IT Degree Programs in Tennessee
A guide to Tennessee’s best IT degrees in 2024.

Celebrated for its musical roots, majestic Smoky Mountains, and rich cultural history, Tennesse is also quietly establishing itself as a burgeoning hotspot for information technology education in the heart of the South. Cities like Nashville, Memphis, and Chatanooga are becoming increasingly recognized for their tech startups and innovation hubs, and Tennessee's universities are responding with cutting-edge IT degree programs to educate the next generation of tech professionals.

This article will highlight the best information technology programs in Tennessee and explore the pros and cons of pursuing an IT degree in The Volunteer State.

What makes our rankings valuable?

Most college rankings online rely heavily on the National Center for Education Statistics, measuring institutional rates for graduation, retention, acceptance, etc. The NCES has good data, and we use it too; however, we go beyond the stats to analyze the current and future relevance of the skills and credentials gained. We also delve deep into value and flexibility to consider accelerated, online, dual-degree, and certificate options.

Best IT Programs in Tennessee
Rank School City
1 University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville) Knoxville, TN
2 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
3 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
4 Tennessee Tech University Cookeville, TN
5 Tennessee State University Nashville, TN

Top-Ranked IT Degrees in Tennessee

We ranked Tennessee’s best information technology degrees based on numerous factors, including curriculum relevance, the scope of certificates and electives, program features, institutional statistics, school reputation, accessibility, affordability, and value.

Here are the best information technology programs in Tennessee:

1. University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville)

UT Knoxville's School of Information Sciences offers the best IT degree programs in Tennessee. Through collaborations such as its partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory - one of the world’s premier research facilities - students gain unique research opportunities in data science, cybersecurity, clean energy, and computational science, making it a top choice for aspiring high-tech innovators. UT Knoxville also features affordable tuition for state residents and flexible online degrees in information technology.

Top IT Majors & Concentrations:

  • Data, Information Management & Analytics
  • Information Sciences
  • User Experience (UX) Design

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2. University of Memphis (U of M)

The University of Memphis offers well-structured IT programs focusing on emerging technologies and their modern applications. Through its FedEx Institute of Technology, U of M fosters innovation and collaboration between students, faculty, and industry leaders in hot domains like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity. The school's urban location and connections to Memphis's growing logistics and healthcare industries provide students ample opportunities to apply their skills in real-world settings.

Top IT Degree Concentrations:

  • Cybersecurity & Information Assurance
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Science

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3. Vanderbilt University

Located in the heart of Nashville, Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering is renowned for its rigorous IT degree programs. These degrees emphasize interdisciplinary learning and blend advanced computing skills with key sectors like business, healthcare, defense, and education. The program benefits from Music City’s proliferating tech scene, offering students internships and collaborations with startups, tech giants, government agencies, and prominent medical facilities.

Top IT Degree Focus Areas:

  • Software and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cybersecurity

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4. Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN, offers a robust catalog of information technology degree programs with a strong focus on career readiness. The university’s College of Engineering provides hands-on training through state-of-the-art labs and partnerships with local and national businesses. This career-centered approach ensures graduates are not only technically proficient but industry-ready, as proven by the school's top-tier job placement and graduate salaries in the Upper Cumberland region and Tennessee at large.

Top Graduate & Undergraduate IT Majors:

  • Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
  • Information Assurance and Cyber-Security
  • Construction Engineering and Management

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5. Tennessee State University (TSU)

With an undergraduate tuition of $283 per credit, TSU offers Tennessee’s most affordable information technology degree in 2024. This historically black university (HBCU) has more going for it than low cost; Tennessee State offers cutting-edge tech programs in software engineering, bioinformatics, and information systems. Its collaboration with Nashville's tech companies and state agencies ensures students get the skills and connections to wield technology to make a difference in the community.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • B.S. in Computer Science
  • M.S. in Computer Science
  • Ph.D. in Engineering and Computational Sciences

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Pros of Pursuing an IT Degree in Tennessee

  • Growing Tech Landscape Tennessee cities such as Nashville, Memphis, and Chatanooga are home to a burgeoning tech scene with a significant rise in startups and innovation hubs like Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center and Memphis’s Start Co. This rich landscape provides IT students with ample opportunities for internships, networking, and employment in emerging fields like biotech, logistics, green energy, and fintech.
  • Low Cost of Living: Tennessee's cost of living is roughly 10% below the national average, making it more affordable than other states with prominent tech hubs. This affordability extends to housing, food, and transportation, helping students manage their finances and potentially reduce student loan debt.
  • Recreation Opportunities: Tennessee's rich musical heritage, diverse cultural festivals, and outdoor adventure activities provide a vibrant backdrop to student life. Tech students have numerous ways to unwind and find inspiration outside the classroom, from exploring the Great Smoky Mountains to enjoying world-class live music in Nashville and Memphis.

Cons of Pursuing an IT Degree in Tennessee

  • Competition for IT Talent: Tennessee’s booming tech industry means increased competition for desirable positions. IT degree graduates must excel academically and build a strong portfolio of projects, internships, and professional connections to get noticed.
  • Urban Tech Job Concentration: While cities like Nashville and Memphis and even newcomers like Johnson City offer a dynamic tech environment, most opportunities are consolidated in these urban areas. Students outside these cities may find it hard to access the same level of industry engagement.
  • Transportation and Accessibility: Depending on where you attend college, public transportation options may be limited, particularly in Tennessee’s suburban or rural areas. This might necessitate having a car to access internships, tech meetups, or even day-to-day amenities, adding to the cost of your IT degree.


In the heart of the South, Tennessee is becoming a key player in information technology education, driven by its booming tech sector. With cities like Nashville, Memphis, and Chatanooga at the forefront of technological innovation, the state's academic institutions are stepping up to offer top-tier IT degree programs featuring practical, industry-driven skills. These programs are more than just learning to code; they're about integrating information technologies with business, healthcare, energy, and more, reflecting the diverse needs of Tennessee and beyond.

Further Reading