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Location: Collegedale, Tennessee (pop. 11,109)

Campus: 1,300 acres with 26 major buildings, plus nearly 40 miles of hiking and biking trails

Motto: Power for Mind and Soul

Mission Statement: Grounded in Jesus Christ and dedicated to the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we equip students to embrace biblical truth, embody academic and professional excellence, and pursue Spirit-filled lives of service.

President: Ken Shaw, EdD

Religious Affiliation: Seventh-day Adventist. Southern welcomes individuals of other faiths.


Undergraduate Students: 2,400
Graduate Students: 319
States Represented: 49
Countries Represented: 38
Percentage of Undergrads Living on Campus: 78.5%

2020-21 First-Year Class:
Average ACT: 23
Average SAT: 1,104
Average GPA: 3.7
Female: 56%
Male: 44%


Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1

Undergraduate Fields of Study: 75 baccalaureate majors, 20 associate majors, plus numerous emphases, minors, and certificate programs

Graduate Degrees:
Doctor of Nursing Practice, DNP
Master of Arts in Religion, MA
Master of Business Administration, MBA
Master of Ministry, MMin
Master of Science in Applied Computer Science, MS
Master of Science in Computer Science, MS
Master of Science in Counseling, MS
Master of Science in Education, MSEd
Master of Science in Nursing, MSN
Master of Social Work, MSW

Classes with Fewer than 30 Students: 81%

Full-time Faculty: 165

Accreditation: SACSCOC, AAA (with additional accreditations for individual schools and departments)

More about Student Achievement 


U.S. News & World Report has identified Southern as a “Top Tier” institution for 20 consecutive years. It also has ranked Southern as the most diverse regional university in the South.


Christian Service Program: More than 1,400 students, employees, and alumni participate in community service activities annually through campus programs, including the university's annual MLK Service Day. This outreach is made possible by more than 60 active community partners providing nonprofit opportunities to minister to refugees and the homeless, fight pediatric cancer and human trafficking, coach soccer, and mentor and tutor children, among others. The program's core focus is to address the needs of vulnerable groups identified in Matthew 25 by feeding the hungry and thirsty, welcoming strangers, attending to the sick and grieving, and caring for those imprisoned physically and mentally.

LifeGroups: More than 1,200 students participate in LifeGroups (student-led small groups).

Living in Balance Quality Enhancement Plan: To strengthen the pursuit of wholeness, the university chose to focus on increasing cardiorespiratory fitness in students. The two-hour general education physical activity requirement was increased to four, meaning students will take one physical activity course per year.

Southern Scholars: Highly motivated students are awarded a scholarship for participating in this interdisciplinary academic program. The program focuses on developing students' strong critical thinking skills that are relevant to both personal and academic life, while the depth and breadth of Scholars learning occurs within a community of more than 60 peers and with the mentorship of faculty from diverse fields.  

Study AbroadOn average, 50 students each year take classes in another country.

Missions: Students have opportunities to spend a semester or year as full-time missionaries or to participate in short-term trips through the Student Missions and Humanitarian Engagement offices as well as the Evangelistic Resource Center.


Tuition: $22,980 (2022-2023 academic year)

Room and Board: $8,010

Books and Fees: $1,100 (estimate)

Average Package of Scholarships, Grants, and Loans: $22,700

Full-time Students Receiving Financial Aid: 98% 

Aid from Southern: More than $18 million in university-based funds are awarded to undergraduate students each year.

Cost Comparison: Tuition and fees at Southern cost 34% less than the national average for private colleges and universities and 11% less than public out-of-state colleges and universities. 

Return on Investment: Southern ranked #8 in Tennessee for 2020.


Clubs and Organizations: Nearly 40 different ways to connect

Music: Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Southern Ringtones, Jazz Ensemble, I Cantori, Bel Canto, Die Meistersinger, and other musical groups

Cultural Clubs: Asian Club, Black Christian Union, Latin American Club, and Middle Eastern Club

Faith Opportunities: Residence hall worships, vespers, LifeGroups, multiple on-campus churches and services (such as Collegedale, Spanish American, Connect, Merge), more than 25 nearby Seventh-day Adventist churches, more than 20 student-led ministries

Intramural Sports: More than half of Southern students participate in intramurals.