The 10 Most Diverse Colleges In Tennessee For 2020

Editor's Note: This article has been update for 2020. This is our third time rankings the most diverse colleges in Tennessee.
Swipe left for slideshow

Diversity is a hot topic right now. You can't watch the news or browse social media without hearing about equality.

And that's mostly because diversity's a good thing. You've heard the saying, "Diversity is the art of thinking independently together."

So we wanted to help prospective applicants understand what colleges in the will offer them a diverse experience.

A university campus is one of the most diverse places you'll find in Tennessee, as people of all religions, gender preferences and races come together from all over the world to enrich their minds.

But where would we find the most diverse colleges in Tennessee? After running the numbers on 40 colleges and universities, we landed on Southern Adventist University as the most diverse college in Tennessee.

Here's the set of the top ten most diverse colleges in Tennessee for 2020.

The 10 Most Diverse Colleges In Tennessee For 2020

  1. Southern Adventist University
  2. Christian Brothers University
  3. University of Memphis
  4. Vanderbilt University
  5. Memphis College of Art
  6. Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
  7. Austin Peay State University
  8. Middle Tennessee State University
  9. Watkins College of Art Design & Film
  10. Trevecca Nazarene University

If you're looking to meet people from all different backgrounds be sure to add Southern Adventist University to your college visit road trip.

Read on for more about the colleges and the methodology behind the data.

For more reading on Tennessee, check out:

How We Determined The Most Diverse College Campuses In Tennessee For 2020

In order to run the only assessment on college diversity undertaken, we simply had to aggregate and then sort data on the racial profiles of each college and university in Tennessee.

We're lucky, since the U.S. Department of Education releases diversity studies every year. (The USDE has all sorts of other statistics on its annual College Scorecard as well.)

Here's what we looked at specifically in terms of the racial breakdown by percentage at each institution:

  • White
  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Asian
  • American Indian
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Two Or More

For most colleges, a significant portion of the student body was listed as "Unknown Race". We removed that from the calculation and only focused on the known races of students from the College Scorecard data.

We then calculated an HHI-score for each of the 40 schools based on the available data -- a statistical representation of diversity. The lower the score, the more diverse the campus.


So it looks like if you want to get the most diverse student experience, you need to contact admissions at Southern Adventist University or Christian Brothers University.

Southern Adventist University
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Collegedale, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 1,939
Diversity Index (HHI): 3,313

Southern Adventist University is a Seventh-day Adventist college in Collegedale, Tennessee, owned and operated by the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. U.S. News & World Report categorizes it as a Southern Regional College, and the magazine has consistently ranked it as one of the top-tier schools in that category. Southern Adventist University occupies a 1,000 acres campus in a rural setting in the Tennessee River Valley.

Christian Brothers University

Location: Memphis, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 1,724
Diversity Index (HHI): 3,618

Christian Brothers University is the oldest collegiate degree-granting institution in the city of Memphis. The university is run by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers. It is located in Midtown Memphis near the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

University Of Memphis

Location: Memphis, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 15,296
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,062

The University of Memphis, also called The U of M, is an American public research university located in the Normal Station neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1912, the University has an enrollment of more than 21,000 students. The school has twenty-five Chairs of Excellence and five state-approved Centers of Excellence. Until 2017, the school was the flagship institution of The Tennessee Board of Regents system. In 2017, the six Universities that were part of the Tennessee Board of Regents system, including the University of Memphis, became locally governed, each with its own board.

Vanderbilt University
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Nashville, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 5,935
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,225

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.

Memphis College Of Art
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Memphis, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 255
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,332

Memphis College of Art, known before 1985 as the Memphis Academy of Art and first established as James Lee Memorial Art Academy in the James Lee House, is a small, private college of art and design located in Memphis, Tennessee's Overton Park adjacent to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. It offers Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts in Art Education and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees. Some of the majors include graphic design, drawing, painting, printmaking, book arts, computer arts, photography, animation, and illustration. It was founded in 1936 and was once housed in the James Lee House. Since 1959, the main building of the college has been Rust Hall, an award-winning example of mid-century architecture designed by Roy Harrover.

Memphis College of Art averages around 450 students each year, with 350 being undergraduate and 100 being graduate students. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The college awards BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees. It hosts gallery exhibitions, continuing education, children's classes, and visiting artist lectures. It is more affordable, compared to similar colleges, as per Princeton Review. There is student housing on N. Rembert St., N. Tucker St., and two new buildings on N. Barksdale, Metz Hall and Fogelman Hall.

On October 24, 2017 the College Board of Directors announced that the College has stopped accepting new students, and would begin the process of closing.

Location: Memphis, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 432
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,587

Baptist College of Health Sciences is a private, coeducational, specialized college in Memphis, Tennessee operated by Baptist Memorial Health Care. The school was created through the expansion of the School of Nursing and School of Radiologic Technology from diploma programs into a college in 1994.

Austin Peay State University

Location: Clarksville, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 6,658
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,701

Austin Peay State University is a four-year public university located in Clarksville, Tennessee. Standing on a site occupied by a succession of Tennessean educational institutions since 1845, the precursor of the university was established in 1927 and named for then-sitting Governor Austin Peay. Affiliated with the Tennessee Board of Regents, it is now governed by the Austin Peay State University Board of Trustees as of May 2017. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and, in 2012, was the fastest-growing university in Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee State University

Location: Murfreesboro, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 17,247
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,994

Middle Tennessee State University, commonly abbreviated as MTSU or MT, is a comprehensive coeducational public university in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Watkins College Of Art Design & Film
Source: Wikipedia User |

Location: Nashville, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 298
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,191

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year art and design college located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Watkins College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in film, graphic design, interior design, fine arts, and photography as well as post-graduate certificates in film and graphic design. As of 2005, about 400 students were enrolled, mostly full-time. The college resides in a 60,000-square-foot facility in the MetroCenter area of north Nashville and offers limited on-campus housing.

Trevecca Nazarene University

Location: Nashville, TN
# Of Undergraduates: 1,021
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,734

Trevecca Nazarene University is a private Christian liberal arts college in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. Trevecca was founded in 1901. Trevecca's mission is \"a Christian community providing education for leadership and service.\"

There You Have It -- The Most Racially Diverse Colleges In The

If you're looking at universities in Tennessee with the most diverse student bodies, this is an accurate list. Below is a complete list of every college and university in Tennessee with their diversity index score.

Hopefully, this is helpful for you as you weigh in on all factors while you decide on which institution to attend.

For more reading on colleges around Tennessee, check out:

Most Diverse Colleges In Tennessee

Rank College Diversity Index
1 Southern Adventist University 3,313
2 Christian Brothers University 3,618
3 University of Memphis 4,062
4 Vanderbilt University 4,225
5 Memphis College of Art 4,332
6 Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences 4,587
7 Austin Peay State University 4,701
8 Middle Tennessee State University 4,994
9 Watkins College of Art Design & Film 5,191
10 Trevecca Nazarene University 5,734
11 Union University 5,931
12 The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 5,973
13 Bethel University 5,981
14 Rhodes College 6,208
15 O'More College of Design 6,292
16 The University of Tennessee-Martin 6,459
17 Cumberland University 6,485
18 Tennessee State University 6,517
19 Maryville College 6,528
20 Lipscomb University 6,528
21 Tusculum College 6,618
22 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 6,892
23 Belmont University 7,075
24 Martin Methodist College 7,236
25 Sewanee-The University of the South 7,253
26 Tennessee Wesleyan University 7,271
27 East Tennessee State University 7,438
28 Carson-Newman University 7,453
29 Bryan College-Dayton 7,504
30 Lee University 7,513
31 Welch College 7,564
32 King University 7,691
33 Tennessee Technological University 7,794
34 Lincoln Memorial University 8,124
35 Freed-Hardeman University 8,135
36 Johnson University 8,533
37 Fisk University 8,857
38 Lane College 9,372
39 American Baptist College 9,384
40 Le Moyne-Owen College 9,893

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn.

Most Diverse Colleges By State

Enjoy The Snack?