At the College of Arts and Science, our focus is on teaching fundamental knowledge and a set of skills that will prepare students for any career. Graduates leave the college knowing how to think critically, communicate effectively, question analytically, and explore deeply, regardless of whether their degrees are in Chemistry or English, Art or Anthropology, Mathematics or Philosophy. Since these are the skills employers want most—even above specific technical or field-based skills—our graduates are well-positioned to compete and succeed in a rapidly changing economy.
The subjects our students study also position them for success. Our AXLE core curriculum develops a variety of highly desirable skills, including creativity, persuasion, intellectual flexibility, analytical reasoning, foreign language competency, and more. A&S majors also connect readily with the career fields that are most resistant to automation and likely to experience the greatest growth over the next 10 years: health professions, scientific careers, creative professions, law, and education.
Visit the Vanderbilt Career Center website to learn how the university supports students in aligning their studies with successful careers!
Following graduation, about half of new A&S alumni go directly into the workforce. They find success in a wide variety of fields, but certain industries are consistently popular with our graduates. These include finance, consulting, technology, education, and government or law.
Another 25-30 percent of A&S students typically go directly to graduate school. The majority of these pursue an M.A./M.S./M.Ed. or Ph.D., but law school and medical school are also very popular choices. We also have a significant number of students who spend several years in the workforce before returning to graduate school for an M.B.A. or similar degree. A&S alumni enjoy very high acceptance rates to outstanding graduate programs. In recent years, the top 10 graduate school destinations for our students have included Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, Duke University, Harvard University, and more.
For the latest statistics on A&S undergraduate outcomes, visit the Vanderbilt Career Center website.
Robert Penn Warren, BA’25 (English): Member of the Fugitive Poets and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and fiction writer. America’s first Poet Laureate.
Lamar Alexander, BA’62: U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of Education. 45 th Governor of Tennessee.
Dorothy Wingfield Phillips, BA’67 (Chemistry): Vanderbilt’s first Black woman undergraduate and Director-at-Large of the American Chemical Society
Muhammad Yunus, PhD’71 (Economics): Founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the field of microfinance