The University of Tennessee

College of Social Work

Online Knoxville, TN Public Regional Accreditation

School at a Glance

10 Years of distance learning
240 total students
1 degree programs View Programs
1 certificate programs View Programs


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Social Work

For 70 years, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Social Work has provided comprehensive and cutting-edge social work education. Its undergraduate program prepares individuals for careers in social work practice and leadership. Its MSSW. degree program prepares students for social work clinical practice or social work management, leadership, and community practice. The PhD. degree program prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching. The DSW degree program prepares individuals for advanced clinical practice and clinical leadership.

With emphasis on critical thinking and life-long learning, the college ensures that students acquire in-depth knowledge about social work theory, practice, and policy. In addition, it promotes interdisciplinary research that helps individuals, families, organizations, and communities.

Community outreach is also an important aspect of the school's mission. Faculty members, staff members, and students engage in community service that improves the lives of vulnerable populations and promotes social justice. 

As the world moves increasingly toward becoming a connected global society, the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work has developed a strong international focus. The college currently has students studying worldwide in over 11 countries, and recruits students internationally for all of its programs. Keeping this in mind, the college has developed two excellent online degree programs that accommodate the needs of those not living in the area of the two campuses. These degree programs can be accessed worldwide and use leading edge technology to make our degree as close to a face-to-face program as one can achieve from home!

MSSW Online Program - One College, One Curriculum, One Faculty

The online Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville allows ambitious and talented students to earn their degrees via the Internet. The program is administered with the same high standards as the traditional, on-campus MSSW program.

The focus on leadership and strong generalist practice foundation in the MSSW program allows graduates to excel in all areas of social work, regardless of the major concentrations they choose. The online program includes the same concentrations and courses of study as the on-campus program. Also the same talented and experienced faculty members teach courses in both programs. The model remains an apprentice model wherein students spend a significant period of time practicing in the field under the direction of accomplished social workers in the student's home town or city. Individualized support and mentoring are provided by our full-time online field coordinator who works to develop relationships with agencies in the student's locale.

There are two concentrations within the MSSW program:

The "Evidenced-Based Interpersonal Practice" concentration provides advanced training in therapeutic interventions and group work. It allows students to further tailor their educations through a comprehensive offering of elective courses. EBIP graduates work in schools, hospitals, private practices, psychiatric clinics, prisons, non-profit agencies, community mental health centers, and more.

The "Management Leadership and Community Practice" concentration equips students with management, social and economic development, and policy analysis skills that enable them to lead non-profit agencies, work for the state or federal government, and engage with communities to help address pressing needs.

The flexibility of the online program allows students to choose the length of time it takes to complete a degree, ranging from one-four years, and is ideal for those living more than 25 miles from either Knoxville or Nashville, TN. The University of Tennessee online M.S.S.W. program is consistently ranked as a top quality program among multiple online ranking organizations.

Certificate and Licensure Programs

The college offers four certificate or licensure programs within its MSSW program, including "School Social Work," "Gerontology," "Trauma," and "Veterinary Social Work." The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has a faculty full of pioneers in these areas of focus. Recent endeavors have made it possible for students to pioneer clinical practice as part of integrated healthcare in Tennessee, and to qualify for a non-profit management certificate from the national Network for Social Work Management upon completion of the Management, Leadership and Community Practice concentration.

Online Doctor of Social Work Program - Hybrid Distance Education

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program is specifically designed for practicing clinical social workers, either LCSWs or MSWs with at least two years of practice experience, who wish to become clinical leaders in the field. It is an accelerated program where candidates can complete doctoral degrees in three years, without practice interruption.

The four key components of the program provide for one of the most comprehensive understandings of human functioning available: neuroscience, evidence-based practice, clinical leadership, and epistemology via a life-span approach.

Doctor of Social Work Format

Courses for the Doctor of Social Work program are taught online using both synchronous and asynchronous methods. The synchronous method includes interactive video conferencing using Zoom technology and instructional media that allow for real-time "classroom" interaction at designated times. Conversely, the asynchronous method allows students to use online communication tools to share information outside of virtual class times. 

Although students complete courses online, they spend one week during each summer of the program at the university's Knoxville campus to complete intensive knowledge and skills development activities.

DSW Requirements

Students in the Doctor of Social Work program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have master's degrees in social work. They also have at least two years of clinical practice experience or designation as licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs).

Expert Faculty Members

Faculty members in the College of Social Work are innovative teachers who have vast clinical and leadership experience. Faculty members are also dedicated to helping students expand their knowledge and skills in the field and advancing their careers.

Tuition and Financial Assistance

Fees and tuition for the Online MSSW. and DSW programs are the same as those for on-campus graduate programs, except for a small additional distance education fee. Students do not pay parking, student services fees, or other on-campus fees.

Students may be eligible for financial assistance to help cover their expenses. Students may be eligible for in-state tuition through the academic common market with the DSW program only.

Each student can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine if he or she qualifies for financial aid such as student loans, grants, and scholarships.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the southern region of the United States. It is a "research-intensive" institution that provides nearly 28,000 students with more than 300 comprehensive academic programs. 

UTK also enhances the state's culture, strengthens its economy, and positively impacts its citizens' lives through research and service.

A leader in public higher education, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has a ranking within the top public universities on "U.S. News and World Report's" 2015 list of best colleges.

Connect with this school

Degree Programs

The University of Tennessee Offers the Following Degree Programs Online

Undergraduate Programs

Associate's Degrees

This school does not offer any online Associate's Degrees

Bachelor's Degrees

This school does not offer any online Bachelor's Degrees

Graduate Programs

Master's Degrees

MSW in Social Work

Doctoral Degrees

This school does not offer any online Doctoral Degrees

Certificate Programs

The University of Tennessee Offers the Following Certificate Programs Online

Undergraduate Certificates

This school does not offer any online Undergraduate Certificates

Location & Contact

Student Contact

Susan Bryant Director, Student Recruitment and Student Affairs 865-974-3996
College of Social Work 412 Henson Hall 1618 Cumberland Avenue Knoxville TN 37996

Head of Distance Learning

Kate Chaffin Director, Online MSSW Program 615-256-1885
College of Social Work UT College of Social Work 193 Polk Avenue Nashville TN 37210-4629

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