Tennessee State University is located in Nashville, Tennessee. There is an additional branch campus (the Avon Williams Campus) located in downtown Nashville; the main campus is in a residential area. Tennessee State University was founded in 1912 as an African-American normal school, became a 4-year school in 1922, and received university status in 1958. The final step in establishing its reputation was to receive “university status” approval from the State Board of Education. The institution as it is known today was the result of a 1979 merger between Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville. The University now awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tennessee State University defines its mission in part as one of “provid[ing] quality academic programs which are broadly comprehensive at the baccalaureate and masters levels.” It defines itself as an urban university, and still has a predominantly black student body.