The undoped and transition metal (TM) -doped AlN (AlN:Cu and AlN:Fe) nanorods on silicon substrates were fabricated using a catalysis-free vapor phase method. All the nanorods exhibited high crystalline quality and preferred c-axis orientation. Room-temperature photoluminescence (PL) measurement revealed that undoped AlN nanorods exhibited strong oxygen-related impurity emission at ∼3.25 eV. However, AlN:Fe nanorods had two strong ultraviolet emissions at 3.69 and 6.02 eV which could be attributed to Fe3+-related and band-edge emission, respectively. Both the Cu and Fe-doped AlN nanorods are ferromagnetic. The spontaneous saturated magnetization of the AlN:Cu and AlN:Fe nanorods were determined to be 0.38 and 3.5 emu/cm3 at room temperature, respectively. The Fe-doped AlN nanorods not only exhibited ferromagnetism but also significantly enhanced the band-edge emission as compared to the undoped AlN nanorods.