Tusculum College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Tusculum College
As Tennessee's first college, Tusculum has developed a groundbreaking approach to education. Its Civic...

Tusculum College

Tusculum, Tennessee

Founded in 1794, Tusculum is uniquely equipped to offer an education that leads to engaged and effective citizenship, making this literally a one-of-a-kind experience in higher education. The mission of Tusculum, its innovative calendar, and an active, engaged learning environment all work together in an integrated way to prepare citizens for effective participation in professional, public, and personal life.


The unique Civic Arts focus takes the liberal arts a step further in a nationally recognized approach to educating individuals of integrity and ideals. A wide range of majors—from museum studies to nursing—is combined with service learning and travel opportunities, an Honors Program, and a Bonner Leaders Program. At Tusculum, students meet creative teachers and dedicated mentors, with one faculty member for every 15 students, and an average class size of 14. Research and scholarly work are also encouraged, further enhancing the value of a Tusculum degree.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,585 undergraduate students
89% of undergrad students are full time
49% male — 51% female
51% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
72 full-time faculty
113 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
88% of first year students live on campus
50% of all students live on campus

School Location

Near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Greeneville, Tennessee—close to whitewater rafting, hiking, skiing and more—Tusculum’s location offers diverse opportunities for outdoor enjoyment, including adventures in nearby urban centers such as Knoxville, Asheville, and Johnson City. Its beautiful walking campus creates an enjoyable learning environment. Part of the wooded 140-acre main campus, nine of Tusculum’s buildings and the Tusculum Arch are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects  
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning  
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


68% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)


41% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 15%
White 72%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 0%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 4%


Tusculum Athletics has a tradition in excellence both athletically and academically. Eighteen of Tusculum’s teams belong to the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) of the NCAA-Division II. With the addition of Cheerleading and STUNT to the school’s Spirit Program, Tusculum now offers a total of 20 athletic teams.

Women’s Athletics: Basketball, Cheer/STUNT, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball

Men’s Athletics: Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field

Other Information

Founded in 1794, Tusculum is the first college in Tennessee, the twenty-eighth oldest college in the nation, and the oldest coeducational institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Tusculum is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Tusculum.

In 2016, Tusculum’s School of Business became a candidate for ACBSP accreditation.

Academic Programs

Undergraduate Degree Offerings School of Arts & Sciences: Art and Design with concentrations in Studio Art or Visual Communication Design; Biology with concentrations in Medical Pre-Professional and Pre-Pharmacy; Chemistry with concentrations in Medical Pre-Professional and Pre-Pharmacy; Computer Science; Criminal Justice; English with concentrations in Creative Writing or Literature; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; History; Mathematics with concentrations in Biology, Chemistry, or Computer Science; Museum Studies; Political Science; Associate Degree in General Studies (Required for Tennessee Promise) School of Business & Technology: Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Management, Nonprofit Management; Healthcare Management; Information Technology School of Education: Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education K-5); Secondary Education 6-12 in Government, History, or Mathematics; K-12 Education in Physical Education; Special Education Interventionist K-8, Comprehensive K-12; Sport Management; Sports Science; Talent Development School of Nursing, Health Sciences & Human Services: Nursing Pre-licensure, RN-BSN, Psychology with concentrations in Behavioral Health (Minor Available) or General-Experimental (Minor Available)

More Distinctions

  • Tusculum has been honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the tenth year in a row. This year, Tusculum received an additional recognition: Honor Roll with Distinction, for the first time since 2007. The designation recognizes colleges and universities for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

  • Tusculum’s “Help Me Help You” program was recognized in 2012 by the Clinton Global Initiative University as a model for global action.

  • Tusculum has been named a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs since 2010, and has been a participant in the Yellow Ribbon program since 2009.

  • Tusculum has been ranked 23rd among the Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the Southern category of the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, appearing 4th for Tennessee institutions. Additionally, Tusculum was named 78th among all colleges and universities that offer master’s degree programs.

  • In 2016, Tusculum ranked among the top colleges in the State of Tennessee in the first-ever rankings of American colleges and universities by The Economist. Tusculum ranked an impressive 7th among the 36 Tennessee-based schools included. Overall, Tusculum was ranked in the 57th percentile—meaning it was ranked ahead of 57 percent of the 1267 American colleges and universities included in the rankings.

Center for Civic Advancement

Tusculum’s Center for Civic Advancement (CCA) is dedicated to the mission of engaging the heart, mind, and soul of Tusculum by cultivating awareness of others and of self. The CCA seeks to accomplish this ambitious mission through the establishment of meaningful relationships with local, national, and global communities alike. The CCA’s full-time staff support faculty and students in the planning and undertaking of service placements and projects. Some of the campus initiatives support by the CCA includes:

  • Global and Mission Studies
  • Community Service
  • Internships in Nonprofit Agencies
  • Forums and Discussions
  • Research Opportunities
  • The Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship (CEDE)
  • Community Partnerships
  • The Institute for Empowered Communities (joint project with the School of Business)

Bonner Leader Program

The Bonner Leaders at Tusculum are a group of students committed to serving the local community by using their talents and gifts where needed. Participants develop leadership skills by participating in meetings, trainings, internships, and service. Upon graduation, Bonner Leaders continue to seek ways to enrich their communities through the leadership of nonprofits and/or direct service.


The Pioneer Band Program consists of a concert band, jazz band, marching band with flag corps, pep band, handbell choir, brass quintet, drumline, and other small ensembles. Each of these groups perform at both on-campus and community events throughout the year. On campus, the marching band performs at all home football games, the pep band is featured at home basketball games, and three campus concerts each year spotlight the concert and jazz bands as well as the handbell choir. In the community, groups have performed at parades, fundraising events, community concert series, and organization functions. Band scholarships are available for interested and qualifying students, and one credit hour per semester can be earned for band participation.

Service Learning

Service-Learning is integral to Tusculum’s General Education Curriculum, reflecting the institution’s commitment to provide educational experiences that prepare its graduates for the demands of active and responsible citizenship. The service-learning graduation requirement may be fulfilled through a Service-Learning course, a Service-Learning practicum, an approved internship, or through an approved course with a significant service-learning component.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization  
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band X
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  
Yearbook X

First-Year Experience

Every new freshman and transfer student kicks off the Pioneer Experience by participating in Tusculum’s First-Year Experience program. The program runs through students’ first fall semester and hosts Wednesday classes and fun activities.

Each First-Year Experience Orientation Class is taught by an instructor and mentor who builds their curriculum around a specific theme, organizing outings and activities outside of class that revolve around the theme.

Honors Program

The Honors Program gives students the opportunity to reach beyond a degree and achieve something more while pursuing their undergraduate education. Tusculum’s Honors Program promotes a cross-discipline dialogue between students and allows participants to create personalized plans of study that support their individual goals. The Program is designed to create an opportunity for academically motivated students to:

  • Be challenged intellectually
  • Sharpen their critical thinking skills
  • Present their research at conferences
  • Hone their networking skills and increase confidence
  • Gain cultural enrichment


Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math

In 2017, Tusculum opened the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math. This state-of-the-art, $24 million facility features wings for biology, chemistry, mathematics, nursing, computer science, and environmental science. The Meen center is a four-story structure that features approximately 100,000 square feet of modern learning and research space. This facility represents Tusculum’s commitment to innovation and postgraduate success in a modern workforce.

Museum Studies

Museum Studies encompasses the study of museums, museology, and the development of the skills necessary for professional museum practices. The program provides both academic and hands-on training in preparation for museum work, the broader field of public history, or further graduate studies. Students develop an understanding of the important role of museums, and acquire the skills and knowledge to serve their communities as museum administrators, curators, and educators. The Museum Studies Program operates two museums and the College archives through which students gain valuable practical experience.

Talent Development

Tusculum is the only school in the state of Tennessee to offer programs specifically focused on the growing field of Talent Development, making the program a unique academic distinction. Tusculum offers a Bachelor of Arts, as well as a Master of Arts, in Talent Development. The BATD prepares students to work in organizations as entry-level training and talent-development employees. The MATD prepares graduates for a variety of careers, including corporate trainers, project managers, strategic planners, team developers, process analysts, and performance-improvement consultants.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Religion, Civic Studies

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 239 172 136 31 5 1 0 584

Old Oak Festival

The Old Oak Festival, hosted annually on Tusculum’s campus, features a wide variety of musical artists ranging from country, rock and roll, bluegrass, jazz, and more. The Festival also serves as a showcase for regional artists, including painters, crafters, artisans, and sculptors, the works of whom are available for purchase.

Nettie Day

Annually, Tusculum’s campus comes to life for Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, one of Tusculum’s longest held traditions, which involves students spending time in service to others. This annual day of service honors the memory and selfless way of life of Nettie Fowler McCormick, who is recognized as Tusculum’s first benefactor for funding the construction of several of the main campus’s historic structures. Nettie Day began as day of cleaning the campus in honor of Nettie McCormick’s generous contributions; however, the day has evolved into a time for the entire campus community to find ways to give back to those in need in the region.


The SPIES program is an acronym that stands for Social, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual.

The purpose of SPIES is to encourage the entire Tusculum community to lead and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while creating opportunities to meet new people, strengthen friendships, and grow. The SPIES program recognizes that there is more to becoming a successful individual than simply studying for a degree. Tusculum’s community members are far more likely to achieve their goals and grow into well-rounded citizens when they actively strive to enrich and balance these five foundational areas.

Theologian in Residence

The Theologian-in-Residence lecture series, held annually since 1991, focuses on a theological topic or other issue of interest to church leaders and laypeople. The series has explored such topics as music and worship; Christianity and popular culture; reflections on the Trinity; religion in Appalachia; John Calvin and the Reformed tradition; God and athletics in the modern world; and Christian principles for managing finances.

Arts Outreach

It is the mission of Tusculum’s Arts Outreach to provide cultural leadership by supporting arts programs already in place, developing new programs, and encouraging the public in supporting the arts and arts education. Arts Outreach offers a significant number of performances, lectures, and presentations throughout the year, including the Theatre-at-Tusculum performances; the Acts, Arts, Academia lecture series; and the popular Community Chorus.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

According to the recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) First Destination Survey, Tusculum graduates’ career outcomes were over 7% better than the national average, and more Tusculum graduates were employed full-time than the national average.

Notable Alumni

Tusculum has a long history of success from graduates in its various major programs of study. Below are just a few notable alumni:

  • Scott Niswonger, Chairman of Landair Holdings, Inc.
  • Marianne Lewis, Dean of Cass Business School, University of London
  • Ken Bowman, Retired Chemist at Alcoa, Holds nearly 20 patents
  • Anup Kaphle, Senior World Editor, BuzzFeed
  • Yu Wen “Steven” Lin, New York College of Dentistry
  • Beverly Roberts, NCAA Championship Referee
  • Larry Brotherton, Founder and President of Ortec, Inc.
  • Dave Tollett, Baseball Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Jessica Epley Burchette, Professor of Pharmacy at Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy
  • Judith Kofroth Domer, Dean Emerita, Graduate Studies and Research, Appalachian State University
  • Kirstie Gust Van Liew, KPMG Global

Recent Graduates Careers

Graduates from Tusculum have recently obtained careers at:

  • Buzzfeed
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Department of Energy
  • Emory Science Center
  • Oak Ridge Associated Universities
  • ESPN
  • Sound to Sea
  • WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Consolidated Nuclear Security Y-12 National Security Complex
  • Imerys Fused Mineral

Recent Graduates Attending Graduate Schools

Recent graduates have been admitted to the following graduate schools, among others:

  • Auburn University
  • California Art Institute
  • Chicago Art Institute
  • Columbia University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • NYU: College of Dentistry
  • Arizona State University
  • Mercer University
  • Vermont School of Law
  • University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Arizona
  • Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  • Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at ETSU
  • James H. Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU
  • Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine at LMU
  • Duncan School of Law at LMU

Real-World Internships

Tusculum students are consistently getting placed in phenomenal internships. Examples include:

  • Baptist Hospital, Nashville
  • Biltmore Estate
  • Blackburn, Childers and Steagall CPAs
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratories
  • University of Georgia
  • Jewelry Television Network
  • Knoxville Zoo
  • New England Aquarium
  • NFL’s Tennessee Titans
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wallace Collection, London
  • Landair

Career Services

The mission of Tusculum’s Office of Career Services is to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities required beyond the classroom to successfully transition from college to either graduate school or the world of work. Career Services offers Tusculum students many advantages including the opportunity to become Pioneer Certified through internship and community service participation.



2,238 Total Applicants
1,665 Total Admissions
324 Total Freshmen Enrollment

74.40% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes


Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores
Application Essay

Academic GPA
Character/personal qualities
Volunteer work
Level of applicant’s interest

Class rank
Extracurricular activities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 412.5 500
SAT Math 430 540
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 18 23
ACT Math 17 23
ACT English 17 23
ACT Writing    

Application Information

Tusculum’s free application can be easily accessed and submitted online by visiting www.tusculum.edu/admission/ and following the steps found there.


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $23,700
Room and Board (on campus) $8,700
Estimated Total On Campus $32,400


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 Estimated

$20,594 First year students
$9,629 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 Estimated

70.6% on average, the percentage of need that was met
9% of financial need students that had need fully met

$9,629 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,098 Average need-based loan

Scholarships and Financial Aid

97% of Tusculum’s traditional undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, based on need, academics, athletic ability, service, and/or leadership. Tusculum is one of the most affordable private colleges in the country.

Students can track achievements and experiences that improve their Tusculum Scholarship awarding by registering for Raise.me. Visit https://www.raise.me/join/tusculum to begin using this helpful tool.

The scholarships available to Tusculum students include:

  • Tusculum Scholarship: $4,000 – $12,000 year
  • Tusculum Grant: $1,000 – $10,000 year
  • Tusculum Opportunity Grant: Up to $12,272 year, depending on unmet need
  • Tusculum College Phi-Theta Kappa Members transferring from a Community College: $500 year
  • Tusculum Community College Transfer Scholarships: $500
  • Tusculum Pioneer Scholarship: $1,000 year
  • Trustee’s Honor Scholarship: Full tuition*
  • Old Oak Scholarship: $500 year
  • USS Greeneville Scholarship: Full tuition
  • Tusculum Band Scholarship: $1,000 year
  • Tusculum Spirit Scholarship: Coach determines amount
  • NCAA Athletic Scholarships for each sport: Coach determines amount
  • State Grants and Scholarships (TN HOPE Lottery Scholarship, TN Student Assistance Award): see state link http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/—amounts will vary from $1,000 – $5,500 year


*Competitive – please contact the Tusculum admission office for details