbilt University.

Let’s have a look at the top medical schools in Tennessee.

Helpful Posts

Related Scholarships

Best Medical Schools in Tennessee

1. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

  • Website
  • Admissions
  • Admission Stats:
    • Average GPA: 3.9
    • Average MCAT: 520
    • Acceptance Rates: 1.6% (enrolled vs. applications in 2020)

Vanderbilt University in Nashville has the best medical school in Tennessee. It benefits from an excellent urban location offering a great student life, amazing research facilities and, in the case of the medical school, access to teaching hospitals and clinics.

The School of Medicine has launched what they call Curriculum 2.0 for the MD program – an agile system built for lifelong learning. They are looking to prepare students on how to learn rather than teaching static concepts, so that they can match the way medical care is rapidly evolving in line with technological and social changes. Additionally, students can customize their curriculum during the program to a large extent. Based on experience, career interests and personal curiosities, there are numerous elective courses which can be built into the MD program.

Vanderbilt is at the heart of a huge health network called the Vanderbilt Health Affiliation Network, linked with over 60 hospitals and 5,000 clinicians across the state as well as five neighboring states.

As for all top universities with medical schools, students following the MD program can also obtain a dual MD/PhD degree or pair up with other parts of Vanderbilt University to obtain an MD/MBA, MD/JD etc.

2. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center – College of Medicine

  • Website
  • Admissions
  • Admission Stats:
    • Average GPA: 3.79
    • Average MCAT: 510
    • Acceptance Rates: 11.9% (offers of admission vs applicants)

As the oldest public medical school in Tennessee, the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee is one of six graduate schools at the university and has a specific focus on training medical professionals for the state’s hospitals and clinics primarily. It is based in Memphis.

The College works with numerous teaching hospitals including in Memphis but also Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. There are also a number of medical units affiliated with the Memphis Medical District, of which the Health Science Center at the university forms the backbone.

The College of Medicine’s research expertise is in the realms of connective tissue diseases, genomics and bioinformatics, and vascular biology. This can be seen from their research centers and laboratories. An excellent way to pursue research while enrolled at the University of Tennessee is through the Medical Student Research Fellowship sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This fellowship is available for the summer after the first year of the MD program.

Other highlights of the University of Tennessee include the presence of Nobel Prize winners in medicine on the faculty and administration: Peter C. Doherty, winner in 1996, is an adjunct faculty member, while Francis M. Fesmire won the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2006 and is the Clinical Research Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at the College of Medicine in Chattanooga.

3. East Tennessee State University – Quillen College of Medicine

  • Website
  • Admissions
  • Admission Stats:
    • Average GPA: 3.82
    • Average MCAT: 506
    • Acceptance Rates: 4.7%

The top public medical school in Tennessee is the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University, which is located in Johnson City. The name honors congressman Jimmy Quillen, who fought for opening a second medical school in Tennessee.

This is a university best known for rural medicine education and it is highly regarded across the US for this specialization. Another strong suit for the school is family medicine.

The Quillen College of Medicine focuses on meeting community and regional health needs and they are a major health care provider for East Tennessee. They also offer MD/PhD degrees and opportunities to study for PhD and Master programs in the departments of your interest.

The college prioritizes applications from US citizens and residents who permanently reside in Tennessee. They also focus on active duty military personnel and veterans of the US military service.

4. Meharry Medical College School of Medicine

  • Website
  • Admissions
  • Admission Stats:
    • Average GPA: 3.52
    • Average MCAT: 499
    • Acceptance Rates: 4%

A historically black university, Meharry Medical College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and it was the first medical school for African American students in the south of the United States. It was founded in 1876 as part of Central Tennessee College and chartered independently in 1915.

We end our list of top medical schools in Tennessee with Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. The College has a partnership with ten universities to prepare students specifically for a pre-medical degree, and therefore for increasing their chances of being accepted into medical school. Students can then obtain a BS/MD degree at one of the following: Alabama A&M University, Albany State University, Alcorn State University, Fisk University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Jackson State University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, and Virginia Union University.

Finally, Meharry have recently announced a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which promotes education as well as health care for veterans and their families. There are numerous scholarships available through this program, for medical and dental studies, as well as an education debt reduction program which will be of interest for those looking to retrain.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the USA Scholarships Page!