Union University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Union University
Union University has long been known to offer Christ-centered academic excellence, value, and a...

Union University

Jackson, Tennessee

United in spirit. Grounded in truth.


Union University is a private, liberal arts-based, Christian university located in Jackson, Tennessee. Union is united in its love for Christ, for rigorous academics, and for biblical truth, integrating top-tier academics with Christian faith in more than 100 programs of study. Union is ranked the #1 Christian university in the South by Christian Universities Online (CUO). Founded in 1823, Union is the oldest institution affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Its mission is to provide a Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to church and society.


Union University equips its students for continuing success and, as a result, Union graduates excel in top graduate schools, careers, and ministries around the world.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,520 undergraduate students
74% of undergrad students are full time
39% male — 61% female
28% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
236 full-time faculty
184 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Residential: Nearly 90% of freshmen live on campus.

School Location

Jackson, Tennessee (area population: 100,000), 80 miles east of Memphis and 120 miles west of Nashville. The campus is situated along the U. S. 45 bypass in north Jackson and within a five-minute drive of retail establishments and restaurants.

Retention Fall 2015

84% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

64% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 2%
Black or African American 17%
White 64%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 12%


Union’s eleven intercollegiate athletic teams compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball. The University competes in NCAA Division II.

Other Information

Union University is a private, four-year, coeducational liberal arts-based university offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Founded in 1823, Union is affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Academic Programs

Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography, Pre-Professional Art Therapy, Sculpture, Visual Aesthetics, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio

General Biology#, Cell and Molecular Biology, Botany, Zoology, Conservation Biology

Business Administration*:
Accounting, Actuarial Science, Business Administration, Economics, International Business, Management, Management for Non-Business Professionals, Marketing, University Studies

Biochemistry#, Chemical Physics, Chemistry*#, Medical Technology

Communication Arts:
Advertising, Broadcast Journalism, Communication Studies, Digital Media Communications, Digital Media Studies, Film Studies, Journalism, Photojournalism, Public Relations, Speech, Theatre and Speech*, Theatre, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems

Computer Science:
Digital Media Studies, Information Technology

Teaching and Learning (K-6) # (additional Pre K-3 and 4-8 endorsements available), Interdisciplinary Studies, Special Education#, Teacher Licensure, K-12 and Secondary Areas

Electrical, Mechanical

Creative Writing, Literature


General Honors, Discipline-Specific Honors, See # note for available majors

Institute for International , and Intercultural Studies:
Global Studies, Humanitarian Studies, Intercultural Studies, Regional Studies, Study Abroad

Applied Linguistics, French*, Spanish*, Teaching English as a Second language*

Actuarial Science, Mathematics*#

Church Music, Composition, Music (B.A.), Music – Communication Arts, Music – Management, Music – Marketing, Music – Worship Leadership, Music Education – Instrumental*, Music Education – Vocal*, Music Theory, Performance – Organ, Performance – Piano, Performance – Voice, Worship Leadership (B.A.)


Physical Education, Wellness and Sport:
Athletic Training, Athletic Coaching, Exercise Science/Wellness, Health Education*, Physical Education and Health*, Sport Management – Communication, Sport Management – Marketing, Sport Management – Ministry

Physical Science, Physics, Political Science* #, General Studies, American Politics, International Relations, Political Theory

Pre-professional Programs:
Chiropractics, Cytotechnology, Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Health Information Management, Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Podiatry, Veterinary Medicine

Social Work, Social Work (B.S.W.), Social Organization (B.S.), Sociology, Family Studies – Child Life, Family Studies – Family Ministry, Family Studies – Marriage and Family, Sociology

Theology and Missions#:
Biblical Studies – Languages, Christian Ministry and Missions, Christian Studies, Christian Thought and Tradition, Philosophy, Sport Management/Ministry

*Teacher Licensure Available

# This major is available also with Discipline-Specific Honors

More Distinctions

  • U.S. News & World Report: After several years Union moved into the “National Universities” category in 2017, and the publication ranked Union in the top tier of national universities. Union was one of only a handful of Christ-centered universities on the list.

  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Union is ranked 77th and was among the lowest-priced schools in the listing. The ranking places Union among some of the finest institutions in the U. S. It was one of only four Tennessee schools on the list.

  • Princeton Review: Princeton Review ranks Union among the top schools in the Southeast. Among four-year colleges and universities, only about one of every four earns this regional recognition.

  • America's 100 Best College Buys: Union is named among the top 100 for none consecutive years for nine years. The objective and independent research analyzes the information to find out which schools offer the best education for the dollar based upon academic performance indicators and comparative costs.

  • President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll: Union is among a select group of institutions that has made the list in each of the years it has been compiled.

  • College Access and Opportunity Guide: Union is listed among 284 U.S. colleges "committed to serving and supporting today's first-generation, low-income and traditionally underserved college-bound students."

  • Templeton Foundation: Union is listed in the Foundation's guide entitled Colleges that Encourage Character Development. Schools included in this listing have "exemplary programs, presidents, and colleges and universities that inspire students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives."

Whether studying accounting or art, engineering or social work, students understand their role in that field within the context of a Christian worldview…

At Union, all students become part of an environment of academic excellence where faculty members are committed to teaching and mentoring the nation’s top students.

Scholars Unite

Students have had the opportunity to hear from world-renowned leaders such as George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev and Condoleezza Rice. They can join in the important conversations of modern time with leading theologians and scholars from all over the United States at major Union-sponsored conferences.

Top-Notch Facilities

Pharmacy, science, and nursing students benefit from state-of-the-art laboratories and simulation facilities. Communications students produce daily live programming from their HD television studio.

Study Abroad

Study abroad during the summer or semester terms have included such recent destinations as Oxford University, Jordan, Mexico, Italy, and France. Union University students also have the opportunity to go on short-term mission Global Outreach trips to locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Central America.


In addition to ongoing community work, students, faculty and staff set aside one day during the school year to serve the local community through more than sixty different volunteer projects. The day is named “Campus & Community” and was initiated in 2009 to give back to a community that supports the university throughout the academic year.


Research is required of all students in more than 100 programs of study. In addition, many majors require a capstone, thesis, or professional portfolio. Juniors and seniors have a chance to present their research on both local and national levels through the annual Scholarship Symposium and conferences of professional and honor societies. Most research and writing projects are completed under the close mentorship of a professor.

Union has invested in faculty who bring the best in academic preparation, classroom teaching and mentorship to the growing campus…

Esteemed Professors

Union faculty members excel as scholars and authors. They are committed to classroom teaching, mentoring and the highest levels of Christian scholarship in 100 programs of study. All classes are taught by faculty members. As a result, Union graduates excel at the top graduate schools and in careers and missions around the world.

Union faculty members are not only leaders in their fields, but they are also committed to classroom teaching and the highest levels of Christian scholarship. One hundred percent of Union’s classes are taught by professors rather than graduate students.

Close Personal Connections

Union has a sense of closeness, with professors knowing students by name. It is not unusual to find professors and students in the campus coffee house discussing common interests. Several times throughout the year, students are invited to be dinner guests in the homes of faculty and staff members.

Outside the classroom, faculty and students interact in various arts and discussion groups. The Society for Critical Imagination provides a forum for discussing issues pertaining to the arts and evaluating them from a Christian perspective.

Union combines the advantages of being a nationally recognized university with the personal attention of a friendly and engaging learning community.

Opportunities Outside of the Classroom

Union offers more than 50 major student-produced music and theatre events each academic year and 60 campus clubs, societies, fraternities, sororities and other organizations. The university hosts a live news program, Jackson 24/7, and publishes The Cardinal & Cream student news publication and The Torch literary journal. Union’s student newspaper, Cardinal & Cream, recently was named the best such magazine in the Southeast. In addition, students enjoy intramural sports, a variety of Student Life activities, and student-led Bible studies.

LIFE Groups

Though not required, about 95 percent of Union freshman join LIFE Groups. These student-led small groups for new students provide encouragement, assistance, and support through a network of relationships.

Campus Facilities

The wooded Union campus features more than 40 major buildings and excellent athletic facilities. Roughly $120 million in new campus construction has been completed during the past decade, including several new Georgian-Colonial classroom buildings that support state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.

Most of Union’s residence life buildings were constructed in recent years and were designed with student input. All resident students have private bedrooms in and share a living room, kitchen, washer/dryer and one or two bathrooms with three other students.

Successful Students

Union students enjoy impressive acceptance rates for graduate study at some of the world’s top schools. In fact, 100% of the faculty-recommended students were accepted for graduate study in health sciences. Around 30 percent of Union students go on to graduate school immediately after graduation, and graduates have recently been accepted to graduate study at schools such as Yale, Notre Dame, Emory, Georgetown, Boston University, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt.


Students from a variety of academic areas participate in internships with regional professionals. Recent internships have also been with fashion merchandising in Dallas, government work in Washington, D.C., and film studios in Los Angeles.


Famous alumni include former U.S. Supreme Court justice Howell E. Jackson, former NBC News correspondent John Dancy, Jimmy Neutron creator Kirby Atkins, and contemporary Christian singer and songwriter Chris Rice.

For decades, Union University graduates have assumed leadership roles in their fields of study. A few recent examples:

  • Emily Huffman (’12) double majored in physics and mathematics at Union. Following her graduation, Emily received a graduate fellowship to study theoretical condensed matter physics at Duke University. Along with conducting breakthrough research, Emily received a National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowship, which supports her graduate studies for up to six years.
  • Dr. Florence Jones (‘12) completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership and obtained certification in Nursing Executive, advanced through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In 2014, Dr. Jones won the TNA Award for Nursing Excellence in Nursing Administration. In 2013, her article ”Creating a Culture of Safety in the Emergency Department” appeared in the Journal of Nursing Administration. Dr. Jones is now Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Methodist North Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Dana Johnson (‘13) earned a Master of Science in Nursing Administration. In 2013, Dana received the Vanderbilt Nursing Research & Evidence Based Practice Award. A passion for evidence based practice prompted Dana to co-author “Early postoperative ambulation: Back to basics,” which appeared in the American Journal of Nursing in 2012. Dana currently works as Case Management and Infection Prevention Consultant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.


Admissions Fall 2015

1,830 Total Applicants 
1,265 Total Admissions 
342 Total Freshman Enrollment

69.13% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 510 650
SAT Math 480 650
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 22 29
ACT Math 20 27
ACT English 23 31
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $28,200
Fees $990
Total $29,190
Room and Board (on campus) $10,140
Room Only $6,940
Board Only $3,200
Estimated Total On Campus $39,330


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
60% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$19,746 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,010 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

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