Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
man raising hand to ask question

DSW: Frequently Asked Questions

The DSW is a professional practice degree – designed to prepare students for advanced clinical practice and advanced practice leadership. The curriculum is offered in an online format where students who are full-time working clinical social workers can continue in their on-going clinical practice while taking classes. The DSW is an intensive accelerated program that enables students to satisfy all degree requirements in three years, without career disruption. The program is a hybrid/online program in that it includes the requirement that students come to the Knoxville campus for a one week period in each of the two consecutive summers while they are in the program. This on-campus requirement is generally scheduled during the last week of June.

The PhD program is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree with a major in social work. The PhD has an emphasis on research, critical thinking, and expanding the knowledge base, and is designed for those students interested in pursuing research and teaching in higher education. PhD students take classes on-campus in Knoxville for two years and then work on their dissertation.

In social work, the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. There is however, no accreditation process for either PhD or DSW programs. That said, the quality of programs is typically dependent on the quality of the school or college of social work in which they reside. The UT College of Social Work DSW program is a member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in Social Work.

Yes, actually you start with the UT Graduate School Application and that will automatically lead you into the College of Social Work application.

Tuition and fee information can be found on the One Stop Student Services site. Fees for the DSW program are the same as those for the traditional on-campus program, with the addition of the Distance Education Fee. All fees are subject to any changes approved by the Board of Trustees prior to the beginning of a term.

Students may apply for financial aid. Click here for information about financial aid available, requirements, and how to apply.

Yes, however if you reside in one of the southeastern states, you may be eligible for Tennessee in-state tuition through the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) Academic Common Market. Log onto and click on your state in the map.

If accepted, you will receive correspondence from the UT Graduate School. Acceptance notifications are sent after the reviews conducted by the DSW Admissions Committee, which generally occur each month after December. Please note that your admission to the DSW Program is contingent upon your attendance at the on-campus, mandatory 3-day New Student Orientation in the month of June.

Students in the DSW program take two classes during the first session of summer school, culminating in a week of intensive study on campus during the last week in June. All students are required to attend this week on campus during the specified time period.

Yes. Full-time study in the DSW program is defined as six credit hours per semester.

No. Due to the structure of the program, attending part time is not an option.

Students in the DSW take two, 3-credit hour courses per semester for a total of six hours per semester over the course of eight continuous semesters, including summer, for a total of 48 hours of doctoral study.

The DSW Committee will consider accepting hours from other social work doctoral programs on a case-by-case basis.

No. The program is very carefully structured with classes being offered in a very deliberate order. Click here for the list of DSW courses and the order in which they are to be taken.

Classes are limited to no more than 25 students.

The Graduate School at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville only accepts applications by electronic submission. Please visit the the Graduate School’s web site for the application.

If you’re unable to locate the answers to your questions here on the College web site, please email for more information.

Yes, it is necessary for everyone – including UT graduates – to apply for admission to the UT Graduate School and admission to the DSW program.

We do not specify a minimum GRE score. We take a holistic approach to the review of application materials, treating GRE scores as one element in an applicant’s portfolio of clinical experience and capacity to excel in graduate school. (Note: GRE requirement waived for Fall 2021 admission. Please check back later for updates on further admission terms.)

Above, you will find information on our review process and time frame. We cannot make a final decision on an application until we receive the applicant’s GRE scores. (Note: GRE requirement waived for Fall 2021 admission. Please check back later for updates on further admission terms.)

Applicants must have three years of post-MSW/MSSW clinical experience. This is understood to mean three years of supervised direct practice experience with an at-risk population. You are welcome to contact the program director if you have questions about this requirement or your specific post-graduate clinical experience.

The each new cohort of DSW students begin their course of study in the fall semester.

A seating fee is a deposit paid to hold the position until the applicant registers for class and pays tuition. At that time the seating fee is applied to the applicant’s tuition. A seating fee of $500 is required within two weeks after notice of acceptance into the program.

Yes, the seating fee is refundable if you notify the director of the DSW program in writing 60 days before the start of classes.