Students apply directly to one of Vanderbilt's four undergraduate schools: the College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, or Blair School of Music. In all four schools, honors programs and opportunities for research, independent study, and internships are available. Roughly a third of undergraduate students pursue double majors within and across all four undergraduate schools. This leads to some diverse combinations, such as pre-med students who study Spanish, engineers who study violin, elementary education majors who study communication, and chemistry majors who study art history.
The College of Arts and Science provides many opportunities to experience a wide range of academic disciplines and subjects. Within the requirements of the AXLE (Achieving eXcellence in Liberal Education) curriculum, students refine their skills in writing, mathematics, foreign language, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, history, and culture.
The Blair School of Music offers the Bachelor of Music degree in composition, musical arts, musical arts/teacher education, and performance. Instruction is available in every instrument of the orchestra as well as piano, organ, euphonium, multiple woodwinds, saxophone, classical guitar, and voice. Unlike many schools of music, Blair has no graduate students. The curriculum combines intensive musical training with liberal arts studies. The Blair School also offers music minors and a wide variety of courses, private instruction, and performing organizations for non-majors.
For more than 125 years, the School of Engineering has educated engineers for careers in industry, government, consulting, teaching, and research. In addition to technical courses, each student’s program includes a complement of course work in the humanities and social sciences, resulting in a balanced foundation for future achievement. All programs leading to a Bachelor of Engineering degree are ABET-accredited, and students can earn the Bachelor of Science degree while majoring in Computer Science or Engineering Science.
Ranked one of the top three graduate school of education (according to U.S. News & World Report) for eight consecutive years,, Peabody College offers degree programs leading to teacher certification and to careers in other areas of education and human development, including child development, child studies, cognitive studies, and human and organizational development. The degree reflects a strong liberal arts foundation combined with a solid program of pre-professional courses and a multitude of internship and practicum opportunities. All undergraduates must complete requirements in communications, the humanities, mathematics, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. Students have an abundance of field experiences throughout their four years.
Majors and Degrees Offered
Degrees are offered in African American and Diaspora studies; American studies; anthropology; art; Asian studies; biological sciences; biomedical engineering; chemical engineering; chemistry; child development; child studies; cinema and media arts; civil engineering; classical civilization; classical languages; classics; cognitive studies; communication of science and technology; communication studies; computer engineering; computer science; earth and environmental sciences; ecology, evolution, and organismal biology; economics; economics and history; education (early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education); electrical engineering; engineering science; English; European studies; French; French and European studies; German; German and European studies; history; history of art; human and organizational development; Italian and European studies; Jewish studies; Latin American studies; Latina and Latino studies; mathematics; mechanical engineering; medicine, health, and society; molecular and cellular biology; musical arts; musical arts and teacher education; music composition; music performance; neuroscience; philosophy; physics; political science; psychology; public policy studies; religious studies; Russian; Russian and European studies; sociology; Spanish, Spanish and European studies; Spanish and Portuguese; Spanish, Portuguese, and European studies; theatre; women's and gender studies; and individually designed interdisciplinary majors.
The word “balance” is much used by students in describing Vanderbilt University, whether it is the “campus mixed with city, academics mixed with social life, small population mixed with big athletics,” or the “unique balance [that] exists between social life and schoolwork.” Students say this “balance” “makes [Vanderbilt] the best place to get a well-rounded college experience.” As one student explains, “Everyone takes academics seriously, but everyone has other interests, too. No one is just a student. Everyone is involved in something.” Another student says, “At Vanderbilt, I could [pursue] my interest in music while majoring in engineering, which was not the case in most other schools.” The school is heavily influenced by the “incredible city” of Nashville. The “idyllic campus” is “only minutes away from being in the heart of the city,” where people “are very social” and “like being involved.” This correlates well with Vanderbilt students who “are very passionate about their extracurricular interests” and stay very “involved with organizations on campus and within the Nashville community. Within the more than 500 student organizations on campus, a student is hard-pressed not to find a few organizations that they can relate to.” “The professors are engaging and love their jobs, which makes the students excited and eager to learn.” Professors are “dedicated to the undergraduates” and “are always willing to meet with you outside of the classroom to discuss material from class or anything you want to. They make it clear that you are their first priority.” “In the event that the class is too big, there are TAs who are more than willing to help.” Besides the “truly enriching academic environment,” there are many “opportunities that challenge me beyond the books,” says a student. When asked about what improvements might be made to their school, many agreed, “Dining and parking are mediocre at best.” “The lines at lunch can be really long, and not as many options are open on the weekends.” Although vehicles do not seem essential to partake in Nashville and campus life, an improvement in “parking around campus” would be appreciated by students.