Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

  Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)  

About Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) has prepared world-renowned physicians, scientists, and scholars in the area of medicine since 1873. In this article, we will provide you an insight about the medical study (MD program) at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.


In the area of Research, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is ranked No. 17. If we look at the primary care, then the school secures the 32nd position in the nation.

Degree Programs

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine aims to provide such degree programs that give students the education as well as the skills which are utilized in a professional, patient-centered, and effective health care. The degree programs offered by the school of medicine are:

  • MD
  • Dual Degree Programs
  • MD Dual Degree Programs and Other dual degree programs
  • Other VUSM Single Degree Programs
  • Ph.D.


The faculty at the School of Medicine is world-class. Almost all the faculty members are the leaders in their field. The School of Medicine has 3,831 full and part-time faculty on staff.

    Faculty-Student Ratio

    The faculty-student ratio at Vanderbilt University is 7.6:1.

Admission Criteria at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

    Coursework Requirements

    VUSM focuses on “course recommendations” rather than the “requirements” as each individual has a very different undergraduate experience. The School, however, considers competencies in the natural and life sciences, social sciences, and mathematics as essential. The use of AP or other credit is acceptable, but not encouraged. A student will be seen as the master in these competencies by demonstrating strong performance in their undergraduate CGPA and on the MCAT, as well as in the letters of evaluation. The competencies are:

  • Biology: Applicants should exhibit mastery in the understanding of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, and their link to the regulation of organ and organismic structure and function.
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry: An understanding of the basic principles of chemistry and its relation to the living systems.
  • Mathematics/Statistics and Physics: The candidates must demonstrate competence in the fundamental principles of physics and mathematics underlying living organisms. Moreover, a demonstrated basic competence in statistics or biostatistics is crucial.
  • Social Sciences and Communication: It is imperative that an applicant exhibits proficiency in the understanding the social structure. Therefore, competency in psychology and sociology are preferred along with the applicant’s ability to speak, write, and read English fluently.


    The official transcript from the college from where an applicant has earned a bachelor’s degree is also required by the School of Medicine. The official transcript, as well as the letters of recommendations, must be sent from the source rather than the applicant.

    Letters of Evaluation

    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine requires a minimum of three letters of evaluation. The letters must be submitted through the AMCAS Letter Service. The letters can either be from past employers or faculty members of the institutes a candidate has studied in. The recommender must be able to evaluate an Individual’s abilities objectively and critically. There are no rules against sending more than three letters, but more than five letters are not recommended. However, if a school attaches their recondition letters to the committee or pre-med advisor’s letter, the schools take it as one letter. Moreover, VUSM accepts letter packets and committee letters.

    Accredited Institution

    The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine demands that any Institution that an applicant has attended must be fully recognized and accredited.


    The Medical College Admission Test is the most crucial and fundamental requirement for the admission in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The school has not set any minimum score for the MCAT, but higher scores in the MCAT means more chances for the admission. The MCAT scores must be submitted to AMCAS before the deadline. Once the MCAT scores are submitted, no changes can be made. Moreover, a student must take the MCAT before the year in which he/she wishes to enroll. The MCAT scores for a period of the past three years are acceptable.


    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine accepts the admission applications through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). All the guidelines related to the applications are also available on the AMCAS.

    Admissions Timeline

    The applicants should regularly check the admissions timeline to stay updated with the admission related dates.

    Review Process of the Applications

    The Admissions Committee reviews the applications in two stages. First, a diverse group of screeners evaluates the material submitted to the AMCAS. The review of each application is holistic as each one of them receives multiple independent evaluations.

    Generally, the factors that are considered while evaluating are:

        Academic achievements


        Personal Attributes

        Leadership Abilities

        Educational experience

    Secondary Application

    After an initial review, the best applicants will be offered an opportunity to submit a secondary application for VUSM. The secondary application is Vanderbilt-specific, and only those candidates who submit the secondary application will be considered for a personal interview at the campus. Generally, almost 50% of the applicants are offered the secondary application.The fee for the secondary application is $85. A student can get a fee-waiver if he/she has a FAP (Fee Assistance Program) voucher through the AMCAS in the primary application.

    The Interview

    After the submission of secondary applications, the applicant is invited to an interview. The invited candidates can access the link on the Admissions Portal for the scheduling of the interview. The Interviews only take place at the Vanderbilt.All the candidates will have two separate interviews, one long and a short one. Both the interviews will take place with a different panel of the faculty members. Interview day is also a great way to have a tour of the medical school learn about the curriculum, research opportunities, diversity, and student life at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

    Selection Criteria

    The Admissions Committee tries their level best to choose applicants who have achieved academic excellence as well as possess skills in leadership, and have a variety of extracurricular experience. Moreover, having a humanitarian outlook and research experience are also positive factors for selection. Furthermore, an applicant’s statement of purpose, recommendation letters, activities, and interviews also impact the Committee’s decision.

    Application Updates

    The School of Medicine encourages applicants to send in updates to their application. The Admission Committee adds them to their application file for evaluation and consideration.


    The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has a rolling admissions policy. Therefore, the offers of acceptance are sent in two batches. When a candidate receives an offer, they must reply to the offer of acceptance through an online process. The reply must be sent within two weeks of invitation.

Important for International Students


    For an International applicant, it is advised that they take additional science courses at an English-speaking university if they have studied at an international university where the medium of instruction was not English.


    If an accepted candidate needs a student visa either F-1 or J-1, then they must document that they have sufficient financial resources to pay for (at a minimum) one year’s expenses each year and present to the School of Medicine.

    Financial Aid

    If an International Applicant needs financial assistance, then they can try for need-based institutional funding. To be eligible for Federal loans, an applicant needs a permanent resident visa or an immigrant visa (if they are not a U.S. citizen).

Transfer applicants at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has recently changed its core curriculum. That is why it does not accept any transfer applications.

Tuition Fee

Its tuition is full-time: $53,213.

Financial Aid for M.D. Students

    Merit-Based Scholarship

    For the merit-based scholarships, there is no application process. For newly admitted students, the Admissions Office will automatically consider all the applicants for merit scholarships. If a student is granted a merit scholarship, they will receive the equal amount for four years of their study toward the M.D. degree at Vanderbilt.

    Need-Based Institutional scholarships

    To be considered for the need-based institutional scholarships as well as the federal aid, two applications are required. The two applications are the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE.  For the entering batch of students, there is no deadline to apply for the financial aid.To be considered for a need-based institutional scholarship, a candidate must complete their CSS PROFILE here. The code 0670 should be used. The Scholarship program demands the candidate’s parental financial data.

    Student Loans

    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is also an active member of the Federal Direct Student Loan Program which provides low-fixed rate loans to the students. The Federal Direct Student Loan Program requires a Federal Student Aid ID on sign-up. The Vanderbilt’s school code is 003535 for all programs. To be considered for the program, a candidate must:

        Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen

        Have a valid Social Security number

        Not be in default on any Federal educational loan

        Maintain reasonable academic progress

The Curriculum at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

With time the field of Medicine is continually evolving, and so the way Medicine is taught should also catch up and evolve. Therefore, the Vanderbilt School of Medicine believes in an Innovative curriculum. The School of Medicine no longer sticks to the traditional curriculum and instead teaches ‘Vanderbilt’s Curriculum 2.0’ to impart students with the knowledge of medicine. The newly designed curriculum incorporates significant clinical and research experiences right from scratch. The curriculum is based on a very integrated approach and therefore, it allows students to undertake leadership roles in shaping the future of medical science, and to become lifetime learners.

Visiting Students for Electives

VUSM accepts applications for away rotations. The application processing usually takes place in May of each year. The School processes applications through VSAS (Visiting Student Application Service).

Campus Visit

VUSM encourages visitors. However, if someone wants to visit the campus, then they must drop an email at to schedule a visit. Tours and meetings are scheduled Tuesday to Thursday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. CT.

Departments at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

The departments at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine are:

    Hearing and Speech Sciences


    Biomedical Informatics


    Orthopedic Surgery & Rehabilitation


    Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology

    Health Policy

    Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

    Emergency Medicine



    Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Urologic Surgery



    Section of Surgical Sciences

    Radiation Oncology

Student Life at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

    The Office of Diversity Affairs

    VUSM is striving for excellence. It understands that the diversity of backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives is crucial to its success. Vanderbilt celebrates a rich diversity of thought and identity, and students represent a spectrum of racial, cultural, ethnic, religious, spiritual, gender, sexuality, and geographic backgrounds.VUSM is proud of the quality of its students and faculty.  The Office of diversity affairs works to provide a compassionate and optimistic environment for its students where they are treated equally and respectfully in their pursuit of excellence.  It’s no surprise that VUSM students have one of the highest satisfaction rates in the nation. The Office of diversity affairs is committed to providing all the community members of VUSM a safe and friendly environment. It has numerous programs to support all the students as they contribute towards the diversity of the student body at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

    Programs of the Office of Diversity Affairs

        Alliance for Cultural Diversity in Research

        Bridges Program

        Diversity & Inclusive Training

        Diversity in House Staff Programs (GME)

        Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity

        Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)

        The Leadership Alliance

        LGBT MD

        Minority Housestaff for Academic and Medical Achievement (MHAMA)

        Program for LGBTQ Health

        The Shade Tree Family Clinic

        Student National Medical Association

        Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship Program (UCRIP)


    The life at VUSM is happening. The School conducts many events that range from educational seminars to other extra-curricular kinds. In this way, Students are given a chance to refresh outside of the classroom and learn more about the matters that happen around them. The events calendar for the convenience of students can be found here.

    VUSM Student Ambassadors

    The VUSM Student Ambassador Program consists of a very diverse group of students who come from different backgrounds. These students are chosen as volunteers who can share their unique and insightful medical school experience with the admitted students.

    Student Resources

    The VUSM understands the importance of having clear concepts and a full understanding of the curriculum. Therefore it provides students with many resources that can help them in four years of their medical study.

    Research at VUSM

    VUSM gives many research opportunities to its students as Research is one of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s primary missions. The University offers robust basic science research that combines with the clinical research and this allows a more timely and effective translation of scientific breakthroughs into better health care outcomes for patients. Vanderbilt Provides an environment that supports the focused research, provides funding, and students can access the top-notch technology to bring more discoveries to the field of health care.  All these efforts have set the standard for excellence and innovation in Vanderbilt. The students and faculty of the University are performing large-scale research and producing results that gain national attention. This is also why the University is one of the highest NIH-funded programs.

    The Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center

    The Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center aim to support the education, research, and patient care learning of the students of VUSM.

    The lower level and first floor of the Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center seats a total of 236 people. Other than that, ten study rooms and a new training/meeting room with flexible configurations are also present.The library also serves as a technology hub. It provides students with the access of a wireless network available throughout the building and has 14 desktop computers, six laptops, two multi-function printers, and a 3-D printer. The library contains an extensive collection of biomedical and health sciences resources. It almost has 15,000 print volumes and more than 20,000 e-databases, journals, and books.There are many Reference and Instruction Librarians who are like partners of the Vanderbilt community as they are always ready to provide research assistance. They also help students in literature searching and consultations and training on various information resources and citation management programs. Moreover, students can get appointments for various library services by scheduling them through the main phone number. Other than that, there are subject guides available that have been created by the reference librarians. These guides help the users to identify a particular database, book, or a journal for specific courses or clinical specialties. Sometimes, there are items or documents that are not available in the Vanderbilt library. In such cases, the Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery service is useful as it helps to find those items. On the third floor of the EFBL&LC, The History of Medicine Collections is located.  The History of Medicine Collections keeps a unique collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, archival materials, and other items that are rare or valuable and document the history of medicine and medical education.

    Dr. Najeeb Lectures

    Everyone agrees that the curriculum of the medical school is hard. Medical students have to put in a lot of effort to get amazing grades. However, this effort isn’t only giving time to your studies, but it is also about the concepts. Cramming does not work in Medical School. Therefore, attending classes is essential. Asking questions to the instructors is also a good way of learning. Besides all of this, being smart about the resources is also essential to a student’s performance in the medical school. A student’s primary resources are the teachers and textbooks. But sometimes, this is not enough. A student should explore the secondary resources available in the market. Dr. Najeeb Lectures is among the world’s best medical lectures. Today, they have students from around 190 countries as their subscribers. The success of Dr. Najeeb Lectures lies in the fact that these are the most student-friendly video lectures. They are time efficient, i.e., nor are they too long that they become monotonous and redundant neither too short that everything is taught in a hurry. The content is kept simple and straightforward. The video lectures aim to teach students the hardest topics of their medical curriculum in the easiest way possible.Moreover, the subscription fee for the video lectures is hugely less. It is kept minimal on purpose as the audience of Dr. Najeeb Lectures is students, and a low subscription price will be greatly benefiting for them. Also, to help students the option of trying a lecture for free is available to a student knows everything about the teaching style of Dr. Najeeb before subscribing. Other than that, the website has reviews from other medical students about their experience. Furthermore, the video lectures target students from all the medical schools worldwide. That is why the topics in the curriculum of all the recognized Institutions are considered. The lectures are not limited to some topics. They cover a broad variety of areas like Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Embryology, Histology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology and many more. In this way, a student can rely entirely on Dr. Najeeb lectures without having to look for other resources. Not only this, more video lectures are frequently added so an existing subscriber will have access to all the lectures that will be added in the future. In short, the lectures by Dr. Najeeb will be the best studying aid that a student can get. They no longer have to worry about a problematic textbook, hard to understand teacher or some missed classes.

Hospitals attached to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM)

The environment of the VUSM is full of learning experiences. The students who study medicine at Vanderbilt have the advantage of learning in a fully integrated multi-hospital system that has patients from a metropolitan population base. Vanderbilt University Hospital is the primary training center for medical students. The hospital is an extensive general service providing the facility for the Nashville mid-state area and also acts as a referral center for the southeastern and central US. The Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center is also Vanderbilt’s attached hospitals also adds to the clinical base of VUSM. Through this hospital, the faculty and students develop clinical competencies across a broad variety of internal medicine problems.

    Vanderbilt University Hospital

    As VUSM is one of the best medical schools in the country and Nashville, it is the third fastest growing health sciences center in the country in the area of research funding.  The Vanderbilt hospital has been ranked in one of the top 17 and its Children’s Hospital 8th in the U.S.A.The Vanderbilt University Hospital is an 850-bedded facility and is a comprehensive general hospital and a major tertiary care center. The hospital serves almost 52,000 inpatients every year. The hospital staff is highly qualified, and people with all the major medical and surgical specialties are present in the team. The emergency service of the Vanderbilt University Hospital has Level I trauma certification. Other than the hospital facility, the network of the Vanderbilt Clinic system consists of more than 90 ambulatory clinics in numerous specialties. More than 1,500,000 patients visit these clinics each year.The ‘Department of Medicine inpatient service’ is divided into five clinical units which are; general medicine, medical subspecialties, CCU/cardiovascular medicine, medical intensive care unit, and bone marrow transplant (BMT) service. The department has 200 beds overall.

    Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center

    The Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a 334-bed acute care center that provides the medicine, neurology, surgery, and psychiatry services. It is located adjacent to the Vanderbilt University Hospital and the VUSM.  The Nashville VA Medical Center acts as a primary care and referral center for eligible veterans in middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky, and northern Alabama. The Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center is strongly linked to the scholars of the Vanderbilt University. Therefore, all VA medical faculty have academic appointments within the Vanderbilt Department of Medicine

Life in Nashville

Vanderbilt’s hometown, Nashville is a lively and exciting place. People from all over the world come to visit the area and fall in love with Nashville. Even the students and faculty of Vanderbilt find Nashville to be a very engaging and vibrant city. The city is called the music city of the USA, and the incredible music and nightlife of the city explain why. The city is hospitable and welcome and treats its residents and tourists alike with the world-class dining, museums, parks, and performing arts. The city has been a state capital since 1843. The town has a population of nearly 655,000. The weather of Nashville is usually mild and pleasant. There are only a few days of the year which see extreme climate. Spring is typically rainy in Nashville, but a shower throughout the year is not rare. In the fall, visitors come from all over the world to see the annual changing of the leaves. Nashville is sunny throughout the winter. The winter climate is mild. However, the temperatures do range from cool to cold. Generally, snow falls in January or February and is not very heavy.The leading industries of the city are tourism, printing and publishing, technology manufacturing, music production, higher education, finance, insurance, automobile production, and healthcare management. All this means that there are plenty of options for employment for people as the job market is diverse and established. Fortune magazine named Nashville as one of the 15 best U.S. cities to work and have a good family life. Moreover, the city has been ranked as the most popular U.S. city for corporate relocations by Expansion Management magazine.Overall, Nashville is a fantastic city that gives Individuals the opportunity to learn, get a higher education, research and settle in. Apart from that, the city offers a fulfilling life and is ever-expanding. Students who are based out of Nashville will find the city to be welcoming and fun.


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Ann Ilaria Mayrhofer
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