Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy

Students must complete for credit 72 hours of graduate work, of which a minimum of 24 semester hours must be in formal course and seminar work at Vanderbilt.

In certain departments, a student's course work is divided between major and minor subjects. Each program specifies approved subjects and the proportion of hours allotted to each.

After completing a minimum of 36 semester hours of course work, the student takes the Ph.D. qualifying examination. The student's Ph.D. committee, composed of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty, administers the examination. Upon passing the examination, the student enters candidacy for the degree and is guided in her or his dissertation research by the Ph.D. committee.

A candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit to the Graduate School a dissertation that gives evidence of original research and thinking. The dissertation must be completed within four years after a student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. A final examination/dissertation defense is administered by the student's Ph.D. committee.

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Master of Arts

A minimum of 24 semester hours of formal course work is required for the master's degree. Each program determines whether a minor subject area is required and specifies the approved subjects and the proportion of the 24 hours allotted to major and minor subjects. All work credited for the master's degree must be completed within six years.

In addition to completing the required course work, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School a thesis that gives evidence of original investigation in the student's major subject.

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Master of Science

A minimum of 24 semester hours of formal course work is required for the master's degree. Each program determines whether a minor subject area is required and specifies the approved subjects and the proportion of the 24 hours allotted to major and minor subjects. All work credited for the master's degree must be completed within six years.

In addition to completing the required course work, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School a thesis that gives evidence of original investigation in the student's major subject.

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The goal of the English department's M.F.A. in creative writing is to produce creative writers with a broad and deep knowledge of their genres. The program offers writing workshops and supervision in the composition of creative work. Students are required to take a complement of literature courses along with their workshops

Requirements for the M.F.A. include 42 to 48 hours of course work, a thesis of creative work (a novel, a book of short stories, a collection of poems, or a collection of personal essays), plus an oral defense of the thesis. The course work includes 16 hours of graduate workshops (one per semester for four semesters).

Applicants for the M.F.A. must submit scores in the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination, upload an unofficial college transcript, a manuscript of creative work, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. For more details see Vanderbilt's M.F.A. web site.

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Master of Liberal Arts and Science

This program offers nontraditional, part-time adult students a unique graduate experience in liberal arts and science. Although the program is administered by the College of Arts and Science, a special application for admission is made to the Graduate School, which awards the degree. A minimum of 27 semester hours is required, with at least 18 course hours especially designed for MLAS. students. Additional information is available from the Director, MLAS. Program, 311 Kirkland Hall.

For more details about this special master's program, visit the MLAS website.

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