Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Performing Arts Profile

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

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt has a long history of academic excellence, a strong tradition of community, and a commitment to diversity. The University’s progressive financial aid policies assure it is often cited as one of the country’s “best values” among national universities.

Vanderbilt students engage in interdisciplinary academic pursuits thatproduce life-changing moments, intricate questions with complex solutions, and remarkable opportunities to make a difference. Known 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.

As an internationally renowned university within the vibrant cultural scene of Nashville, Vanderbilt offers students pursuing a visual or performing arts–related field a wealth of opportunities for expression 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 great ideas require more than one school of thought. At Vanderbilt, you can pursue an undergraduate degree in the arts while also studying science, the humanities, engineering, social science, or education and human development. This innovative approach to education transcends singular subject matter and fosters an interdisciplinary perspective.

Our 7:1 student-faculty ratio giveseach student access to faculty members across academic disciplines. More than 50% of undergraduates participate in research, including research in the arts, and some students pursue research opportunities outside their major field of study.

Some new academic initiatives at Vanderbilt include an undergraduate Business minor and Immersion Vanderbilt—an initiative that calls for each undergraduate to pursue an intensive learning experience in and beyond the classroom with a choice of four pathways: civic and professional, creative expression, international, and research.

Vanderbilt’s 230,000-sq. ft. Engineering and Science building includesclassroom and laboratory space, a 15,000-sq. ft. clean room, and the University’s epicenter for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Wond’ry. Through collaborative work environments, makerspaces, and cocurricular programming, the Wond’ry is the place where abstract ideas are transformed into concrete realities thatmake differences in people’s lives. All undergraduates, regardless of major, take advantage of these new academic initiatives and facilities.

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 admission decisions); 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 cutoffs that limit eligibility.

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

The arts at Vanderbilt
The visual and performing arts flourish at Vanderbilt, inside and outside the classroom. Related majors in the College of Arts and Science include Art, Cinema and Media Arts, History of Art, and Theatre. The Blair School of Music, an undergraduate-only school, offers conservatory-level training in Performance (with 18 instruments), Integrated Studies, Integrated Studies/Teacher Education, and Composition, within the context of a strong liberal arts curriculum.

Students may also pursue a five-year program to earn a Bachelor of Music and MBA through the Blair-to-Owen program. Blair students enjoy access to world-class facilities, including superb acoustic spaces, performance halls, and sound-insulated studios.

Students perform at Vanderbilt’s Neely Auditorium while they study acting, directing, dramatic literature, playwriting, theatre history and criticism, and theatre design and technology. The Vanderbilt Dance Program promotes dance education, artistic development, and cultural enrichment for Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and community members. Vanderbilt hosts the International Lens Film Series each year as well as faculty-led film discussions at the Belcourt Theatre.

For students studying visual arts, the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center boasts state-of-the-art lighting and an experimental gallery as well as several exhibition halls and informal meeting spaces. Cohen Memorial Hall is home to Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery, which hosts both permanent and traveling exhibitions.

Live music performances are a daily occurrence on and off campus; Nashville hosts more than 20,000 live performances yearly, most within a mile or two of campus. On campus, students are treated to music performances by artists of every genre, some of which have recently included Young the Giant, The Band Perry, and Future.

The Vanderbilt community
Vanderbilt is located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, home to a diverse population of 1.9 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 SmartAsset as the #3 “Best City for Young Professionals” (2019).

Nashville is home to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, which stages Broadway and Off-Broadway productions; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; the Schermerhorn Symphony Center; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art; and the Fisk University Art Museum, among others.

Vanderbilt attracts students from across the country and around the world and sits on a 334-acre campus that is designated an arboretum. An active campus life, stellar academics, and an urban setting contribute to the exceptionally high retention rate: 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. 


Estimated Cost of Attendance 
Tuition $50,800
Housing $11,044
Meals $5,866
Books and Supplies $1,294
Student Service Fees 
New Student Transcript Fee 
First-Year Experience Fee $836
Personal Expenses 
Estimated Total $74,084

First-Year Engineering
Laptop Allowance* $1,600
Laboratory Fee* $

* The Engineering Laptop Allowance and Laboratory Fee apply to Engineering students only. First-year Engineering students are required to either purchase a laptop from Vanderbilt or provide their own computer that meets published requirements. 

An Inside Look