Fisk University

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

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About Fisk University

Fisk University, private, coeducational institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. One of the most notable historically black colleges, it is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. It offers undergraduate degree programs in business administration; humanities and fine arts, including religion and philosophy; natural science and mathematics, including computer science; and social sciences, including psychology and public administration. Master’s degree programs in biology, chemistry, physics, general or clinical psychology, sociology, and social gerontology are also available, and a master’s in business administration can be earned through a joint program with Vanderbilt University. The Center for Photonic Materials and Devices, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Molecular Spectroscopy Research Laboratory are research units of the university. Enrollment is approximately 800 students.

Opened in 1866, Fisk School was named for General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau, who gave the school its original facilities in a former Union army barracks. It became a university the next year. In severe debt by 1871, the school emptied its treasury to finance a fund-raising concert tour by a student group, the Fisk Jubilee Singers. As well as successfully raising funds, the Singers’ concerts in the United States and Europe helped establish spirituals as an art form.

Much of the important modern art collection of photographer Alfred Stieglitz was donated to the university by his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, including paintings by O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Cézanne. Among the collections at the university library are the papers of John Mercer Langston, George Gershwin, W.C. Handy, and alumnus W.E.B. Du Bois.


Fisk University’s ranking in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, Tier 2.

Fisk University is ranked #152 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

  • #152 (tie) in National Liberal Arts Colleges
  • #113 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
  • #6 in Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Cost of Attendance

  • The full-time annual undergraduate tuition fee (12-18 semester hours) is 20,220 USD. The full-time graduate tuition fee (9-15 semester hours) is 20,520 USD.
  • The room charge for single occupancy is 9,722 USD and for double occupancy, it is 6,346 USD.
  • A meal plan of 18 meals per week would cost 4,766 USD annually.
  • In addition, a recurring fee of 1,912 USD will have to be paid per year.

Financial Aid for International Students

  • Fisk University offers both merit-based and need-based scholarships to the students. All the students can apply for the scholarships.
  • The Ella Sheperd Moore Provost Scholarship covers the full tuition fee. It is based on the number of credit hours earned by the students.
  • The Fisk Outstanding Scholars and Leaders Award provides a sum of 5,000 USD-15,000 USD to the students.

Private-Funded Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid programs in the US can be overwhelming due to their extensive application filing process. Here’s a brief list of research scholarship opportunities from private organizations both within the U.S. and India.

  1. American University Emerging global leader Scholarship
  2. United World Colleges International Youth Scholarships.
  3. Civil Society Leadership Award
  4. The Indian Trust Fellowship 
  5. Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students
  6. Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship
  7. Inlaks Scholarship

Notable Alumni

Lil Hardin Armstrong – jazz pianist/composer, second wife of Louis Armstrong
Constance Baker Motley – first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate
Marion Barry – former mayor of Washington, D.C.
Mary Frances Berry – former Chair, United States Commission on Civil Rights; former Chancellor University of Colorado at Boulder
John Betsch – jazz percussionist
Joyce Bolden – first African-American woman to serve on the Commission for Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music
Otis Boykin – inventor, control device for the heart pacemaker
St. Elmo Brady – first African American to earn a doctorate in Chemistry
Virginia E. Walker Broughton – author and Baptist missionary [36][37][38]
Cora Brown first – African-American woman elected to a state senate
James Dallas Burrus – educator
John Houston Burrus – educator J.H. Burrus.png
Henry Alvin Cameron – educator, decorated World War I veteran
Elizabeth Hortense – (Golden) Canady past national president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority
Alfred O. Coffin – first African American to earn a doctorate in zoology
Malia Cohen – San Francisco District 10 Supervisor 2010 – Present
Johnnetta B. Cole – anthropologist, former President of Spelman College and Bennett College
Arthur Cunningham – musical composer, studied at Juilliard and Columbia University
William L. Dawson (politician) – U.S. Congressman (1943–1970) William L. Dawson.jpg
Charles Diggs – United States House of Representatives Michigan (1955–1980) Charles C. Diggs.jpg
Mahala Ashley Dickerson – first black female attorney in the state of Alabama and first black president of the National Association of Women Lawyers
Rel Dowdell – acclaimed filmmaker
W. E. B. Du Bois – sociologist, scholar, first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard WEB DuBois 1918.jpg
James J. Durham – Founder of Morris College
Venida Evans – actress, best known for IKEA commercials
Etta Zuber Falconer – first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics; former Chair, mathematics department at Spelman College
John Hope Franklin – historian, professor, scholar, author of landmark text From Slavery to Freedom John Hope Franklin.png
Victor O. Frazer – United States House of Representatives (1995–1997)

Admission Requirements and Application Process

Admission to the Fisk University Graduate Program is open to persons who have graduated from an accredited college and earned a B.A. or B.S. degree in the field of interest of the graduate program.

Consideration for admission to the Graduate Program at Fisk University requires that the following materials are submitted to the Interim Dean of the Graduate School, Lee E Limbird, PhD, via her assistant , Marian Burns, electronically, using [email protected] That office then forwards application materials to the appropriate graduate program and/or to the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD program

A completed application form for graduate study [ link] , including three letters of recommendation, preferably from persons who are familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or professional capabilities. Completed applications are due by March15* for the following fall term. *Although the deadline is March 15th , applications should be submitted as early as possible to receive full consideration for all Fellowship funding and special research or other opportunities. Later applications are occasionally considered, but resource allocation for tuition and stipends may be complete by April 15th

  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate work. These must be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions and Records by the registrar of the institution awarding credit for the completed work;
  • A personal statement addressing specific issues pertaining to knowledge, work and/or research experiences, goals and/or interests in the chosen field
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the General Test are also required. These scores should be sent to the Office of Admissions, Fisk University, Nashville TN 37208-3051 as part of the application for admission.

Adequate skills on the college level in reading and in spoken and written English are expected of all graduate students. If English is not the student’s primary language, a TOEFL examination is required for consideration by the admissions committee

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

Students accepted for graduate study at Fisk University are provided an offer letter that clarifies the source of funding for tuition. In addition, in the Natural Sciences ( Biology, Chemistry, and Physics [including physics, materials science, and astronomy]), graduate student stipends also are available. Signing of this offer letter by the student confirms the official acceptance into the Graduate Program at Fisk University.

Fisk University Location & Contact


1000 17th Avenue, North
Nashville, TN 37208-3051


Phone: 615-329-8503 

Fax: 615-329-8774
Email: [email protected]

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