The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Governor's Schools

Governor's Schools for the Sciences and Engineering

LogoThe Governor’s Schools were proposed by Governor Lamar Alexander and mandated by the legislature in 1984 to serve the needs of top high school students in the state. Three schools, Sciences, Humanities and Arts, were started in 1985; others have been added in subsequent years. The Governor’s School for the Sciences (GSS), has been held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, since its inception in 1985. The Governor’s School for Engineering began as the Governor’s School for Manufacturing Engineering in 1996. The two programs were merged under a single director in 2007.

From 2005 until 2012 the Governor’s Schools were changed from a four-week non-credit format to five-week college-credit programs. In 2013, the Schools reverted to a four-week, non credit program. Students enroll in two courses taught by college and university faculty carefully chosen for their ability to work with high school students. In the Governor’s School for the Sciences, all students take a core course, The Thinking and Communicating Scientifically, which teaches the essential deductive and inductive logic skills used by practicing scientists. In addition, students develop better writing skills and learn how to communicate effectively using the Web. The second course is an elective chosen from biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. The specific courses vary from year to year depending on the instructor. The Governor’s School for Engineering focuses on materials science and engineering. Students learn fundamental engineering design and computer skills in a morning course and are introduced to principles of materials engineering in an afternoon session.

The formal academic program is supplemented by a series of evening guest lectures and an extensive social and recreational program. There is no cost to the student other than transportation to and from the site and incidental expenses. The students are regularly enrolled students at the University of Tennessee and have access to all campus facilities and services. The Governor’s Schools are financially supported by a contract with the Tennessee Department of Education. Classrooms, laboratories and equipment, and other support are provided by the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering and the departments and programs that offer the specific courses.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System