Best Online Colleges in Virginia

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August 19, 2021

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Colleges in Virginia include some of the most historic schools in the nation. Home to a college founded by Thomas Jefferson and to one of the oldest universities in the nation, the state' s educational roots run deep.

Today, Virginia boasts a growing and educated workforce that draws companies from around the globe. The largest employment sectors in the state include business, finance, education, healthcare, and the computer technology industry. Software developers and counselors are two of the most in-demand occupations in these fields.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that school counselors in Virginia earned an average annual salary of $68,060 in 2019, while software developers earned $114,440 per year. Students considering these positions must earn a bachelor' s degree in a related field.

Fortunately, Virginia offers a wealth of colleges that prepare students for these lucrative and rewarding careers. We ranked the 10 best online colleges in Virginia. Read on to learn about each school' s programs and admission requirements.

Top 10 Online Colleges in Virginia

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#1 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
#2 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
#3 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
#4 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
#5 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#6 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
#7 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
#8 Averett University Danville, VA
#9 Radford University Radford, VA
#10 Hampton University Hampton, VA
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Study in Virginia?

Virginia boasts a diverse selection of higher education institutions, from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges, as well as some of the oldest and most historic schools in the nation.

Virginia boasts a diverse selection of higher education institutions, from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges, as well as some of the oldest and most historic schools in the nation.

The state also ranked first in CNBC' s 2019 America' s Top States for Business thanks to high educational levels in the state' s workforce and a high concentration of STEM workers. Twenty-two companies in Virginia made the 2020 Fortune 500 list, which ranks the largest corporations in the U.S. by revenue.

Students and graduates will also find a stimulating cultural environment in addition to a thriving business landscape. The state is home to more than 100 historical societies, museums, and theaters. Students can also experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and an active music and entertainment scene.

The cost to live in Virginia varies dramatically from city to city. Two examples include Richmond, which costs about 5% less than the national average, and Arlington, which costs close to 56% more.

Top Degree Programs in Virginia

Best Online Master' s in Psychology Programs Best Online Master' s in Counseling Programs Best Online Master' s in Computer Science Programs

Virginia Employment Outlook

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) projects a job growth rate of 6.6% between 2018 and 2028, equaling approximately 275,920 new jobs in the state. Industries experiencing the strongest growth include business, finance, computer technology, and healthcare.

Growing occupations in these sectors include software developer, counselor, and social worker. Health technologists and technicians should also experience increasing demand, with the VEC projecting the addition of 17,700 positions in these professions between 2018 and 2028.

According to the BLS, software developers in Virginia earned an average annual salary of $114,400 in 2019, over twice the average annual wage of $56,740 across all occupations in the state.

To qualify for these lucrative roles, job-seekers must hold a bachelor' s degree in a related field. Some positions, such as clinical social worker, require a master' s. Below, explore our ranking of the best online colleges in Virginia to find a school that can help you further your educational and professional goals.

Popular Career Paths in Virginia

Political Science Business Administration Healthcare Administration Public Policy History Sports Medicine Philosophy Mechanical Engineering Organizational Psychology

Best Accredited Online Colleges in Virginia

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University of Virginia View School Profile Charlottesville, VA

Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia now serves nearly 24,000 students each year across more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. To help expand its reach, the university offers fully online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in subjects such as civil and environmental engineering, data science, educational administration and supervision, and health sciences management.

Online learners at UVA can also develop specific professional skills through certificate programs in cybersecurity, project management, and digital marketing. An additional 180 individual courses across a variety of disciplines are available online to on- and off-campus students.

UVA is a highly selective institution. Roughly 90% of incoming first-year students graduated within the top 10% of their high school class. Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take the ACT or SAT. Graduate admission requirements vary, but most programs require a bachelor's and results from the GRE or GMAT. UVA has committed to meeting the demonstrated financial need of its admitted students.

James Madison University View School Profile Harrisonburg, VA

James Madison University awards online master's degrees and graduate certificates in fields like educational technology, information security, mathematics, and speech and language pathology. The university also hosts an online bachelor's degree completion program for adult learners and an RN-to-BSN program for currently licensed nurses.

Online learners at JMU enjoy access to the same support services available to on-campus students. Academic advisors help online undergraduates design an individualized course of study, while career counselors remotely help students explore possible career paths, providing access to assessments and internships. The university also provides web-based writing assistance and an online library of tutorials.

To apply to one of the university's online bachelor's programs, you typically must have an associate degree or at least 30 transferable college-level credits. Graduate applicants must share college transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement. While not required, JMU recommends that prospective graduate students also submit GRE scores.

Regent University View School Profile Virginia Beach, VA

Regent University -- a Christian institution located in Virginia Beach -- provides working professionals and other busy students the flexibility they need to continue their education. In addition to offering dozens of fully online degrees in subjects like communication, business analytics, and health information systems administration, the university also allows online learners to choose between accelerated eight-week classes and 15-week courses.

Regent also boasts a generous transfer policy. Incoming undergraduates can apply up to 90 credits from another accredited college or university toward their bachelor's degree. Students can also receive credit for military service, professional training/certification, and community service activities. To receive credit for prior coursework, you must have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Applying to an undergraduate program requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, and prospective master's students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. However, Regent does not require applicants to submit standardized test results.

George Mason University View School Profile Fairfax, VA

Roughly 37,000 students from around the world study at George Mason University each year. Along with the programs available at its campus just outside of Washington, D.C., the university offers 50 online degrees and certificates in areas such as computer game design, emergency management and homeland security, health informatics, and social work. Additional programs in teaching and nursing are also available in a hybrid format.

Online courses at Mason feature the same faculty, assignments, and rigor as those available on campus. While online students can complete the majority of their coursework from home and on their own schedule, some class sessions -- such as exams or labs -- may require a brief visit to campus or a proctored testing location.

When reviewing undergraduate applications, the admissions office looks at a student's high school GPA, ACT or SAT scores, and letters of recommendation. While optional, Mason also strongly encourages undergraduate applicants to submit a personal statement. Graduate programs typically require a bachelor's and results from an exam like the GRE or GMAT.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

Through more than 600 online and residential programs of study, Liberty University works to train "Champions of Christ." Online students at the university can choose to earn associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, equipping themselves with the skills and knowledge needed for careers in fields like aviation, criminal justice, information technology, and sports management.

All online classes at Liberty are delivered in an asynchronous format and run for eight weeks. Students can also enroll in a program at any one of eight start dates throughout the year. In addition, to further increase accessibility, the university does not require undergraduate applicants to take the ACT or SAT.

Committed to providing an affordable college experience, Liberty has frozen the tuition levels of its online bachelor's programs for the past four years. The university also offers discounted tuition to military service members and veterans, as well as scholarships for first responders and members of certain churches.

Virginia Commonwealth University View School Profile Richmond, VA

Students at Virginia Commonwealth University can pursue fully online and asynchronous degrees in addiction studies, special education, homeland security and emergency preparedness, and mechanical and nuclear engineering. The university's master of business and administration and doctor of nursing practice programs are also offered to distance learners, although these tracks require synchronous participation in class sessions.

All first-year applicants must submit high school or GED transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and a personal essay. VCU waives its ACT or SAT requirement for high school students who maintained a GPA of 3.3 or higher, along with undergraduate applicants over the age of 22. Prospective graduate students generally need a bachelor's degree, three letters of reference, and satisfactory scores on the GRE or GMAT.

All admitted students receive automatic consideration for a variety of merit- and need-based awards, including a Presidential Scholarship worth up to $16,000 each year. The university also provides funding specifically to students transferring from the Virginia Community College System.

Old Dominion University View School Profile Norfolk, VA

By pursuing a degree or certificate through ODUOnline, students at Old Dominion University enjoy the freedom to study at their convenience. Online programs of study include civil engineering technology, fashion merchandising, medical laboratory science, and risk management and insurance. Distance learners can also choose to earn all of their credits at ODU or enroll in one of the university's many degree completion programs.

Enrollment coordinators work with all incoming online students, helping them select a program and evaluate transfer credits. Once admitted, students are paired with a dedicated advisor who provides coaching and support through graduation; these workers also help connect students with additional career and accessibility services.

Traditional undergraduate applicants need only a high school diploma or GED certificate, though bachelor's degree completion programs require at least 45 credits from another accredited college or university. Graduate admission standards vary, though most require a bachelor's, letters of recommendation, exam scores, and a writing sample.

Averett University View School Profile Danville, VA

At Averett University, students can earn online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in fields like applied data analytics, business administration, education, and sociology and criminal justice. The university also offers an online independent study program for undergraduates, allowing adult learners to create a customized learning experience that suits their academic interests and professional aspirations.

Online coursework at Averett is asynchronous, though students must submit assignments and interact with their classmates and instructors on a weekly basis. While most online classes rely on research papers and projects to assess learning, students can also take exams directly through the university's web-based classroom management system when required.

Associate programs require applicants to hold a minimum 2.0 high school GPA. To earn a bachelor's at Averett, you generally need at least 45 transferable credits from another accredited institution. Master's applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Radford University View School Profile Radford, VA

As a comprehensive public university, Radford University provides online and in-person educational opportunities to close to 12,000 students every year. Fully online programs of study include criminal justice, educational leadership, emergency services, and public health. The university also hosts several hybrid programs, allowing students to combine the flexibility of learning at a distance with the personal attention offered in a traditional classroom setting.

Students who are not ready to commit to enrolling in a full graduate degree program can instead choose to pursue one of the university's nine fully online graduate certificates. These programs give students the opportunity to develop and signal expertise in areas like crime analysis and design thinking, while saving time and money. Students who elect to continue their education can then easily transfer their credits into a master's or doctoral program at Radford.

First-year applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective undergraduates with a high school GPA lower than 3.0 must also submit ACT or SAT scores. Graduate admission requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.

Hampton University View School Profile Hampton, VA

At Hampton University -- a historically black institution founded in 1868 -- students can earn associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees completely online. Fully asynchronous coursework in subjects like aviation management, information assurance, nursing, and systems organization means that you can study whenever and wherever you choose.

To help working professionals and full-time caregivers deal with the added stress of assignments and exams, HU provides free, remote access to counseling services. In addition to trained staff, peer counselors are available to help their fellow online students address academic and emotional challenges.

All undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective first-year students who graduated in the top 10% of their class or maintained a minimum GPA of 3.3 can decide whether to submit ACT or SAT scores. All graduate applicants must take the GRE, GMAT, or MCAT.

Shenandoah University View School Profile Winchester, VA

Combining liberal arts education with specialized career training, Shenandoah University offers online degrees in fields like nursing, pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine, and occupational therapy. Through its accelerated distance programs, the university also enables students to earn both a bachelor's and master's in public health or performing arts leadership in five years.

Shenandoah's online RN-to-BSN program specifically caters to registered nurses looking to develop new skills or take on leadership roles. The program awards advanced placement to incoming students with a diploma or associate degree in nursing, allowing them to earn their bachelor's in just two years of additional study.

While admission requirements vary across master's and doctoral programs, all graduate applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Specific programs may also require up to three letters of recommendation, entrance exam results, and documentation of prior experience in a clinical setting.

Virginia University of Lynchburg View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

Virginia University of Lynchburg was originally founded in 1886 by members of the Virginia Baptist State Convention. To better serve students who cannot travel to its main campus, the university began offering fully online bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration, religious studies, and organizational management. Online learners can also pursue an associate degree in liberal arts and sciences, helping them to qualify for entry-level roles or meet the general education requirements of a four-year program.

First-year applicants typically must have a high school GPA of at least 2.0 or a GED score of at least 530. Transfer students must also hold a GPA of 2.0 or higher to receive credit for their prior college-level study. The university does not require incoming students to take the ACT or SAT.

While online learners at VUL can apply for various forms of state and federal financial aid, the university does not currently offer institutional scholarships or grants.

Mary Baldwin College View School Profile Staunton, VA

In 1977, Mary Baldwin University became the first institution of higher education in Virginia to create programs specifically for working professionals. Today, the university continues this tradition through more than 30 fully online programs in fields of study like applied behavior analysis, health informatics and information management, marketing and communication, and social work.

MBU also offers a variety of scholarships specifically for online learners. For example, the university's Loyalty Fund Scholarship provides aid to currently enrolled online undergraduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. First responders, members of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and military veterans and their families may also qualify for awards worth up to $1,500 per year to support their online education.

To apply to a bachelor's program at MBU, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and submit ACT or SAT scores. Graduate admission requires a bachelor's degree and satisfactory scores on an entrance exam like the GRE or GMAT.

Virginia Wesleyan College View School Profile Norfolk, VA

Founded in 1961, Virginia Wesleyan University enrolls roughly 1,600 students each year in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and distance education programs. Online undergraduates at VWU can major in subjects like business, criminal justice, social science, and sustainability management. The university also offers a fully online master of business administration that can be earned in 12 months.

Online coursework is delivered asynchronously in eight-week sessions, and classes begin six times per year. VWU allows incoming undergraduates to apply up to 96 credits toward a bachelor's, and prospective graduate students can transfer as many as 12 credits into the school's online MBA program.

Enrolling in a bachelor's program requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. While the university encourages undergraduate applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores, individuals who have not taken these exams may still be admitted based on an evaluation of their high school coursework. MBA applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Norfolk State University View School Profile Norfolk, VA

Established in 1935, Norfolk State University is a historically black institution that enrolls roughly 5,300 students each year. NSU offers 13 fully online programs, including bachelor's degrees in psychology and health services management and master's degrees in cybersecurity and urban education.

NSU distance learners have access to a suite of learning tools and services, including the Blackboard mobile app, which they can use to view course content and participate in classes. Students can take a Blackboard orientation class to familiarize themselves with the app's features and receive remote academic support through the school's Office of Extended Learning.

Undergraduate applicants must submit academic transcripts, SAT or ACT test scores (for applicants under the age of 21), and a recommendation letter. Transfer students must possess a minimum collegiate GPA of 2.0. Graduate admission requirements vary by program.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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