Vanderbilt University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?




The academics are rigorous. It is not uncommon for students to be up late studying, and many classes can be quite time consuming. Students are all academically-oriented, but also leave time to have a social college experience. There is not too much inter-student competition, which can be a plus when compared to other Top 20 universities. Most professors are willing to assist students outside of class. There are also great databases to help students find internships, jobs, etc.


There is no way to sugar coat it; academics at Vandy are tough. Engineers and pre-med students have it the worst, but no matter what they are studying, Vanderbilt students spend plenty of time in the library. This work ethic results from competition between students to do well. Outside of class, students don't usually have intellectual conversations, but frequently speak about their GPAs, internships, and majors. On the flip side, students generally find their classes to be engaging and rewarding. There are a handful of large classes (think 250+ students), but after freshman year these are few and far between. Most classes have fewer than 30 students. Professors know their students names and make themselves available for help outside of class. Students need to take the initiative to develop relationships with their professors, but when they do, they usually find that professors are excited to get to know them better. The best class I've taken was History of Country Music, a lecture class taught by a Nashville reporter. It was unique because my professor had personal relationships with many of the musicians we studied. He invited Brooks and Dunn and Joe Nichols to meet with the class and perform for us. It was truly a class I could not have taken anywhere else.


Academics are often challenging. However, professors tend to be very interested in their students and always willing to help. All professors are required to have office hours each week during which you can go to them with questions or just to talk. Visiting my professors outside the classroom has allowed me to create relationships with them. It lets them know the student is interested in the subject and they are much more willing to help you when you are struggling to understand a concept. I have even had a couple of professors invite my class to their house at the end of the semester for dinner or dessert, showing they really care about their students and want them to do well and enjoy their class. Although students are competitive in the sense that they want to do well in their classes, it has been my experience that students are willing to help one another. I often have group study sessions and both give and receive help from my peers. The AXLE program requirements can be a bit frustrating at times but helps create more well-rounded students by making students take classes outside of their major.


Was high school easy for you? Could you coast through classes without studying? It might be time to learn some good study habits because classes here are challenging. Getting an A is very difficult and there are very few blowoff classes. Every class requires hours of study per week and exams are challenging. The programs are aimed at getting the students to start thinking outside of the box about the concepts learned in high school. As a result, students become much more creative and learn to solve new problems. Professors have been great for the most part. There are of course exceptions, but every professor I have had was very helpful in office hours and took an interest in helping me learn. They encourage class participation and some of my most interesting conversations have occurred in the classroom. Not to say that conversations outside the classroom aren't good though. Most students are here because they are academically driven and have a genuine interest in their field of study. It is very common to strike up a deep conversation about philosophy or politics or academics with a total stranger. In short, this school is only for those who really, really want to learn about their major. If you want to get a job after graduate and be done with learning, this isn't for you. However, if you want to broaden your understanding of a subject and stimulate your mind in all fields of study, Vanderbilt is the best.


Academics here are definitely not a walk in the park, overall. They have many crazy classes, including ones where you watch Anime. Students are competitive and are held to a very high standard. We have an Honor Code, which students must sign to attend Vanderbilt. If you break the code, you risk expulsion, or at least a semester of suspension. The teachers care about you individually and will meet with you whenever. Even in a class with 200 others (MacroEcon) my teacher knows me pretty well. I transferred in from a small liberal arts college and it is a totally new game. So much harder.


Vanderbilt is truly a strong and vibrant academic community. That being said, you won't find any of the horror stories of 'cutthroat' academics that you may have heard about other schools. All the students here work hard to do well, often studying long hours into the night, and all the students want their peers to do well. There are always groups of people that I see studying together, and at the same time, the library is always filled with diligent individuals working alone. The faculty here are also great. They are always willing to meet with you outside of class if you need help on assignments or need any concepts cleared up. If you make an attempt to get to know your professors, you will find that they are great individuals. Half of my classes this semester also have less than 15 students, which provides for a very friendly academic environment. In my larger classes, even my hundred student computer science class, my professors are very friendly and will converse with you one on one at anytime. They also respond to emails promptly and have plenty of office hours for you to go to. Vanderbilt will challenge you academically, but you will enjoy every single minute of it.


The academic life at Vanderbilt is excellent. Many professors are flown in from around the country daily just to teach and go back home in another state. Professors will know your name if you're in a smaller class or if you participate a lot. Students study a lot, there is a great balance of work and play. Def a work hard play hard environment. Students tend to participate in class, as we are used to doign so in High school (otherwise we wouldnt be here!) A lot of great classes Human Sexuality, History of Rock, Country Music, American Pop Music. Axel (the liberal arts requirement) is very fair and allows students to cover a wide array of topics. Vanderbilt's job placement is excellent and the Vanderbilt name will cause employers to do a double take on your resume.


professors are smart and always very knowledgeable. favorite classes are smaller, afternoon classes. early morning classes, regardless of the subject, are always the worst.


Classes are very intimate for the most part. The professors are all amazing and unique, and they really care about your success and happiness for the most part. My favorite class is anything at Blair for non-majors. My least favorite class was Astronomy - don't ever think about taking it no matter what! Students study a lot or little depending on their major and the time of year. If you are BME, you will spend a lot of time studying. If you are HOD, consider yourself lucky. Class participation is common and often calculated as a large portion of the grade. You don't always have to do the readings to participate - just actively listen every once in a while. Or come up with intelligent questions before you go to class based on the topic that day. Vanderbilt students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, but points of view are very limited because a lot of kids have shared the same life experiences. You can find people with different points of view, and that's where things really get interesting. Students are very competitive in certain majors and classes, but you can always find students in the same class as you that are willing to share their notes if you miss a day or help you out if you don't understand. The most unique class I have taken is probably Reframing Organizations with a woman who no longer teaches, so it doesn't really matter. My major is HOD, and I love it! I rarely spend time with professors outside of class unless I meet with them for office hours. Vanderbilt's requirements are logical and easy to fulfill. My major is geared toward getting a job and learning for its own sake. I can't speak for other majors.


Classes are pretty small, and my English professors are all very good about getting to know their students. I've had a lot of great literature classes at Vanderbilt, but I've had some unfortunate education classes - mostly becacuse they all have to be so politically correct. One of the best things about Vanderbilt is the fact that I can share the topics about which I am excited in my class with my friends.


Arts and Science professors are better than Peabody ones; they're the ones who have done things like actively met me outside of class, invited the class to their house for dinner, taken me to coffee, etc. Students don't study very much--they're all smart enough to do what it takes to get by and have plenty of time for other things, devoting lots of time to extracurriculars, just hanging out in the dorms and social lives. Not that they don't care about learning; they do, they just know when their time's being wasted and how to get by in class without doing the stupid assignments. Education is not geared towards getting a job--there's the odd accounting class or marketing class, but almost all the courses exist just for learning's sake, and it can be hard to transfer those skills to outside the Bubble.


Academics at Vanderbilt is fantastic. I feel like the Physics and Math departments are both fairly poor but I would say I was impressed with a good majority of my professors. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class and I feel like those conversations would be commonplace if students had more time. Sometimes I felt like the classes had an unecessarily large amount of work. I was a Chemical Engineering major at Vanderbilt. Some Professors feel like they have to give you 6-8 hours of homework a week in order for you to learn. They don't realize you have 4 other classes. Some of the most educational classes I had only had 3-5 hours of work outside of class on average. Overall I felt the academic schedule was extremely taxing, like I didn't have a life outside of school. I think this experience only holds true if you take a very difficult coarseload.


Professors know my name. Girls study a lot, guys study a good amount too, although it varies between majors and greek/non greek. In lectures only annoying people participate, otherwise people generally participate. The only intellectual conversations outside of class deal with business and politics. Students want a good grade but generally don't directly compete against one another. My major is unique, its Human and Organizational Development which means learning how to work in groups, get a job, market your skills, etc. It's really really easy, like football player easy. Unless I fail a test, I never see my professors outside of class. Unfortunately Vanderbilt's teachers are adamantly geared towards teaching for the sake of learning but Vanderbilt students in general are dead set on getting educating for getting a job. Case in point is the amount of economics majors who wish there was a business/finance program.


Classes are generally small and every teacher will know your name if you remain active in class. Teachers and teaching assistants are always willing to give you extra help if needed. Classes are challenging, but teachers are always do anything they can to help you succeed.


I can only remember two classes at Vanderbilt where the professor did not know my name- and those were large lectures with a TA who did know who I was. This is probably reflective of the fact that I am a Peabody student, where the classes tend to be a lot smaller and the professors are a lot more personable. People study a lot. But they will study and then go out after that test. There is somewhere to go out and party every night of the week if you want to, but it is looked down upon if you go out the night before a test or paper.


Hard but not as hard as you'd think..


i hate my chem class but the professors are pretty good about getting to know me with a couple of exceptions. class participation is common and alot if the intellectual convorsations do happen outside class at least in my experience.


The academics are challenging, but they are meant to be. We are smart kids who need to be challenged so that we can contribute to society on the most beneficial way possible.


Vandy professors really seem to care about their students. Most professors make a strong effort to learn the names of their students during the first few weeks of class. As would be assumed, the smaller the class, the more quickly you are able to form a relationship with the professor. All professors are required to hold office hours, but most professors encourage students to stop by any time. Professors are also highly accessible via email. Class participation is mandatory in four of five of my classes. Even my Statistics class is highly discussion oriented. Failing to participate sufficiently usually hurts your grade (unless the class is a large lecture). Vanderbilt takes the phrase “work hard, play hard” to the fullest extreme. On one hand, students can be seen studying around the clock; while on the other, hardcore partying goes on every night of the week. We are pros at budgeting our time, knowing that working hard in the afternoon will allow for an evening of fun. Staying in to do work one night does not cause too much concern, as we know that the next big evening is just a day away. Peabody is Vanderbilt’s department of education and psychology. Its campus is separate from that of central campus; the two are connected by bridges that run over traffic. Peabody has somewhat of a stigma: it is looked down upon by those in Arts & Sciences who think that it’s easy. HOD receives the worst stigma of all. This Peabody major, Human and Organizational Development, is actually the most relevant major to a real-life career, yet is made fun of for not being a real major. The academic requirements are reasonable. Most people finish their majors before senior year. It is common to double major or add a minor. It is difficult to get an A in a class, but most students pull off at least a B. Education at Vanderbilt is primarily geared towards learning for its own sake. The HOD major is one of the few that trains you for the real world. However, Vanderbilt provides its students with a solid education that its students can be proud of.


Professors do know my name because I participate in class a lot. My favorite class is Human Resources Management. Students study around 3 hrs per night. Class participation is common depending on the class. Vanderbilt students do have intellectual conversations outside of class concerning religion or politics. The most unique course I have taken is high poverty youth and it is a practicum. I do often meet with professors outside of class. The academics here are not that competitive, and the requirements are fair. Education is geared toward both getting a job and learning for its own sake.


The professors are definitely very approachable. Classes are not so overwhelming. It really depends on your major. There does not seem to be a high level of competitiveness on campus. I am a biomedical engineering major. Most of the classes are very technical and will prepare you well for your career. Education seems geared towards getting a job rather than a broad liberal arts education.


All of my professors know my name. Marketing has been my favorite class, as well as Human Sexuality. Economic statistics was my least favorite course. Students study time varies a lot because everyone has different priorities; I tend to study a lot because I am taking a heavy courseload. I wouldn't say that students have tons of intellectual conversations outside of class, but they do happen, and that's a good thing. Class participating depends on the type of class; this semester, it is common in all of my classes. Students are not really that competitive; but I am. The most unique and enjoyable calss I have taken is Human Sexuality. I am a psychology major, and I have enjoyed all of the psych classes I have taken .I feel as if the professors have been really engaging and knowledgable, and willing to help outside of class. I spend lots of time communicating with professors outside of class. I feel like Vandy's academic requirements are fair; they're rigorous but it could be worse. I think Vandy is very geared toward getting a job (at least in certain fields like managerial studies and engineering)


Professor student relations are friendly and personal. Many profs havew lunch with their students and make special time to meet with them out of class to get to kno wthem. Most are willing to do anything to help the students succeed, they arent out to get you. Everyones study habbits are different. some dont do shit and do great, and others study their asses off. either way- people get their shit done. Some classes are designed for the sake of knowledge, others are geared towards future application for jobs. Overall, most classes are fair and provides an amazing education


Professors know your name if you are in a small class. If it is a large lecture hall, you have to make an effort to talk to the professor either before or after class, email him or her your questions, or go to his or her office hours. Otherwise, you will not have a close relationship with your professor, say for instance when you are in a large economics class of 200 students. Sitting in the first few rows (and paying attention) and participating in class are also good ways to make yourself stand out.


professors are good.


Once I got past my freshman year, I've been taking more classes with less amounts of students and most of my professors have taken the effort to memorize my name. The classes always carry large workloads and require a lot of effort to succeed for the most part. I do feel that students here are competitive but I feel comfortable studying for exams in groups of friends and people are willing to help each other out with class notes. The academic requirements are strenuous but it's not anything that can't be handled and that you wouldn't find at any other University with similar academic standards. The education that you receive here prepares you more for a job after graduation or further learning in graduate school. You learn how to juggle heavy course loads and extracurricular activities and the time management skills will probably be the most useful after graduation. I am an Economics and French major and I'm happier with the French department than the Economics department but I think that's due to the size and the number of majors within the department.


I would say that the classes at Vanderbilt are what you make of them--especially lecture classes. Professors are always willing to work with you or find a TA to work with you for extra clarification but you have to GO to them--they will not approach you for obvious reasons (they can't go up to everyone in a 200 person class). I have always found Vanderbilt kids willing to help, never acting competitive in any way. The most unique and my FAVORITE class I have ever taken was the history of WWII with Michael Bess. This professor knows what he is talking about and loves to share his knowledge to his students in a personal, not cocky way. He adds interesting tidbits and even has a plane from WWII fly over the class. One thing I have not found academically, however, is the willingness of students to have intellectual conversations outside of class.


I have very mixed feelings about premed classes and the BME classes here. The premed classes are huge and not taught well. They have a lot of room to improve. All the premed classes should be capped and taught by profs that can actually teach and give a shit. The BME class sizes are small which is nice but the again most of the teachers don't care about teaching. They're only there for the research. Hopefully employers will appreciate that vandy is a harder school than others- we'll see!


Most of my professors do know my name and on the whole they have been very willing to offer help after class and love getting to know their students. My favorite class has probably been Kenner's interpersonal communication class because it is so applicable to real life. I am a Communication Studies major and a psych minor. I have had fairly limited contact with professors and advisors outside of class but if I wanted to have more I could and I would probably benefit from it.


I'm almost finished with my major, and the Communications department is small enough that I know all of the professors and they all know me. They're all cool in their own ways, and it's great to know them on a personal level. I took Interpersonal Communications with Carole Kenner my sophomore year, and at the end of the semester she always invites her students over to her house for desserts and coffee. It was honestly an incredible experience -- we summed up the semester and chatted. I still see her around campus, and it's amazing that she never forgets any of her students.


I have loved most of the professors I've encountered. There certainly have been a few duds, but they are the minority. I find that most professors learn my name quickly, I even have one 100 person lecture where the professor greets me by name.


Professors do know my name Students study a ridiculous amount Class participation is common in smaller classes


Students are very competitive in the pre-med track. The most enjoyable class I've taken is the Neurobiology of Behavior with Prof. Catania. I think that a lot that is learned in Peabody, such as how to write a resume, how to interview, how to get an internship, are extremely helpful in the real world. Some of these classes would be very helpful for A&S majors.


Most of my profs know my name and what I look like....and how often I attend class.


I have been inspired by most of my professors, especially the ones within my department (Communications). Most professors are truly eager to help you learn. The worst part about academics at Vanderbilt is the AXLE core course requirements that all Arts & Sciences students must fulfill. Some of the requirements are reasonable and make sense, but some of the requirements are hard to figure out and fit into your schedule.


I think that some professors know my name, but I am usually not in a class where they have to call on specific people so I do not really know. My smaller HOD classes they know me well. My favorite class is Microbiology - I am interested in the 3-2 masters program to become a nurse practioner. Although I loved HOD last semester, I have found HOD to be more fustrating second semester. It is a very interesting class involving group theory, but I am not really fond of the way it is set up. Students are studying all the time. When I first came to Vanderbilt, I loved that everyone was studious like me and was really dedicated/involved in many activities. Depending on the type or set-up of the class, participation will be more/less common. As someone who frequently contributed in high school, I find that more focus/attention is geared toward the lecture or presentation versus student discussions. I think the conversation topics definitely vary from groups and types of people. I sometimes carrying on intellectual conversations with others and when I do people are always very informative or like to speak their thoughts. Even though Vanderbilt is a very competitive and challenging environment, I find that students are much less competetive than they were in high school and really do try to help other people out. The most unique class I have taken is HOD:1000. It was one of my favorite classes and is a class I believe every student should take because its essential a class about life and how to be successful. I do not spend time with professors outside of class, but all of my professors are always willing to meet/work with me whenever I need help. I think that Vanderbilt does have a lot of academic requirements, but the core AXLE classes is definitely important to give every school a well-rounded background for any field of study they decide to pursue. I think the Vanderbilt education is definitely geared toward both. I think the option to double major definitely allows students to learn about something they love, but also focus on a major that they readily apply or use in the future for jobs, etc.


Professors tend to know my name, but it could be because there are a total of 5 girls in most of my classes. My favorite class is something non-engineering and my least favorite class is Math 155B. Students study depending on the classes they are taking. For the most part, they study a good amount. Class participation is not common in engineering--> its more like pulling teeth. Students may have intellectual conversations but most of us are sick of it by the end of the day we just get drunk or watch brainless tv. I try not to spend too much time with profs outside of class--> that isnt really an 'engineering thing' and would probably think I'm wierd or a total brown-noser. The vandy education is geared toward improving their rankings and research. definitely not toward getting a job


Academics are number one here. Everyone is inspired to do their best, which arises friendly, and sometimes not-so-friendly competition. Most classes encourage students to speak their minds; this is what fuels the intellectual atmosphere on campus, making class everything but a prison: a lot of people are excited to get out at 9:00 to go to class. Whether it's the famous Beethoven and the Beatles class, Biological Anthropology, or Introduction to Philosophy, there are professors and courses that change the way you think and learn forever. The English Department is solid. There are tons of classes to choose from each semester, dealing with themes like Starcrossed Lovers, Shakespearean Sexuality, the Bible in Literature, Jane Austen, Russian Murder, and even German Fairytales. Everyone talks in class: debates occur every day. Who ever knew that a classroom could be so heated when dealing with Lancelot and Guinevere! Professors are just plain cool; they were the Danny Zuccos in their day. There are frequent class reunions at Starbucks, or even one-on-ones with faculty over lunch. All majors are tough in their own way and require hours upon hours per week of intensive studying. But in the end you finish a class more prepared for the real world, for a career than before.


All of my professors know my name except for my chemistry professor (where my class has just under 200 people). Nonetheless, chemistry is my favorite class, while french is probably my least favorite. Everyone here is competitive and studies hard to make good grades, but having fun is just as important. I can't speak for everyone, but I don't typically take part in intellectual conversations outside of class. The academic requirements are stringent, but doable; I also like that its focused on a liberal arts education. I think some tracks, like premed, are geared toward getting a job more than others, but not all majors are like that.


Do professors know your name: Yes, but I take a lot of Peabody classes. Favorite class: my favorite class was my last semester Art History class. I really liked the teacher, she made learning about artwork actually enjoyable. I had seen some of the paintings we studied before and it was really interesting to learn more about things I have actually seen. Least favorite class: My special education class. I like the teacher but I just don't like the style of the class. It's a lecture class with him just talking on and on reading notes off of powerpoint. And it's supposed to help us become teachers?! How often do students study: I think it depends on the student and on their major. My friends in A&S study much more than I do, but I do feel like everyone at Vandy wants to do well and puts in the effort to do so. Is class partcipation common: I think it depends on the class, in my larger classes I would say no, but I am taking two seminars of around 10-15 people and partcipation is necessary. Do Vanderbilt students have intellectual conversations outside of class: I certaintly do not! Are student's competitive? Yes What's the most unique class you've taken: I don't think I have found it yet. My major: Elementary Education. I'm not sure if it is what I want to do. I know it's one of the things I want, not just THE thing. I wish I didn't have to declare it first semester of freshman year, that I could have time to explore other options. Do you spend time with professors outside of class: Only if I am visiting office hours. How do you feel about Vanderbilt's acamdeic requirements: I hate that for Elementary Education I have to take sciences!! Is the education at Vanderbilt geared toward getting a job: Well, for me it is, as an Elemn Ed major.


i have some big lectures where they don't, but they do in the smaller classes. people don't participate in class/go to office hours/interact with their professors in college as much as i thought they would. i still haven't decided on a major, so i'm taking a bunch of general classes now. i'm definitely looking forward to specializing in something that i really enjoy.


Most professors know my name except in large classes. My favorite class is PSY 1630 because the professor was so enthusiastic and kept the class engaged. Least favorite class is awful because of the professor. She continually gets dates confused and is very unclear about guidelines for particular assignments. Also, she does not know much about the class topic. Students are continually studying. I feel that studying is very important to students and breaks are taken every once in a while, but most of the time students are studying. Class participation is very common. Vanderbilt students have intellectual conversations outside of class. Students are not very competitive against other students, as much as trying to do the best that they can do on their own. I do not spend time with professors outside of class, except in office hours. Vanderbilt education is definitely geared toward getting a job.


I know all my professors' names and some know my name. Really, it just depends on class size. You can find people studying at any time of the day. Vanderbilt really is a work hard - play hard school. Once people finish their work they usually go out to socialize and relieve stress. Academics are definitely very time consuming, but it's about balance.


Professors with classes less than fifty people know all of the student's names. I am in standard engineering classes right now that are not the most interesting, but it is not difficult at all to get help. I really like my lab classes. Students study a lot, but when everyone around you is studying, it is easy to get motivated. You can hear intellectual conversations all over campus. There are organizations just for that! I am in biomedical engineering which is a new field, but Vanderbilt professors are on top of it. I have spent time with all of my professors outside of class and I recommend it. They love what they do, and they want you to love it too. The classes here are tough, but again everyone around you is doing the same thing, so the community is very strong.


Academics at Vanderbilt have been incredibly challenging thus far. I typically have had one large lecture class each semester and small seminars for the rest. Teachers really make an effort to learn everyones name and are always accessible for help outside of class. While the classes are all very difficult, teachers are incredibly understanding about how well-rounded the students are and all classes are manageable. The same students that you see pulling all-nighters in the library during the week will be the same ones you see partying all night during the weekend.