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Incoming Student Guide

Welcome to Vanderbilt! Below are topics that will ease your transition to graduate school.

Important Events and Deadlines

Orientation Events:

  • August 16–20: International Student Orientation – contact ISSS for information
  • August 16-18: Teaching Assistant Orientation – Register
  • August 23: Graduate School Orientation 10:00 am - 1 pm  – (mandatory)
  • August 25: First Day of Classes

Important Deadlines:

New Graduate Student Information

  1. Transcripts, GRE, and TOEFL Records. 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.  Also, Vanderbilt must electronically receive your official GRE and TOEFL scores from Educational Testing Service, or in lieu of TOEFL, official IELTS scores from International English Language Testing System (NOTE: if your academic program does not require the GRE, you are exempt from this step and do not need to submit GRE scores).  These items must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August  31. How to submit your Transcript, GRE, and TOEFL records.

  2. Graduate School Orientation 2021. Mandatory Graduate School Orientation will be held Monday, August 23, 10:00 am to 1 pm in the Student Life Center and Alumni Hall.

  3. Registration. Consult with your advisor and department and then register through YES (Your Enrollment Services - Vanderbilt's Online enrollment system).

  4. Vanderbilt ID Card. You can obtain a Vanderbilt ID from the Card Services Office. The process begins online and new card pickup is by appointment only.

  5. Finances. Notification of charges posted by August 1st will be sent electronically. Payment is due August 31st for any charges not covered by departmental grants, awards, and/or financial aid. Payments can be made online through the Office of Student Accounts. Throughout your stay at Vanderbilt charges for parking permits, traffic fines, overdue books, etc. will be posted to this account. Please check it regularly to avoid late fees.
    Note: Regardless of funding, all students must complete and submit a Student Account Agreement Form found in the YES portal.

  6. Health Insurance. All Graduate School students who are registered for four or more credit hours, or who are actively enrolled in research courses that are designated as full-time enrollment, are required to be covered by health insurance. Students must be covered by either (a) the Vanderbilt Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) 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 Coverage is from August 12, 2021 through August 11, 2022.

    Students who meet the eligibility requirements are automatically enrolled in and billed for SHIP.

    If you already have comparable health coverage for the 2021-2022 academic year, you must request a waiver from SHIP no later than August 1, 2021 by going to

  7. International Students. If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States you should have received an International Student Financial Statement from International Student and Scholar Services. The University cannot issue a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) to be used to apply for a visa to enter the United States until the International Student Financial Statement has been satisfactorily completed and returned to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

    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. Please schedule an individual check-in session online via the ISSS booking page once you know your arrival dates. ( The individual sessions will be virtual via zoom. Please have an electronic copy of your signed I-20 or DS-2019, passport, I-94 admission record ( ready in advance of your check in session.

    Virtual orientation sessions for new international graduate and professional students will be available during the summer as well as during the week of August 16-20. Dates and times of specific sessions are subject to change so please check for updates and sign-up links. For questions regarding orientation, contact ISSS at or (615) 322-2753.

    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 employer will request access on your behalf to Vanderbilt’s international tax system by completing the online form which is available in the Glacier database. For students, the answer is ‘NO’ to the “Are you requesting a PHN (placeholder number)?” question. The PHN & Glacier access request form is available at here.

    You will receive an email with Glacier access instructions from Please contact the Vanderbilt International Tax Office (ITO) with any questions you have regarding the Glacier software,

    International Students who obtain on-campus employment or who will also work as a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistant should speak with their hiring department about the employment forms that must be completed.

  8. Form I-9. All Vanderbilt students who will be employed by the university must complete federal form I-9 on or before the first day of work for pay. Steps to complete the I-9: Submit a request to receive the I9, fill out Section 1 which you will receive by email from prior to your first day, on or before your first day go to the HR office with the proper documents to finish the I-9.  Please direct any questions about the I-9 form to

  9. Medical 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 at 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.

    Although May 15 was the response date listed on the form, please send your medical information as soon as possible.  

    As noted on the Student Health website, these documents should be submitted to the Student Health Center by upload to the Student Health Portal at .  You will need your VUnet ID to log into the portal.  You will receive a message from Student Health of compliance or next steps within 7 business days of uploading your documents.

    Also, be sure to regularly check the university’s Return to Campus website for the latest updates on COVID-19 policies and procedures at, and   

  10. Disability Services. If you have a disability and need an accommodation, please contact the Student Access Services Center, 110 21st Avenue South, at (615) 343-9727.

  11. Email. Email Services are provided to all students at Vanderbilt. You will receive an email from with instructions for activating your VUnet ID and email. See the Vanderbilt IT website for support.

  12. Housing. On-campus housing for Vanderbilt graduate and professional students is presently unavailable and incoming graduate students cannot be accommodated in on-campus housing facilities. If you are interested in locating private, off-campus apartments or rooms, please refer to Vanderbilt’s Off-campus Referral Service. This website includes listings from landlords looking for tenants, as well as from students looking for roommates.

  13. Parking. Parking permits are required for motor vehicles parked on campus at any time. Also, there are many sustainable transportation options in Nashville to help students get to campus and around campus. Please visit to learn more about VandyRide, bicycling, walking, carpooling, riding the bus, and other options. University staff can also assist with planning your daily commute by emailing

  14. 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  (see pages 36 and 37). Some departments do not process transfer credits until after the successful completion of at least one semester of coursework.

  15. Teaching Assistant Orientation. To assist new Teaching Assistants (TA) as they prepare for their duties, the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching is offering its annual Teaching Assistant Orientation on Monday through Wednesday, August 16-18, 2021. Please register for this event no later than Monday, August 9, 2021. For more information and to register for the orientation, please see the CFT website.

    Incoming international graduate students who are not native speakers of English or who have not completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution where English is the principal language of instruction should plan to undergo a language evaluation, particularly if they will be a teaching assistant during the 2021-22 academic year. Please see the following website for more information.

  16. Academic Calendars. See the University Academic Calendar and the Graduate School Academic Calendar

  17. FAFSA Application. If necessary see the FAFSA Application here.

  18. Getting Around. Maps of: Nashville; Vanderbilt campus; hotels; restaurants; shopping . All Vanderbilt students have access to the Nashville WeGo buses for free with thier VUID.

  19. Student Services. Exhaustive list of resources of all students, Student Services


FirstGen Success Program

Were you the first generation in your family to attend college? If so, we invite you to participate in a new program during your first year here.  We recognize that graduate school may present additional and unique adjustments for first generation students.  Beginning this fall, the Graduate School is initiating a program called FirstGen Success, which will create small discussion groups with faculty mentors (who were also first generation in their families to attend college), and offer opportunities for community-building and professional development.

Several times a semester, we’ll bring the participants together for small group discussions, social gatherings, special speakers, or larger group events with the full cohort.  You’ll receive a copy of the book 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School: Perverse Professional Lessons for Graduate Students, which will serve as a springboard for discussion.

If you are interested in being part of this program, please complete this form.


Student Accountability

The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity requires all incoming graduate and professional students to complete educational modules.  Students should receive an email from the Office of the Dean of Students, prompting them to complete these online modules:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention for Graduate students
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Students
  • Protecting Youth
  • Campus Safety for Students (optional)

More information on these online education programs, including how to access the modules in YES, can be found on the Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity's website.


Responsible Conduct of Research

As a premier academic and research institution, Vanderbilt University has an obligation to model, teach and actively promote the responsible conduct of research in scholarship and science. Research integrity is fundamental to good research and crosses all disciplines and areas of focus.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require that all those engaged in either NIH- or NSF-funded research must also be educated in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Vanderbilt has developed programs to meet these requirements and to ensure that its students, faculty and staff, as appropriate, understand the issues surrounding the RCR, and their obligations as individuals and members of the larger research community.

All new graduate students are required to take the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course for their discipline during their first semester of study. Some are also required to participate in additional discussion-based RCR education, prior to completing their degrees. Each department has defined that discussion-based program for its students, based on the specific disciplines. To find out more about your department’s requirements, please check with your department chairman or director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Learn how to enroll and register for the course on the RCR website.


Intellectual Property

Ownership of Technology or Intellectual Property is governed by the Vanderbilt Policy on Technology and Literary Artistic Works (PTLA).  As defined in this policy, technology includes new ideas like inventions, computer software programs and select other authored works. To learn more about the ownership of student-developed intellectual property rights, review the FAQ for Intellectual Property Issues Related to Student Activities or contact the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization with questions.  A complete list of policies is available on the CTTC website.


Questions?  Contact Information

For general questions, please contact the Graduate School.

To contact your academic program office, please click here.