Founded in 1912 as West Tennessee Normal School and in continuous operation since then, the University of Memphis is now one of Tennessee's three Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive. It enrolls approximately 20,000 graduate and undergraduate students and awards more than 3,000 degrees annually. 
Bachelor’s degree programs are offered in 58 major areas through six colleges and one school. The degrees include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Professional Studies, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Master’s degree programs are offered in over 45 major areas through six colleges and two schools. The degrees include Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, International Master of Business Administration, Master of City and Regional Planning, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Health Administration, Master of Music, Master of Public Administration, Master of Science, and Master of Science in Nursing.
The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded in audiology and speech pathology, biology, biomedical engineering, business, chemistry, communication, counseling psychology, earth sciences, educational psychology and research, engineering, English, history, mathematics, music, philosophy, and psychology. The School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology awards the Doctor of Audiology. The College of Education awards the Doctor of Education and the degree of Education Specialist with a major in education. The College of Communication and Fine Arts awards the Doctor of Musical Arts. The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law awards the Juris Doctor degree.
In the fall of 2003, the institution had a total enrollment of 19,911 (15,209 students in undergraduate programs, 3,502 in masters programs, 445 in professional programs, and 755 in doctoral programs).