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PhD Program Admissions Information

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University of Tennessee, Knoxville Application & Admission

Students must apply to, and be accepted to, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as well as the College of Social Work. A description of admission requirements for graduate admission to the University of Tennessee can be obtained from:

Application Deadline

NOTICE: The application cycle for Fall 2022 admission is closed.

The application period opens on August 1 for the following academic year and the deadline for submitting an application is November 1. This deadline applies to both domestic and international applicants.

College of Social Work Admission Requirements

The PhD Program is designed for students who have earned a Master’s degree from an accredited school of social work and have post-master’s social work/social welfare practice experience. Applicants who do not meet these requirements will need to achieve equivalent credentials as specified by the PhD Admission Committee.

The Application Process

  1. Submit your application by completing the following at the Graduate School’s web site:
    • Graduate School online application
    • $60.00 application fee (paid online at the time of your application submission)
    • Official transcripts of all previous academic work. Scanned versions of official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework must be uploaded with the online application. If you have attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville your UT transcripts will already be on file. If you do not upload your transcript(s) with your application, you must have your official transcript(s) mailed directly from the institution(s) to the Graduate Admissions office. Please keep in mind that doing this will delay the processing of your application.
    • Employment history (resume or vita)
    • Professional statement (limit of 300 words per question):
      • Why are you interested in getting a PhD in social work at UTK?
      • How will obtaining a PhD in social work enhance your career goals?
      • People with research-based PhDs typically seek employment in academic or research-oriented settings. What types of jobs would you be interested in after obtaining your PhD and where do you see yourself living and working after graduation?
      • A PhD is a research-based degree where people study social problems as a means of generating knowledge that will lead to a more thorough understanding of social problems and how to eliminate them. How to you see yourself contributing to the goal of developing knowledge that impacts social problems?
      • Describe how your professional strengths, experiences, & aptitude that will contribute to your success in our research-based PhD program.
    • Personal Statement (limit of 300 words)
      The College of Social Work values social justice and a diverse and inclusive environment. All students can contribute to the creation of the social justice mission of the college. Whether by a personal attribute, characteristic, culture, experience, and/or behavior please tell us how you believe you will contribute to the social justice mission of the college and the profession through your own scholarship.
    • Writing Sample
      Submission suggestions: Papers from Master’s program, any professional writing including reports, literature reviews, papers you’ve co-authored, etc. (if you submit something that is co-authored please attach a document explaining your specific contribution to the writing). If you don’t have a past writing sample to submit, please write an essay to the committee to demonstrate your writing proficiency. Note: You can upload this document before or after submission of the application.
  2. Provide the names and email addresses of three (3) references. The strongest letters of recommendation come from faculty members. If you don’t have a relationship with a faculty member please seek recommendations from professionals familiar with your work, such as supervisors. Personal references are not appropriate.
  3. International applicants also submit TOEFL scores.
    International applicants should refer to the Admissions for International Students page on the Graduate School’s web site for additional information.

More on the PhD program:

About the PhD Program

Degree Requirements

Video on the Doctoral Programs