Graduate Program Information


  • The most recent (2010) National Research Council (NRC) report on U.S. math graduate programs places our department in the top group of graduate programs surveyed.
  • The Department of Mathematics has a distinguished international faculty that includes a Fields Medalist and International Congress of Mathematicians invited speakers.
  • The department has a variety of research groups: universal algebra, topology,  group theory, geometry/topology, approximation theory, noncommutative geometry, operator algebras, mathematical biology, partial differential equations, and graph theory.
  • The stimulating research environment is supported by an ongoing program that attracts visiting scholars from institutions around the world and hosts several major conferences a year.
  • The Department of Mathematics has approximately fifty research faculty and forty resident graduate students.  It is large enough to support a wide range of courses, but small enough for students to receive individual attention from faculty members.
  • Graduate students are given one to two years of training to teach at the college level. After that period, they generally serve as TAs and eventually instructors in calculus classes. This opportunity provides valuable experience in communication, even for students who do not pursue careers in academia.
  • Our graduate students are very successful in securing jobs.
  • Nashville offers the amenities of a large city and the friendliness of a small town.


The Department of Mathematics offers the doctor of philosophy, master of science, and master of arts degrees in mathematics. Most of our students pursue a Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program requires 72 credit hours of course work, including dissertation research. Doctoral candidates complete a core curriculum in algebra, topology, and analysis. After passing preliminary exams in two of these three areas, students study in their area of concentration.  For Ph.D. candidacy students pass a qualifying examination involving either an oral examination in their specialty or an expository paper.  Once students have qualified for Ph.D. candidacy, they concentrate on dissertation research.


Most Ph.D. students in mathematics receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and support is usually provided for a five-year period. Teaching assistants receive a University Tuition Scholarship (a service-free award that pays all tuition costs), student health insurance coverage and a twelve-month stipend. For 2016/17 the stipend is $25,000. Stipends are expected to increase for 2017/18. Some highly qualified applicants are awarded Honor Fellowships: University Graduate Fellowships provide an additional stipend up to $10,000 and the Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholarships provide an additional stipend up to $6,000. Also, the Graduate School awards several Provost’s Graduate Fellowships that provide an additional $10,000 to highly qualified students from underrepresented groups.

Students who do not have financial aid pay tuition of $1854 per credit hour.


First-year graduate students participate in a weekly teaching seminar and conduct tutored study halls for calculus.

Second and third-year students serve as TAs. Responsibilities include attending class meetings, conducting a weekly recitation section, holding office hours, and grading papers.

Fourth and fifth-year students with good teaching evaluations and strong recommendations from their faculty mentors are assigned to teach a first-year calculus course.


Vanderbilt University’s libraries are among the top research libraries in the nation, home to more than eight million items, including print publications, microfilm items, and digital collections.  The mathematics collection is housed in the Science and Engineering Library, conveniently located in the math building.  This collection is excellent, both in books and access to electronic resources, including e-journals and online databases such as  MathSciNet and Web of Science.  Items not available locally can be borrowed through interlibrary loan, which is free of charge to  graduate students.

Computational resources available to graduate students include access to the university’s large cluster and desktop computers equipped with computer algebra software and LaTeX.  Graduate students may use these facilities freely for research, writing, and teaching.

Furthermore, the graduate students’ office suite is a newly renovated state-of-the-art facility.


Ample private housing is available within walking distance of the campus. The Office of Housing and Residential Education maintains an off-campus housing referral service. Visit their web page at:


Vanderbilt is a private university, founded in 1873. The university includes the four undergraduate schools, the Graduate School, and eight professional schools.

Located approximately two miles from downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt is situated on 330 acres and is designated as an arboretum.  A diverse student body of about 6,800 undergraduates and 5,700 graduate and professional students is taught by more than 3,700 full-time faculty members.

The metropolitan Nashville area, in the heart of middle Tennessee, has a population of over one million. The city, a center for music of all kinds, has many other cultural and entertainment opportunities, including theatre, film, museums, symphony,  recreation areas, and two major league sports teams.


  • Visit for information about the Department of Mathematics (especially the “Graduate” link). Questions specifically concerning the Mathematics Graduate Program should be emailed to
  • Visit for general information about graduate studies at Vanderbilt. Online applications are sent directly to the Graduate School and can be accessed at  Application Process.  Application questions not addressed at the Graduate School Web site should be emailed to
  • Applications, including all supporting materials, are due on January 1, 2017. Late applications may be considered if positions are still available. We require both the General and Mathematics Subject GREs (Graduate Record Examinations). The Subject Test result is especially important in evaluating applications. Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not been educated at an English-speaking university must also take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).


For further information, please contact:

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Mathematics, 1326 Stevenson Center
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 615 322 6672
Fax: +1 615 343 0215