Support for graduate students reaches new highs

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CAS - Compass E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

October 2016

Dean Lauren BentonDear members of the Arts and Science community,

I have found that one of the great joys of being a faculty member in a research university is interacting with graduate students. Along with my colleagues, I especially look forward to dissertation defenses — those culminating rituals when we get to recognize graduate students’ original contributions to their fields.

Vanderbilt Arts and Science graduate students are creating new knowledge across the disciplines. Hardly a week goes by without news that a doctoral student has had an article accepted in a top journal or has landed a prestigious fellowship. 

Recruiting these talented students is a major effort that begins now and extends through mid-April each year. The College of Arts and Science has been working hard to enhance recruitment and strengthen the reputation of our programs. This past year, with the support of the provost and chancellor, we increased graduate student stipends to new highs in nearly all our doctoral programs. 

Master’s students make up another important part of our graduate student community. Undergraduates in Arts and Science can apply to a handful of 4+1 programs to complete undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years. One of our oldest master’s programs, the Graduate Program in Economic Development, has attracted students from around the world since 1956. One of our newest, the MFA in Creative Writing, has rocketed to the top tier of national rankings since its founding in 2005.

Vanderbilt is also nationally recognized for innovation in graduate education. The Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program , a partnership between Vanderbilt and Fisk University, one of Nashville’s acclaimed historically black universities, models a new and successful way to ease the path of students from underrepresented groups to advanced research and the professoriate. The program attracts students from around the country to do graduate coursework and research at Fisk and Vanderbilt in preparation for doctoral studies. Since its creation in 2004, the program has admitted more than 100 students in astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, materials science and physics and awarded more than 50 master’s degrees and 25 Ph.D.’s.

Vibrant graduate programs are key to the life of the college. Watch this space for stories about our extraordinary graduate students.


Dean Benton Signature
Lauren Benton
Dean, College of Arts and Science
Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Professor of History

Arts and Science in the news 

New business minor in approval process 

Current mayor lectures in former mayor’s class

Cecelia Tichi’s book about Jack London comes to life on stage

M.L. Sandoz recognized by debate community

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Dr. Jedidah Isler, the first black woman to graduate with Ph.D. from Yale's Astrophysics program and was a member of the inaugural Bridge Program class. Vanderbilt magazine feature story for Spring16 issue.(John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Bridge program postdoc featured in Ozy

Certificate ceremony for our Law & Business graduates.(John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

A&S alum lands SCOTUS clerkship

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Are superhumans just a generation away? 

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