Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

Founded in 1875, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is an excellent medical school, widely-acknowledged as one of the best in the country. 

The School of Medicine and the rest of the Vanderbilt University campus are located in the heart of Nashville, TN. 

Total enrollment at Vanderbilt’s medical school is 1,029 students. 

Of the school’s degree programs, the PhD is the most popular choice, with about 49% — equal to 501 — of currently enrolled students taking this track. 

After the PhD, Vanderbilt’s most popular medical degree program is the MD, with 434 students opting for this route. 

Another 88 students are enrolled in the MD-PhD dual degree program, with the remaining handful in different joint programs in various other academic fields of study.

If you are a student who is thinking of going to medical school — to pursue an MD program immediately after you finish undergraduate, to continue your medical education with a PhD, or for any other reason — then you will need to do a lot of research into different schools to find which one is the best fit for you. 

To make the research process easier for you, we have compiled essential information about the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. 

Read on to learn about the school’s acceptance rate, application requirements, rankings, and so much more.

Vanderbilt School of Medicine Acceptance Rate

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The acceptance rate for the Vanderbilt School of Medicine is 4%.

That acceptance rate puts Vanderbilt into good company among the most selective medical schools in the country.

For context, 1 out of every 25 applicants who apply to Vanderbilt School of Medicine gets accepted; 24 out of 25 were rejected.

Similar acceptance rates can be seen at Ivy league medical schools like Cornell, Columbia, and even Harvard.

Additionally, Vanderbilt is among the most selective schools in the south, although some schools in the south, like Florida State, are more selective. 

Vanderbilt Medical School Ranking

According to the 2022 edition of US News and World Report’s annual ranked list of the best medical schools for research, Vanderbilt School of Medicine is #13 in the country.

When it comes to primary care, on the other hand, the Vanderbilt School of Medicine is not quite as strong, at least compared to competing medical schools. 

Placing #43 among medical schools in the US with the best primary care program offerings, Vanderbilt’s strengths are clearly more concentrated in the area of research.  

One of the School of Medicine’s strongest specialty areas is internal medicine. Vanderbilt is ranked tenth in the nation for their program offerings relating to the treatment and prevention of diseases. 

On top of that, Vanderbilt School of Medicine is ranked #12 in the US for its strong anesthesiology programs.

Additional areas in which the school holds a high spot in the rankings include surgery, radiology, and pediatrics, with the school ranking 17th, 18th, and 23rd in each of these fields of study, respectively.

Outside of academic program rankings, the Vanderbilt School of Medicine also boasts being  among the top ten medical schools in the country in terms of total grant funding received from the National Institutes of Health. 

As of 2022, the school is #8 in the nation in this regard — a leap two places upward from tenth, where they had been ranked the previous academic year.

Additionally, several of Vanderbilt’s clinical and basic science departments are consistently ranked within the top 10 in the country. 

Vanderbilt Medical School MCAT Score & GPA Requirements

The School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University does not require a specific minimum MCAT score or GPA for students to be eligible for admission to any of their programs.

That being said, it is crucial to be conscious of the fact that Vanderbilt is a highly prestigious, selective medical school, and as a result, seats in its programs are quite limited. 

Suppose you want to have a strong chance of earning admission to VSOM despite how competitive the process is. 

In that case, it is crucial that you make yourself stand out amongst other applicants by having a solid academic background.

To give a sense of just how strong your academic credentials must be to be accepted to the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, for the incoming class of 2021, the middle 50% of students was between a 3.5 and a 4.0 on an unweighted scale. 

The bar for Vanderbilt is high in terms of standardized test scores as well, with this group of students earning MCAT scores between the 74th and 100th percentile.

At Vanderbilt, admissions decisions are made by the Committee for Admissions, which is made up of faculty members from both basic science and clinical departments, as well as students in order for deliberations to include a diverse, balanced group of voices from across the school.

Students can apply through the American Medical College Application Service. 

In addition to information regarding the applicant’s academic history, the application includes two mandatory short-answer prompts and two additional optional questions. 

Other requirements include submitting at least one letter of recommendation from a former professor or advisor, an on-campus interview, and official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.

Vanderbilt Medical School Notable Alumni

Since the school was established nearly 150 years ago, a large number of notable alumni went on to lead prominent careers in medicine after studying at Vanderbilt. Today, the vast network of living Vanderbilt School of Medicine alumni includes thousands of doctors worldwide and in each of the United States.

Notable Vanderbilt School of Medicine alumni include Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., an American civil rights activist and heart surgeon. 

In 1980, he and another doctor became the first people to implant an automatic defibrillator in a living patient successfully.

Another trailblazer in the field of medicine who graduated from VSOM is Dr. Norman Edward Shumway, who was the first person in the United States to perform a successful adult human-to-human heart transplant. 

Dr. Shumway also served as the 67th president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Another is Dr. George Constantine Nichopoulos, a 1959 Vanderbilt medical school graduate who was best known for being the personal physician of Elvis Presley.  

Dr. Jeffrey R. Balser, current president and CEO of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is also an alum, graduating from the school with a PhD in pharmacology in 1990. 

In addition to his leadership at the school’s Medical Center, Balser also serves as the dean of the School of Medicine.

Another Vanderbilt med school alum who holds a prominent position at a major university is Dr. Rhonda Renee Voskuhl, who is the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. 

A prominent research scientist, she is also a member of the Brain Research Institute at UCLA.

Should You Attend Vanderbilt for Medical School?

The process of selecting which medical schools to attend is an extraordinarily time-consuming and stressful process for many prospective students. 

To make the application process a bit less stressful, it is helpful to consider what aspects of a school will be most impactful to your medical school experience as a whole, as well as your own individual preferences, needs, and goals.

One big factor to take into consideration is location. The Vanderbilt School of Medicine is a very appealing contender in this regard, being located in Nashville. 

In addition to its internationally-acclaimed status as a bustling hub for the music and entertainment industries, Nashville has also been ranked #20 in the large city category for the best places to live while going to college in the United States.  

Thus, Vanderbilt is an excellent medical school by most accepted standards, but it is a particularly great choice of school for those who are drawn to the liveliness of a bustling city atmosphere.

Another important factor to consider is size, including both class sizes and student body size. 

The School of Medicine at Vanderbilt is home to an astonishing 2,758 full-time faculty members, all of whom are extremely knowledgeable medical experts, educators, and professional mentors, making them an invaluable resource for students. 

Because they have such a large faculty, the school is able to boast a student-to-faculty ratio of just 6.7:1. 

This allows students at the School of Medicine to build close academic relationships with their peers and course instructors in a tight-knit learning environment. 

In essence, the Vanderbilt School of Medicine is an amazing medical school. 

If you are interested in studying at a university with small class sizes in a large city, then it just may be the perfect medical school for you.