Our Mission

Project Pyramid creates a community that addresses issues of poverty in an interdisciplinary classroom and through sustained partnerships with local and international organizations. Its members learn to recognize multiple poverties from one another in the classroom and from individuals and organizations that encounter poverties first hand. Students respond to knowledge gained in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships by engaging in action to alleviate poverty.


Our Values

Sustained Partnerships: Bringing together Vanderbilt students from multiple disciplines and building relationships with community organizations.

Education: Learning from other students in the classroom and encountering poverty in the community.

Responsive Action: Defining a response in conversation with the community and academic scholarship.


Our Vision

The convergence of many discipline’s perspectives and opportunities for collaboration with communities experiencing poverties leads to sustained attention to poverty beyond Project Pyramid.


The Course

Project Pyramid is an interdisciplinary course open to all graduate students at Vanderbilt University. The course examines the causes and symptoms of poverty, and varying methods of poverty alleviation. The course is designed to enable collaboration across different graduate disciplines and student perspectives on poverty and to prepare students for project work with domestic and international organizations.


Documents & Information

The 2018 Project Pyramid Application is live now. Click here to apply!

Read about past years’ Project Pryamid projects

Meet the 2018 Project Pyramid Student Leadership Committee

Questions about Project Pyramid? Check out the FAQ below, or contact us at tfc@vanderbilt.edu.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I apply?

Applications are open now at https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu/surveys/index.php?s=KHM79E8LLW

When do applications close?

Applications close at 11.59pm on Friday 29th September

How are students selected for the class?

Students are selected based on their application and a short interview (interviews will take place between October 16th to 25th). Strong candidates will be able to clearly articulate their interest in Project Pyramid, social ventures and how participation links to their future personal and professional goals. Prior skills and experience, and interest in cross-disciplinary work, will also be taken into account. Only graduate students can take part in Project Pyramid.

When will we find out if our application has been successful?

Students will be informed of their entrance to the course on October 27

How is Project Pyramid structured?

Project Pyramid follows the following structure:

  • Mod 1/first half of Spring Semester – 2 x 1.5 hours of class time at Owen, plus team project preparation work – 2 credits
  • Spring Break Trip to visit partner in their home country – 5 to 6 days (or longer if students wish to extend their trip without missing class) – 1 credit
  • Mod 2/second half of Spring Semester – mixture of in-class and team project activities – 1 credit

What are this year’s projects/countries?

Project Pyramid is student-run and the committee is researching and selecting partners. Projects will be announced on November 13th and students will be able to rank their choices in order.

How much does the Spring Break trip cost?

The cost of each trip varies on the destination. Participants should budget based on flights and food and accommodation for 5 to 6 days in the country. The TFC will provide a contribution intended to offset travel costs. Further information will be provided when the projects are announced so that students can take the costs and respective TFC contribution into consideration when choosing which project they want to participate in.

Is participation on the Spring Break trip mandatory?

No, though participation in the trip is an amazing way to learn more about work in the area of social ventures and put what you’ve learned in to practice. The trip is worth 1 credit.

Is it possible to audit Project Pyramid?

Yes, but please indicate this on your application so we can ensure the class is balanced between those who are auditing and those who are not.