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Application Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Vanderbilt institutional code to which GRE and TOEFL scores should be sent is 1871. Department/Major codes can be found at:
  • Self-reported versus verified test scores: If official test scores have already been received, they will be listed on the test score section of the application with a “verified” next to them. GRE and TOEFL scores received in the past two years have been loaded to the application system.
  • The TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived for those international applicants who have a degree from an English-speaking institution. Please contact your program of interest to confirm.
  • Each program sets its own test score requirements. Inquiries about test score requirements should be directed to the program or school admission office.  The minimal acceptable scores for the Vanderbilt Graduate School are
    • TOEFL PBT = 570
    • TOEFL iBT = 88
    • IELTS = 6.5
  • Contact your program of interest for specific test score requirements, which may require a higher level of proficiency than these minimal acceptable scores.

How do I upload my unofficial transcripts and other materials I want to submit, such as new or updated CVs, resumes, transcripts, or other documents like authored papers?

You will be prompted to upload unofficial transcripts on the Academics page of the application. Other materials you wish to provide can be uploaded from your Applicant Status page once you have submitted your application. The Upload Materials option is not available until you submit your application.

Please be sure that any document you upload contains your full name and, in the case of transcripts, the name of the institution. This will insure that your documents get appropriately indexed to your application and checklist.

What is the difference between an unofficial and official transcript?

To be considered official, a transcript must be sent directly from your institution to Vanderbilt. All other transcripts are considered unofficial. If your previous institution provides you a student copy or electronic copy of your transcript, it is perfectly acceptable to upload it as your unofficial transcript.  Most programs do not require official transcripts unless an offer of admission is made and accepted by you. Your checklist on the Application Status page will indicate if you need to submit an official transcript:

Where do I mail my official transcripts?

Transcripts can be sent either via the postal service or via secure electronic delivery. In order to be considered official, transcripts and other documents must come directly from the institution attended. Some institutions provide secure electronic delivery of transcripts. These submissions may be made to

Transcripts sent via the postal service should be addressed as follows:

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

Please do not mail transcripts to the department office, Graduate School or Office of the University Registrar.

Can I apply to more than one program for a term?

You may apply to two programs per term. To start a second application, go to the Application Management or Home page and click on the Start New Application link.

I started/submitted an application last year but did not enroll. If I want to apply again this year, do I have to start over?

Yes, you will need to submit a new application, but much of the data on the application will be pre-populated for you. You will have a chance to update any information that is out-of-date. It will not be necessary to submit official test scores again if they were submitted with your previous application. It will be necessary to submit new recommendations. Only transcripts that are new or have changed since the last application will need to be uploaded.

I am having difficulty completing the Academics section of the application.

  • If your institution does not provide a grade point average (GPA), please put 0.0 in the GPA field and 0.0 in the “on a scale of” field. We will understand this entry to mean you do not have a GPA to report.
  • You must enter an earned or expected degree for at least one of the institutions you list.
  • If you do not have a major to report, put N/A in that field.
  • Rank in class is not required. If you do not have a rank to report, you may leave that field blank or enter N/A.

You should list all post-secondary institutions where you have attended. Institutions where you studied abroad are exceptions to this rule if the study abroad work is reflected, in its entirety, on the transcript of your primary institution.

How should I approach the Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose is an essay about why you are applying to the program you have selected. Your statement should include information on your motivation to pursue a degree in the program, what you have done to prepare yourself for the pursuit of this degree, and what you hope to accomplish during and after your training.

Some programs have more specific requirements for the statement of purpose. These requirements will be listed on the Statement of Purpose page of the application.

There is not a minimum or a maximum number of words required for the Statement of Purpose. In general the statement should be somewhere between 1-5 pages and only contain information pertinent to the application you are submitting.

Some programs may have additional information about the Statement of Purpose on their websites.

Can recommendations be mailed rather than submitted online?

The preferred method for receiving recommendations is through the online process. The recommender’s URL contains a short recommendation form that is only available online. After filling out this short form, the recommender can upload a recommendation letter. If your recommender has some impediment to using the online process, and you feel strongly about using this recommender, a recommendation letter may be mailed or emailed to the locations below, but your recommender will not be able to submit the recommendation form.

Paper recommendation letters must contain your full name and the name of the program to which you are applying. They should be emailed or mailed to the addresses below.


Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

How do I pay my application fee?

Many graduate and professional programs do not require an application fee. If your program does require an application fee, you will be prompted for fee payment once you have submitted your application.

How can I change information that I submitted on my application?

You can update some items from your Application Status page even after you have submitted your application.

  • Update your address: On the Application Status page, click on Edit Address.
  • Change your e-mail address: On the Application Status page, scroll down to Account Tools at the bottom of the page and click on Change Email Address. Once you enter your new e-mail address, a new account activation link will be e-mailed to that address. It will be necessary to complete all steps requested to link your new email address to your account.
  • Send reminder e-mails to your recommenders: On the Application Status page, scroll down to the end of the application checklist section and click on recommendations page link.
  • Test Scores: After submitting your application, only official test scores can be added. To add additional test scores, please have the testing agency send your test scores directly to Vanderbilt (1871).
  • To update any other information on your submitted application, please contact your program.

How do I check on the status of my application?

Once your application has been submitted, your login will take you to your Application Status page. This page contains important information on the status of your application. Use the Application Checklist to verify which application requirements have been met and which are still outstanding.

I cannot complete my account setup

If you did not receive the email containing the URL and temporary pin, please be sure you are using the same email that you used to initiate the account. Also check your spam and quarantined mail folders for the email. If neither of these resolve the problem, submit your issue to and a staff member will assist you.

When completing the last step of your account setup, please be sure to use the same email address and birthdate to log in as you used when you initiated the account.

I have forgotten my password.

To reset a password:

  • Go to the login page and click on “Log in”.
  • Once the login page opens, click on the Forgotten Password option.
  • Follow the instructions to reset your password.

My email address has changed. How do I update my email address?

To update your email address:

  • If you have not yet submitted your application, log in with your old email and open your application. Navigate to the Personal page of the application and scroll to your email address. Click on Change to update your email address.
  • If you have already submitted your application, on your Application Status page, scroll down to Account Tools and select Change Email Address. If you have submitted more than one application, you must first select one of your applications from the Manage Application page.
  • After updating your email address, an activation link will be sent to your new email address. Follow the instructions in this email to connect your application login to your new email address.

The program I am interested in is not listed or does not have the term option that I want.

  • If a program is not listed on the program dropdown, that program is not currently accepting applications. Please check the program’s website for further information.
  • If the term you wish to apply for is not available for a program, either the program is no longer accepting applications for that term or the program does not admit students to that term. You can find details about your program’s entry terms and application deadlines on the program’s website.

My recommender is not receiving the system generated email.

  • Please have your recommender check his or her spam email folder for the email. The subject line of the email will be “Recommendation Request from <your name> for Vanderbilt University.
  • Have your recommender add to his or her safe sender list.
  • You may resend the email from the recommender page of your application if the application has not been submitted or from your Applicant Status page if your application has been submitted (look for the link at the bottom of the page).
  • Report continued problems to and a staff member will assist you.