Embarking on a career in social work is a noble pursuit, driven by a passion to effect positive change in individuals, families, and communities. With its rich history and diverse population, Tennessee offers a fertile ground for aspiring social workers to hone their skills and make a meaningful impact. In this article, we delve into the landscape of Master of Social Work (MSW) programs across the state, exploring the institutions, specialties, and opportunities that shape the educational journey for those dedicated to serving the needs of others in the Volunteer State.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Tennessee

Tennessee Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

Traditional MSW programs are a little longer than advanced-standing MSW options, but they provide the necessary training a new social worker needs to enter the field. These programs take two years to complete and require 60 credits to graduate. Here are the typical admissions requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology or a related area, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Resume or CV outlining relevant experience
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as psychology, sociology, or human services)
  • GRE scores (some programs may waive this requirement)
  • Interview (some programs may require an interview as part of the application process)
  • Background check and/or fingerprinting

Tennessee Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

Advanced-standing programs, on the other hand, can be completed in only a year. However, to enroll in this program, you’ll need at least a 3.5 GPA and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree in hand, along with the admissions requirements listed above. Here are a few advanced-standing MSW programs available in Tennessee:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Tennessee MSW Program Tuition and Costs

Tennessee’s tuition costs are slightly below the national average, which makes it a perfect state to relocate to for your MSW program. However, if you’re already a resident of Tennessee, you’ll save money on MSW programs considerably. Take a look at the ranges below for some well-known examples:

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Tennessee$454 (Resident)
$606 (Non-resident)
60$27,240 (Resident)
$36,376 (Non-resident)
Tennessee State University$336 (Resident)
$427 (Non-resident)
60$20,140 (Resident)
$25,600 (Non-resident)
East Tennessee State University$525 (Resident)
$1,327 (Non-resident)
63$33,103 (Resident)
$83,644 (Non-resident)

Are Online MSW Programs in Tennessee as Good as Campus-Based?

While the face-to-face interaction of in-person programs is still a big draw for many, the flexibility and convenience of online MSW programs is a significant advantage. Both program delivery formats offer a quality educational experience with access to qualified faculty. Check out the grid below to see which program version might be best for you.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Tennessee

Traditional MSW ProgramsOnline MSW Programs
FormatIn-person classesOnline classes with some in-person requirements
FlexibilityLimited scheduling optionsMore flexibility in scheduling, often part-time options
LocationGeographically limitedAccessible from anywhere with internet connectivity
Learning EnvironmentClassroom-basedVirtual classroom, discussion boards, and online resources
NetworkingLocal networking opportunitiesNetworking with students and professionals from diverse locations
CostTuition, commuting, and relocation expensesGenerally lower tuition and flexibility to continue working
Hands-on ExperienceField placements and internshipsVirtual or field placements and internships arranged in the student's local area

Whether you choose a campus-based or online MSW program in Tennessee, you'll want to ensure that your degree program is properly accredited by a trusted agency such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Unaccredited programs may leave you ineligible for social work licensure.

Learn more about Social Work Degree options:

Getting Your Tennessee Social Work License

Getting licensed as a social worker in Tennessee is the next step after earning your MSW degree. Each state has different licensure requirements, so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with Tennessee’s regulations. Learn more in our Social Work Licensure Guide.

Popular Social Work Careers

Discover the specializations available to you within social work. These social work careers can help you work with diverse populations in a variety of environments.

Social worker talking to clients in their home.

School Social Worker

School social workers provide counseling, support, and advocacy for students facing social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop student success strategies, provide crisis intervention, and facilitate support groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers assess patients' social, emotional, and practical needs. They provide counseling and support, coordinate care with healthcare providers, advocate for patients' rights, and connect patients and their families with community resources to ensure holistic and comprehensive care.

Court Social Worker

Court social workers assess the needs of individuals involved in court cases. They develop intervention plans, provide counseling and support, monitor progress in court-ordered programs, collaborate with legal professionals, and advocate for clients' best interests in legal proceedings.

List of MSW Degree Programs in Tennessee

Bristol, TN

Master's Programs
1350 King College Rd
Bristol, TN 37620-2699
(423) 968-1187

Chattanooga, TN

Master's Programs
615 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
(423) 425-4111

Clarksville, TN

601 College St
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7011

Knoxville, TN

527 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-1000

Memphis, TN

Master's Programs
Southern Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

Murfreesboro, TN

Master's Programs
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
(615) 898-2300

Nashville, TN

Master's Programs
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
(615) 963-5000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Joel Gill
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