#1 University of Virginia
At the University of Virginia (UVA), a public institution, future students can choose from several online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Popular online master’s degrees at UVA include business analytics, education in administration and supervision, and data science. Prospective students can expect online master’s programs to be 30-33 credit hours, lasting 1-2 years, with a full class schedule. The acceptance rate at UVA is 21%, with a 94% graduation rate.
UVA facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning on the learning management system Canvas. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. Online students at UVA may be eligible for financial aid, such as employer-based tuition assistance, loans, scholarships, and veterans’ benefits. UVA’s online student resources include advising, mental health assistance, and a career center. In addition to online degree programs, students have access to certificates, non-credit programs, open educational resources, and tuition courses.
#2 George Mason University
George Mason University (GMU) is a public research university headquartered in Fairfax, VA. Students can take online courses at GMU 100% online or in a hybrid format that includes face-to-face meetings on campus. Courses may have synchronous or asynchronous formats. Overall, there are more than 50 online degree programs that are fully or partially remote, which fall under areas of study such as business management, social science, math, and engineering. More specifically, there are 100% online programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a Master of Arts in Economics. Several advanced options meet nursing requirements, like the Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner or the Nursing RN to BSN and Co-enrollment Programs.
Blackboard is the primary LMS for online students at GMU. The school also offers internship placement during the course of any given program, allowing online students to gain hands-on experience while they study. Tutoring and counseling services are also available.
#3 James Madison University
James Madison University (JMU) is a public university with online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Some of the online bachelor’s degrees at JMU include inclusive early childhood education, elementary education, and RN to BSN. All of JMU’s online bachelor’s degrees require 120 credit hours, which means it can take full-time students four years to complete their program. The university’s acceptance rate is 86%, with an 84% graduation rate.
At JMU, online students complete courses delivered asynchronously and synchronously on the learning management system Canvas. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Online students may be eligible for loans, grants, and scholarships. JMU’s online student resources include tutoring, a writing center, peer-assisted study sessions, veterans services, counseling, and career and academic planning. JMU offers an Adult Degree Program (ADP), which is an online undergraduate degree completion program allowing adult learners to create a personalized interdisciplinary concentration or study area to meet their educational and career goals.
#4 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is a public institution that offers online master’s programs. Some of the online master’s degree programs available at Virginia Tech include information technology, mechanical engineering, and public administration. Virginia Tech’s online master’s degree program can be 30 credit hours or more, so full-time students may spend two years or more finishing them. The university’s acceptance rate is 56%, with an 85% graduation rate.
Virginia Tech’s online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously on Canvas. The university has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. Online graduate students may be eligible for financial aid, such as loans, scholarships, and fellowships. Virginia Tech provides online students with resources like an online library, academic advising, disability services, and a bookstore. Virginia Tech is a participant of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which ensures that all distance education programs help students achieve their academic goals.
#5 William & Mary School of Education
At the College of William and Mary (W&M), a public university, prospective students can pursue several online master’s degrees. Popular online master’s degrees at W&M include business administration, business analytics, and counseling. These online programs can be 32-49 credit hours, lasting 15 months up to two years to complete. The college accepts 37% of applicants, with 91% graduating.
W&M’s online students complete coursework in asynchronous and synchronous formats on Blackboard. The college’s student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. Financial aid for online students includes scholarships, loans, tuition reimbursement, and veterans benefits. Online student resources at W&M include an online library, a writing resources center, academic advising, a bookstore, career and professional development, counseling, tutoring, financial aid, and IT support. For students interested in getting an MBA, the college has one of the best online MBA programs, delivering a quality distance education.
#6 Averett University
Averett University is a private, nonprofit, Baptist university with several online degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Examples of online bachelor’s degrees include business administration, criminal justice, and sociology. At a minimum, prospective students can expect to spend 120 credit hours completing an undergraduate degree, which can take four years. Averett’s acceptance rate is 48%, with a graduation rate of 47%.
Averett facilitates asynchronous online learning on Canvas. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. Online students may be eligible for military financial aid benefits, scholarships, loans, and grants. Online student support at Averett includes tutoring, an online library, career development, IT help, and a bookstore. At Averett, busy professionals can complete their degrees while handling career and family obligations.
#7 Shenandoah University
Shenandoah University (SU) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church that offers online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. The university provides a Safe Zone for LGBT students. SU’s most popular online master’s degree programs include business administration, nurse midwifery, and performing arts leadership & management. These online master’s programs can range from 23-48 credit hours, so full-time students can spend two or more years completing their degree. The university accepts 74% of applicants, with 57% graduating.
At SU, online students complete coursework delivered asynchronously and synchronously on the learning management system Canvas. SU’s student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. Online students may be able to get scholarships, tuition discounts, and loans to support their education. Online student services at SU include a bookstore, academic advising, career services, counseling, a writing center, and financial aid. If online students want to further their nursing careers, SU offers several nursing programs across varying degree levels and specializations.
#8 Mary Baldwin University
Mary Baldwin University (MBU) is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church that offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs. Some of the online bachelor’s programs include business, healthcare administration, and nursing. The online undergraduate programs are 120 credit hours, so full-time students can spend four years completing these programs. MBU’s acceptance rate is 100%, with a 37% graduation rate.
MBU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning on Canvas. The student-to-faculty ratio at MBU is 58%. Potential financial aid opportunities for online students include no or low-interest payment plans, loans, employer tuition assistance, and military benefits. Online student resources at MBU include an online library, accessibility services, academic resources, counseling, and IT help. The university offers seven-week courses that give students the flexibility to help them achieve their academic goals.
#9 Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University (ODU) is a public research institution situated in Norfolk, VA. ODUGlobal, as their online department is known, features over 120 online academic offerings. Degrees can be found from the certificate level up to the doctorate level, with several certificate, endorsement, and minor options as well. For students interested in an undergraduate program, ODU offers bachelor's of arts and science degrees in subjects such as fashion merchandising, geography, and political science. Master's degrees feature more advanced areas of study, such as engineering and several areas of nursing, like the Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
ODU uses Canvas as the school's online LMS. Along with LMS support, students can take advantage of complimentary software (LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Office 365, G Suite for Education, etc.), 24/7 technical support, and career development services.
#10 Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public institution offering online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Examples of online bachelor’s degrees at VCU include accounting, marketing, and RN to BSN. Online undergraduate degrees are typically 60-120 credit hours, which can take 2-4 years to complete. VCU accepts 93% of applicants, with 69% graduating.
At VCU, online students complete courses available in asynchronous and synchronous formats on Canvas. VCU’s student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. Financial aid at VCU includes scholarships, grants, and loans for online students. VCU offers nationally ranked online programs, a wide variety of online courses to choose from, and a student-centered online learning experience. Online students can access online libraries, advising, a bookstore, a writing center, financial aid, disability services, military student services, career services, counseling, and IT support.
#11 Liberty University
Liberty University (LU) is a private, Christian university with its main campus in Lynchburg, VA. LU's curricula place a heavy emphasis on Christ-based learning with general education requirements that feature studies in Christianity. It offers more than 600 online programs, ranging from dual enrollment programs for high school students up to doctoral degrees, and every level in between. For bachelor's degrees, students can explore criminal justice, business administration, and psychology, among dozens of other subjects. In order to get an idea of their master's degree offerings, here are three examples: a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, a Master of Public Health, and a Master’s in Education.
Classes are generally eight weeks long and students can participate in them through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). There are no set login times, allowing students to complete classwork on their own time. Students have access to a variety of academic support services such as digital libraries, IT help, a writing center, tutoring, and wellness resources. Importantly, LU is not an LGBT-friendly school. According to its 2022-2023 Student Code, "statements and behaviors that are associated with LGBT lifestyle are prohibited."
#12 Radford University
Prospective students can discover online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels at Radford University (RU), a public institution. Popular online bachelor’s degrees at RU include healthcare administration, health sciences, and RN to BSN. An online bachelor’s at RU is 120 credit hours, lasting at least four years. The acceptance rate is RU is 95%, with a 63% graduation rate.
At RU, online students complete courses available in asynchronous formats on D2L Brightspace. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Online students may be eligible for financial aid opportunities like loans, grants, and scholarships. Online student support services include counseling, disability services, financial aid, career and talent development, IT help, a writing center, and an online library. RU offers more than 30 online degree options and expansive opportunities for students looking to advance their nursing careers.
#13 Strayer University
Strayer University is a private, for-profit institution offering online degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Popular online bachelor’s degree programs include accounting, business administration, and criminal justice. Online undergraduate degrees range from 90-180 credit hours, which can take full-time students 2-4 years to complete. The university’s acceptance rate is 100%, with a graduation rate of 10%.
Strayer uses the learning management system Blackboard to deliver coursework asynchronously and synchronously. Strayer’s student-to-faculty ratio is 27:1. Financial aid for online students may include scholarships and loans. The university provides online students with a range of resources, such as 24/7 virtual support, tutoring, coaching, an online library, financial aid assistance, a bookstore, tech support, and a writing center. Strayer’s online programs offer a comfortable course load, a career-crafted curriculum, and distinguished teaching faculty to ensure online students succeed.
#14 Hampton University
Hampton University (Hampton U) is a private, nonprofit, and historically black college and university (HBCU) offering online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Some of the online bachelor’s degrees at this university include business management, general studies, and nursing. To obtain a bachelor’s degree, online students must complete 120 credit hours, which can take four years. The acceptance rate at Hampton U is 80%, with a 57% graduation rate.
At Hampton U, online students complete courses available asynchronously and synchronously on Blackboard. The student-to-faculty ratio at Hampton U is 13:1. Online students can access an online library, career services, advising, financial aid, IT support, and disability services. Hampton U gives students the flexibility to complete online degrees on their own time, as well as the opportunity to build on their education with certifications.
#15 Regent University Online
Regent University Online (RU) is a private, Christian institution in Virginia Beach, VA. Their online programs feature over 150 subjects, such as cybersecurity, healthcare, government, and ministry. As a religious university, Christian studies are emphasized as the framework for many degrees, including its Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies – Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, among others. Associate, bachelor's, master's, certificates, and doctoral programs are available in an array of study areas.
Coursework is delivered through Canvas during eight-week course sessions. Students who are accepted into an online program at RU will have access to academic advisors, success coaches, online writing labs, IT support and help desk, online chapel services, and military resources advisors.
#16 ECPI University Online
ECPI University Online (ECPI) is a private, for-profit that has online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. The university’s featured online bachelor’s programs include mechanical engineering technology, cybersecurity, and healthcare administration. ECPI’s online undergraduate degrees can be between 70-124 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 2.5 years for some full-time students. ECPI’s acceptance rate is 82%, with a graduation rate of 54%.
At ECPI, online students complete courses asynchronously and synchronously on Canvas. ECPI’s student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. Financial assistance at ECPI includes scholarships, veterans and military benefits, and an employer partnership program. The university’s online student support includes career services, military and veterans services, and an online library. ECPI gives online students the opportunity to graduate faster compared to other colleges and universities.
#17 Bluefield College
Bluefield University (BU) is a private, Christian college located in its namesake city on the western side of Virginia. There are 16 online degree programs to choose from, most of which are at the bachelor's level. Examples include a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, and a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. Additionally, there are advanced-level degrees, such as a Master of Arts in Education - Curriculum and Instruction and a Master of Science in Nursing. All online courses last eight weeks and are delivered through the Canvas LMS. There is an abundance of accessible resources for online students, including academic coaching, disability services, math and writing labs, testing services, and tutoring. Plus, each student receives a personal success coach to assist them with organizing their schedules and setting academic goals.
#18 American National University
At American National University (ANU) — a private, for-profit institution — future students can pursue several online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Some of the online undergraduate degrees offered at ANU include business administration, cybersecurity, and network administration. Online undergraduate degree programs range from 96-180 credit hours, which can take 2-4 years to finish these degrees. The acceptance rate is 100%, with a 33% graduation rate.
ANU’s online students complete courses asynchronously and synchronously through the learning management system, Canvas. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 40:1. Online students at ANU may be eligible for financial aid like grants, loans, scholarships, and employer tuition assistance programs. Online students can access career services, financial aid, an online library, disability services, and tutoring. ANU offers a holistic educational experience for distance learners by offering multiple course delivery options and several resources they can utilize to support their education.
#19 University of Management and Technology
The University of Management and Technology (UMT) is a private, for-profit institution offering online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Popular online bachelor’s degree programs at UMT include business administration, criminal justice, and international management. Online bachelor’s degrees are typically 120 credit hours, requiring about four years for full-time students to obtain a degree. The acceptance rate at UMT is 100%, with a 58% graduation rate.
UMT facilitates online learning on a learning management system. The student-to-faculty ratio is 36:1. Potential financial aid opportunities at UMT include scholarships, a textbook loan program, GI Bill, and additional veterans benefits. Online students can access resources like enrollment advising and military services. Overall, UMT is known for providing online programs designed for working professionals, giving them the flexibility to finish their degrees.
#20 Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public historically black university offering an online that offers online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of the online undergraduate degree programs at NSU include information management, psychology, and health services management. Typically, online bachelor’s degrees require 120 credit hours, which can last four years with a full class schedule. The acceptance rate at NSU is 89%, with a 41% graduation rate.
NSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning on the learning management system Blackboard. NSU’s student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. The university offers financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. NSU’s online programs are affordable and student-focused. Students have experienced teaching faculty and are exposed to diverse perspectives. Through low-cost digital course tools, they can obtain their degree 100% online.
Higher Education in Virginia
The state is home to 107 colleges, universities, and technical institutes. Together, these schools served more than 345,000 online students in the 2021-22 school year.
Students in Virginia can choose from 16 public state universities, 38 private colleges, and 16 for-profit universities to earn their bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. There are also 37 two-year colleges in the state for students who want to earn an associate degree, a certificate, or a diploma.
There are five historically Black colleges and universities in Virginia. The Virginia University of Lynchburg, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University all have roots in providing accessible education for Black college students.
Interested in earning your degree online from colleges in another state? See our rankings of the best online colleges by state.
Online Colleges in Virginia
Students interested in earning their degree from an online college in Virginia can choose from programs in nearly every field of study. Some of the most popular ones include business administration, criminal justice, information technology, cybersecurity, nursing, and social work.
Online colleges in Virginia offer programs at every degree level, including doctorates and certificates. When choosing an online program, there are a few basic things to consider.
The first is what type of degree and program is the best fit. Students with a high school diploma or GED can earn a two-year associate degree or a bachelor's degree, which usually takes four years. Some colleges offer accelerated programs where students can fast-track their degrees and finish in less time.
Students with a bachelor's degree can enroll in an online master's or doctoral program. Master's degrees usually take one to two years to complete, while the length of doctorates depends on the program.
The second thing to consider is program format. While most online degrees can be completed fully online, some students might prefer a hybrid program with some online courses and some in-person components.
Synchronous classes mean students need to log in at a certain time to meet with their class or participate in group discussions.
Students should also be aware of admissions requirements. To apply for an associate or bachelor's degree, students will need a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges require a minimum GPA or SAT/ACT test scores, although these requirements are less common for online schools and for adult students.
Popular Online Degree Programs in Virginia
The most popular online degrees tend to be in high-demand fields, such as healthcare, which help students gain licensure or degrees in versatile fields, such as business and psychology. Online learners are often working adults pursuing a degree to advance their career in their current industry, making degrees such as education also popular.
Cost of Online Colleges in Virginia
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows colleges in Virginia tend to be more expensive than the national average.
However, while private universities are often the most expensive colleges for students, this data also shows Virginia's private universities are cheaper on average.
Average tuition and fees for students in Virginia ranges from around $5,000 per year to $23,000.
Some colleges in Virginia charge as low as $10,000 per year for online students, while others cost more than $20,000.
The lowest-cost option is usually to attend publicly funded schools, where Virginia students will qualify for in-state tuition.
Many students save money by going to public community colleges in Virginia before transferring to a university in order to finish the last two years of their bachelor's degree. Some private colleges also charge less than the average for tuition and fees, especially for online degrees.
Financial Aid for Students in Virginia
It's extremely difficult to know how much college will cost until you apply for financial aid. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA, is one of the most important parts of applying for college.
The FAFSA acts as an application to the two main types of financial aid:
Our guide to student loans can help students borrow responsibly to keep their debt low.
Job Outlook for Virginia College Graduates
Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Virginia's top industries are professional services, finance, real estate, and government enterprises.
Professional and business services made up nearly 20% of the state's GDP in 2021 and is the second largest industry by employment, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission.
Professional and business services is a massive sector that includes companies in consulting, marketing, legal services, accounting, architecture, engineering, management, scientific research, and administrative and support services.
Finance, insurance, and real estate made up another 19% of the state's GDP, and government enterprises as a whole brought in nearly 18% of the state's revenue in 2021.
While these industries may bring in the most money, the largest sectors by employment are in healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing.
The biggest employers in Virginia include the U.S. Department of Defense, Walmart, Fairfax County Public Schools, Sentara Healthcare, and military ship building company Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Over the next decade, the state is expected to add the most jobs in food preparation and service, transportation, computers and mathematical occupations, business and finance, healthcare, and education.
FAQs About Online Colleges in Virginia
How Many Colleges Are in Virginia?
Virginia has 107 colleges, including 70 four-year universities and 37 community and technical colleges.
What Are the Best Colleges in Virginia?
While most rankings of the best colleges in Virginia focus on prestigious schools that tend to serve wealthier students, figuring out what college is the best fit for each student's individual goals and needs is more complicated than that. For some students, top grades and perfect applications will get them into those prestigious schools. However, many other colleges offer a high-quality education at a lower price point and are more accessible to students.
Choosing the best college for your needs means looking at what programs it offers, where its graduates work after their degree, how much it costs, how much financial aid the school has available, and whether or not that school can help you meet your personal and professional goals.
How Many People Have a Bachelor's Degree in Virginia?
An estimated 1.4 million adults over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree in Virginia, according to census data from the American Community Survey. That's about 24% of adults aged 25 and up in the state.
How Likely Are You To Get a Job With a Virginia College Degree?
Census data from the American Community Survey shows that as education level goes up, unemployment rates go down. Virginians with an associate degree are more likely to have a job compared to high school graduates. Those with a bachelor's degree or higher have the lowest unemployment rates.
However, that doesn't mean that earning a degree will automatically result in a job. Some majors have higher employment rates after graduation than others. Earning a degree in a high-need field can help students ensure they will get a job after college.
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