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Academics at the College of Arts and Science

Students receive a comprehensive, academically rigorous education that primes them for success in every area: scholastic, personal and professional. While adhering to a curriculum that emphasizes critical investigation and analysis, students creatively engage with scholarship, collaborate with accomplished faculty members and acquire the capacities to thrive as twenty-first century global citizens.

Undergraduate Academics

The First Year


Arts and Science students begin with the AXLE curriculum (Achieving Excellence in Liberal Education). Requirements include coursework in writing, humanities and creative arts, international cultures, history and culture of the United States, mathematics and natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. The First-Year Writing Seminar is a core component of the curriculum, introducing students to Vanderbilt's scholarly expectations and collegial academic culture.

Choosing Majors and Minors


Every student must select a departmental, interdisciplinary, or individually designed major by the end of the sophomore year. All students may pursue two majors if they wish, and qualified students may pursue three. Students may also choose up to three minors. To help guide these choices, students are assigned pre-major faculty advisers before their first semester and choose their major advisers when they are ready to declare in their second year.

Beyond Arts and Science


The College of Arts and Science encourages students to explore ideas from multiple angles through our many interdisciplinary programs and to enrich their academic experience with courses from Vanderbilt's other undergraduate schools—the School of Engineering, Blair School of Music, or Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

Advanced Study


Juniors and seniors may choose to pursue a departmental honors program. Many students culminate their studies with a senior thesis or project, a significant scholarly or creative work. Qualified students may also take graduate-level courses or participate in an accelerated degree program with the Owen Graduate School of Management.


Graduate Academics