Admitted PhD Students - 2015

Dates of Required On-Campus Intensive Sessions for 2015-16

Fall 2015

August 24 - 28

Spring 2016

January 11 - 14

Summer 2016

May 9 - 12


The PhD in Nursing Science Program is an academic program conferred by the Vanderbilt University Graduate School. Because of this, you receive new student orientation material from the Graduate School. The PhD in Nursing Science degree is organizationally structured under the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN). You will also receive information from VUSN. The purpose of this Web site is to consolidate and clarify the information you receive from both of these sources.


You will or have already received a document from the Graduate School, Important Information for New Graduate Students for 2015 Fall Semester. Since this information is developed for all graduate-level programs across campus, we have outlined below important information specific to the VUSN PhD in Nursing Science Program for each item covered in the Graduate School’s document. Please read this information carefully because there are various deadlines that require your attention before classes begin.


You should review the information below in conjunction with the Graduate School's document, Important Information for New Graduate Students for 2015 Fall Semester.


  1. Transcripts: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

    To check whether your official transcripts have been received, go to the Applicant Status Page (Checklist) in Slate: If you have any questions, email:

  2. Graduate School Orientation: If the Graduate School’s Orientation is not held during our August block week, you are not required to attend.

  3. Registration: Follow these instructions instead:

    You do not need to select your courses or complete your registration. The PhD Program Office will register you for the fall semester [full-time=9 credits and part-time=7]. We will review the registration process with you at orientation because you must register for your classes beginning with the spring semester.

  4. ID Card: Follow these instructions instead:

    We will allow time during the 1st block for you to obtain a student identification card (disregard the deadline listed by the Graduate School). You must bring a photo ID such as your driver’s license or passport to the August block.

  5. Finances: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

    In addition, if you were awarded a scholarship, fellowship or other financial aid, you will receive an email from the PhD Program Office by the end of June informing you how your award(s) are credited to your student account.

    Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP):
    Kristie Smith, VUSN Student Financial Services Director, will be sending information to all PhD students around August regarding the NFLP. The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) of the Department of Health and Human Services provides financial support to full or part-time students who meet loan qualifications. The NFLP provides financial support for tuition and other fees associated with advanced nursing degrees for individuals interested in pursuing a faculty role upon graduation. Loan recipients who complete the nursing education program may cancel up to 85 percent of the loan in exchange for four years of service as a full-time nurse faculty at any school of nursing in the United States.

    If you plan on borrowing only from the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, you do not need to complete a FAFSA.  If you plan on borrowing from a federal loan program, you will need to complete a FAFSA and should do so now.  

  6. Health Insurance: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

  7. International Students: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

  8. Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

  9. Medical Information: Follow the Graduate School's instructions. PhD students complete the Graduate Immunization Form NOT the School of Nursing Form.

    All entering students must be compliant with these requirements. You will not be able to register for classes until you are compliant.

  10. Disability Services: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

  11. E-Mail/VUnetID: Follow the Graduate School’s instructions BUT activate your VUnetID as soon as you can after receiving the email from the University Registrar’s Office with the instructions.  

  12. Housing: For those of you who live outside of the Nashville area and will be relocating or visiting the area as a distance student, please see resources below for helpful information.

    Hotel Accommodations
    Housing Accommodations

    Please exercise good judgment when using an outside source such as Craigslist, Tennessean, etc. Although the Vanderbilt Office of Housing & Residential Off-Campus Service is not endorsed or verified by the university, it is password protected.

    To learn more about the safety of the area you may be renting in, check out the Nashville Police website -

    Our Hometown - Nashville, TN
    Residential Communities

    Nashville boasts a variety of neighborhoods from downtown apartments to multifamily units in the suburbs to every kind of apartment community or single-family residential home. There are several distinct areas of the city listed below. For more information about these & other Nashville communities visit the following sites: or

    • Hillsboro, West End
      For certain Nashvillians, this part of town is the center of the known universe. In this relatively tiny slice of Nashville, you can find a big-time university called Vanderbilt, an internationally known music center called Music Row, some intriguing businesses and a bunch of very nice, if sometimes very expensive, places to live. Residents and visitors like it for its history - from the Fugitives at Vanderbilt to Elvis on Music Row - hipness and homes. The area is bounded by busy West End Avenue, Franklin Road on the east and the noisy 440 Parkway on the south. At the heart of it is trendy Hillsboro Village, once a more mainstream retail area and now a night-life and restaurant mecca for Vanderbilt types, musicians, songwriters and the occasional gang of tourists who have heard that Garth Brooks likes to eat breakfast at the Pancake Pantry.


    • Green Hills, Forest Hills
      So you want to shop until you drop, take a break for a quick bite to eat or a sit-down dinner and still be within a shopping bag’s throw of home? The Green Hills/Forest Hills neighborhood may be just the place for you to build, buy or rent a new home. Anchored by the sprawling regional Mall at Green Hills, the neighborhood has easy access to Hillsboro Pike, which generates much of the Nashville’s north-south traffic. Green Hills is one of Nashville’s most lived-in and visited areas. It has 21 churches, 14 schools and nearby police and fire protection, as well as more than one million square feet of shopping, movie theaters and a wide variety of restaurants.  Plus, if you want an afternoon in the park, you’re just a jog or picnic basket away from the Edwin and Percy Warner parks and a secluded secret of Nashville – Radnor Lake.

    • The Gulch
      Located at the edge of the Central Business District and within minutes of West End Avenue, Music Row and Hillsboro Village, The Gulch is poised to become a thriving business community and offers loft offices, upscale office space and spacious studios. Loft apartments, studios and condominiums make up the residential component of The Gulch. This area is also home to some of Nashville’s newest — and most popular — restaurants and bars.


    • Sylvan Park, Charlotte Park, West Nashville
      Sylvan Park offers a beautiful setting with a funky edge. Here, solid, 1920s clapboard homes and the architectural flourishes on stone bungalows from the ’30s and ’40s look right at home together. The Produce Place is the best spot this side of Farmer’s Market to get fresh, mouth-watering fruit and vegetables.

    • East Nashville
      Over the river & past LP Field, you could get happily lost among the beautifully restored homes in Historic Edgefield, but be sure to stop on Woodland Street and recharge at Five Points, a lively hub of bistros, coffeehouses, boutiques and neighborhood stores. Highlights: Margot Café & Bar, Marché Artisan Foods, Bongo Java Roasting Co. & East Café, Turnip Truck organic grocery store.
    • 12South
      Lined with galleries, sweet shops and other mom and pop stores, the 10 blocks that run from Linden Avenue to Sevier Park bisect one of the hippest up-and-coming neighborhoods in Nashville. Highlights: Katy K's Ranch Dressing, a chic boutique with designer Western wear and vintage clothing, Watermark Restaurant, Mafiaoza’s Pizzeria.

    • Germantown
      Two of Nashville's historic neighborhoods are bringing people closer to town to live and play. Germantown, so named because of the influx of German immigrants in the mid-19th century, is being restored to its original grandeur. A slate of new residential developments, restaurants and businesses has helped make Germantown a desirable location for urban pioneers to live, work, eat and play. Nashville’s Farmers’ Market is within easy walking distance of Germantown.


    • Bellevue
      Bellevue, perched on the southwestern tip of Davidson County, allows newcomers to keep one foot in the city life and the other in the country. With its plethora of apartments and abundance of single-family homes within 30 minutes of downtown (depending on traffic), commuters can feel like they live in the country and still have the hustle and bustle of downtown. Bellevue also can be like your hometown – small enough to get around in easily, but large enough to offer the shopping, dining and entertainment you seek. Nestled around the regional Bellevue Center shopping complex are numerous fast food outlets and restaurant chains, dozens of churches, 12 schools, two movie theaters with multiple screens and a unique community park. Nearby police and fire protection service the community, this has two major interchanges for Interstate 40 access.

    For questions or concerns contact or our office at 615.322.3800
  1. Parking: Follow these instructions instead:

    Distance students
    who will only be on campus during the required face-to-face block sessions and need a parking space have the following options:

    • Use the automated pay stations located at Wesley Place Garage (2043 Scarritt Place) or Terrace Place Garage (21st & Terrace Avenue). The most convenient garage would be Wesley Place Garage since it is located across the street from the School of Nursing.  Additional assistance or questions should be directed to Central Parking in Nashville at (615) 259-3898.
    • Students who live nearby and plan on using the resources available at Vanderbilt beyond the face-to-face block sessions, may purchase a regular week-day parking permit from VUMC Parking Facilities located on the ground level in the VUH Garage across from the hospital (615-936-1215).  All VUSN students purchasing parking permits are required to park in the South Garage located at the corner of 25th & Pierce.  Students need to present their VUMC ID, and current state vehicle registration certificate when registering. The student will receive an access card that operates the entry and exit gates, and a decal. Decals for additional vehicles may be obtained at no additional charge. Replacement cards for a lost card will incur a $5.00 charge.

      Students who are already Vanderbilt employees may continue to use their valid access card for that garage.

  2. Transfer Credit:  During the fall block, you will have time to meet with your faculty adviser to complete the required paperwork to formally request transfer credits from your master’s degree. Your adviser will have the required paperwork when you arrive in August. The Graduate School must approve the request; the PhD Program Office will process your paperwork after the fall block.

  3. Teaching Assistant Orientation: If applicable, follow the Graduate School’s instructions.

  4. Academic Calendar: To be distributed at fall Block in August.

The following is important information not covered in the Graduate School’s document, Important Information for New Graduate Students for 2015 Fall Semester. This is additional information specific to the VUSN PhD in Nursing Science Program:

  1. Meet all program computer and technology requirements.

    The following program delivery and participation requirements are expected of all students in our program:

    Attend in-person all block intensives for the first two years regardless of full-time or part-time status. After the first two years, part-time students have the option of attending required block classes in-person or at a distance via current VUSN PhD technology options. In-person block intensives occur 3 times each year for approximately 4-5 days per block. We do not offer financial assistance for travel expenses to block intensives. Full-time students are in course work for two years.

    Meet all program computer and technology requirements listed on this page: 


    Participate in all scheduled synchronous classes using the technology required by our program. We currently use a desktop videoconferencing system called Scopia.

    Be able to access all Websites and library resources required to successfully complete course and dissertation work.

  2. PhD Tuition and Fees:

    Tuition and fees are set annually by Vanderbilt University Board of Trust. Graduate study tuition rates for 2015-2016 are $1818 per credit. Tuition/fees are due mid-August for the fall semester. Vanderbilt exclusively uses secure electronic billing (e-bills) for student account charges. All students are automatically enrolled for e-bills. Students may access their online invoices from their YES landing page at
    or by going to:

    Once signed into YES, you may view invoices under the SM Billing Portal link. Payments may be made electronically, or for those wishing to mail a payment, a payment coupon can be printed. When an electronic payment is made, a confirmation email will be sent. It remains the responsibility of the student to ensure that bills are paid on or before the due date. The Office of Student Accounts can be contacted at (615) 322-6693, toll-free at (800) 288-1144, or via email at For additional information, please visit the Student Accounts website at

  3. Background Check Requirements: Upon acceptance, PhD students must complete a background check through Certified Background using the code provided below. Enrollment is contingent upon satisfactory evaluation of the results of the background check. Special Students, who are only enrolled in one course and are not seeking a degree from the School of Nursing, are not required to complete a background check or the new student requirements unless they apply and are admitted to VUSN.

    Background Check and RN/APN LicensureDeadline August 1st
    1. Go to (should not be completed more than 3 months prior to student orientation).

    a. PhD students enter package code: VA14bc

    b. Enter payment information—Visa, MasterCard (credit or debit), or money order mailed to Certified Background. (NOTE: There is a processing fee for money orders.) The student should follow online instructions to complete the order.

    c. Choose classification: PhD

    2. Submit a copy of an unencumbered Registered Nurse’s or Advanced Practice Nurse’s license in the state(s) where you reside and work to the VUSN Compliance Officer at: or mail to:

    Vanderbilt School of Nursing
    Attn: Lisa Boyer, Compliance Officer
    461 21st Ave. South
    Nashville, TN, 37240-0008

    Disclosure of offenses post-background check completion: Current PhD students are required to immediately report to their faculty adviser and the senior associate dean for academics any arrest, criminal charge or conviction occurring after their background checks have been completed. Required disclosure also includes but is not limited to allegations, investigations and/or disciplinary action from any licensing board or agency included under the Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse scan; Office of Inspector General (OIG), General Services Administration (GSA), FDA Debarment Check, Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and Medicare and Medicaid Sanctions.

    Student Requirements When Returning from Leave of Absence: Any VUSN student (includes full and part-time students) who completed a background check through Certified Background but had a break in enrollment, including a deferral or leave of absence, must complete a new background check no more than 30 days prior to return. Enter package code VA14bc in the “Place Order” box on the Certified homepage.

  4. Advisers: Each student is assigned a faculty adviser who is responsible for assisting students in developing an appropriate program of study, recommending courses acceptable for transfer, assisting in the identification of committee members for the qualifying examination and dissertation and general mentoring throughout the educational experience.  We will set time aside during the 1st block/student orientation for you to meet individually with your adviser.  At this meeting, your faculty adviser will complete the transfer credit process and the academic plan of study. Once you receive the fall student orientation/1st block agenda, it will be your responsibility to set up a meeting with your adviser(s) that week. The agenda will list specific days and times that you may choose from. 

  1. Student Activity and Recreation Fee Waivers:  The Office of Student Accounts bi10lls all graduate students activity and recreation fees. However, you will be granted a waiver if: (1) you are a part-time student enrolled for four or fewer credit hours (including  audit  credit), or (2) you are a student residing outside a circle of  approximately sixty miles from the Vanderbilt campus as determined by zip codes.To complete a waiver request, please go to:

  2. Textbooks: Fall 2015 textbooks Posted 7/27/15

  3. Handbooks: To be distributed at fall block in August

  4. Orientation to Blackboard Information will be posted by mid-July. Please continue to check back over the summer for updates

  5. Student ID Information Added 8/19/15


  6. Required Training Modules

    • Protection of Minors 101 - Completion is required and tracked by the University. Log In using your VUNET ID and password and keyword search “Find a Course” for the training (Protection of Minors 101). After locating "Protection of Minors 101," click "enroll," "launch," and complete the module.