The Morrill Act of 1862 established the land grant university system through which each state of the union would have a public university available to its citizens. What is now the University of Tennessee in Knoxville – the university's primary campus – already had been in operation for 68 years at that time, however. It was founded as Blount College in 1794, two years before Tennessee became the 16th state in 1796. The school changed its name to East Tennessee University (ETU) in 1840. It received formal land grant designation in 1869, at which time it changed its name to the University of Tennessee. At that time, Knoxville was the only campus site. There are several other branches today including Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis, but Knoxville remains the primary campus of the University.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK) also is the largest campus within the University of Tennessee system. Today, total student population at UTK approaches 28,000, more than 6,100 of whom are postgraduate students. The student population originates from all 50 states of the United States as well as from more than 100 other countries. U.S. News and World Report places UTK at 103 among all national universities and 46th among public post-secondary institutions. Though the university's dental school is 400 miles away in Memphis, the Knoxville campus is home to its medical school and teaching and research hospital, the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

University of Tennessee – Knoxville Accreditation Details

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. UTK's College of Social Work was founded in 1942 as the Nashville School of Social Work and its bachelor and Master's programs have been continuously accredited since 1945 by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Master's program (MSSW) is the first and oldest CSWE-accredited program in all of Tennessee. CSWE does not accredit doctoral programs, but UT's doctoral programs regularly gain much positive recognition from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Further, U.S. News and World Report recognizes the UT College of Social Work graduate program as a "best" program in its national rankings. Also, UTK's College of Social Work subscribes to and is committed to the codes of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers and the International Federation of Social Workers. The online program is included in all formal accreditation afforded to UTK's College of Social Work, but UTK offers fully online programs only for Master's and doctoral degrees. The bachelor program incorporates online study but requires at least some class time in person on a physical campus.

University of Tennessee – Knoxville Application Details

As is the case with any reputable institution of higher education, The University of Tennessee – Knoxville requires either high school graduation or its equivalent. It also requires college entrance exam scores; it accepts results from both the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT). UTK received 17,583 freshmen applications for the 2016 fall semester. Of those, 77.2 percent (13,578) were approved and 4,851 enrolled. Among the freshmen who enrolled, the average high school grade point average (GPA) was 3.89 on a 4.0 system. Average SAT score was 1142 out of a possible perfect score of 1600. Average ACT composite score was 27.1.

Aspiring students apply directly to the University. High school seniors complete a freshman application and include a $50 application fee. High school seniors also need to have their high schools send official transcripts to the Admissions office and instruct college testing services (SAT or ACT) to send their scores to UTK. Students also will need to complete and include at least one essay as a part of the admissions process. UTK may waive the $50 application fee in special circumstances but only when applicants specifically request that waiver.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville welcomes transfer students as well, of course. Potential transfer students must submit an application with the $50 application fee as well as request that their current or previous school send an official transcript to UTK at an address provided by UTK.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Beginning in Fall 2014, undergraduate in-state tuition and fees total is $6,362 per semester. Out-of-state tuition and fees are $15,572. These are totals for undergraduate students. It offers fully-online degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels, however. Per-semester costs for those programs are only slightly higher at $6,417 for Tennessee residents and $15,626 for out of state students.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville offers a service it refers to as "One Stop" at which current and prospective students can find much information and assistance in securing financial aid. Financial aid is available in the form of federal student loans, grants, scholarships, work-study, and other assistance available specifically to residents of Tennessee. These other forms of state-specific financial assistance include Tennessee's education lottery funds available to Tennessee residents.

Online Social Work Degrees Available

As stated above, The University of Tennessee – Knoxville's undergraduate program in social work does include some online courses but UTK does not offer a fully-online bachelor degree in social work. It does, however, offer fully-online Master and doctoral social work degrees. It also offers a fully-online Veterinary Social Work Certificate for those who already hold MSSW certification, along with a Postgraduate Trauma Certificate Program (PGTC) and continuing education classes for established social work practitioners.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville describes is online Master of Science in Social Work as one of the country's top-rated master's programs in terms of value and affordability. The university favors the advantages of the in-person classroom setting, but it provides its online students with the same curriculum and faculty as it does its on-campus students. This benefit extends to its fully-online doctoral students, of course.

In its online continuing education program, UTK offers a number of online workshops through which current, licensed practitioners can secure their necessary continuing education hours. All users must register, but not all programs carry any monetary cost. The school provides links to a variety of courses in several subject areas, some of which are totally free of cost to the user. Subject areas include Military Social Work, Civil Rights Training, Child Abuse Mandatory Reporting Training, Neuroscience for Social Workers, and others.

Related Resource: 25 Best Affordable Online Master's in History Degree Programs

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville provides a broad base of study in social work at all academic levels, including providing continuing education for current practitioners.