About Bethel

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Bethel University’s mission is to create opportunities for members of the learning community to develop in a Christian environment their highest intellectual, spiritual, and social potential. This includes synchronous and asynchronous modes of education.

History of the Institution

Established in McLemoresville, Tennessee in 1842, Bethel University has greatly surpassed the expectations of its founders.

Chartered by the State of Tennessee in 1847, Bethel began as a seminary for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the purpose of training young male pastors for the growing denomination. It was not until the college moved to McKenzie in 1872 that it first began to admit women as students.

Enrollment grew exponentially with the introduction of the Success Program in 1997. Designed to help busy adults complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Management & Organizational Development, the college began offering classes that met one night per week at the McKenzie campus. Today, Bethel offers classes at seven campus locations across the state of Tennessee, including Chattanooga, Clarksville, Jackson, McKenzie, Memphis, Nashville, and Paris.

In October 2007, Bethel introduced its online Master of Business Administration degree, which quickly became the number-one Executive MBA program in the state of Tennessee. Soon after, in 2009, Bethel expanded its offerings to provide a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership completely online. 2009 also marks the year that Bethel’s institutional growth made it possible for the college to become a university.

In 2015, the College of Public Service merged with the College of Professional Studies and offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Criminal Justice. Bethel University is now comprised of three separate colleges, with a multitude of on-campus and online programs.


Bethel University is chartered by the State of Tennessee. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.

Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Bethel University.

Bethel University’s Title IX Policy