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How to Apply

To request general information about the graduate program, please

The application cycle opens on August 1. January 1 is the application deadline for entry in the fall.  Our application fee is $95, and the application process is entirely online and begins here:

Vanderbilt University Graduate School Applications and Information

The basic requirements for admission include:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited, four-year institution (or a course of study that is the equivalent of such a degree)
  • A minimum of a B average in undergraduate work and a minimum of a B average in the field of expected graduate study
  • GRE verbal and quantitative scores (the subject test is not required). Information about the GRE can be obtained from: Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing Service, Box 6000, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6000, USA or at
  • Applicants whose first language is not English and who have not received a degree at an English-speaking university must include a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score with the application. The Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL score of 570 (paper-based; 230 computer-based; or 88 Internet-based). Information about TOEFL can be obtained from TOEFL, Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151,  USA or at For IELTS, the minimum acceptable score will vary by program. In many cases, a score of at least 7.0 is desirable. Please contact to confirm. You may access information regarding the IELTS exam, including registration and sample tests, at
  • Applicants must upload an unofficial copy of transcripts from prior undergraduate and graduate work as part of their online application for admission. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and accepted. The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for verifying the completion of external degrees and the required documents for verifying international degrees vary by country. Go HERE to see the documents required by country. 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:


    PMB 407833

    2301 Vanderbilt Place
    Nashville, TN 37240-7833

In addition to the required application materials (statement of purpose, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.), a sole-authored writing sample, published or unpublished, is highly recommended. Your writing sample should be an example of your best work. It should show your ability for further study in sociology, as well as your potential as a future sociological researcher. Writing samples that synthesize academic literature and connect theoretical arguments with empirical research are particularly appropriate, such as a B.A. or M.A. thesis, or a term paper from a class in sociology or a related field. You can upload your writing sample with your online application

If you send paper materials, please send them to: Graduate Applications – College of Arts and Science, ATTN: Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 411 Kirkland Hall, Nashville, TN, 37240, USA. Do not send transcripts to this address.

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action, and encourages individuals from diverse, under-represented populations to apply to its graduate programs. The university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic background, or disability.

Application Fee

The Graduate School application fee is $95.00.  After you submit your application online, you will see instructions to pay the fee with a credit or debit card via a secure payment portal.  If you submit applications to more than one program (maximum of two per year), only a single fee will be charged. You also may be eligible for an application fee waiver – please see below.

Application Fee Waiver


You must have your application started before requesting a fee waiver. Waivers of the application fee will be considered automatically as part of the application process for US citizens and US permanent residents1 if they meet at least one of the criteria below (please note that an explanation with documentation must be uploaded in the application form for graduate study). Final submission of the application for graduate study is required in order to confirm whether you are eligible for a waiver – there is no separate waiver request form.  Note: initial approvals of automatic waivers are subject to a 10-day review period before the waiver is considered final. If your fee waiver is approved, the application will be processed and no further action is needed.  If denied, you will be notified from the application system and the application fee must be paid unless you have received an application fee waiver code from your program (please contact to request code). All fee waiver requests must be received prior to the application deadline.

  • Demonstrated financial need in the past year. Please upload a document which verifies your financial need. Note:  Do not upload tax return documents or any other documents showing sensitive or confidential personal information such as your social security number
    • A letter or memo from the financial aid office of your current or previous school confirming that you received federal need-based financial aid or a FAFSA Student Aid Report.
    • An unemployment benefits statement dated within the previous six months.
    • A GRE fee reduction certificate from the Education Testing Service (ETS)
  • Participated in a designated Vanderbilt-sponsored program/activity in the past three years (see below*)
  • Participated in a designated fellowship, research, or training program in the past three years (see below**)
  • Current or former member of the United States Armed Forces. Please upload documentation showing current or former status.

In addition to fee waivers being granted based on these criteria, a small number of additional waivers will be granted at the discretion of the program and school based on recruitment priorities and extenuating circumstances. You may request an application fee waiver directly from the program only after you have submitted your application and confirmed that a fee is due.  Please contact either or for more information. Waiver requests must include documentation to support the reason for the request.   If the waiver is approved, you will see indication of this in the application system AFTER your application has been submitted.

A candidate’s eligibility for admission will not be impacted by an application for or receipt of a fee waiver.

1US permanent residents must be able to document this status upon request, such as a copy of a Green Card – Permanent Resident Card.

*Vanderbilt Sponsored Programs

Students that are members of the following VU sponsored programs are eligible for a fee waiver. If you are registered in our system as a participant in one of these programs, this will be reflected in your application record.  If you are uncertain about your participation in a particular event/program, please contact the coordinator of the event/program.

  • Vanderbilt NSF REU in Nanoscale Science and Engineering
  • Vanderbilt NSF REU in Physics
  • Vanderbilt NSF REU in Chemical Biology
  • Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program
  • Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy
  • Vanderbilt National Name Exchange (NNE) Diversity Fair
  • Vanderbilt-Hosted Recruitment Event (sanctioned by the Graduate School and hosted wither by an academic program office or school-level office)
  • VU-EDGE Pre-VU Ph.D. Recruitment Event

**Fellowship, Research, and Training Programs

Students that are members of the following Fellowship, Research, and Training Programs are eligible for a fee waiver.  Documentation demonstrating that you are/were a member of the program must accompany the waiver request.  You should upload the documentation in the space provided in the application for graduate study.  Contact your program director/coordinator to request a letter verifying your participation in the program and dates of your participation.

National Level:

  • AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or the Peace Corps
  • California Polytechnic State University, Pomona Undergraduate Research Program
  • Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences (DNIMAS)
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMSP)
  • Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD)
  • Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP)
  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
  • Mellon Mays Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF)
  • NIH Postbaccalaureate Research Training Program (PREP)
  • NIH Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program (RISE)
  • NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)
  • NIH-Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative
  • Ronald McNair Scholars Program
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (national conference attendees only)
  • National Consortium for Graduate Degrees in Minorities in Engineering and Sciences (GEM) – upload proof of GEM Fellowship application
  • Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)

Regional Level:

  • University of Baltimore Maryland County Meyerhoff Scholars Program
  • University of Central Florida Academic Advancement Programs