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Science & Engineering Profile

Nashville, Tennessee, offers a rich mosaic of cultures and recreational opportunities, as well as vibrant arts, business, health, and education sectors. Known as Music City USA, Nashville hosts thousands of concerts each year in every genre and is recognized as one of the top college cities in America. Nashville’s many personalities and striking natural beauty attract people from around the world.

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt has a long history of academic excellence, a strong tradition of community, a dedication to research, and a commitment to diversity.

The University’s progressive financial aid policies assure that it is often cited as one of the country’s best values among national universities. Vanderbilt students engage in interdisciplinary academic pursuits that produce life-changing moments, intricate questions with complex solutions, and remarkable opportunities to make a difference. Known both for excellent academic programs and an outstanding quality of student life, Vanderbilt is consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and the School of Engineering is ranked as a top 40 undergraduate engineering program.

As an internationally renowned university with strong ties among its four undergraduate schools and six graduate schools, neighboring institutions, and the Nashville community, Vanderbilt offers students pursuing an engineering- or science-related field a high degree of specialization combined with an outstanding liberal arts foundation.

Vanderbilt students take full advantage of student life by immersing themselves in over 420 student organizations, a full range of study abroad programs, Division I athletics, and a variety of internship opportunities.

Vanderbilt students and faculty believe that great ideas require more than one school of thought. At Vanderbilt you can pursue undergraduate degrees in science and engineering while also fulfilling your passion for music, the humanities, the social sciences, or education and human development. This innovative approach to education transcends singular subject matter and fosters higher-level critical-thinking skills.

The College of Arts and Science offers majors in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Neuroscience, and Physics, among others, all of which offer intimate classroom experiences, typically supplemented by practicum experiences and research opportunities.

Through Immersion Vanderbilt, students go beyond the classroom to integrate knowledge with experience. By pursuing their passions, students learn how to transform ideas into action, hone skills, and make a difference. Immersion experiences might involve a senior thesis, an internship, an experience abroad, a creative performance, a design project, or a research project. 

Our 8:1 student-faculty ratio gives students access to faculty members of prominence across academic disciplines. Students enrolled in the School of Engineering will participate in a customizable first-year engineering course and multidisciplinary design project and have the opportunity to pursue honors programs, double majors, undergraduate research, overseas study, and service learning. 

More than 90% of students who graduate from the School of Engineering and choose to enter the workforce have a job within six months.

Opportunity Vanderbilt: affordability and accessibility
Vanderbilt makes three important commitments to ensure that students from many different economic circumstances can enroll at Vanderbilt:
the admission process is need-blind for US citizens and eligible non-citizens (financial circumstances are not considered in the admission decision), aid packages meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, and financial aid packages do not include loans. This initiative does not involve income bands or income cutoffs that limit eligibility.

Using a holistic application review process and these financial aid policies, Vanderbilt admits talented students from diverse backgrounds who challenge each other both inside and outside the classroom and together form a community of scholars.

Undergraduates at Vanderbilt are involved in science and engineering research across disciplines such as Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Biological Sciences, Neuroscience, and Chemical Engineering at the Vanderbilt Medical Center and in research centers and institutes. 

The addition of a state-of-the-art Engineering and Science Building in 2016 furthers research opportunities for undergraduates. A key part of the new building is a cross-disciplinary creative space called the Wond’ry, designed to encourage collaboration and innovation. Engineering students pursue a variety of internship opportunities and engage in a required capstone experience (Design Day) in which they collaborate with peers to troubleshoot an engineering problem for global corporations and government entities, among others.

The School of Engineering, the College of Arts and Science, and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center are collectively involved in exploring the human body at nanoscale, developing new ways to control light using nanoscale optics, and working with nanoscience computation and modeling. Other projects range from model-integrated computing to environmental remediation, from disease detection to jet-powered artificial limbs, and from software engineering to microelectronics.

The Vanderbilt community
Your first year at Vanderbilt will be a chance to experience life on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. This living/learning community, based on the Oxford-Cambridge model, consists of 10 residence halls surrounding a main dining and student center. Faculty, including the Dean of The Ingram Commons and her family, live on The Ingram Commons, facilitating easy and meaningful interactions between students and professors. 

Vanderbilt is located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, home to a diverse population of 1.7 million and marked by its unique blend of cosmopolitan flair and small-town charm. A thriving center of music, publishing, health care, and technology, Nashville is consistently ranked as one of America’s friendliest cities and was honored by Business Insider as one of “The 13 Hottest American Cities for 2016.”

Vanderbilt attracts students from across the country and around the world and sits on a 330-acre campus designated an arboretum. Our active campus life, stellar academics, and urban setting work to maintain a high retention rate, as 97% of first-year students return for sophomore year. 

Vanderbilt offers students unique and meaningful opportunities within the structure of an academically rigorous institution to discover who they are, who they may become, and how they might contribute to their communities in the future.



At A Glance


Type of School: Private research university comprising four undergraduate and six graduate schools, more than 100 interdisciplinary centers and institutes, and a distinguished medical center


Size of Campus: 330 contiguous acres designated an arboretum in midtown Nashville


Enrollment (Fall 2016): Undergraduate: 6,871; graduate and professional: 5,716; total enrollment: 12,587


First-Year Class Profile (Fall 2016):

• Black/African American: 10.7%; Hispanic of any race: 10.4%; Asian or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 14.1%; two or more races: 5.3%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.6%; total minorities: 41.2% 

• International students: 7.6%

• High schools attended: public: 66%; private: 33%; other: 1%

• Middle 50%–range test scores: ACT: 32–35; SAT (CR+M): 1420–1590 


Estimated Cost of Attendance 2016–2017:

Tuition $44,496



Books and Supplies$1,294

Activities/Rec Center Fee$1,114

New Student Transcript Fee $30

First-Year Experience Fee$732

Personal Expenses$2,788

Estimated Total (plus travel)$ 65,416

First-Year Engineering Laboratory Fee and Laptop Allowance.$1,500*

Upperclass Laboratory Fee (Engineering students only)$650*

* The Engineering laptop allowance and laboratory fee (for Engineering students only) are listed in the student activities fee listed on the financial aid award notification letter. First-year Engineering students are required to provide their own computer that meets published requirements. First-year Engineering students who have been offered a Vanderbilt need-based grant as part of their package will have additional dollars added to the fall portion of their grant award to assist with the requirement to provide or purchase their own computer.


Average Financial Aid Package: $46,938


Freshman Retention Rate: 97%


Four-Year Graduation Rate: 87%


Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1


Classes with Fewer Than 50 Students: 91%

Majors at Vanderbilt


College of Arts & Science

• African American and Diaspora Studies

• American Studies

• Anthropology

• Art

• Asian Studies

• Biochemistry and Chemical Biology

• Biological Sciences

• Chemistry

• Cinema and Media Arts

• Classical Civilizations

• Classical Languages

• Classics

• Communication of Science and Technology

• Communication Studies

• Earth and Environmental Sciences

• Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

• Economics

• Economics and History

• English

• Environmental Sociology

• European Studies

• French

• French and European Studies

• German

• German and European Studies

• History

• History of Art

• Italian and European Studies 

• Jewish Studies

• Latin American Studies

• Latino and Latina Studies

• Mathematics

• Medicine, Health, and Society

• Molecular and Cellular Biology

• 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


Blair School of Music

• Composition

• Musical Arts

• Musical Arts/Teacher Education

• Performance


School of Engineering

• Biomedical Engineering

• Chemical Engineering

• Civil Engineering

• Computer Engineering

• Computer Science

• Electrical Engineering

• Engineering Science

• Mechanical Engineering

Peabody College 

• Child Development 

• Child Studies 

• Cognitive Studies

• Early Childhood and Elementary Education

• Human and Organizational Development with tracks in:
– Community Leadership and Development
– Education Policy
– Health and Human Services
– International Leadership and Development
– Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness

• Secondary Education 

• Special Education 


Graduate/Professional Schools

• The Divinity School

• The Graduate School

• Law School

• Owen Graduate School of Management

• School of Medicine

• School of Nursing



Students interested in pre-architecture, pre-business, pre-law, or pre-medicine may pursue study in any of Vanderbilt’s 69 majors. All students have access to faculty members designated to provide advice regarding appropriate pre-professional curricula and the post-baccalaureate application process.