Social Work Degree Programs in Tennessee (N-Z)

With a variety of accredited programs available across the state, earning social work degrees in Tennessee prepares future professionals in the field for diverse career opportunities. Tennessee authorizes four levels for licensing social workers at various degree levels. To assist graduates with understanding these options, The Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers provides licensing and career information.

Aspiring social work professionals with the right credentials can find competitive employment in a variety of settings such as mental health centers, community agencies, healthcare facilities, hospices, senior care residences, rehabilitation centers, public schools, higher education institutions, advocacy groups, private practices, and government agencies.

For the first half of our list, see Social Work Degree Programs in Tennessee (A-M).

Online Social Work Programs For You

Southern Adventist University

School of Social Work

Southern Adventist University builds its programs on foundations of academics, professionalism, personal development, and faith. To that end, the School of Social Work promotes rigorous studies combined with experiential learning to engage students in understanding and applying theory to meet the needs of the human condition. To support the state's quest for qualified social workers, the program in social work was awarded grant funds of $500,000 in 2014 from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services to train up-and-coming caseworkers. SAU ranks at No. 34 for best regional colleges in the South according to U.S. News & World Report.

Bachelors in Social Work

This degree prepares graduates for employment in entry-level social work positions and to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards exam to become a licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker. In addition to earning appropriate instructional credits, students also participate in 440 hours of supervised field placements to implement social work practices in real-world settings. The curriculum encompasses lower-division general education classes, upper-division courses in the major, practicum experiences, and cognate studies, which all develop a strong knowledge base about

-social welfare history and institutions,
-interviewing skills,
-social work practices,
-social environments and human behavior,
-welfare policies and regulations,
-and statistical research methods for social welfare programs.

Masters in Social Work

The MSW appeals to currently working professionals who wish to advance their careers and earn higher credentials as a licensed Master Social Worker. Graduates learn advanced skills to work more intensively with individuals, families, organizations and community groups. The degree can be personalized in

-Entrepreneurship in Social Services,
-Mental Health Practice in Social Work,
-Child and Family Advocacy and Treatment,
-International Social Work,
-Trauma and Emergency Management,
-Spiritual Care in Nontraditional Settings,
-or Military Social Work and Veteran Services.

Twenty-eight credits are taken during the foundation year and 33 in the second. Four hundred and 500 clinical practice hours are logged in foundation and advanced years respectively. Studies focus on building expertise in interviewing skills, conducting assessments, gathering information, planning and implementing interventions, and evaluating programs.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

Southern Adventist University
4881 Taylor Circle
Collegedale, Tennessee 37315

1-(800)-SOUTHERN (general)
(423) 236-2768 (School of Social Work)
[email protected] or [email protected]

Tennessee State University

College of Public Service and Urban Affairs

Located in the vibrant Nashville area, TSU offers diverse learners relevant career choices that can meaningfully impact communities. Its commitment to diversity earns TSU consistent recognition among historically black colleges and universities in U.S. News & World Report rankings. The university also appears on Forbes list of top nationwide schools. Social work programs at TSU speak to the university's mission to contribute to civic, economic and cultural activities within communities. Famous individuals who have earned degrees at TSU include Oprah Winfrey and Olympian Wilma Rudolph.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW)

The BSSW prepares aspiring social workers to take the ASWB licensing exam and instills competencies necessary for generalist practitioners to improve social and economic justice for urban and at-risk populations. Studies combine 57 credits of general liberal arts classes with 71 credits of upper-division sequences and approved electives. Students also engage in 450 supervised hours with selected social service providers. The professional curriculum covers

-psychology, political science and sociology principles,
-environmental impacts on human behavior,
-social welfare policy,
-data collection protocols and research methods for social service programs,
– history and development of social work programs,
-and best social work practices.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

Social Work Program
Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 9525
Jane Elliott Hall/Women's Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

(615) 963-7641
[email protected]

Trevecca Nazarene University

School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences

As a comprehensive Christian university, Trevecca places strong emphasis on ethics, values and faith to guide academic development. Graduates are encouraged to become socially conscious individuals who desire to contribute to the well-being of their community through their careers. In support of this goal, Trevecca offers versatile majors in fields such as social work. Program participants rate the social work major highly with regard to personalized assistance from faculty and development of competencies required for competitive employment opportunities.

Social Work (B.S.S.W.)

This social work curriculum enhances academic studies with field experiences that prepare graduates to earn their BSW professional license. The baccalaureate framework incorporates 54 hours from general education classes, 48 hours from courses in the major, and 18 hours from minor requirements. Compatible minors allow students to personalize the degree in areas such as criminal justice, counseling, legal studies, family studies and more. Four hundred hours of supervised field placements in a variety of social work settings round out the degree. Graduates develop a strong knowledge base in

-social science statistics, research methods and design,
-socioeconomic impacts on social welfare,
-ethnic and cultural diversity,
-human growth and development,
-human behavior and social environments,
-program techniques for individuals, groups and families,
-evidence-based practices for civic organizations and community agencies,
-and social welfare policies and ethics.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

Trevecca Nazarene University
333 Murfreesboro Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37210

Ron Maurer, Professor of Social Work
(615) 248-1377
[email protected]

Union University

School of Social Work

As the oldest Southern Baptist-affiliated institution, Union University successfully integrates top-tier academics, faith, and service into its career programs. Union's social work program exemplifies this approach by equipping students to become competent, compassionate professionals who effectively promote well-being and social justice. Union garners recognition for academic excellence and best college value as noted by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Kiplinger's, Colleges of Distinction, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Traditional BSW or Adult BSW

The BSW traditional or adult tracks lay foundations to pursue licensure or further graduate studies. The traditional track enrolls first-time college students in a full-time, 120-credit program. The adult track offers those with at least 60 undergraduate credits a path to complete a BSW in as few as 24 months while accommodating current work and family schedules. Both tracks cover similar studies for the major and include 424 hours of social work field experiences. In-depth studies encompass

-relationships, marriages and families,
-cross-cultural influences on social behavior,
-at risk populations,
-foundations for social work practice,
-social deviance,
-gender and sexuality,
-and social welfare across the lifespan.

Master of Social Work

Candidates with a BSW from an accredited program can complete this master's in 33 semester hours and those with any other undergraduate degree can do so in 60. Both tracks include 600 hours of advanced field work. Graduates are eligible to take the MSW licensing exam and apply for higher-level professional positions. Curricular components explore complex social issues dealing with

-social justice, policy analysis and advocacy,
-advanced practices for communities and organizations,
-advanced interventions for individuals, families and groups,
-psychopathology assessments, diagnostics and treatment,
-and program planning and development at community and administrative levels.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

Union University
Blasingame Academic Complex
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, Tennessee 38305

Kim McNeil, Program Coordinator
(731) 661-5554
[email protected]
Traditional BSW
Adult BSW

University of Memphis

School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Department of Social Work

UofM provides cutting-edge, research-engaged programs in trending global careers. Graduates are empowered to work on behalf of the public good in meaningful occupations, such as social work, that fulfill personal and career ambitions. The school lands at No. 6 out of 27 state institutions offering social work programs according to independent rankings for Tennessee colleges.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

The 120-credit BASW engages students in a combination of general education studies, upper-division courses, classes in the major, and requirements towards a sociology minor. Experiential learning includes 460 hours in supervised social work placements. Curricular components develop necessary competencies to sit for the BSW licensing exam and pursue entry-level professional positions or further graduate studies. Studies examine

-social welfare policies,
-the influence of social environments on human behavior,
-evidence-based social work practices,
-and statistical research methods.

MSW (Master of Social Work)

This master's requires 30 foundational graduate credits and 30 in advanced social work theory and practice. Candidates can opt for a thesis or non-thesis program, but all must complete 960 hours of field placements. The degree enables graduates to apply for MSW licensure and move into upper-level positions. Curriculum highlights include

-advanced program planning for individuals, families and groups
-social work practices across the lifespan,
-welfare policies and services,
-psychopathology assessment, diagnosis and treatment,
-research and scientific methods in social work programs,
-and program policy and administration.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

The University of Memphis
226 McCord Hall
Memphis, Tennessee 38152

Kimberly A. Brown, Administrative Assistant
(901) 678.2616
[email protected]
BASW Website
MSW Website

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

College of Health, Education and Professional Studies

Set in metropolitan environs, UTC offers students a wealth of experiential learning opportunities to enrich academics. This includes a wide variety of collaborative field placements for social work candidates. UTC fairs well among its institutional peers ranking at No. 57 for regional universities in the South and at No. 23 for top public schools nationwide according to U.S. News & World Report.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Completion of this generalist professional degree earns eligibility to sit for the BSW licensure exam. Curricular studies are founded on evidence-based practices in the field and supported with 400 hours of supervised field placements. The degree encompasses a minimum of 120 credits combined from general education classes and upper-level studies in the major. Students build competencies in

-work standards, professional practices and ethical behavior,
-applied research and statistical analysis of social work data,
-interviewing skills,
-connections between social environments and human behavior
-sociocultural diversity and economics,
-and social welfare needs across the lifespan.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

University of Tennessee at Chatanooga
209 Hunter Hall
Social Work Department 3133
615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403

Di Shelburne, Administrative Support
(423) 425-4266
[email protected]

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

College of Social Work

Founded in 1794 as Blount College, the Knoxville campus developed into the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee. Today, UTK's programs span 11 colleges and more than 300 programs, including those in the prestigious College of Social Work, which comes in at No. 37 on U.S. News & World Report grad school rankings. UT at Knoxville also consistently ranks at the top of regional and nationwide lists for best universities according to Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work

Offering a broad-based, 120-credit curriculum, this BSSW degree qualifies students to take the exam for BSW licensure and work as generalist practitioners. Studies incorporate the latest theories about relationships between environments and their effects on human behavior with 480 hours of practical field experiences. Upper-division studies focus on

-interviewing skills and practitioner/client relationships,
-techniques to work with individuals, families, groups and organizations,
-diversity in global societies,
-social interventions across the lifespan,
-and welfare policies and protocols.

Master of Science in Social Work

The MSSW offers flexible formats for completion depending on full- or part-time enrollment and number of credits to be earned. Candidates with a BSW or BSSW from an accredited program can take the advanced curriculum requiring 37 credits and 627 field placement hours. All other candidates require 60 credits and 1024 field placement hours. Studies expand on trending practices in the field that lead to eligibility for MSW licensing and further career advancements. In part, MSSW content explores

-social, economic and political environments,
-neuropsychological development over the lifespan,
-cognitive behavioral therapy and neurophysiology,
-military social work practice,
-trauma theory and treatments,
-short-term interventions,
-and school social work.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

The University of Tennessee
College of Social Work
1618 Cumberland Avenue
221 Henson Hall
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996

David Dupper, PhD
Program Director
(865) 974-3352
[email protected] or [email protected]

Dr. Cynthia Rocha, Knoxville MSSW Program Director
(865) 974-3351
[email protected]

University of Tennessee at Martin

College of Educational, Health and Behavioral Sciences

UTM has grown into a premier educational institution serving West Tennessee and beyond. The school uses state-of-the-art technology to enhance its academic programs and take advantage of collaborative opportunities around the globe. Students in social work programs benefit from this with regard to expanded field placement options. UTM consistently appears in top rankings for best regional and national colleges in The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Institutional Research & Evaluation, Inc.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work Degree (B.S.S.W.)

Degree components encompass 120 credits from general education classes and core requirements in the major combined with a minimum of 600 hours in supervised field placements. Outcomes provide competencies for students to tackle the exam for BSW licensure and qualify them for entry-level positions as general practitioners. Courses of interest include

-understanding human diversity and oppressed populations,
-social welfare policies and services,
-human behavior in social environments,
-and social work skills, practices and techniques.


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Council on Social Work Education

Department of Behavioral Sciences
Social Work Program
The University of Tennessee at Martin
554 University Street
Martin, Tennessee 38238

Michelle Horton, Program Director
(731) 881-7513
[email protected]

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, social work ranks as one of the state's "in demand" occupations. To meet this demand, successful professionals need the right credentials from the right schools. If serving others to improve their quality of life sounds like a meaningful career path, then attending one of many accredited programs conferring social work degrees in Tennessee might be a great place to begin the journey.