Tennessee’s Cumberland University shares the colorful history of the state, but has a rich heritage of its own. The school was founded in 1842 by the Presbyterian Church. It housed one of the first law school in Tennessee and a school of theology as well. During the Civil War, Union Forces occupied the school and burned University Hall. Afterward, a student wrote “I will arise” across one of the columns left standing and, from that time forward, the school symbol has been the phoenix. Cumberland University is a private, coed university with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and an average class size of fewer than 20 students.

U.S. News and World Reports ranks the school in the second tier of Regional Universities, South. Cumberland offers six associate degrees, twelve bachelors of science and eight bachelors’ of arts degrees, five Bachelors’ of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Dual Major in Secondary Education. There are 39 minors listed in the catalog as well as seven graduate programs.

Cumberland University Accreditation Details

Cumberland University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts is accredited by NCATE and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program is accredited by the CCNE. The Athletics Training program is accredited by CAATE and the Labry School of Science, technology and Business is accredited by ACBSP.

Cumberland University Application Requirements

If you are applying to Cumberland as a freshman, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, a minimum SAT of 980/990 or an ACT score of at least 21. You must complete the application for admission found on the school website and submit it along with your high school transcript and a $25 non-refundable application fee to the school. You will also need a record of your immunizations. The process is the same for transfer students except that they must submit the official transcript from all colleges where they completed college coursework. If you don’t meet the academic standards, you should still apply to the school, and submit a personal statement of why you want to attend Cumberland, what you would contribute to the diversity of the university and your plan to succeed academically at the school. Graduate students apply to the graduate school through an online portal.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition at Cumberland University is approximately $10,080 per semester for 12 to 15 hours. Tuition for less than 12 hours, or for credits over 18, will be calculated at $840 per credit. Tuition for graduate students is $475 per credit which represents the $840 per credit charge with a tuition reduction program applied. General access fees range from $155 to $520 a semester, depending upon which are applicable. Residence hall costs range from $3,775 to $4,100 per semester and meal plans are $250 to $575 per semester. There are also miscellaneous fees and charges.

Paying for your education can be expensive. You, like most students, will probably need financial aid. The first step in getting this help is to complete a FAFSA application. This form gives the federal government about your family’s and your expected contribution to your education. That figure is subtracted from the actual cost of attending the school of your choice. The resulting number is your financial need. Based on that figure, you will be awarded federal assistance like the Pell Grant, the SEOG, the Stafford and other loans and/or qualify you to participate in the work-study program.

Tennessee has a unique program, called Tennessee Promise, that gives two years of free tuition to students enrolled in an accredited community college who plan to transition to a four-year accredited Tennessee university. Cumberland University offers several scholarships as well. Some of these, such as the Leadership Scholarship, require students to have a history of community service and involvement and the potential for leadership. Others are for students who transfer from two-year schools or who qualify on the basis of major, academic excellence or athletics. Private individuals often fund scholarships for those with financial need or who qualify through other things like gender or religious affiliation. Corporations and service organizations award scholarships too. If you have applied all of the scholarships and grants you were awarded and still have a financial need, consider a student loan. Government student loans may be unsubsidized or subsidized, which means as long as you pay the principle the government will cover the interest. Even regular student loans, though, have low interest and delayed repayment plans.

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Degrees Offered

Cumberland is special in that it focuses on learning through community service. The school even partners with the Kiwanis Clubs in a program called “Circle K.” That perspective on education, the idea of “giving back,” makes all of Cumberland’s degree programs unique.

Master Teacher Degree

The Master Teacher Degree, for instance, is a customizable degree program for people who are seeking their first teaching license. If this is your major, instead of following a traditional baccalaureate program, you will take a specified course of classes in the area of content that you want to teach. The program lasts five years and, in that time, you will progress through your baccalaureate degree, through student teaching and get your masters’ degree in education. To follow this plan, you have to design your course of study with the help of advisors from the School of Education and Public Service and an advisor in your contact area. You also have to agree to participate in Teacher Education Progression, which is a program designed to keep you “on track.”

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a 125-credit hour program that includes 40 to 45 credit hours of general education, 15 hours in fundamental nursing curriculum and 68 hours in upper division nursing courses. There are also credits in nursing electives. The required fundamentals classes include: Microbiology and Microbiology Lab, Human Anatomy I and II and Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. The advanced courses include nursing for special populations like geriatrics, pediatrics and women’s medicine among other courses.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

If you study computer science at Cumberland, you might earn the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Business and Technology. This degree is meant for people who want to use their computer skills to enhance their business careers. The degree focuses on skills in programming and mathematics. The degree program contains 120 credit hours of which 44 to 46 are in general education, 33 in basic computational science, 10 to 12 in advanced courses and 29 to 37 hours are in business. Sample courses are Data Structures; Algorithms; MOOC I and II and a capstone project.

Cumberland’s approach to education applies to all degrees. If you want a degree from a grounded, historically-relevant university, you might find a good match in a program at Cumberland University.