Medical Schools in Tennessee: What You Need to Know

December 11, 2023
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Luke Hartstein

Former Admissions Committee Member, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Reviewed: 12/11/23

Are you looking to attend one of the medical schools in Tennessee? This article will help you decide which one is for you. 

Nestled within the vibrant landscapes of the southern United States, Tennessee stands as a hub of medical education and innovation. Boasting a rich heritage of healthcare excellence, the state's medical schools have carved a distinguished path in training the next generation of medical professionals. 

From bustling urban centers to quaint academic enclaves, Tennessee's medical institutions offer a diverse range of programs that blend cutting-edge research with compassionate patient care. Join us on a journey through the renowned Tennessee medical schools, where tradition meets modernity and a commitment to advancing healthcare knows no bounds.

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Medical Schools in Tennessee

Tennessee's medical landscape boasts a constellation of esteemed institutions that have consistently shaped the future of healthcare through their commitment to education, research, and community engagement. 

These medical schools, each with its distinct character and strengths, form a collaborative ecosystem that prepares future physicians to tackle the evolving challenges of medicine. Let's take a closer look at some of the prominent medical schools in the state.

Medical Schools Basic Facts

So, how many medical schools are in Tennessee? Below, you will find a table outlining the five medical schools of Tennessee, along with the core information for each. Following this table, we’ll take a deep dive into every individual school.

School Location Tuition Class Size Average MCAT
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Nashville $65,166 95 521
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Memphis $36,095
(In State)
(Out of State)
176 513
East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Johnson City $35,012
(In State)
(Out of State)
79 509
Meharry Medical College Nashville $57,243 114 503
Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Harrogate $53,200 393 501

It is worth noting that the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a DO rather than an MD for those who would prefer to pursue osteopathic medicine. 

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Nestled within the vibrant city of Nashville, Vanderbilt medical school stands as a hallmark of medical education and innovation. With a legacy spanning over a century, the school has earned its reputation as a trailblazer in healthcare excellence.

Vanderbilt's School of Medicine is distinguished by its rigorous academic programs and pioneering research initiatives that contribute significantly to advancing medical knowledge. Its state-of-the-art facilities and interdisciplinary approach encourage students to engage in cutting-edge research from molecular biology to population health. 

This convergence of clinical expertise and scientific exploration results in a well-rounded education that equips graduates to navigate the complex challenges of modern medicine.

Beyond academia and research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine greatly emphasizes community engagement and service. Through partnerships with local healthcare institutions and outreach programs, students gain valuable real-world experiences while making a positive impact on underserved populations.

University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine is a dynamic hub of medical education, research, and community service. With a network of campuses spanning the state, the college is dedicated to equipping future physicians with the skills and knowledge needed to address the diverse healthcare needs of Tennessee's communities.

UTHSC's College of Medicine is firmly committed to addressing healthcare disparities, especially in underserved areas. Through comprehensive clinical training, research, and community partnerships, the college emphasizes the importance of delivering quality care to all individuals, regardless of their background or location. 

The college's faculty members, nationally recognized experts in their respective fields, contribute to the institution's reputation for innovation and cutting-edge research. UTHSC's College of Medicine is not only dedicated to producing exceptional clinicians but also to advancing medical knowledge through pioneering research endeavors. 

Meharry Medical College School of Medicine

Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, located in Nashville, Tennessee, stands as a testament to the power of education in advancing health equity and social justice. Founded in 1876 with a mission to address the healthcare needs of underserved communities, Meharry has carved a unique path in medical education that prioritizes diversity, cultural competence, and community engagement.

Meharry's School of Medicine prepares its students to be advocates for those often marginalized by the healthcare system. Through an integrated curriculum that emphasizes clinical skills, research, and patient-centered care, graduates emerge not only as skilled physicians but also as agents of change who understand the unique challenges faced by underserved communities.

Meharry's legacy is further enhanced by its contributions to groundbreaking research that addresses health disparities and improves patient outcomes. The school's emphasis on community involvement extends beyond the classroom, as students actively participate in initiatives aimed at improving healthcare access and outcomes for vulnerable populations. 

East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine

The East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Quillen College of Medicine is located in Johnson City. It stands as a testament to the transformative power of medical education in addressing the unique healthcare challenges of rural communities. 

Established in 1974 with a vision to bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare, Quillen College of Medicine has earned a reputation for producing compassionate physicians who excel in community-based care. The college's curriculum is tailored to equip students with the skills needed to navigate the distinctive healthcare landscape of rural areas. 

With a focus on primary care, population health, and community engagement, graduates emerge well-prepared to make a positive impact in underserved regions. Quillen College of Medicine's commitment to hands-on learning is bolstered by partnerships with local healthcare providers, ensuring that students gain practical experience that aligns with the real-world challenges faced by rural populations.

Beyond its academic pursuits, the college places significant emphasis on fostering a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among students and faculty. This tight-knit community encourages a supportive learning environment that nurtures the growth of future physicians who are not only clinically skilled but also deeply dedicated to the well-being of their communities. 

Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM), nestled in Harrogate, Tennessee, embodies the principles of osteopathic medicine while preparing future physicians to provide holistic care to their patients. Founded in 2007, the college's approach emphasizes the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit in healing.

LMU-DCOM's curriculum centers on the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole person rather than just addressing symptoms. With a focus on hands-on learning and clinical experiences, students gain a deep understanding of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and its role in promoting wellness. 

This distinctive approach equips graduates to deliver comprehensive care that addresses not only physical ailments but also the emotional and psychological aspects of health.

LMU-DCOM's dedication to producing compassionate and skilled osteopathic physicians is evident in its graduates, who carry forward the institution's mission of providing patient-centered care that improves the quality of life.

Tips for Getting Into Tennessee Medical Schools

Gaining admission to a medical school in Tennessee is a competitive endeavor, requiring dedication, strategic planning, and a well-rounded application. 

Whether you're a local student with a deep-rooted desire to serve your community or an out-of-state applicant drawn to Tennessee's renowned medical institutions, here are some valuable tips to enhance your chances of securing a coveted spot.

female student celebrating being accepted to medical school

1. Academic Excellence is Key

Medical schools place a strong emphasis on academic performance. Maintain a competitive GPA by excelling in your coursework, especially in science-related subjects. Consistency in your grades demonstrates your commitment to excellence and your ability to handle the rigorous medical school curriculum.

2. Stellar MCAT Performance

Scoring well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is essential. This standardized test assesses your knowledge of scientific concepts, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities. Invest time in thorough MCAT preparation, whether through self-study, prep courses, or practice exams.

3. Research and Volunteer Experience

Engage in research projects or volunteer opportunities related to healthcare or medicine. Demonstrating your dedication to understanding medical issues and contributing to your community showcases your commitment to the field. Additionally, these experiences can provide valuable insights into the realities of healthcare and bolster your personal statement.

4. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a chance to showcase your unique qualities, motivations, and experiences. Use it to convey your passion for medicine, your journey thus far, and your aspirations as a future physician. Be genuine, specific, and articulate in expressing why you're a strong fit for the medical school you're applying to.

5. Strong Letters of Recommendation

Secure letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your academic abilities, work ethic, and character. Ideally, these letters should come from professors, research mentors, or healthcare professionals who have directly observed your skills and dedication.

6. Highlight Leadership and Extracurricular Activities

Medical schools value well-rounded applicants who demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and a commitment to service. Participate in clubs, organizations, or volunteer work that aligns with your passions and showcases your ability to make a positive impact.

7. Interviews Matter

If you're invited for an interview, prepare thoroughly. Research the specific medical school, its programs, and its values. Be ready to discuss your experiences, motivations, and how you align with the school's mission. Practice your interview skills with mock interviews to boost your confidence.

8. Consider In-State and Out-of-State Options

Tennessee's medical schools have varying admission preferences for in-state and out-of-state applicants. Research each school's policies and priorities to tailor your application strategy accordingly.

9. Apply Broadly

While it's natural to have your heart set on a particular medical school, consider applying to multiple institutions to increase your chances of acceptance. This approach allows you to explore a variety of options and maximize your opportunities.

10. Stay Resilient and Positive

The medical school application process can be challenging and unpredictable. Stay resilient in the face of setbacks and rejections. Remember that rejection from one school doesn't define your potential. Use feedback to improve and approach the process with a positive mindset.

FAQs: Med Schools in Tennessee

Here are a few common questions about the best medical schools in Tennessee.

1. How Many Medical Schools Are in Tennessee?

There are five medical schools in Tennessee. 

2. What Is the Number 1 Medical School in Tennessee?

According to US News, Tennessee's number 1 medical school is the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 

3. How Much Does It Cost to Attend Med School in Tennessee?

The cost of attending medical school in Tennessee varies depending on the institution and residency status. On average, students can expect to pay between $35,012 to $65,166 per year in tuition and fees. 

It's important to consider additional expenses such as books, housing, and living costs. Scholarships, grants, and financial aid options are available to help alleviate the financial burden for aspiring physicians.

4. Are There Good Medical Schools in Tennessee?

Absolutely, Tennessee is home to several prestigious and well-regarded medical schools. Institutions like Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and East Tennessee State University are renowned for their rigorous academic programs, innovative research initiatives, and commitment to producing skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals.

Final Thoughts

In the heart of the South, medical schools in Tennessee stand as pillars of excellence, shaping the future of healthcare with their unwavering commitment to education, research, and community engagement. 

From the innovative halls of Vanderbilt University to the community-focused approach of East Tennessee State University, these medical schools collectively define a landscape where tradition harmonizes with innovation.

Aspiring physicians nationwide are drawn to these esteemed schools, driven by a shared dedication to healing, discovery, and service. With a blend of academic rigor, compassionate patient care, and groundbreaking research, Tennessee's medical schools embody the state's rich healthcare heritage while inspiring the next generation to forge new frontiers in medicine.

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