Skip to main content

Graduate Application Deadlines and Checklist

Important Deadlines

Almost all graduate students are admitted for entry in the Fall semester which starts at the end of August. Entry in the Spring semester (which starts in early January) is rare and usually not advisable because our department has a two-semester core course sequence, and all courses start in the Fall semester. Here are some deadlines you need to be aware of in order to get in your application on time:

  • January 15: Deadline to submit online application  (January 15 for the Astrophysics PhD program)
  • March 31: Graduate School admission decisions will be mailed by this date to all applicants whose files are complete.
  • April 15: Deadline for applicants to respond to offers of admission. If your reply is not received by April 15, the department may reallocate any offer of financial reward.

Checklist For Applications

  • Submit admissions application online 
  • Apply for financial aid, if you desire.
  • Compose a statement of purpose.
  • Request 3 letters of recommendation.
  • Order official transcript of grades from all the institutions that you have attended.
  • Physics Ph.D. program: Submit your GRE-General. The GRE-physics score is not required but if you have taken the test, you may upload your score.
  • Astrophysics Ph.D. program: GRE scores (General and Subject) are not required and will not be considered.
  • For international students: Submit your TOEFL score (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). Note that Vanderbilt University requires a minimum acceptable TOEFL score of 570 on the paper-based test which corresponds to 88 on the computer-based test.

After you accept the offer

Plan on arriving in Nashville by August 14th or earlier; the following workshops and orientation sessions are MANDATORY for those graduate students who will be a teaching assistant (TA) and are typically scheduled in the week before classes begin:
  • International Teaching Assistant Orientation for all international graduate students
  • Teaching Assistant Orientation for all first-time teaching assistants
  • Physics and Astronomy Lab Safety Inservice
  • Physics and Astronomy Department Graduate Student Orientation.
  • Physics and Astronomy Department Teaching Assistant and Grader Orientation