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BSSW Program Details: Knoxville Campus

Application, Admission, and Progression

For a description of admission requirements and applications for undergraduate admission to the University can be found at:

Progression into upper division social work classes

Students who declare Social Work as their major will be automatically be assigned to the BSSW Academic Advisor. Progression of students in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program to courses numbered 312 and above is competitive and is based on capacity. Factors considered include overall grade point average, performance in selected lower-division courses, and personal qualifications deemed acceptable for entrance into the professional practice of social work.

Students with an intent to enroll in SOWK 312 in the fall semester must complete and submit the Progression Application by February 15. Students with an intent to enroll in SOWK 312 in the spring semester must complete and submit the packet by September 15.

Minimum requirements include:

  • 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher (UTK or transfer GPA)
  • Completion of at least 45 credit hours including English 101/118 and 102 and other general education requirements
  • Completion SOWK 200 (Introduction to Social Work) or its equivalent with a grade of C or higher
  • Completion SOWK 250 (Introduction to Social Welfare) its equivalent with a grade of C or higher
  • Completion of a Personal Essay (please see Progression Application link above)

(Please note: SOWK 200 and SOWK 250 are offered online every summer prior to enrollment in upper division social work classes in the fall.)

These minimum standards for consideration do not guarantee enrollment in SOWK 312 and progression to upper-division status within the college. The final decision for enrollment in SOWK 312 and progression to upper-division status resides with the department head or designee.

All students will work with their field coordinator to secure their required field/practicum placements that occur in a real-world practice setting under the supervision of a professional social worker. Students are advised that several field placement (internship) agencies and licensing boards require successfully passing a criminal background check. Also, students in the college are encouraged to participate in community service and/or volunteer activities at a social service agency in advance of upper-division social work coursework.

BSSW Honors Program

The BSSW Honors Program provides a small group of academically high-achieving social work majors with an enriching, engaging, and individualized undergraduate academic experience and an opportunity to earn both a BSSW and an MSSW degree in five years. All declared social work majors with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 are invited to apply for admission to the BSSW Honors Program.

To apply to the BSSW Honors Program students must:

  • Be a declared social work major
  • Complete the Progression Application for into upper division Social Work Courses
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5
  • Complete a personal interview with the BSSW Program Director or designee

The BSSW Program Director or designee maintains responsibility for selecting the most qualified applicants for entry into the BSSW Honors Program. All students admitted into the BSSW Honors Program must earn a grade of B or above in all required social work courses and social work honors courses. To graduate from the BSSW Honors Program, students must complete twelve (12) hours of social work honors courses while maintaining at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Students with cumulative grade point averages that drop below a 3.5 will incur probationary status and will be given one semester to raise their average to a 3.5 or above. Failure to improve one’s cumulative grade point average during the probationary semester will lead to dismissal from the BSSW Honors Program.

Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Option

All students in the BSSW Honors Program are eligible, but not required, to apply for conditional admission to the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Option during their junior/third year of undergraduate study.

To be conditionally admitted to the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Option, students must:

  1. Submit a successful a Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Application Checklist by April 1st during the junior/third year of undergraduate study (link to application packet can be found at the bottom of the page). As a part of the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Application Packet, students will complete a professional statement along with three reference evaluations forms. One of the three required reference evaluation forms shall be completed by BSSW Program Director or designee. The BSSW Program Director or designee will notify students of their conditional admittance to the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program by the end of the spring semester of their junior/third year of undergraduate study.
  2. Submit a successful application (and payment of graduate school application fee) to the Graduate School starting in October but NO LATER than December 1st of their senior/fourth year of undergraduate study (application can be found at

Conditional admission to the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program does not guarantee admission into either the Graduate School or the Master’s Program. Students will have the ability to specify their preference for program location (Knoxville or Nashville campus or Online) and whether the full-time or part-time (2 year) program is preferred when they complete the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Application Packet. Students will also be asked identify their preference for either the Evidence-based Interpersonal Practice or Organizational Leadership concentration. Although the MSSW admission committee will do its best to match students with their preferences, there is no guarantee a student will receive their preference once fully admitted. Both the College of Social Work and the Graduate School must approve all admissions.

A student may be fully admitted into the Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program if:

  • a student has maintained a minimum overall GPA of 3.5,
  • has met all the requirements of the BSSW Honors Program and BSSW degree,
  • submitted a successful Five-Year BSSW/MSSW Program Application Packet, and
  • submitted a successful application to the Graduate School.

The College of Social Work will notify students of their official admission into the Advanced Standing MSSW Program and Graduate School early in the spring semester of their senior/fourth year. Once admitted, students are required to complete the summer semester and concentration year (Fall and Spring semesters) of the Advanced Standing MSSW Program.

Social Work Honors students who enroll in a 500-level course for undergraduate credit and applied to the BSSW degree, may not apply the course credit towards the MSSW degree. The requirements for the MSSW degree may be found in the Graduate Catalog in the College of Social Work section. Students are ineligible for graduate assistantships until they satisfy all requirements for the BSSW degree.

Curriclum Tracks

Please see the curriculum tracks on the Advising page.