Incoming Student Guide
Welcome to Vanderbilt -- Spring 2024 Students
Please read this information very carefully and refer back here for future reference. NOTE that there are various deadlines that pertain to the information contained below. Some deadlines require your attention even before you arrive on campus or begin classes.
Congratulations on your acceptance to Vanderbilt University! To prepare for your transition to campus this fall, we offer several virtual events this fall to help! Registration is required for all events. Register here.
Welcome Session/Virtual Meet and Greet with Dean Christie-Mizell
- December 13, 9-10 a.m. (CDT)
Graduate and Postdoc Academic Success Team
- December 14, 9-10 a.m. (CDT)
Graduate Student Panel
- December 15, 9-10 a.m. (CDT)
Additional Orientation Events
- International Student & Scholar Services Orientation: Friday, January 5 to Sunday, January 7 - more information here.
- Teaching Assistant Orientation: If you are a teaching assistant starting in the spring, please contact the Center for Teaching for orientation information – firstname.lastname@example.org
View past orientation event recordings below:
Housing Information Session (LINK COMING)
- Financial Wellbeing Sessions
ASAP (recommended to avoid course registration holds)
- Student Health Immunization Form
- Submission of official transcripts & test scores (GRE and language proficiency, where applicable) submitted to the University Registrar for prior-degree review (payment ASAP recommended to allow time for processing and to avoid course registration holds). Students must have prior-degree clearance and immunization clearance before they can register for courses.
- Spring 2024 Open Enrollment course registration begins (closes January 22) – register for classes
- Payment deadline for Spring Semester charges – tuition and fees (payment ASAP recommended to allow time for processing and to avoid course registration holds)
- Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Waiver Due - vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/waiver
- Note: International students should verify with ISSS.
- First day of Fall Classes
- Deadline to complete Brightspace asynchronous orientation modules
Incoming Student Guide
Register here for the welcome session, graduate student panel, and UNPLUG!
Welcome Session/Virtual Meet and Greet with Dean Christie-Mizell
- December 13, TIME TBD (CDT)
Graduate and Postdoc Academic Success Team
- December 14, TIME TBD (CDT)
Graduate Student Panel
- December 15, TIME TBD (CDT)
- These pre-recorded workshops educate students on how to meet current and ongoing financial obligations, feel secure in their financial future, and can make choices that allow them to live life to the fullest. We encourage you to view these recordings at your earliest convenience.
- Below are separate workshops for the following groups:
International Graduate Students
- The International Student and Scholar Services Office is hosting a series of events to help you prepare for your arrival to the United States. Be sure to visit their website for a complete schedule and be sure to reach out to their office with any questions.
GRADUATE SCHOOL CONVOCATION: The Graduate School hosts a Convocation each fall. This event introduces students to leadership at the Graduate School, key campus support services, the Graduate Student Council, and other key offices.
View a recording of Fall 2023 Convocation in the Brightspace Online Orientation.
You are invited to join our ’23-24 Admitted Vanderbilt Graduate School Students' group. This group is designed to provide you with assistance as you navigate the transition to graduate school, Vanderbilt, and Nashville! Join our community to learn more about student life, and academic resources, and connect with fellow admitted students.
1. TRANSCRIPTS: Please note that your admission is contingent upon Vanderbilt’s Office of the University Registrar receiving an official and final transcript with all previously earned degree(s) posted. Students in the Graduate School who are not able to provide evidence of prior degrees by the first day of classes are subject to having their classes canceled and may be subject to dismissal from the university. We need one transcript for each institution listed in your application where a degree was earned. Please have your final official transcript mailed directly from the issuing institution to the Office of the University Registrar.
Office of the University Registrar
ATTN: Prior Degree Review
Nashville, TN 37240-7701
United States of America
2. GRE and TOEFL Scores: Vanderbilt must electronically receive your official GRE and TOEFL scores from the Educational Testing Service, or in lieu of TOEFL, official IELTS scores from International English Language Testing System. These items must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August 31 or ASAP.
GRE Scores: Regarding official GRE scores, please note that if your academic program does not require the GRE, you are exempt from this step and do not need to submit official GRE scores. For those programs that do require official GRE scores for admission, these items must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August 31. If you have any questions about whether an official GRE score is required for your program, please directly contact your program, or the Graduate School (email@example.com). Special Non-Degree students do NOT need to submit GRE scores.
Language Proficiency Test Scores: Regarding language proficiency test scores for applicants whose native language is not English, please note that some programs in the Graduate School will also accept Duolingo English Test examination results for the application cycle as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS examinations. Only Duolingo English Test scores with subscores will be accepted. If you took the Duolingo test prior to July 15, 2019, you will need to retake the test to comply with the subscores requirement.
Applicants should contact programs of interest directly to confirm whether they are accepting the Duolingo English Test. Language test scores must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August 31/ASAP. More information here.
TRANSFER CREDIT: If you intend to transfer graduate credit from a previously attended institution, your Vanderbilt department or program must submit a formal request to the Graduate School, as described in the Graduate School Catalog. Some departments do not process transfer credits until after the successful completion of at least one semester of coursework.
REGISTRATION: You should meet with your program’s Director of Graduate Studies prior to the first day of classes to select your courses and complete your registration. You may receive additional instructions from your department or program regarding academic advising procedures.
There are two steps required in order to register:
a. Register for courses (opens December 4), using Your Enrollment Services (YES), Vanderbilt’s Online enrollment system, as directed by your advisor.
b. Complete a Student Account Agreement Form and make arrangements to pay your student bill (see the "Student Accounts" tab for more information).
ID CARD: You should obtain a student identification card prior to the first day of classes. You will need to upload a photo of yourself for use on your student ID card (photo guidelines are on the website, below), and claim your digital card on your Android or Apple device. Most students use a digital card instead of a plastic ID card – you may also need a magstripe-only card for the transit system and for vending machines. For details on the ID card process and a list of frequently asked questions, please see the Card Services website. More information on card services for First Year students is available here at 615-322-2273.
FINANCES: You will receive an e-bill notification on the first of August for any charges posted by that time. Payment is due by December 31, 2023, for any charges that will not be covered by departmental grants or awards and/or financial aid. Payment for any charges owed by you may be made online or mailed to the Office of Student Accounts. Students with an outstanding balance will not be allowed to register nor attend classes or receive transcripts and/or diplomas until the account has been paid in full. Any balance not paid by the end of the calendar month in which the statement was issued will be assessed a late fee of one and one-half (1.5%) percent per month (minimum $5.00). Please note that parking permits, traffic fines, overdue books, etc. will also appear on this bill, so be sure to review it closely each month.
NOTE: All Vanderbilt University students will be required to acknowledge the terms and conditions of an online Student Account Agreement form when logging into the YES portal. Please note that the acceptance of these terms and conditions is mandatory, and will be required on an annual basis. Failure to agree to these terms will prevent access to the YES landing page. Once the terms have been accepted, a copy of the most recently accepted form will be available for viewing and printing with the YES portal. All students must acknowledge this form regardless of funding. If you have questions about adding a spouse, parent, or guardian, please e-mail the Office of Student Accounts or visit their website. Also, note that there is a separate stand-alone document for adding a guarantor(s) to an individual student account. You can download the Guarantor Authorization and Debt Repayment Agreement form. This paper document is required in order to disclose any financial information to anyone other than the student and existing guarantors.
Third-Party Billing: If a third party (i.e. outside agency, corporation, or State Prepaid Tuition Plan) will be paying all or part of your tuition and fees and they require an invoice, please go to the Student Accounts website and click on 3rd Party Billing/Sponsored Students. You will find all the third-party billing requirements there.
All Vanderbilt students who will be paid a stipend by or hold a job with the university must complete federal form I-9 on or before the first day of class, teaching, research, training, or work for a stipend of any other pay.
Here are steps to complete the I-9:
a. Please submit a request to receive your I-9, using the I-9 request web form.
b. You will receive an email with a link to complete Section 1 of federal form I-9 within 48 hours from our I-9 vendor, EMPForce (firstname.lastname@example.org). We ask that you check all inboxes (Inbox, Spam, Junk) for the email. Section 1 must be completed prior to your first day of class, teaching, research, training, or work.
c. Human Resources (HR) staff may be working remotely. In order to complete section 2 of the I-9 process, you will utilize a remote agent of your choosing. This person will verify your authorization document on behalf of Vanderbilt University. This should be someone that you trust and that can be physically present with you to complete section 2. After you have completed section 1, you will be asked to provide the name and email address of the person that you have chosen to complete section 2 with you. This can be a family member, friend, roommate, neighbor, etc., or someone from your home department here on campus. We ask that you choose someone that is comfortable with technology and can complete an online form. After completion of Section 1, you will receive detailed instructions from a Vanderbilt Administrator. Please visit https://hr.vanderbilt.edu/i9/index.php for a list of acceptable documents for completing Section 2. Only original documents can be accepted, copies of any kind cannot be accepted.
d. The I-9 must be completed on or before your first day of class, teaching, research, training, or work/pay. Dates will not be backdated if I-9 is not completed within this time frame.
Vanderbilt Human Resources is located at the Baker Building, 10th Floor, 110 21st Avenue South. You can contact them at email@example.com, and, for questions about the I-9 form at I9@vanderbilt.edu.
Onsite HR assistance is available in the Baker Building office every Monday-Thursday to complete Section 2 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. if students can’t find a remote verifier. Please see the availability to meet in person with a member of HR.
Parking: Free parking is available in the Baker Building garage between the 2nd and 3rd floors in spaces designated for visitor parking.
Documents Needed: Please click the following link to view a list of acceptable documents (Please bring either 1 document from List A OR 1 document from List B AND 1 document from List C) https://hr.vanderbilt.edu/i9/I9-List-of-Acceptable-Documents.pdf
MEDICAL COMPLIANCE INFORMATION: You are required to provide state-mandated vaccination records and complete a Tuberculosis Assessment Survey prior to course registration.
Visit the Student Health Website and follow the New Student Checklist. The TB Assessment Survey link and the “Graduate Student Immunization Requirements Form” are on this page. You may also submit existing vaccination – or - titer records (laboratory blood test) from an official source instead of the Graduate Student Form, if you are unable to visit a provider to have this form completed.
Please send your medical information by December 1 or as soon as possible.
As noted on the Student Health website, these documents should be submitted to the Student Health Center by uploading to the Student Health Portal at http://vanderbilt.studenthealthportal.com/. You will need your VUnet ID to log into the portal. You will receive a message from Student Health about compliance or the next steps within 7 business days of uploading your documents.
Be sure to regularly check the university’s Health and Safety Protocols website for the latest updates on COVID-19 policies and procedures.
HEALTH INSURANCE: All degree and non-degree-seeking students enrolled in 4+ credit hours, a 0-credit research/dissertation course, or any other course that is considered to equate to full-time enrollment are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Students must be covered by either (a) the Vanderbilt Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan or (b) a policy of the student’s choice that provides comparable coverage. Information about Vanderbilt’s 12-month student insurance policy is available at https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/.
Your student account will be automatically billed an insurance fee for the Vanderbilt policy (one-half of the premium will be billed along with your tuition and other fees at the beginning of each semester).
If you already have comparable health coverage for the 2023-2024 academic year, you must request a waiver from SHIP no later than January 4, 2024, by going to https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/waiver. Once you have successfully submitted your waiver request you should receive an automated email to your Vanderbilt account confirming receipt of your request. Please keep the confirmation email for your records. Should there be any problems with your waiver, you will need this confirmation email and your waiver request code. This automated email does not constitute the granting of a waiver; all waiver requests will be reviewed to ensure waiver requirements are met. An email will be sent from Academic Health Plans within approximately one week with your waiver request results. It is your responsibility to follow up on your waiver status and to ensure that all information is received by AHP by the January 4, 2024 waiver deadline. If you successfully waive coverage, the fee for SHIP will be removed from your student account.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you take a leave of absence within the first 31 days of class, you will be automatically terminated from SHIP (and no longer have SHIP coverage).* After 31 days, if you withdraw or leave the University for any reason after enrolling in SHIP, you will still be covered and you will still be responsible for payment of the premium for the full 12 months of coverage. If you do not complete the online waiver by January 4, 2024, you will be automatically enrolled for a 12-month policy and you will be responsible for the insurance premium, which you must pay in two equal installments (in August and December).
*If you are on an approved leave of absence within the first 31 days of coverage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your insurance options.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: If you need an F-1 or J-1 visa to study in the US, or if you are currently in F-1 or J-1 status, you will need an I-20 or DS-2019 from Vanderbilt. You should have received instructions on how to request an I-20 or DS-2019 from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). If you have questions about this process, please contact ISSS directly at email@example.com, or 615-322-2753.
If you are currently in F or J status at another institution in the US, remember that you will need an I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Vanderbilt before your program begins. If you have questions about this process, please contact ISSS for additional information about transferring your SEVIS record.
New International Student Check-In and Orientation: All new F-1 and J-1 international graduate and professional students will need to complete a SEVIS check-in with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) upon arrival to the US and/or campus. The check-in process is virtual and requires you to submit electronic copies of your documents on the ISSS Portal. Check-in is mandatory, and it must also be completed before you can start on-campus classes, teaching, research, training, or employment, apply for an SSN, or apply for a driver’s license.
Virtual orientation sessions for new international graduate students will be available during the summer. Dates and times of specific sessions are subject to change, so please check the ISSS website for updates and sign-up links. Please also check your Vanderbilt email throughout the summer for important messages and updates from ISSS.
All new international graduate students (including students who transferred their SEVIS record to Vanderbilt from another U.S. institution) are required to attend an in-person orientation on Thursday, August, 10th, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The orientation will cover essential information about obtaining F and J student status. Additionally, students will have the chance to learn more about different resources on- and off-campus.
If you are receiving a graduate research or teaching assistantship or a stipend from Vanderbilt you must complete a Glacier profile, to create an international tax record. Your home/hiring department will request a Glacier profile be set up for you by completing a Glacier Access/PHN form. You will receive an email with Glacier access instructions from firstname.lastname@example.org and be required to provide the International Tax Office your Glacier record documents and immigration document copies prior to receiving payment. In addition, Graduate Researchers and Teaching Assistants are required to apply for a Social Security Number upon employment or receiving a stipend if they don’t already have one. Please contact the Vanderbilt International Tax Office (ITO) with any questions you have regarding the Glacier software at email@example.com.
International Students who obtain on-campus jobs or who will also be compensated or receive a stipend for their role as a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistant should speak with their home/hiring department about the forms that must be completed.
DISABILITY SERVICES: If you are a student with a disability and anticipate the need for an accommodation, please contact Student Access, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Sarratt 216, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Students with disabilities should contact Student Access as early as possible to begin the accommodation facilitation process. All accommodation requests are reviewed on an individual, case-by-case basis considering the student’s limitations and the barriers within the educational environment. You can find more information on the Student Access website.
E-MAIL: E-mail service is provided to all enrolled students at Vanderbilt. When your acceptance of the admission offer has been processed, you will receive an email from the University Registrar’s Office with instructions for activating your VUnetID. Activating the VUnetID sets up the username and password required to access a number of network services. These include email and YES (online course registration). Please add NoReply@vanderbilt.edu to your email address book or SafeSender’s list to ensure that you receive the notifications. Also, check your spam or junk folder for missing emails from Vanderbilt University. If you experience a problem establishing your VUnetID using the email instructions from the University Registrar’s Office, please contact email@example.com.
Note: If you are a prior student or Vanderbilt University employee or have already activated a VUnetID, you will use that VUnetID.
If you have questions, concerns or problems after establishing your VUnet services, including your email, please contact Information Technology Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOUSING: On-campus housing for Vanderbilt graduate and professional students is unavailable and incoming graduate students cannot be accommodated in on-campus housing facilities.
The Broadview at Vanderbilt residential community is the university’s public-private partnership (P3) with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions and Axium Infrastructure. This housing is located near campus and focuses on graduate and professional students to foster opportunities to create community and build interdisciplinary connections. For more information on The Broadview, visit https://www.thebroadviewatvanderbilt.com/.
For other private, off-campus apartments or rooms, please refer to Vanderbilt’s Off-Campus Referral Service at https://offcampushousing.vanderbilt.edu/. This website includes listings from landlords looking for tenants, as well as from students looking for roommates. Other ways to locate housing include searching advertisements in local newspapers (such as http://tennessean.com/), or in apartment guides (for example, http://www.move.com/apartments/main.aspx).
PARKING (and sustainable commuting options): There are many sustainable transportation options in Nashville to help students get to and around campus. Please visit MoveVU to learn more about VandyRide, bicycling, walking, carpooling, riding the bus, and other options. University staff are available to assist with planning your daily commute by emailing MoveVU@vanderbilt.edu.
All Graduate School students can ride for FREE on WeGo Public Transit buses and commuter rail. To utilize this service, a physical Commodore Card is required for boarding the bus. You can travel anywhere the WeGo system takes you, and not just for trips to and from campus. Door-to-door paratransit service is also available on WeGo Access throughout Davidson County for eligible riders with short-term, long-term, and permanent disabilities.
Parking permits are required for motor vehicles parked on campus at any time. There are different options that may meet your parking needs:
- Daily Parking Permit: Daily parking allows access to a limited number of garages on campus with a daily fee. Graduate and professional students load funds onto their Commodore Cash account to pay for parking charges. Students interested in daily parking must complete the Parking Application in the MoveVU Commute Hub on Wednesdays by noon in order to gain access to the daily parking garages by the end of the week. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, you do not need to reapply once enrolled. Daily parking participants are eligible to earn commute incentives by using sustainable commuting options (e.g., walking, biking, riding public transit, carpooling); vehicle ownership is not required to participate.
- Annual Permit: Please request your virtual permit online. If you would like to set up monthly recurring charges, please go to the VUPS Parking Services office located at 111 28th Avenue South, Nashville. The annual permit is valid from the date of issue to August 31, 2023. Proper identification (student ID card or other photo ID), vehicle registration, valid phone number, and your campus address are required.
- Additional Parking Options: Additional parking options can be found online and includes information about hourly parking with the ParkMobile app, electric vehicle charging stations, and the Chestnut lot.
TEACHING ASSISTANT ORIENTATION: All new graduate student TAs are invited to the Teaching Assistant (TA) Orientation held annually by the Center for Teaching (CFT). The event offers preparation in effective teaching strategies for the varied teaching duties assumed by TAs, as well as information on campus resources relevant to TA positions. Workshops and practice teaching sessions at the event are led by experienced TAs, trained and mentored by CFT senior staff.
If you are a new TA starting in the spring, please contact the Center for Teaching at email@example.com for more information.