Explore HBCU – Meharry Medical College

Staff Writer
July 14, 2022

Meharry Medical College is a historically black, United Methodist church-affiliated, medical school in Nashville, Tennessee. 


One of the nation’s oldest and largest historically black academic health science centers, Meharry Medical College was founded in 1876 as the first medical school in the South for African Americans. The school was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Freedman’s Aid Society after Samuel Meharry—a Scots-Irish immigrant salt trader—donated $15,000 in honor of a family that had been enslaved, who helped him.

Originally functioning as the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College in Nashville, Meharry had its first graduate in 1877 followed by three more in 1878. Meharry’s Dental Department was founded in 1886, followed by the Pharmacy Department in 1889. By 1915, Meharry received a state charter that allowed the institution to become independent and throughout the first half of the 20th Century, Meharry continued to grow steadily. 

Today, Meharry Medical College consists of a medical school, dental school, graduate school, and applied computational sciences school. Additionally, The Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College is home to leadership in health policy education, training, and research to doctoral, medical, dental, and graduate studies.  Meharry is the largest medical college in the nation dedicated to primarily educating black healthcare professionals, all within a private not-for-profit, independent institution. 

Programs & Opportunities

At Meharry, primary fields of study typically include Medicine (MD), Dentistry (DDS, DMD), Public Health (MPH, DPH), and Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Students can pursue study pathways that result in the following 13 degrees: Master of Science in Public Health, Master’s in Physician Assistant Sciences, Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (Patient-Oriented Research), Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (Epidemiology/Health Service Research), Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Physiology), Master of Health Science, Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience), Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology), Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Biochemistry and Cancer Biology), Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Microbiology and Immunology), Certificate in Health Policy, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Medicine.

Additionally, Meharry’s Center of Excellence works to address the need to increase the Black physical workforce, all while recruiting African American faculty academically involved in innovative medical training.

Learn more about Meharry Medical College here.

Alumni Affairs

At Meharry, more than 60% of graduates enter the primary care field and more than 76% go on to practice in underserved communities. Meharry works to empower diverse populations to improve the well-being of all humankind.

Some Meharry Medical College notable alumni include, but are not limited to:

  • Dorothy Lavinia Brown—legislator, educator, and first Black woman surgeon in the South—graduated from Meharry Medical College.
  • Dr. Audrey F. Manley—former Assistant Surgeon General, chief resident at Cook Country Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, president of Spelman college—graduated from Meharry Medical College.
  • Dr. Carl Bell—psychiatrist, international researcher, author, and professor of psychiatry—received his M.D. degree from Meharry Medical College.
  • Dr. Charles H. Wright—Detroit physician and founder of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History—obtained his MD from Meharry Medical College.

Financial Information

At Meharry Medical College, the Office of Student Financial Aid provides pertinent information on graduate and professional school funding to help students attain educational goals. Depending upon school and path of study, students studying as part of the School of Medicine, Dentistry, Computational Sciences, Ph.D. Program, MPH Program, or MHS Program can expect tuition rates upwards of $50,000 while in school, and upwards of $20,000 in the post senior months. The total cost of attendance will differ with additional fees, books & supplies, room & board, transportation, personal expense, and usage of financial aid.


Meharry Medical College is an academic health science center of global excellence, working to advance health equity through innovative and transformative research, health service, and policy-influencing educational design.  

Learn more about Meharry Medical College here.