residential colleges architecture with students

Residential colleges are a type of on-campus student residence in which the academic experience is integrated into residential life, creating communities and opportunities for learning outside the classroom among a diverse student body. Led by faculty heads who live in residence, Vanderbilt’s residential colleges create an intentional, mutually beneficial educational experience for students, faculty and staff, promoting the development of intellect, community, personal well-being, self-discovery and cultural awareness.

The program comprises various living communities that students encounter throughout their undergraduate experience. Beyond a traditional dormitory, these spaces, each with unique personalities, amenities and programs, act as a home away from home for residents. Each individual house or college is led by a faculty member who is there to help students explore and pursue their personal, educational and career goals.



Vanderbilt believes that intentional and mutually beneficial educational networks among students, faculty and staff create a residential collegiate experience that rests on discovery, creative inquiry and engaged citizenship. Vanderbilt residential colleges promote the development of intellect, community, personal well-being, self-discovery and cultural awareness.


Mastering a course of study that will prepare students for professional, community and civic affairs while cultivating a capacity for lifelong learning.

In the first year, Vanderbilt helps students acquire an appreciation for intellectual discovery and creativity outside the bounds of the formal academic curriculum, which contributes to academic engagement and success. In their second year students are supported in refining their academic passions and questions through intentional engagement with faculty and campus resources.


Interacting with others outside of students’ primary peer groups with civility, curiosity and respect.

In their first year, students actively engage in building healthy communities on their floors, in their houses, on The Ingram Commons and within the university. In the second year they work on cultivating intentional relationships that foster opportunities for meaningful engagement with a diverse peer group, community building and leadership development.


Aligning students’ values and commitments with their daily lives.

For the first year, this means helping students clarify their own ethical, spiritual and civic personal values through self-discovery. In the second year, focus shifts to affirming or redefining personal goals through careful reflection of value systems and wider social dynamics.

Personal Well-Being

Exercising mature judgments and habits for healthy living.

In their first year, students learn to utilize the skills necessary for healthy physical, 心理和性幸福. In the second year they're encouraged to assume responsibility for developing and regularly practicing a sustainable set of personal well-being habits.

Cultural Awareness

Engaging with the diverse communities of Vanderbilt, Nashville and the world.

First-year students explore, live and celebrate the diverse community of The Ingram Commons, Vanderbilt, Nashville and the world. Second-year students work to demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion, based on a developed understanding of the relationship between social justice and the many overlapping identities that characterize diverse communities.

The Colleges

All first-year students reside on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons during their first year.

The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons

Living on The Ingram Commons, students can explore ideas, have fun, and grow as a people and citizens. Here, the intellectual and the social intertwine, making The Ingram Commons one of the most innovative projects in higher education today.

Location Details

After their first year, students may apply as upper-division students to transition to another college for sophomore year and beyond.

Along with faculty heads of house, faculty heads of college, professional staff and graduate assistants, the university's leadership team creates an unparalleled residential experience for Vanderbilt students.