A position in the medical profession is a challenging and highly rewarding career choice. It takes years of study and experience to get a degree in the continually evolving and expanding medical field.

There are many schools to consider in your journey to become a medical professional. The best schools provide a wealth of ways to receive hands-on experience and instruction as well as a well-rounded education to prepare you for the real-world skills that are needed to help others.

Tennessee medical schools are rich with experienced staff and have the latest technologies for students to gain knowledge and experience.

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Best Medical Schools in Tennessee

Colleges on the best medical schools in Tennessee list include Vanderbilt University Medical, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The medical schools in Tennessee are ranked using the compilation of specific data from reliable sources, including:

  • Government entities and sources
  • College graduate interviews
  • Editorial reviews
  • Student surveys
  • Graduation data

Some of the best medical schools in Tennessee require that their students study more than medicine to ensure that they receive a well-rounded education.

Pre-Med Degree in Tennessee

If you are looking to complete your pre-med degree in Tennessee, there are a number of schools that can prepare you to take the first steps toward a rewarding career in the field of medicine.

Many of the best medical schools in Tennessee have specific requirements for students to gain admittance to these top health care programs. If you are planning on completing a pre-med degree, make sure to check the requirements of the college you hope to attend.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

A consistently top-rated medical school in Tennessee is Vanderbilt University. For decades, Vanderbilt has produced premiere medical graduates from its program. Located in Nashville, this large, private university offers only one medicine degree. In 2015 (the latest data available concerning graduates from this university) there were 120 medical student graduates who earned doctoral degrees.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranks 17th in the U.S. News & World Report annual classification of top medical schools for research. The institute’s internal medicine specialty ranks 10th, and its pediatrics specialty ranks 15th. The medical primary care program ranks 32nd.

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Vanderbilt offers bachelor's, master's, professional and doctoral degrees in the field of medicine.

Living Conditions at Vanderbilt

As part of attending one of the best medical schools in Tennessee, students must live on campus. The residential campus for undergraduate students is considered an integral part of the Vanderbilt education experience. More than 90 percent of the undergraduate students live in housing on the lush campus.

All unmarried undergraduate students are required to set up house in the designated residence halls on campus. Freshmen are required to live in the Commons. This sprawling housing area is comfortable and safe. Many of the buildings that make up the Commons are LEED gold and silver certified.

This housing requirement is during the May and summer sessions as well as the standard academic year. Once the room assignment has been made, the undergrad student is expected to occupy that room for the entire academic year. There are some exceptions, including:

  • Undergraduates who have officially withdrawn from the university
  • Graduates
  • Participants in the Vanderbilt Overseas Program
  • Overcrowding, in which case requests to live off of the Vanderbilt campus are processed based on seniority

Sports Activities at Vanderbilt

The sports team “Commodore" is named for the founder of Vanderbilt University, “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Commodores have teams in the NCAA Division 1 Southeastern Conference.

Student Life at Vanderbilt

Located in a bustling suburb of Music City, there are plenty of places to partake of the area's rich history and music scene. Off-campus dining, entertainment, shopping and sporting activities are abundant.

Undergraduates involved in sororities and fraternities make up about 40 percent of the student body, and these organizations are relatively active on campus.

The university offers health services and insurance to undergraduates along with day care, placement service, a women’s center and nonremedial tutoring.

Cost of Attending Vanderbilt

In the academic year 2018-2019, the tuition and fees for attending this medical school in Tennessee were just under $50,000. The median starting salary of graduates from the medical school is in the mid to high five figures.

Approximately 50 percent of the undergraduates who are enrolled full time receive need-based financial aid. The average need-based grant or scholarship award was around $47,000, which is almost enough to cover the entire year of tuition.

Academic Life at Vanderbilt

The student-faculty ratio is 7 to 1. More than 60 percent of its classes have less than 20 students enrolled. The retention rate is very high at 97 percent for first-year students. The graduation rate at Vanderbilt is around 86 percent.

East Tennessee State University

One of only two public medical schools in the state, John H. Quillen College of Medicine consistently rates in the top 10 medical schools in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Located in Johnson City, Tennessee, this tidy school is well known for its rural and family medicine education. The American Academy of Family Physicians ranks it highly and recognized it for its continual work to educate students with the latest medical research and techniques.

The Quillen College of Medicine is dedicated to the improvement of health care in the surrounding Appalachian region as well as throughout northeast Tennessee.

Costs of Attending East Tennessee State University

The Quillen College of Medicine costs around $37,000 for students who can prove in-state residency. For students coming in from out of state, that number nearly doubles to just over $70,000.

The tuition includes health and disability insurance. Books and supplies can run between $6,000 and $8,000, and room and board is typically about $10,000 either on or off campus.

Plan to have a total of around $60,000 to attend East Tennessee’s Quillen College of Medicine if you are a Tennessee resident. Push that number to nearly $100,000 for out-of-state students.

East Tennessee State University RPCT Curriculum

Only 25 percent of applicants are accepted to the rural track experiences, or RPCT. This program is revered for its in-depth and personalized teaching by experienced and passionate instructors. The RPCT track has students at a rural site one day a week for educational activities.

During the junior year, students enrolled in the RPCT program are required to complete a four-month clerkship in one of two rural communities in the surrounding area. This is to expand the student’s capabilities as well as improve the community’s overall health. The rest of the academic year is spent working on the same core clerkships that are also offered to students who are not on the RPCT track.

Faculty and Class Size at East Tennessee State University

The faculty is award winning and top in their field. They concentrate on rural medicine and assisting communities that are struggling with health issues.

The faculty to student ratio is 1 to 16. Students prefer the small class sizes and valuable field experience that is a large part of the curriculum. The classes can evolve with the needs of the community as medical students learn in real-life settings.

Facilities at East Tennessee State University

The school has a wealth of facilities to offer students the best in research, instruction, lab work and real-life experience. These include:

  • ETSU Physicians and Associates with more than 40 specialties of medicine
  • ETSU Family Medicine with three regional sites
  • ETSU Cancer Center
  • St. Jude and Tri-Cities Affiliate
  • ETSU Heart
  • ETSU Osteoporosis Center
  • Major Ambulatory Care Facilities

Graduates of East Tennessee State University

After graduation, most of the graduates made salaries in the high five figures immediately upon graduation. More than 12 percent of the medical school’s graduates were received to a family medicine residency program of their choice.

University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Located in downtown Memphis, this esteemed institute of higher education has a stellar medical program. It was founded in 1850 and has an impressive faculty to student ratio of 13 to 1. There are more than 900 full-time medical professionals on staff at the school and around 650 students enrolled at a time.

The faculty practice as well as teach both medicine and dentistry. It has 224 residents within its faculty and 11 residency and 10 fellowship programs.

The University of Tennessee College of Medicine has four fully integrated locations, including Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville.

Cost of University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Students who live in Tennessee can expect to pay around $35,000 to attend University of Tennessee College of Medicine, while that nearly doubles for those coming in from out of the state or country.

Admission Requirements for University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Before applying, students should have a few basic science, English and math classes in place. These can be taken at a pre-med program at another university or community college. The 90 total hours of coursework required to get into the University of Tennessee College of Medicine are as follows:

  • Biology – Eight semester hours that cover mammalian biology with lab work. The college suggests upper-level coursework in comparative anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, histology, general genetics, embryology, microbiology or other related courses.

  • Physics – Eight credit hours that cover magnetism, heat, sound, light, mechanics and electricity with laboratory credits.

  • English – At least six credits in English to cover the essential oral and written needs of medical professionals.

  • Chemistry – Applicants must have at least 16 hours of chemistry, eight of which need to be in organic chemistry and the other eight in inorganic. They need to be college-level courses with full lab facilities.

  • Electives – The college suggests psychology and sociology to round out a pre-med education as well as languages, philosophy, economics and higher mathematics.

University of Tennessee Knoxville Campus

A part of the College of Medicine, this is a bustling campus with more than 22,000 undergraduates. The graduate enrollment is around 6,000. More than 30 percent of the undergrads live on campus, and more than 80 percent of freshmen choose to live on the active campus, although it is not required. It has a top-rated pre-med program.

Greek life is fairly sedate, with only about 20 percent of the student body involved in sororities or fraternities.

Undergraduates in pre-med programs can expect to pay a little under $12,000 per year if they live in the state. This is cheaper than some other Tennessee-based colleges that can run as high as $20,000. Out-of-state tuition for undergraduates is higher at nearly $30,000.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.