East Tennessee State University is one of the principal campuses governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest system of higher education in the nation. The university opened in Johnson City on October 2, 1911, as East Tennessee State Normal School to prepare teachers for the public schools of the region. Twenty-nine students walked through the doors that first day of classes. Today, as enrollment surpasses the 15,000 mark, ETSU continues to prepare students for lives of active citizenship and service.
ETSU prepares students to become productive, enlightened citizens who actively serve their communities and our world. The university seeks to increase the level of educational attainment in Southern Appalachia, thereby enhancing the region’s intellectual, social, and economic development. The university actively uses emerging technologies to improve access to education and the quality of instruction. It promotes community-based and interdisciplinary learning. Its educational and service programs in the health sciences strive to improve the health of Tennesseans and of rural populations across the region and around the world. The university actively encourages its faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students to engage in scholarly and creative work of the highest quality. ETSU affirms the many benefits of diversity for our university community and the region, and it seeks to attract students from across the nation and around the world.
Eleven colleges and schools offer more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, health sciences, technology, and interdisciplinary areas of distinction. The university’s colleges and schools are the:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Business and Technology
- Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education
- College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences
- Honors College
- James H. Quillen College of Medicine
- College of Nursing
- Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy
- College of Public Health
- School of Continuing Studies
- School of Graduate Studies
ETSU is located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, a largely rural area. Historically, almost 70% of our students are from 15 counties in upper East Tennessee. These counties are within 75 miles of the university and represent our primary service region. The university is committed to expanding student access and actively seeks well qualified undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Tennessee, especially from Northeast Tennessee and adjacent states. A waiver of out-of-state tuition is provided for residents of Virginia from Lee, Scott, and Washington counties and for North Carolina residents from Ashe, Avery, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey counties. These counties are located within the primary service region of the university and are contiguous to Tennessee. In addition, the university supports selected programs that attract students from across the nation as well as from other countries.
A 2007-08 profile of ETSU’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional students highlights the following facts:
- Undergraduate enrollment accounts for about 80% of total enrollment, the remainder being graduate or professional students.
- About 40% of all students are male and 60% are female; 88% identify themselves as white, 4% as black or African American, and less than 2% as Hispanic.
- About one-third of all ETSU students are age 25 or older; about three-fourths of graduate students are age 25 or older.
- ETSU is located in rural Appalachia, and many of our students come from families that are not affluent.
- About 80% of ETSU undergraduates are commuters; more than 90% come from within state; about 60% come from within 50 miles of the Johnson City campus.
- More than 300 international students attend ETSU, of which more than 160 are graduate students.
- About 50% of ETSU undergraduates are first-generation college students.
Noteworthy aspects of the university include the following:
- ETSU enjoys recognition through the emphasis of its distinctive programming in five Centers of Excellence (Appalachian Studies and Services, Early Childhood Learning and Development, Mathematics and Science Education, Paleontology, and Sport Science and Coach Education).
- ETSU’s Academic Health Center has been recognized for its focus on rural, interdisciplinary, and community-based health care education.
- ETSU established the first college of public health in the state of Tennessee and the Southern Appalachian region.
- ETSU’s Gatton College of Pharmacy was founded through a unique public/private partnership addressing the need for a state college of pharmacy for the citizens of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina.
- The university’s Gray Fossil Site, located in the nearby community of Gray, Tennessee, is one of the richest sources of information about the Miocene Epoch in the world. The ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site opened in August 2007 and in less than a year welcomed more than 100,000 visitors.
- ETSU is the nation’s only institution of higher learning presenting a comprehensive selection of bluegrass, old time, and country music courses.
- ETSU's University Honors Program, Midway Scholars Program (for transfer students), Arts Scholars Program, Honors in Discipline Program, and Roan Scholars Leadership Program collectively represent a distinctive, challenging, and enriched educational environment for many talented students.
- The university strongly supports undergraduate research and creative projects, and participation in such projects has increased steadily. For instance, undergraduate presentations at university-sponsored symposia increased nearly four-fold from 2004 to 2008.
- The Carnegie Foundation has awarded ETSU the 2008 Community Engagement Classification.
East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Degrees awarded are as follows: B.A., B.A.S., B.B.A., B.F.A., B.G.S., B.M., B.S., B.S.D.H., B.S.Ed., B.S.E.H., B.S.N., B.S.W., M.A., M.Acc., M.A.L.S., M.A.T., M.B.A., M.C.M., M.Ed., M.F.A., M.P.A., M.P.H., M.P.S., M.S., M.S.A.H., M.S.E.H., M.S.N., M.S.W., Cert.-C4, Ed.S., AuD., D.P.T., Dr.P.H., Ed.D., M.D., Pharm.D., Ph.D.