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The Graduate School has transitioned to a new online application system, as of August 1, 2013. The new system is accepting applications for the Fall 2014 enrollment term.

If you wish to apply to the Graduate School, please click here.

Please Note: The Fall 2015 application term opens on August 1.

If you applied to the Graduate Schools prior to August 2013 and wish to re-apply now, you will not be able to use your old application account to start a new application.  The Graduate School transitioned to a new application system, and we can only accept applications through the new system.

Obtaining More Information

    • We invite you to visit the web site of the program to which you are applying. You may also view the Graduate School Catalog. For help with your Fall 2014 application, please click here.

Admission is competitive and students are selected on the basis of their scholastic preparation and intellectual ability. You may apply to no more than two programs.



Application Deadlines and Admissions Decisions

Note: If a deadline date falls on a weekend, the deadline becomes the next business day.

August 1,

Date by which most programs begin accepting Fall applications. If you have further questions, please directly contact the office of your program of interest.

October 22,

Last date for applicants to take the paper-based (PBT), general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in order for Vanderbilt to receive the scores by January 15, .

Spring admissions:

November 1,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about spring semester admission. Some programs have an earlier deadline. Please confirm specific deadlines with the program to which you are applying. October 15, is the deadline for applications to the Ph.D. program in Computer Science.

NOTE: Most departments do not admit students for the spring semester. Please check with the specific program before applying.

November 12,

Last date for applicants to take a subject Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in order for Vanderbilt to receive the scores by January 15, . (NOTE: Not all programs require a subject test. Please check with the program of your choice.)

November 19,

Last date for international applicants to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in order for Vanderbilt to receive the scores by January 15, .

December 1,

Last date for applicants to take the computer-based (CBT), general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in order for Vanderbilt to receive the scores by January 15, .

Fall admissions:

December 1,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission for the PhD programs in Community Research and Action, Leadership and Policy Studies, Special Education, Teaching, Learning, and Diversity, and Psychological Sciences.

December 15,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission for the PhD programs in Biomedical Engineering, Religion, English, Civil Engineering, Creative Writing, History, Environmental Engineering, andNeuroscience.

December 31,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission for the PhD program in Biostatistics.

January 1,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission for the PhD program in Math, and Physics.

January 15,

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission. Some programs have an earlier deadline. Please confirm specific deadlines with the program to which you are applying.

February 1, 

Deadline for receipt of completed application form and all supporting credentials for a decision about fall semester admission for the PhD program in Law and Economics.

Admission decisions:

March 31,

Target date by which admission offers for fall semester will be mailed to all applicants whose files are complete by the deadline of the program you chose.

Response to admission offers:

April 15,

Deadline for applicants to respond to offers of admission. If your reply is not received by April 15, the department may reallocate any offer of financial award.



Deferred Admission

An offer of admission is made for enrollment in a specific academic term. In some cases, with written approval from the program to which you were admitted, admission may be deferred to a later semester, but no later than one year after the semester for which the offer of admission is made. Students who do not accept offers of admission and students not offered admission must submit a new application, test scores, and all supporting documents if they wish to be considered for admission at a later date.



Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy

Students must complete for credit 72 hours of graduate work, of which a minimum of 24 semester hours must be in formal course and seminar work at Vanderbilt.

In certain departments, a student's course work is divided between major and minor subjects. Each program specifies approved subjects and the proportion of hours allotted to each.

After completing a minimum of 36 semester hours of course work, the student takes the Ph.D. qualifying examination. The student's Ph.D. committee, composed of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty, administers the examination. Upon passing the examination, the student enters candidacy for the degree and is guided in her or his dissertation research by the Ph.D. committee.

A candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit to the Graduate School a dissertation that gives evidence of original research and thinking. The dissertation must be completed within four years after a student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. A final examination/dissertation defense is administered by the student's Ph.D. committee.

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Master of Arts

A minimum of 24 semester hours of formal course work is required for the master's degree. Each program determines whether a minor subject area is required and specifies the approved subjects and the proportion of the 24 hours allotted to major and minor subjects. All work credited for the master's degree must be completed within six years.

In addition to completing the required course work, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School a thesis that gives evidence of original investigation in the student's major subject.

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Master of Science

A minimum of 24 semester hours of formal course work is required for the master's degree. Each program determines whether a minor subject area is required and specifies the approved subjects and the proportion of the 24 hours allotted to major and minor subjects. All work credited for the master's degree must be completed within six years.

In addition to completing the required course work, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School a thesis that gives evidence of original investigation in the student's major subject.

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The goal of the English department's M.F.A. in creative writing is to produce creative writers with a broad and deep knowledge of their genres. The program offers writing workshops and supervision in the composition of creative work. Students are required to take a complement of literature courses along with their workshops

Requirements for the M.F.A. include 42 to 48 hours of course work, a thesis of creative work (a novel, a book of short stories, a collection of poems, or a collection of personal essays), plus an oral defense of the thesis. The course work includes 16 hours of graduate workshops (one per semester for four semesters).

Applicants for the M.F.A. must submit scores in the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination, upload an unofficial college transcript, a manuscript of creative work, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. For more details see Vanderbilt's M.F.A. web site.

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Master of Liberal Arts and Science

This program offers nontraditional, part-time adult students a unique graduate experience in liberal arts and science. Although the program is administered by the College of Arts and Science, a special application for admission is made to the Graduate School, which awards the degree. A minimum of 27 semester hours is required, with at least 18 course hours especially designed for MLAS. students. Additional information is available from the Director, MLAS. Program, 311 Kirkland Hall.

For more details about this special master's program, visit the MLAS website.

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General Requirements

Residency Requirement

Full-time students are expected to enroll in the Graduate School during each fall and spring semester. After completion of the required 72 hours for the Ph.D. degree, full-time students register for 0 hours of dissertation research at the minimum tuition rate of $200 each semester. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree who are away from the University must continue to register for 0 hours of dissertation research to remain in good standing.

After commencing graduate studies at Vanderbilt, a student may be granted leave of absence by the Graduate School for a maximum of one year.

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Foreign Language Requirements

Each graduate program determines what languages, if any, will be required for the master's and Ph.D. degrees and the competency required in each language. Requirements for each program are set forth in the Graduate School Catalog. Individual departments and the Psychological and Counseling Center administer language examinations.

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Transfer Credit

Graduate credit may be transferred from graduate schools of other accredited universities. Transfer is made only on recommendation of the chair of the student's major department and with approval of the Graduate School. Only those hours in which the student has achieved a grade of B or better will be considered for transfer. A maximum of 6 semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward the master's degree and, in very special cases, 48 hours toward the Ph.D. The Graduate School will also treat as transfer credit courses taken by students in other schools of Vanderbilt and applied later to degrees granted by the Graduate School.

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Non-Degree Students

With approval of the Graduate School, non-degree students may register for selected courses in areas for which they are qualified. Such students file with the Graduate School an electronic application, including uploaded copies of unofficial transcripts, and written approval of the course instructor. These arrangements must be completed at least one week before registration. No more than 6 semester hours earned as a non-degree student may be applied to graduate degrees at Vanderbilt.

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Greetings from Dennis G. Hall, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School

On behalf of everyone in the Vanderbilt community, let me welcome you to the Graduate School's website. If you're an alumnus or an alumna checking back to see what's new, then we hope that what you find here proves interesting. If you're a current student looking for specific information, then we hope that you'll find what you're after. If you don't, then please contact the Graduate School's office to suggest items we might consider including on this website. If you're planning to attend graduate school and are interested in the possibility of doing so at Vanderbilt, then you've come to the right place at the right time.

The entire world faces enormous challenges in the years ahead. If ever there were a time for bold new thinking, that time is now. Energy, healthcare, the environment, sustainability, and reliable financial systems are just a few examples of important, overlapping frontiers that present opportunities for real breakthroughs. The advanced coursework, research and interchange with colleagues that are the very heart of the graduate-school experience offer an unrivaled pathway for acquiring the skills, experience and sophistication needed to tackle today's formidable challenges. This is an exceptional time to take up graduate study.

Vanderbilt's long tradition of research and graduate education dates back to the late 19th century, when the university granted, in 1879, its first M.A. degrees (in English, Greek and Latin) and its first Ph.D. degree (in Chemistry). So far, more than 19,000 students have earned graduate degrees from Vanderbilt in nearly 70 fields and specialties. Vanderbilt's Ph.D. alumni can be found pursuing careers in every direction imaginable, including in the commercial sector, in government service and on the faculties of both small colleges and major research universities. The recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Yunus, received his Ph.D. (in Economics) from Vanderbilt in 1971. Read more about it here.

The connection between research and graduate education is a strong one at Vanderbilt. During each of the last few fiscal years, Vanderbilt's faculty were awarded research support from the federal government and other sources totaling more than $500 million. Indeed, Vanderbilt is one of only 12 U.S. universities to rank among the top-25 on both the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities and the U.S. government's list of federal obligations (grant and contract awards) for science and engineering research and development. Vanderbilt has a strong international reputation, too, something it is working to strengthen even more, both through its active International Office and through the worldwide collaborations of the Vanderbilt faculty.

During the last several years, Vanderbilt has committed nearly $100 million of new institutional funding to the establishment and support of a number of new research programs, centers and institutes, all of which support the scholarly activities of faculty and students. Here are some examples: The Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience; the Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering; the Program in Law and Business; the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education; Research in Proteomics and Functional Biology; the Institute of Chemical Biology; Research in the Functional Genomics of the Zebrafish; the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education; and many more. Of course, this short list mentions only a small fraction of the graduate education and research opportunities Vanderbilt offers in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences, and at the interfaces between and among them. Read more about it here.

This is an exciting time to be contemplating graduate study and an exciting time to be at Vanderbilt. Here's hoping that a little of our excitement will rub off on you as you visit both the Graduate School's and the University's web-pages.



Notice to Prospective Students

In compliance with applicable state and federal law the following information about Vanderbilt University is available:

  • Institutional information about Vanderbilt University, including accreditation, academic programs, faculty, tuition, and other costs, is available in the Catalogs of the Colleges and Schools. A paper copy of the Undergraduate Catalog may be obtained by writing the Vanderbilt University Bookstore, Rand Hall, Nashville, TN 37240 or by calling (615) 322-2994. Paper copies of the Catalogs for the graduate and professional schools are available from the individual schools.
  • Information about financial aid for students at Vanderbilt University, including federal and other forms of financial aid for students, is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid is located at 2309 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203-1725, (615) 322-3591 or (800) 288-0204.
  • Information about graduation rates for students at Vanderbilt University is available from the Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group under “Factbook” and then “Student Profile” and then under “Retention Rates.” Paper copies of information about graduation rates may be obtained by writing the Office of the University Registrar, 110 21st Ave South, Suite 110, Nashville, TN 37240-7701 or by calling (615) 322-7701.
  • The annual Security at Vanderbilt Report on University-wide security and safety, including related policies, procedures, and crime statistics is available from the Vanderbilt University Police Department. A paper copy of the report may be obtained by writing the Vanderbilt University Police and Security Office, 2800 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37212 or by calling (615) 343-9750.
  • A copy of the annual Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act Report on the Vanderbilt University athletic program participation rates and financial support data may be obtained by writing the Vanderbilt University Office of Athletics Compliance, 2601 Jess Neely Dr., Nashville, TN 37212 or by calling (615) 322-4727.
  • Information about your rights with respect to the privacy of your educational records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is available from the Office of the University Registrar. Paper copies of this information about educational records may be obtained by writing the Office of the University Registrar, 134 Magnolia Circle, Peabody #505, Nashville, TN 37203-5701 or by calling (615) 322-7701.


Instructions to Reapply

To access your record you will need your User ID and password. If you have forgotten your User ID and password, click here. When you are ready to begin your reapplication, click here. The Graduate School requires applicants to submit separate transcripts and letters of recommendation for every application, including reapplication.

If you wish to apply for Fall 2015, please click here.