Pre-Professional Study at Vanderbilt

  • Pre-Medicine/Health Professions

    Students interested in pursuing a post-graduate degree in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or other health professions may select any of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate majors. In addition to a faculty adviser in their major, these students will also work with the Health Professions Advisory Office (HPAO) to ensure that they take the courses recommended for admission to a graduate program in their chosen field and to assist them in the application process. Students interested in Nursing should contact Dr. Jana Lauderdale in the School of Nursing (  

    There is no preferred major for students interested in the health professions; in fact, Vanderbilt graduates currently enrolled in medical school have degrees in a wide range of disciplines including (but not limited to) Neuroscience, English, Economics, Spanish, and Child Development, in addition to the more traditional majors like Biological Sciences and Engineering. Students interested in medicine and other health-related professions will find their required science courses are complemented by Vanderbilt’s liberal arts core of writing, humanities, and social science coursework.

    For fall 2018, 76% of first-time Vanderbilt applicants to medical school were admitted to at least one allopathic (M.D.) school, compared to the national acceptance rate of 41-43%. In addition, Vanderbilt students regularly outperform the nation on the MCAT.

    For statistics regarding the most recent graduating class, please reference the Annual Report on the Health Professions Advisory Office’s website:   

    Health Professions Advisory Office  


    Once students interested in the health professions arrive on campus for their freshman year, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Health Professions Advisory Office to discuss their curriculum and to prepare for applying to graduate school. Appointments may be booked from the HPAO website. The HPAO also holds periodic group meetings for students. The HPAO will provide to students information on careers and programs in the health professions.

    Pre-Medical Requirements 


    While there are some variations between schools, almost all U.S. medical schools will accept as minimum preparation in science, one year each of general chemistry, general physics, general biology, and organic chemistry, each with the appropriate laboratory. One year of English and one or two semesters of Calculus/Statistics are sometimes required although AP credit for Calculus may be used to satisfy one semester of math.

    Freshmen are encouraged to take General Chemistry (1601 and 1602) and lab (1601L and 1602L) in order to be on track. Other than this, there is no preferred sequence of classes. Most students try to complete their requirements by the summer after their junior year (or after their senior year if they prefer to take a gap year). Students are invited to discuss their paths with both their academic adviser and the Health Professions Advisory Office.

    Students who have taken AP Biology, AP Chemistry and/or AP Physics in high school will receive course credit for scores of 4 or 5 on the Biology exam and a score of 5 on the Physics or Chemistry exam. That credit may not satisfy the entrance requirements for all medical schools. Students may enroll in the required courses or take higher level science classes to satisfy entrance requirements.

    In 2015, a new MCAT was introduced to reflect the changing nature of medical education. In addition to the coursework listed above, students should take a semester of statistics, biochemistry, sociology, and psychology. The Vanderbilt HPAO website has more information about course work and test preparation.

    Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) 


    Alpha Epsilon Delta is the undergraduate pre-health professions society. The goal of AED is to help its members realize their dreams of becoming health care professionals within the context of Vanderbilt, providing a number of services to students in the pre-health sciences. Past speakers have included physicians, medical educators, and medical students who presented information on their particular medical specialty, medical school, or medical research. Other topics have covered admission to medical school, alternatives to medical school, how to write a good essay, MD/PhD programs, women in medicine, and the future of health care in America. AED also sponsors various medical community service projects throughout the year, a tutoring program for required pre-med courses, an informal MCAT class and a Shadowing Program to match pre-medical students with student mentors.

    Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS) 


    The primary purpose of MAPS is to provide under represented pre-health students with knowledge, skills and experiences that are both prerequisite and related to professional participation in health care fields. MAPS endeavors to enhance recruitment of under-represented students into health care, enrich the academic and professional development of these students, and produce competitive candidates for professional health related programs who are knowledgeable about the admissions processes.

    MAPS also facilitates interaction between its members and educators and administrators of the institutions training health professionals, for recruiting activities, the exchange of pertinent information and material, and the identification of resources and mentors. It also provides a means to address concerns of its members.

    Pre-Pharmacy Society 


    Today, pharmacy is an expanding field with vast career opportunities in several different areas. The Vanderbilt Pre-Pharmacy Society strives to promote interests in pharmacy and its related areas of study. We familiarize members with the pharmacy school application process to better prepare them for pharmacy school admission as well as create better opportunities for hands-on experience for students interested in pharmacy and pharmaceutical related areas of study. Through this organization, students will not only gain knowledge regarding the pharmacy field’s immense prospects, but will also gain insight as to different pharmacy fields’ roles in today’s health care and ever-growing society.

    Pre-Dental Society Vanderbilt University 


    The Pre-Dental Society Vanderbilt University (PDSVU) is devoted to providing educational, support, and volunteer opportunities for all pre-dental students on campus.

    The PDSVU organizes dental school visits, DAT strategy sessions and DAT practice exams. It serves as a resource for students seeking more information about the varied aspects of the dental profession by providing access to influential people within the dental community, access to the knowledge accrued by pre-dental students on campus, as well as published resources. In addition, the PDSVU partners with the Health Professions Advisory Office to improve on campus offerings to pre-dental students.

    By fostering a collaborative environment for any Vanderbilt students aspiring to become dentists, periodontists, orthodontists, endodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, the Pre-Dental Society helps to develop a spirit of cooperation across Vanderbilt’s campus—a collective spirit that is becoming more necessary in the medical profession today.

    Vanderbilt Pre-Veterinary Medicine Society (VVMS) 


    Vanderbilt University's Pre-Veterinary Medicine Society is a student organization that serves to promote and stimulate interest in veterinary medicine by gathering students so that they may support one another in scholarship, fellowship and leadership. VVMS offers opportunities for members to shadow local veterinarians, observe surgeries, visit shelters, zoos and rescue centers, and gain advice from guest speakers ranging from veterinarians to veterinary school admissions directors. VVMS supports Vanderbilt's pre-veterinary students through the long difficult process of applying to veterinary school by offering advice, guidance and volunteer opportunities.

    For Additional Information:   

    Visit the Health Professions Advisory Office website

    Visit the Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Pre-health Society website

    Visit the Pre-Dental Society website

    Visit the Pre-Pharmacy Society website

    Visit the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Society website 

  • Pre-Business

    The liberal arts tradition at Vanderbilt prepares students to think critically, to communicate effectively, to reason logically, and to understand issues from various perspectives. This is a fundamentally different mission than those of professional schools that prepare a student for a specific career. Yet, many graduates are interested in professional careers, including management or finance. They often pursue those career interests through completion of a master of business administration (MBA) or other professional degree subsequent to their undergraduate degree.

    MBA programs expect students to have had several years of significant work experience after the baccalaureate, and majoring in a pre-professional major is not a requisite for admission to these programs. Vanderbilt students interested in business may complete any major and may choose to take business courses and/or complete an undergraduate business minor. The University offers fundamental undergraduate business courses taught by Owen Graduate School of Management faculty as well as elective courses in the liberal arts tradition to help students understand management functions, corporate strategy, and financial decisions. Any undergraduate student may enroll in these courses.

    Coursework in business may direct students in their search for career interests and appropriate work experience after graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to work with advisors in the undergraduate business minor program regarding curriculum choices and the Career Center to further develop their professional skills and career aspirations. Additionally, there are many student organizations—such as the Vanderbilt Finance Club, Vanderbilt Investment Club, and the Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society—that offer students unique opportunities to gain professional experience.

    Fundamental Courses Offered in Business

    • Essentials of Financial Reporting
    • Managing Operations
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Principles of Finance
    • Principles of Marketing

    Business Electives Pathways

    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Finance and Accounting
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Operations
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Strategy

    The fundamental and elective courses are designed to prepare students to:

    • Develop a perspective on the objectives of firms
    • Examine the role of firms in society
    • Examine the role of individuals in corporations
    • Assess the coordination of divisions of firms
    • Focus on the internal decisions of a corporation
    • Understand the management function

    For more information about available courses, see the program website.


    Professor Gary Kimball
    Director, Undergraduate Business Minor Program
    215 Calhoun Hall
    Phone: (615) 322-4021

  • Pre-Law

    Students interested in pursuing a post-graduate degree in law, or students seeking government-related careers may select any of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate majors. Most law schools have no specific requirements for a pre-law curriculum, but place great emphasis on a student’s ability to read accurately, analytically, thoroughly, and rapidly; to speak and write clearly, comprehensively and persuasively; to think precisely in order to analyze complex situations. The development of analytical skills and mature study habits is vital. Since law touches every aspect of our public and private lives, every subject in the college curriculum is relevant to legal practice. Students interested in studying law are encouraged to meet with Vanderbilt’s pre-law advisers for the purpose of determining if law school is an appropriate next step upon earning one’s undergraduate degree; and if so, preparing one’s law school application and thinking about what a career of legal practice could entail.


    Undergraduate Preparation

    • Work with your academic adviser to choose courses that will build your communication, critical reasoning, and logical analysis skills.
    • Consider seeking law and/or government-related internship or work experience.
    • Begin to think about whom you might ask to write letters of recommendation for you.
    • Be aware that your GPA is a very important factor in your application.
    • Seek opportunities to engage in community service, develop your leadership skills, and build a well-rounded college experience.
    • Read everything you can find and ask questions of law students, attorneys, and judges about legal careers and the law. As with any career decision, carefully consider the pros and cons of your career choice.


    Resources for Pre-Law Students

    Vanderbilt’s pre-law adviser offers weekly office hours to all Vanderbilt students interested in learning more about the law school application process and the practice of law. She also maintains a pre-law listserv for the purpose of communicating up-to-date information regarding programs and services of interest to pre-law students.  Be sure to visit the pre-law information page where students can schedule advising appointments as well as sign up to receive emails from the listserv.

    Career Coach Alex Rizzuttoin in Vanderbilt’s Career Center, located in the Student Life Center, is also available to work with students interested in pursuing law careers and LSAT/LSDAS registration.  Periodicals and other helpful sources of information are available in the Career Center library, and a Law School Fair is sponsored each fall where law school admissions representatives from the nation’s top law programs are available to meet with students.

    The Commodore Career Connection is a database of over 11,000 Vanderbilt alumni who have agreed to offer advice on their particular career field, industry, location, etc. to other Vanderbilt alumni and students.


    Top Feeder Schools at which Vanderbilt Graduates Matriculated, Fall 2020*

    1. Vanderbilt
    2. Columbia
    3. Emory
    4. Duke University
    5. Northwestern


    *List provided by Law School Admission Council



    Dr. Carrie Russell, J.D., Ph.D.
    Pre-Law Adviser
    Phone: (615) 322-6222

  • Pre-Nursing

    The master of science in nursing (MSN), the first-professional degree in nursing at Vanderbilt, is specialty-related and offered at the graduate level. The increase in knowledge required of nurses and the scope of their responsibilities, as well as changes in role, functions, and practice settings, require post-baccalaureate nursing education built on a rich undergraduate liberal education or baccalaureate nursing degree or its equivalent. The school of nursing does not offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

    Prospective students interested in nursing at Vanderbilt may apply for admission to any Vanderbilt undergraduate school awarding a B.A. or B.S.  In addition to their undergraduate faculty advisers, pre-nursing students are encouraged to work with a pre-nursing adviser to assist in planning their program of studies.

    Qualified students may apply to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program after earning a baccalaureate degree at Vanderbilt and completing all admission requirements. Students are encouraged to contact the School of Nursing Office of Admissions at (615) 322-3800 or 888-333-9192 for further details of the program or email

    Current Vanderbilt undergraduate students interested in this program should consult Dr. Brandee Madden, pre-nursing adviser, at, or Ernie Rushing, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management at (615) 322-3802,, for advice on planning undergraduate studies to meet the program’s requirements.


    Become Both A Registered Nurse (RN) and an Advanced Practice Nurse 

    The first three semesters in the MSN degree program are generalist-nursing courses and prepares students for the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Students take the NCLEX after completing the generalist nursing courses and become RNs during the MSN program of studies. The generalist nursing courses provide the foundation equivalent to the bachelor’s degree in nursing for course work in the selected nursing specialty. Upon completion of three semesters of generalist nursing courses, students enter a minimum of an additional three-semester sequence of courses  in their declared specialty in order to earn the MSN degree.

    After completing the MSN degree, students are eligible to take the advanced practice certification exam in their selected specialty. The MSN program requires a minimum of 6 semesters in a fall-spring-summer, fall-spring-summer calendar. Some specialties take one or two additional semesters.

    In an increasingly complex health care industry, advanced practice nurses are playing a vital role. Education and clinical training are preparing these professionals to assume such positions as Nurse-Midwife and Nurse Practitioner. Advanced practice nurses are offering and designing new ways of delivering cost-effective care and increasing access to qualified practitioners—often providing health care to underserved populations.

    Advanced practice nurses work in collegial capacities with physicians and other health care providers, and are prepared to diagnose and treat patients with acute and chronic illnesses. These responsibilities require nursing professionals who are as smart and savvy as they are caring and compassionate. Vanderbilt School of Nursing prepares advanced practice nurses with an excellent education, real-world clinical experience and a solid grounding in theory, research and leadership.


    Pre-Nursing Requirements

    Students are eligible to apply to the MSN program after graduation from any of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate programs (A&S, Blair, Engineering or Peabody). Prior to beginning the MSN program these courses must be completed:

    • BSCI 3234 Microbiology (3 credits)
    • MHS 1600 Introduction to Nutrition and Health for a Changing World (3 credits)
    • BSCI 2101 Human Anatomy & Physiology (4 credits)
    • BSCI 3101 Human Anatomy & Physiology (4 credits)
    • Statistics (3 credits): A number of undergraduate statistics courses are offered
    • Lifespan Development (3 credits):
      • HOD 1250 Applied Human
      • Development or Psy-PC 1250
      • (Developmental Psychology course meets this requirement)


    The prerequisite courses listed above do not need to be completed at the time of application. However, all pre-requisite courses must be completed prior to the beginning of MSN classes in August.


    MSN Admission Requirements

    Students must apply by November 1 of their senior year prior to beginning the M.S.N. in August.

    The MSN application includes the following:

    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher
    • Three letters of reference
    • Statement of nursing career goals
    • Responses to application questions
    • Official VU transcript and any other colleges/universities transcripts you attended


    MSN Advanced Practice Specialties Available

    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Midwifery*
    • Nurse Midwifery/Family Nurse
    • Practitioner* (dual certification)
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (primary care focus)
    • Psychiatric-Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner (lifespan)
    • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Women’s Health Nurse
    • Practitioner/Adult Nurse
    • Practitioner* (dual certification)


    * Requires additional semester(s)


    Pre-Nursing Society

    The Pre-Nursing Society is a Vanderbilt endorsed student organization that serves to support pre-nursing students on campus. The group acts as a resource for information regarding career opportunities in advanced practice nursing and the various specialty areas. A formal meeting is held each month (September–April) at the School of Nursing with volunteer/community service activities scheduled throughout the academic year. Shadowing experience with an advanced practice nurse can also be arranged for active members of the pre-nursing society.


    Students Who Need an I-20 or DS-2019 Issued to Study in the United States

    Due to federal guidelines, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program does not satisfy the requirements for F-1 or J-1 study. The federal regulations restrict the number of courses that can be delivered via an online format within a program of study for F-1 and J-1 students. As the MSN program has a significant online component, the educational format is not compatible with the structure required by the federal government for F-1 and J-1 students.


    For Additional Information:  

    Visit the School of Nursing website at

    Email the School of Nursing at

    Call the School of Nursing Admissions Office at (888) 333-9192.

  • Pre-Architecture

    Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in Architecture may select any of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate majors. In addition to faculty advisers in their majors, these students will also work with the pre-architecture advisers. These advisers ensure that students take the recommended pre-architecture courses and assist them through the graduate school application process. Majors and minors are offered in both History of Art and Studio Art.

    Recommended Pre-Architecture Courses

    The courses listed in this document (detailed on the back) will help students prepare for graduate programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Design, Urban Planning, Historic Preservation, Architectural History, and related fields. Below are the minimum requirements for pre-architecture students (recommended by Vanderbilt):

    • Math 1200/1201 (or higher) calculus
    • Physics 1501/1502 AND physics1502/1502L or higher sequence
    • Students are encouraged to take at least one of the following:
      • Earth and Environmental Science 1510/1510L
      • A higher level courses in a natural or earth science
    • Math 1200/1201 (or higher) calculus
    • Physics 1501/1502 AND physics1502/1502L or higher sequence
    • Students are encouraged to take at least one of the following:
      • Earth and Environmental Science 1510/1510L
      • A higher level courses in a natural or earth science

    Course of Study at Vanderbilt

    As long as the minimum requirements for the pre-architecture program are met, students will be at no disadvantage in the graduate application process and are free to select any undergraduate major. In particular, many Vanderbilt students find that the pre-architecture curriculum fits easily with a major or minor in History of Art, Studio Art, or Theatre. A minor is also available in Architectural History. In addition, students in the College of Arts and Science may design an interdisciplinary major in order to explore a subject area not represented among existing majors. Many of the courses in this curriculum also satisfy core liberal arts requirements. A pre-architecture course of study is an ideal fit with Vanderbilt’s liberal arts programs.

    Other Experiences

    Prospective architects are encouraged to explore their field of interest by gaining experience in the workplace. Summer internships at architectural firms and/or summer pre-architecture seminars or classes will increase a student’s base of experience in addition to building certainty of career choice. In addition, it is important to remember that graduate programs will accept portfolios of creative work. Strong work in the traditional crafts (ceramics, textiles, glass, jewelry, etc.), samples of creative writing, and computer-generated imagery are all acceptable forms of work, but portfolios containing drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs are preferred.

    Other Information

    Graduate programs are not necessarily seeking undergraduates with technical or engineering-based backgrounds. In today’s world, architecture should be thought of as a design field, not an engineering field. Graduate programs are interested in students with ability to find interesting solutions to art-related problems. A setting such as Vanderbilt University is perfect for learning to think critically, engaging other interests, and preparing fully for a profession in architecture.

    BLUEprint, Vanderbilt’s pre-architecture student organization, sponsors speakers, activities and field trips, and graduate school preparation and advice for interested students.

    Professor Kevin D. Murphy
    Professor Vesna Pavlović
    Pre-Architecture Advising
    (615) 342-3657; (615) 343-7241

    Recommended Pre-Architecture Courses: Courses in bold are highly recommended
    *students should check on course prerequisites when planning their coursework


    Math 1200 and 1201 or higher (one year of calculus)

    One year calculus sequence is recommended but Math 1100 will count for many grad programs.


    Physics 1501/1502 AND Physics 1501L/1502L lab OR Physics 1601/1602 lab and Physics 1601L/1602L lab OR higher one-year sequence in Physics

    Studio Art Courses

    ARTS 1102 Drawing & Composition
    ARTS 1101 Introduction to Studio Art
    ARTS 2100 Drawing & Composition
    ARTS 3100 Drawing & Composition
    ARTS 1503 Text and Image
    ARTS 1401 Sculptural Ceramics
    ARTS 1500 Sculpture
    ARTS 1501 Assemblage
    ARTS 1502 Installation Art
    ARTS 1300 Painting I
    ARTS 2300 Painting II
    ARTS 3300 Painting III
    ARTS 1600 Printmaking: Relief & Intaglio
    ARTS 1601 Printmaking: Screen Printing and Lithography
    ARTS 2600 Printmaking II
    ARTS 3600 Printmaking III
    ARTS 1200 Photography I
    ARTS 1202 Digital Imaging
    ARTS 2202 Digital Imaging II
    ARTS 2200 Photography II
    ARTS 3200 Photography III
    ARTS 1700 Video Art I
    ARTS 2700 Video ART II

    History of Art & Architecture

    Please note that the History of Art Department offers a minor in the History of Architecture
    HART 1100 History of Western Art (Ancient to Medieval)
    HART 1105 History of Western Art II (Renaissance to Modern)
    HART 1120 History of Western Architecture
    HART 1111 First-Year Writing Seminar
    HART 1200 Arts of East Asia
    HART 1220 History of Asian Architecture
    HART 3274 Art of Empire from Constantine to Justinian
    HART 2270 Early Christian and Byzantine Art

    HART 2285 Medieval Art
    HART 2650 19th - Century Architecture: Theory and Practice
    HART 2720 Modern Architecture
    HART 2722 Modern Art & Architecture in Paris
    HART 3172 Himalayan Art: Art of the Divine Abode
    HART 3174 The South Asian Temple
    HART 3112 The Arts of China during the Liao-Song Period
    HART 2150 East Asian Architecture & Gardens
    HART 2110 Arts of China
    HART 2130 Arts of Japan
    HART 2220 Greek Art & Architecture
    HART 3252 Cities of the Roman East
    HART 2210 Art & Architecture of Ancient Egypt
    HART 2780 History of Western Urbanism
    HART 2782 History of Landscape Design


    CLAS 2200 Archaic and Classical Greek Art & Architecture
    CLAS 2250 Roman Art & Architecture
    CLAS 3200 The Greek City
    CLAS 3210 The Archaeology of Greek Sanctuaries

    Religious Studies

    RLST 3669 Sacred Space in the Tibetan World


    ENGL 1280 Beginning Fiction Workshop
    ENGL 1290 Beginning Poetry Workshop
    ENGL 3230 Intermediate Fiction Workshop
    ENGL 3250 Intermediate Poetry Workshop
    ENGL 3694 America on Film: Art & Ideology
    ENGL 3730 Literature and the Environment

    Cinema and Media Arts

    CMA 1500 Fundamentals of Film and Video Production
    CMA 1600 Introduction to the Study of Film
    CMA 2100 Intermediate Nonfiction Filmmaking: Alternate Forms
    CMA 2200 Intermediate Filmmaking: The Fiction Film
    CMA 2500W Screenwriting
    CMA 2600W Advanced Screenwriting
    CMA 3891 Special Topics in Film and Video Production