Fisk University

Fisk University

Fisk University is one of 102 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. HBCUs were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. As the oldest educational institution in Nashville, Fisk educates approximately 800 students in an intimate and nurturing environment.


Fisk offers personalized academic advising and accessible office hours, and provides opportunities for research, internships and supplemental instruction. Strong programs include biology, psychology and business. In the area of STEM, the Fisk Altitude Achievement Missile Team (FAAMT) is becoming a pipeline for students to enter internships and possible employment at NASA and NASA contractors.  

Students can be accepted into the School of Medicine or Dentistry at Meharry Medical College after three years at Fisk, with the first year medical or dental school courses serving as elective course requirements to complete the 120 hours needed to obtain a B.A. or B.S. at Fisk. Interested students need a 3.6/3.7 and must apply sophomore year.

Fisk students can cross register with Vanderbilt University, and they partner with Vanderbilt for nursing and pre-engineering and with Case Western University for engineering. The ROTC program partners with Vanderbilt and Tennessee State University.

Additional joint programs include:

  • M.B.A. 5-year Program (Vanderbilt University)
  • Nursing and Medical Technology (Rush Medical Center, Chicago)
  • Pharmacy (Howard University, Washington, D.C.)
  • Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-To-PhD Bridge Program

Special Academic Programs abound at Fisk. Most recently, a partnership with Google helped establish the Google in Residence program in which a Google engineers are embedded at HBCUs to serve as visiting lecturers. Preparing future generations is a cornerstone at Fisk and community outreach is significant. Special education programs housed at Fisk include:

T.H.R.U.S.T. (To Harness, Retain, Understand, Sustain & Teach) 8-week summer-science camp for boys in grades 5 through 12 from underrepresented groups.

G.U.S.T.O. (Girls Using Scientific Tools for Opportunities) 8-week summer-science camp for girls entering grades 5 through 12.

P.C.S.I. (Pre-College Summer Institute) Program aimed at encouraging families to focus on education.

U-CPS (Urban Community Project to Stimulate Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Structured, professional development program for middle/high school teachers.

Social Life

While Fisk students tend to hang out together and experience a more low-key social life, there is no shortage of activities to get involved with. There is an active Greek life on campus and endless opportunities to engage with students from neighboring campuses. For example, Fisk students can join the marching band, drumline or dance troupe at Vanderbilt. The Fisk Jubilee Singers consists of a cappella singers who travel the world to continue the tradition of singing the Negro spiritual and preserve this unique music.

Student Body

The student body is largely black with a small but growing Hispanic population. Most students hail from Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The students we met were motivated, friendly, community-oriented, laid-back, optimistic, and entrepreneurial. Our tour guide, who came from Memphis was majoring in accounting. She had started a hair extension business and commented on how many students on campus had their own small business. 78% of students go to graduate school.

Surrounding Area

Fisk is located a 5-minute drive from downtown Nashville. While there are few neighboring places for walking, many students have cars and can drive to the base of the pedestrian bridge that leads into downtown.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Average test scores include 3.0 GPA, 21 ACT, and 1060 SAT

Merit scholarships are automatic and range from $7,500 to full tuition (29 ACT and 3.9). The average award is $1500, and 93% of students receive some sort of financial aid including Merit scholarships and Pell grants. Yearly cost before aid is $33,000.


As recently highlighted in this NYTimes article, there has been a rise in applications to HBCUs over the past couple of years. Fisk represents a good reason why; the nurturing, close knit community allows students to feel both emotionally and physically secure and the partnerships with neighboring universities allows for opportunities usually only available at larger schools.

Fisk University

1000 17th Avenue N.
Nashville, TN 37208

Fisk College

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