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Project Information

A Historical Perspective

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Math and Science Center (MSC) is a pre-college program funded by the US Department of Education for high school students in 9th–12th grades. Upward Bound programs have been in existence over 35 years across the country and have been at UT since 1991. These programs were specifically created to help potential first-generation college students and students from families who meet income guidelines established by the federal government graduate from high school, attend college, and reach their full potential while in college. The program provides tutoring, ACT preparation, college and career information, instruction in academics, cultural enrichment, and social counseling on a one-to-one basis with students in the program. It also gives students a chance to experience what college might be like following the 10th and 11th grade through a six-week academic program on UT’s campus during the summer.

The MSC accepts applications from rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders who have a demonstrated interest in math and science careers and who want to pursue a four-year college degree. In addition, students who are interested in applying to the MSC must be attending one of the following high schools:

  • Campbell County
  • Loudon County
  • Jefferson County
  • Pigeon Forge
  • Union County
  • Grainger County

In order to participate in the MSC program, all students must:

  • meet family income guidelines established by the federal government;
  • be a potential first-generation college student (neither parent has a four-year college degree);
  • complete the entire application package;
  • provide at least three recommendations from current high school guidance counselor, math teacher, and science teacher;
  • provide an essay of why they want to participate in the Math and Science Center;
  • want to pursue a career that requires a college education in the field of math and/or science;
  • demonstrate a willingness and desire to actively participate in all program activities; and
  • agree to complete the poster project and participate fully in the scientific poster symposium.

Step 1: Get an application from your high school guidance counselor, print one from the Enrollment Applications page of the this website, or call the MSC office at 865-974-4466 for an application packet.

Step 2: Complete the entire application and return it to an MSC education specialist or guidance counselor at your school.

Step 3: The project director of the MSC program will contact you after your application is received to provide you with more details.

The MSC program staff realizes that it takes a very special student to be considered for this program. Upon acceptance, each student must commit to:

  • attending 10 Saturday sessions
  • providing scholarly information to the Math and Science Center such as transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, and college application in a timely manner;
  • taking part in check-ins with the program staff on a regular basis (methods of communication include but are not limited to biweekly school visits with educational specialist, phone calls, emails, and mailings);
  • enrolling in college prep classes at their high schools each semester; and
  • attending a six-week summer component at UT.

There are 10 Saturday sessions held on the UT campus for students within a 50-mile radius of Knoxville throughout the academic year. They are combinations of academics, tutoring, college visits, and cultural enrichment activities. Most Saturday sessions consist of classes in math, science, ACT prep, and math and science tutoring. Other Saturday sessions may consist of visiting local college campuses, providing community service, and exploring in-depth math and science careers. Saturday sessions help students with academics, college planning, and cultural enrichment while in high school.

The MSC summer component is a six-week academic camp at UT that gives students a chance to experience what college life is like firsthand. Students live in a residence hall while taking academic classes in science, English, foreign language, mathematics, and ACT prep to prepare them for their classes the following year in school. They also have an opportunity to attend lectures given by guest speakers about careers, colleges, financial aid, and college life; participate in recreational activities such as sports, Scholar’s Bowl, and movies; and attend other special events on campus. The mentor program is an integral part of the MSC summer component. Students pair with university professors, graduate teaching assistants, instructors, as well as community sponsors to work on comprehensive mathematical and scientific research.

The Bridge component offers a unique opportunity for students who excel during their Upward Bound Math Science experience. Tennessee seniors apply for the Bridge Scholarship in early January. Selected students attend UT during the summer immediately following their high school graduation and will be registered for up to 8 credit hours during the first summer session. Tutoring and counseling are also available through the Bridge program. All services, tuition, and fees are paid by the Upward Bound program, and this total scholarship equals almost $5,000 per student.

The MSC staff is committed to providing quality services to our students. We do not take our jobs lightly. Our commitment to you is the following: if you ever feel that we are not doing our jobs to your satisfaction, please let us know. We will take every measure to correct our actions and get back on track immediately.