Postsecondary Admission Requirements



There are two public postsecondary systems in the state – the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the University of Tennessee (UT). The TBR system includes six universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology. The UT system includes three universities and a health sciences center.

The state implemented the Tennessee Diploma Project (TDP) in 2009 as part of an initiative to raise academic standards and better align high school curricula with postsecondary expectations. To receive a regular high school diploma, all students must complete a 22-credit curriculum and, beginning with the graduating class of 2017, complete the ACT or SAT in their junior year of high school.

Effective January 2014, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) agreed to grant freshmen admission to applicants who have completed the regular high school diploma curriculum. Freshmen applicants must provide a high school transcript showing graduation from high school and passing scores on the Proficiency Examination. They also must present Enhanced ACT, SAT scores. Universities are directed to use these scores in keeping with recommended best practices in admissions, advising and placement. Community Colleges have open enrollment policies, but may use ACT and SAT scores in the advising and placement process.

Tennessee Regular Diploma Curriculum



Course Requirements



Units in English and American literature



Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II and fourth unit

Students must be enrolled in a math course each school year



Biology, chemistry or physics, and a third laboratory course.

Social Science


One unit each of American and world history

Half units of economics and government

Foreign Language


Districts may waive this requirement to expand number of courses in elective focus

Fine Arts


Districts may waive this requirement to expand number of courses in elective focus

Physical Education & Wellness



Personal Finance


Three years of JROTC may be substituted for one-half unit of Personal Finance if the JROTC instructor attends the Personal Finance training.

Elective Focus


Options include math and science, career and technical education, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.




Students who are admitted without the minimum high school unit requirements are required to remove deficiencies in a “timely manner.” Students must have high school diplomas or pass the GED test with scores that meet institutional requirements. Individual institutions determine admission criteria, including required GPAs and ACT or SAT scores.

The University of Tennessee admission requirements also incorporate the core high school graduation requirements into their curriculum requirement. Students must submit high school transcripts and either the ACT or SAT for consideration of admission to the University of Tennessee.

TBR policy directs universities to use test scores for advisement and as one metric in placement decisions. Community colleges have open-enrollment policies, but these institutions may use ACT/SAT scores for advisement and placement purposes.