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Admissions Criteria

Applicants must fulfill the general admission criteria for the Graduate School at the University of Tennessee.

Please note that The Bredesen Center has a Fall Entrance Only admission cycle. In order to insure that your application gets reviewed, you must select the Fall term on your application. See the Apply Page for more details regarding our application process and timeline. All supplementary materials must be received by January 15.


Minimum Application Requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree from accredited institution
  2. US degree holders: 2.7 out of possible 4.0 GPA; graduate coursework must have earned 3.3 GPA or higher.
  3. Non-US degree holders: 3.0 out of 4.0 GPA or higher; graduate coursework must have earned 3.3 GPA or higher.
  4. Applicants may be required to submit English language certification test scores
  5. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a field of science or engineering.
    • Applicants with other undergraduate degrees may also be admitted on a case-by-case basis, determined by the Bredesen Center Admissions Committee. Dependent on the student’s background, additional coursework may be required to satisfy co-requisites and pre-requisites.
  6. Intention to pursue interdisciplinary research (i.e. research combining strategies and resources from multiple fields of research towards the purpose of finding new solutions).

Applicants must complete the graduate school application for The University of Tennessee, Knoxville to be considered for admission. In order to complete your application, you are required to submit the following supplementary materials through graduate admissions before your application will be considered complete.

Required Application Materials:

  1. A two-page statement of research interest and its relevance to leadership and innovation and interdisciplinary research in the field of either Energy or Data Science. Questions to ask yourself as you reflect on your intention may include the following:
    1. What is the purpose of a Doctoral degree and what am I hoping to do with or get out of the degree?
    2. How do I see myself as a leader, and how might I apply that within this program or my research?
    3. What makes me want to apply to the Bredesen Center, as opposed to other programs at UT or elsewhere?
    4. What are areas of growth that I’m hoping to address during my program? (i.e. strengths and weaknesses)
  2. A copy of your resume or CV
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Official Academic Transcripts (undergraduate and graduate)
  5. Official GRE scores

All supplementary materials must be received by January 15. Please instruct those writing recommendations on your behalf to attach their letter in PDF or Word format on letterhead.

We have a limited number of Application Fee Waivers available. The first 100 applications that include all required application materials and meet minimum requirements will be considered for waivers (see Admissions Criteria).

Applications must be fully ready to submit. To insure that your application gets reviewed for an application fee waiver in a timely manner, please email bredesencenter@utk.edu to notify us that your application is ready for consideration.

We do occasionally waive the GRE requirement. The deadline to request a waiver is October 31.

Applicants seeking a waiver must have a completed application on file (including all required materials) and it must meet our minimum admissions criteria.

If a waiver is desired and the application is complete, we encourage you to email bredesencenter@utk.edu by October 31 for your next steps.

We will not be reviewing GRE waiver requests made after October 31.

Important Notes:

  1. Strong requests will provide clear evidence of substantial grad school (more than just working on or even finishing a Master’s degree) or deep​ professional experience.  Professional experience that is largely administrative or lacking technical depth is not persuasive.
  2. The committee faces challenges when they aren’t that familiar with an undergraduate institution, as is the case with most schools outside of the US.  The committee encourages students who have studied overseas to include GRE scores with their program applications to insure most thorough understanding of your strengths.
  3. Although a few waivers have been granted for a foreign national student in a country where the GRE is still not offered due to Covid concerns. The committee cannot guarantee the application will provide substantial evidence for review upon final submission.
  4. NOTE: Receiving a GRE Waiver does not suggest that the application will be offered admission. Instead, it means the committee believes the student’s application can be fairly judged without GRE scores OR that taking the GRE is a burden that the student cannot meet through no fault of their own (see point 3 above).