Social Work Degree Programs in Tennessee (A-M)

The Volunteer State is known for its proactive citizens who do not stand on the sidelines when a need is identified, and service minded leaders are prepared to empower their communities to meet certain socioeconomic challenges through comprehensive social work degrees in Tennessee.

The industries that are prominent in Tennessee include agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and tourism. The national economy has made fundamental shifts away from industrialized production and towards professional services. Through its emerging markets in renewable energy and health care, Tennessee seems to be gradually building up its economy to catch up with the national trend. Meanwhile, about 17 percent of Tennesseans live below the poverty line, and unemployment rates there are above the national average. This environment gives aspiring social workers unique opportunities throughout the state when they attend academic programs in Tennessee like the ones described below.

Austin Peay State University

Department of Social Work

The degree programs in social work at Austin Peay State University (APSU) promote the acquisition of research backed knowledge, creative problem solving, ethical leadership and community involvement. Students enrolled in these programs hone the communication and interpersonal skills that are needed to advance ideals of socioeconomic justice among diverse community members. Social work students also continue to develop their critical thinking abilities during evaluative sessions of real world field projects and case studies. The social work degree programs prepare students for entry level, generalist social work job positions throughout their communities.

Bachelor’s Social Work

The undergraduate social work degree at APSU is a 120 credit hour program that consists of core social work classes, social work related electives, required liberal arts courses and some free electives. Examples of social work core course topics are ethics in social work, research methods and social policy; some social work related elective topics include social work with aging populations, child welfare and crisis intervention. Some required general education courses include sociology and human biology. The field practicum within the social work degree curriculum has always been mandatory. During these field work assignments, students apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life situations under the supervision of experienced, licensed social workers. Students learn to apply social work policy, human behavioral theory and communication skills within generalist social worker positions.

Accreditation

  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Contact
Clement Building, Room 140
P. O. Box 4656
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7730
davism@apsu.edu
Program Website

Belmont University

Department of Social Work

Belmont University’s (BU) academic programs in social work prepare graduates to be community leaders who possess the professional knowledge, values and motivation to champion equality among their community’s most vulnerable people groups. The department offers BSW and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs that are biblically based, academically rigorous and experientially rich. For example, enrolled students take advantage of department sponsored study abroad options, the campus social work student organization and carefully selected field study placements to gain wider perspectives on the academic discipline. BU’s Department of Social Work also offers a program that leads to a School Social Worker license that is needed for social workers to practice in Tennessee schools.

Bachelor of Social Work

BU’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is a four year degree that requires the completion of 128 credit hours of general education and social work major courses. Some major course topics are social work research, exploring human diversity and human behavior. Examples of general studies course topics taken by social work students at BU are mathematics, communication and social science. BU also offers a unique social work student mentor program that allows upper class students to share their knowledge and experience with their under class peers. BU’s BSW program prepares students for generalist social work positions as well as advanced standing in MSW programs. Many social work degree graduates are employed at hospitals, schools, government agencies and nursing homes where they regularly apply their knowledge of social work policy, methods and ethics.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 460-6401
patsy.peach@belmont.edu
Program Website

East Tennessee State University

Department of Social Work

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is distinctively located within the Appalachian foothills that border North Carolina and Virginia. This area has traditionally provided opportunities for social work students to gain insight into the challenges faced by economically disadvantaged groups. Both the BSW degree and advanced academic programs in social work are available at ETSU. The school also offers several scholarships for eligible students who want to devote their careers to this type of community service.

Bachelor of Social Work

The BSW degree program at ETSU helps students to develop the interpersonal and technical skills to promote social justice and human rights for disadvantaged groups at home and abroad. The undergraduate program’s goals are accomplished through its comprehensive curriculum that includes the study of theoretical principles of human behavior and recognized social policy. The program’s engaging faculty lead students on class room learning discoveries through realistic case studies and the application of systematic research methods. This social worker degree program at ETSU allows students to correctly apply learned professional knowledge and ethics to realistic projects and field assignments. BSW graduates of ETSU are prepared to take generalist social worker occupations that can relate to family social work, social work for seniors and juvenile social work.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
PO Box 70645
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-6006
swindall@etsu.edu
Program Website

Master of Social Work

A goal of the ETSU MSW program is to train social workers to enter professional, clinical social worker positions in a variety of public and private settings. Students enrolled in this program learn how to improve the economic, health and environmental quality of life of at risk groups. ETSU’s MSW program focuses on the needs of the Northeast Tennessee region even though its curriculum is comprehensive enough for broader audiences. There are two tracks available for those participating in this advanced social work degree program. The traditional track consists of 63 credit hours of courses that are usually completed in two years. Foundational level social work classes are taught during the first year of course work in the traditional MSW program, and the second year features advanced level social work concentration courses. The second track is for students who have gained advanced standing via academic excellence in an undergraduate social work degree program. Those students only take the advanced level social work courses and can complete their 37 credit hour MSW program in a little over a year.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
PO Box 70645
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-6013
joneshm1@etsu.edu
Program Website

Freed-Hardeman University

The Renaissance Center Dickson Campus

Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) is a private university that offers students convenient ways to achieve their academic goals. The school’s Renaissance Center at the Dickson campus emphasizes degree completion for students who have earned associate’s degrees from community colleges like its preferred partner Nashville State Community College. The center offers undergraduate degree programs in elementary school education, business management, nursing and social work. These degree programs are reportedly some of the most affordable in the state, and they are taught in a progressive hybrid fashion that combines online learning convenience with important class room interaction.

Social Work B.S.W.

The comprehensive, four year BSW degree program at FHU provides students with foundational knowledge of social work principles and policies as well as plenty of opportunities to apply those principles in real world scenarios. Some examples of courses taught within the program include intervention for at risk populations, social welfare policies and professional communication in social work practice. The goal of the program is to develop social workers who can competently put social work principles into practice using the knowledge, ethics and values emphasized within the program’s curriculum. Students gain exposure to a variety of social work environments through field work activities and participation in the school’s professional social work club.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
855 Highway 46 South
Dickson, TN 37055
(731) 989-6644
nmcneal@fhu.edu
Program Website

King University

School of Behavioral and Health Sciences

The School of Behavioral and Health Sciences (SBHS) at King University (KU) administers degree programs in disciplines like healthcare administration, athletic training and social work. SBHS seeks to develop responsible leaders who know how to apply professional theory and principles while adhering to high standards of ethics. These professionals are trained to use sound judgement and communication skills to promote physical, emotional and spiritual health within their communities. The school accomplishes this goal through innovative curricula and interdisciplinary partnerships with industry, government, academia and the local community.

Bachelor of Social Work

The BSW offered by KU prepares its graduates to gain employment as generalist social workers for community groups, families and individuals. The main learning objectives of the program are to help students to gain the necessary knowledge of human behavior and the bible based skills to address a variety of complex social challenges. Course topics in social environment evaluation, human diversity and the industry’s ethics codes are discussed in the KU BSW curriculum. Graduates with a BSW from KU find employment in numerous professional positions such as victim advocates, adoption specialists, international social workers, researchers, policy analysts and social services program directors.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
1350 King College Road
Bristol TN 37620
(423) 652-4851
choover@king.edu
Program Website

Lincoln Memorial University

Undergraduate Programs

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a private, liberal arts school that offers undergraduate programs in disciplines like business, political science, veterinary science, social work, fine arts and environmental science. Both associate and bachelor degrees are earned by students enrolled in LMU’s undergraduate school.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work

LMU’s Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Social Work program is designed to advance the theoretical concepts, ethics and problem solving skills of generalist social work practice. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter a variety of jobs like counselors, case managers and child welfare advocates. They also have the foundational knowledge and skills to enter accelerated MSW programs and prepare to gain special licenses for positions like school social work. The B.S. in Social Work program includes 128 credit hours of liberal arts focused course work as well as classes that are directly related to the social work concentration. A challenging curriculum, expert faculty and advantageous internship opportunities help to differentiate this program from competing ones in the region.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
(423) 869-6323
kay.paris@lmunet.edu

Lipscomb University

Department of Social Work and Sociology

The Department of Social Work and Sociology at Lipscomb University (LU) offers faith based degree programs that help future social leaders employ the competence and empathy needed to solve problems within the context of social work practice. The department accomplishes its goals through curricula that emphasizes service before self, professional competence and the development of interpersonal skills. The school’s program offers its students opportunities to enrich their academic experiences through minors in sociology and social welfare. Additionally, adult learning programs are available for working professionals who want to pursue their academic goals part time and online. LU’s social work department has membership in National Association of Social Workers in Tennessee and the North American Association of Christian Social Workers.

Bachelor of Social Work

The BSW at LU gives students the tools to be restorative agents within their communities. The knowledge that graduates gain from LU’s BSW curriculum helps them to address complex social issues relating to human behavior. These generalist social workers serve to identify the strengths and potential of their clients and help them to translate those strengths into tangible solutions to meet their unique challenges. Some course topics addressed in the LU BSW are social work with the aging, juvenile justice and interviewing techniques for social workers. Graduates of the BSW program at LU have gained employment as counselors, case managers, administrators and human resource managers; some of the places where they work include government agencies, nursing homes and community outreach agencies. Students who achieve academic excellence in the LU BSW program are often eligible for advanced standing in MSW programs across the state.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
1 University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 966-7079
vicki.gaw@lipscomb.edu
Program Website

Middle Tennessee State University

Department of Social Work

The social work department at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) provides comprehensive training for students pursuing their BSW or MSW. Each program emphasizes the application of research based knowledge, the mastery of social work principles and the consistent practice of ethical conduct as the foundation of successful academic and professional careers in the discipline. The curricula and staff associated with MTSU’s social work degree programs facilitate the development of community leaders who strive for social, environmental, economic and health equality for vulnerable or otherwise disadvantaged groups. Enrolled students also benefit from the scholarships, student organizations and honor societies available through the department.

Social Work, B.S.W.

A goal of the BSW program at MTSU is to develop a diverse group of leaders who are passionate about improving the quality of life of the diverse people groups who are reflected within their local communities. Expected outcomes of the degree are the application of social work principles, the correct use of industry codes of conduct and the accurate assessment of human behavior in many social work environments. The degree program presents students with an overview of social work theory, human behavior analysis techniques and relevant social issues. Students gain practical experience when they participate in supervised field practicum activities. Some unique course topics discussed within the MTSU BSW are women and poverty, data analysis in social work and social work with disabled individuals. Graduates of the program can find employment as social work generalists at hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, public health agencies and vocational rehabilitation services.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
MTSU Box 139
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
(615) 898-2868
rebecca.smith@mtsu.edu
Program Website

Mid-Tennessee Collaborative

Departments of Social Work

The social work departments at Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Tennessee State University combined academic resources to create an advanced degree in social work that particularly targets students who are interested in practicing clinical social work in the eastern Tennessee region. Students who enroll in this special collaborative program can attend classes at any one of the three campuses that they have declared as their home campus. However, these students have the benefit of interacting with peers across all three campuses via the program’s online courses. Each of the schools’ social work departments share the same quality curriculum standards that are based on industry specific codes of conduct. Students can ask questions about the collaborative MSW and apply to the program through any of the three campuses’ admissions offices.

Master of Social Work

The collaborative MSW is a 60 credit hour program that consists of foundation and concentration courses and associated field work assignments. Some examples of foundation course topics include social welfare policy, social justice for multicultural populations and social work research methods. The field work practicum that is associated with the foundational level of the program allows students to put classroom theory into practice for 400 hours at one of the local human services agencies. Some concentration course topics are evaluation of social policy, advanced social practice with families and advanced social practice with individuals. The experiential learning opportunity associated with the concentration level of the MSW program consists of 500 hours of supervised practical application of advanced social work policy, practice, research methods and theory. Students who achieved a 3.0 grade point average or above from qualified undergraduate programs meet the criteria for advanced standing in the collaborative MSW program; they are only required to take the concentration portion of the curriculum.

Accreditation

  • CSWE

Contact
P. O. Box 4656
Clarksville TN 37044
(931) 221-7730
davism@apsu.edu
Program Website

Conclusion

Today’s fast paced, materialistic world often does not encourage one to slow down and consider the needs of unfamiliar people. However, the described academic programs emphasize the relatedness of all community members, and the social work degrees in Tennessee help to prepare servant leaders to address many complicated social issues that either directly or indirectly impact everyone in the community.

See also: Social Work Degree Programs in Tennessee (N-Z)

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