Memphis Colleges

Did you know Memphis is home to more than half a dozen higher learning institutions? That’s right, from University of Memphis to LeMoyne-Owen College, Christian Brothers University to Southwest Community College, the bluff city doesn’t bluff when it comes to boasting superb choices to chase your dream and earn that degree. 

Figuring out where you want to go for college can be a really hard decision. Not to mention an expensive one. The good news is that Memphis offers an array of options for everyone. The following list is a simple breakdown of the different institutions Memphis has to offer. 

University of Memphis

The University of Memphis, formerly Memphis State, and informally known as U of M, is a public research university. Founded in 1912, the university has an enrollment of more than 21,000 students and is considered the premier commuter college in our area. Over the last decade the U of M has expanded its footprint in nearly every area including performing arts, technology and sports. 

Recently, the University of Memphis received national recognition as one of the Top 12 Universities in graduating African American students. Notable alumni include NBA all-star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway who is now the coach of the Men’s basketball program. Best hangs around campus include R.P. Tracks, The Bluff and Brother Juniper’s. For more information, you can visit

Rhodes College

Rhodes is a national, four-year, private, coeducational, residential college committed to the liberal arts and sciences. With three tiers of priorities, intellectual engagement, service to others, and honor among ourselves, Rhodes campus sits beautifully in the heart of Memphis. Notable alumni include Dixie Carter and Priscilla Presley. Best hangs near campus include Overton Park, Alex’s Tavern, Dino’s Grill and Crosstown Concourse. For more information, you can visit

LeMoyne-Owen College

LeMoyne–Owen College (LOC or simply “LeMoyne”) is a private historically black college located in Soulsville. With the tagline Leadership, Opportunity, Change, LeMoyne-Owen College seeks to provide a transformational experience educating students for urban-focused leadership, scholarship, service and professional careers. LOC’s vision is to be an exemplary historically black college providing an excellent liberal arts education that transforms urban student, institutions and communities. Notable alumni include Benjamin Hooks who led the team of lawyers that defended the LeMoyne and Owen College students arrested during the sit-ins at Memphis public libraries. He was later appointed the first African-American criminal court judge in Tennessee history. Mr. Hooks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush in 2007. Best hangs around campus include the Four Way Restaurant and STAX. For more information, you can visit

Christian Brothers University 

Christian Brothers University (CBU) is a private Catholic university located in the heart of midtown. From undergraduate to graduate tracks, CBU is consistently rated one of the best Universities in the Southeast and in the nation. It is the oldest collegiate degree-granting institution in the city. Year after year, CBU earns recognition for excellence by some of the best college and university ranking publications. Read more about this year’s rankings in this CBU news story. Notable alumni can be found here. Best hangs around campus include the Cooper Young Historic District, which boasts many restaurants and places to shop. For more information, you can visit

University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is a public medical school located in the emerging medical district near downtown. It includes the Colleges of Health Professions, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. Since 1911, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has educated nearly 57,000 health care professionals. As of 2010, US News and World Report ranked the College of Pharmacy 17th among American pharmacy schools. Notable alumni can be found here. Best hangs around campus include restaurants and galleries in the medical district. For more information, you can visit

Southwest Community College 

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a public community college. As the product of a merger between two colleges in 2000, the school has two campuses in Memphis and several satellite centers across the city. It is operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents and oftentimes acts as a feeder school to the U of M, UTHSC and CBU. Notable alumni can found here. Best hangs around campus include restaurants and galleries in the medical district. For more information, you can visit

Whatever college or university you choose, in the end you are choosing Memphis, and that’s never a bad decision. Welcome! 

Jeff Hulett is a freelance writer, musician, and PR consultant in Memphis. He lives in the Vollintine Evergreen neighborhood with his wife Annie, two girls Ella and Beatrice, and two dogs Chalupa and Princess Freckles. 

You Might Also Be Interested In…


Live From The Kitchen: Memphis Music Masterminds

In Memphis we eat, sleep, and breathe music. Join us as we take a journey through the history of Memphis's soulful music.


Top 20 Memphis Food Trucks. No Reservations Needed. #StreetFood

Memphis is famous for the four S’s: soul, sauce, sports, and street-food. Here is a list of our top 20 street-food eateries and food trucks.


Programs that Support Veteran Career Development

Local employers should be aware of the diverse skill sets veterans possess and know where to find great candidates fo filling jobs with qualified individuals in our job market.