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Early Start Program

As a Vanderbilt University senior in a bachelor's program you may qualify to enroll in courses approved for master's-level credit and get an early start on your Peabody master’s degree. With this option, you will not have to apply for admission to enroll in courses during your senior year. You simply need permission from the course instructors and your academic advisor and to submit a form to the Peabody Office of Academic Services declaring your intentions.

In most cases you can easily complete your master's degree in one year after graduation. You will need to apply for admission should you decide to continue a master's program at Peabody College after graduation, but if you have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher when you graduate the GRE requirement will be waived.

Student Benefits

  • Reduces the time required to complete a master's degree.
  • Reduces costs of obtaining a master’s degree.
  • Helps student clarify if this kind of work is compelling and if they're good at it.
  • Allows student to network with current graduate professors and students.
  • Looks attractive on a graduate school application.
  • Can transfer credits elsewhere if VU is not the place for their graduate work.
  • Waiver of GRE requirement for application to Peabody master's program if they graduate with a cumulative 3.5 GPA or higher from their bachelor’s program.
  • No formal application required to take courses their senior year.

Fine Print

  • The student's total course load (graduate plus undergraduate courses) must not exceed 15 hours during any semester in which graduate credit is pursued.
  • Graduate work must be in excess of that required for the bachelor's degree.
  • At the time of registration, the student must have a B average in all prior work to be counted toward the bachelor's degree, or a B average in all prior work to be counted toward the undergraduate major, or a B average in the preceding two semesters.
  • Undergraduate students wishing to count for post-baccalaureate credit courses taken under this option must consult the instructor of each course and must at the time of registration, declare their intention on a form available at the Peabody Office of Academic Services.
  • Permission for Vanderbilt undergraduates to enroll in master’s-level courses does not constitute a commitment on the part of any department to accept the student for graduate study in the future.
  • Undergraduate students who pursue this option and maintain a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher will have the GRE requirement waived if they later decide to apply to a Peabody master's program.

Programs Participating in Early Start

  • Child Studies
  • Community Development and Action
  • Elementary Education (degree plus licensure)
  • English Language Learners
  • Learning, Diversity and Urban Studies
  • Learning and Design
  • Reading Education
  • Secondary Education (degree plus licensure)
  • Special Education (specializations in severe, modified high incidence, behavior analysis and visual disabilities)

For questions about the Early Start program, contact us at