14 Best Online Colleges in Virginia

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Long renowned for its history of excellent educational institutions, Virginia is a great choice for the student looking for a solid online program.

Best Online Colleges in Virginia Badge

Virginia’s tradition of great education passes naturally to the state’s wonderful selection of 100% online programs of study. Many prestigious schools including George Mason, James Madison, and even Virginia Tech all boast a variety of online programs, from the entirely online to hybrid programs, with credit applying to both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

On the whole, Virginia is ranked fourth in graduation rates in the nation, with 49.1% of Virginia students completing their degrees within 4 years, according to 2013 data. In 2012, CollegeMeasures.org issued a report that found that after graduation, 36% of those who held bachelor’s degrees were in full-time employment, with another 13% pursuing higher degree programs in other Virginia schools. The same report went on to say that students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree earn 67% more on average than comparable professionals in the state who are only high school graduates.

Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Virginia

Rank School Location
1 University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
2 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
3 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
4 Hampton University Hampton, VA
5 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
6 Lynchburg College Lynchburg, VA
7 Longwood University Farmville, VA
8 Marymount University Arlington, VA
9 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
10 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

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What Are the Best Online Colleges in Virginia?

Our Methodology:

In the following section, you will find our rankings of what we believe to be the best four-year online programs in Virginia. Our profiles take a look at the way these schools approach their online programs, and explore how they serve their distance education students. As you review these best online schools in Virginia, consider what they have to offer, the programs of study that they specialize in, and whether one of them may be the perfect school for you to get your online degree from.

Our ranking system is based upon three standard factors: institutional excellence, student satisfaction, and return on investment, otherwise known as student success.

The first of these, institutional excellence is measured across a variety of data points, including the school’s graduation rate, the school reputation, entering test scores of students, student-faculty ratios, and the size of endowment.

Second, student satisfaction considers the weight of reviews from actual students from across a variety of publications and websites.

Finally, return on investment is considered by measuring tuition costs, financial aid availability, average debt after graduation, and expected salaries after graduation. This data comes from the National Center of Education Statistics at their IPEDS database, and also from sources including Payscale, US News & World Report, and actual college websites.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Virginia-Main Campus
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, is a beloved Virginia educational institution, and for good reason. It was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Since then, the school has consistently provided excellent education to many students in Virginia, and today it expands that opportunity to distance education students with the opportunity to earn recognized degrees via online programs. Online students at the University of Virginia can pursue bachelors programs in health sciences management or in interdisciplinary studies. Both of these programs accept transfer students, who will enter the program as Juniors and must finish at least 60 credit hours. An on-campus orientation is required, but otherwise these programs can be done entirely online.

    Program Features

    UVAs goal has always been to deliver an excellent experience to every students, both in the classroom or via one of their online programs.

    Accounting IT Public Administration HR Management Project Management Health Sciences

    Students in online courses have a collaborative environment in which instructor interaction, and interaction with other online students from across the country and the world, is encouraged and required. The diversity of UVAs online student body adds to the rich experience of online learning, as many different experiences are voiced and shared with each other during the course of the program.

    Notables

    Students at UVA can also earn undergraduate or graduate certificates in a wide variety of disciplines, including IT, accounting, public administration, human resource management, project management, health sciences, and more. The coursework for these certificates is done wholly online, or in hybrid formats, either synchronously or asynchronously. The course formats and your educational experience as an online UVA student is up to you.

  2. James Madison University
    Location

    Harrisonburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1908, James Madison University is consistently ranked among the best Colleges in the south, and is ranked in the top ten southern universities of 2017. While its 721 acre campus and enrollment of nearly 20,000 students are often cited among its notable traits, the online student will be more impressed by the affordable tuition rates of around $10,000 for in-state and $25,00 for out-of state students.

    Program Features

    James Madison University offers an Adult Degree Program which takes place entirely online, and is a customizable program intended to help adult students meet career goals by crafting their own entirely online program ending in a Bachelors degree. The Adult Degree Program also allows the students to document experiential learning, receiving credit for your past experience and work history. Via online course, prior experience, CLEP exams, and various independent study classes, you will be able to finish your degree quickly, without sacrificing your work, family or other obligations.

    Featured online programs include

    Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate Adult Degree Program N. To B.S.N. Higher Education Assessment Specialist Certificate K-12 Gifted Education Endorsement Certificate Computer Science: Information Security, M.S. Speech and Language Pathology, M.S.

    Notables

    James Madison Universitys courses span from seven schools and colleges serving students of any interest, including the College of Education, College of Business, College of Integrated Science and Technology, and even graduate studies. While James Madison Universitys all online Adult Degree Program isnt for everyone, if you are a working adult looking to get your degree without disrupting your work or family life, this program allows you to customize your education experience, use your own real life and work experience as a part of your educational credits, and can help you to finish your degree quickly and easily.

  3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    When it comes to Virginias educational institutions, few are more iconic than Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University better known as Virginia Tech. Virginia Techs Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning, or IDDL for short, provides exceptional distance education to a wide variety of students under the VT umbrella. Through these online educational efforts, Virginia Tech is expanding its campus to communities worldwide, providing an open environment for students learning anytime, anywhere, applying their efforts to a wide variety of programs.

    Program Features

    Accounting for around 12,000 enrollment a year, offering 486 courses and 21 graduate degree programs, certificates, and various licensures.

    Business Information Systems Computer Engineering Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering Electrical Engineering Computer Engineering Ocean Engineering Systems Engineering

    Virginia Tech is a participant in the Electronic Campus of Virginia, where he delivers distance degree programs alongside other Virginia colleges and universities. Unsurprisingly, Virginia Techs online programs have a focus on engineering via the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program along with the Virginia Consortium of Engineering and Science Universities. VT is also a member of the Southern Region Electronic Campus, as well as the Natural Resources Distance Learning Consortium. Suffice to say that an online student at Virginia Tech has no shortage of courses to pursue with excellent resources behind them.

    Notables

    Among Virginia Techs other online certificate programs are certificates in business information systems, computer engineering, communication, natural resource, decision support systems, software development, and networking. VT also offers several online Masters degree programs in instructional technology, political science, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical or computer engineering, ocean engineering, systems engineering, health promotion, and more. For the engineering student seeking certification, licensure, or a graduate degree, Virginia Tech is an excellent choice for the online or distance education student.

  4. Hampton University
    Location

    Hampton, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A historically black college, Hampton Universitys history dates back to the Civil War when the school was founded with the intention of providing education to recently freed slaves. Today its online course options span a wide range of options, including religious studies programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Consistently ranked among the highest regarded historically black institutions in the country, Hampton University is an excellent choice for online students from anywhere in the nation particularly those who dont live in Virginia. Out of state students at Hampton pay the same tuition as Virginia residents, but there are some restrictions, so out of state students should make sure they are eligible to apply on their website.

    Program Features

    For students whose education was interrupted by personal events, family emergencies, financial reasons, or another reason beyond your control, who have been out of school for at least five years, Hampton University offers generous reentry scholarship programs to help these students come back and finish their degree programs, including the online programs.

    Religious Studies Business Management Counseling Entrepreneurship Paralegal Studies Human Resource Management

    Hampton Universitys Online program gives students the chance to earn an entire undergraduate degree remotely, and its online degree offerings have consistently grown over the years to now encompass eight bachelors programs for students to pick from. Hampton also offers online certificates in entrepreneurship, paralegal studies, and human resource management, and the credits associated with these certifications can transfer directly into a degree program. In addition, Hampton offers many non-credit personal or career development courses.

    Notables

    For those interested in what Hampton University has to offer, note that Hamptons programs are only available to students who live in certain states check the website for details, but if you live in one of the states Hampton University provides distance education to, the benefits of choosing Hampton are certainly formidable, making it a prime choice for those who are eligible.

  5. George Mason University
    Location

    Fairfax, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The largest public research university in Virginia, George Mason University is located near the nations capitol and is known for its law, business, computer science, and creative writing programs. In fact, George Mason University boasts two recent recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics, making it an excellent and appealing choice for the economics, law, or business student. Here, online students pursue over 50 completely online and hybrid educational programs, with hybrid programs taking place over 51% online. Online degree and certification programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    Program Features

    Many of the resources enjoyed by George Masons on-campus students are also available to online students, including an online library, an online writing center, and a fully developed Mason Online Team supporting the over 33,000 students of the university. Offering programs in a wide variety of disciplines from finances to technology to counseling, George Masons online programs are some of the most fully developed we have seen.

    Featured online programs include:

    Business Computer Science Creative Writing Law

    Notables

    As students pursue undergraduate degrees in George Masons online programs, they will encounter a variety of course delivery options. Students seeking 100% online programs will be able to complete their degree that way, while students who wish to attend classes on campus part time will find the hybrid course programs very attractive. George Masons online programs is one of the most diverse in the state, so students of nearly any subject can find a program of study at George Mason Online that suits their skills and interests. Importantly, everyone who graduates from George Mason receives a regular George Mason University diploma, with no mention of the online or hybrid format of the program. Even learners from outside the United States will be able to complete hybrid programs without face-to-face attendance requirements.

  6. Lynchburg College
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A private school founded in 1903, Lynchburg College is located in Lynchburg, VA and has an undergraduate enrollment of just over 2,000, making it one of the smaller schools on the list. It is unique among the colleges listed here in that about 60% of Lynchburg Colleges student body is female.

    Program Features

    Lynchburg College also offers students both online classes and complete online degree programs in order to supplement its on-campus requirements. The online degree programs at Lynchburg College are all graduate level, comprising of an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, and an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.

    Featured online programs include

    Master of Business Administration, M.B.A Master of Science in Nursing, M.S.N.

    Notables

    For undergraduates, online classes are offered as a supplement to on-campus classes, but students hoping to attend Lynchburg College at the undergraduate level entirely online are due for disappointment: Lynchburg College actually requires all undergraduate students to live on-campus until their senior year. Still, for the professional seeking to complete an MBA or MSN program, Lynchburgs educational standard are very high, their courses are good, and the delivery is top notch. Online courses at Lynchburg College can be taken synchronously or asynchronously, and interact with instructors and other students across a wide variety of communication media.

  7. Longwood University
    Location

    Farmville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Farmville isnt just a game you used to play on Facebook its also a city in Virginia and the home of Longwood University, a liberal arts university whose history stretches back to the Civil War. In fact, but Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grand marched past the Longwood University campus near the wars end. Longwoods educational offerings are on par with the richness of its history, with over 100 major and minor courses of study, with notable programs in sociology with family studies, an acclaimed archaeological field school, a school of nursing, and an excellent English and modern language department.

    Program Features

    Longwood Universitys online offerings are a bit more limited, however, but if you are a student seeking an online program in Communication Disorders and Speech and Language Pathology, Longwood offers an online Masters degree in this field of study. Students who either have a bachelors degree, or are currently in a bachelors program who wish to continue their study in speech and language pathology will find a welcome home at Longwood.

    Featured online programs include:

    Communication Disorders Speech Language Pathology

    Notables

    Course content for the online program includes an intro to communication disorders which outlines may different disorders affecting speech, hearing, language, and swallowing, as well as covering language development, phonetics, morphology and syntax, speech science, and the anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing.

  8. Marymount University
    Location

    Arlington, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1950, Marymount University is a small private Catholic university with an enrollment of just over 2,000 students. It has a cozy, 21 acre campus and a lovely setting in Arlington, VA, about five miles from Washington, D.C. While undergraduates at Marymount choose from over 25 fields of study, online students will be most interested in Marymounts studies in the field of healthcare.

    Program Features

    Online education at Marymount reflects the Catholic universitys dedication to exceptional education, with an emphasis on intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, service to others, and the importance of a global perspective.

    Featured online programs include:

    Administration and Supervision, M.Ed. Cybersecurity, M.S. Master of Business Administration, M.B.A. Doctor of Nursing Practice, D.N.P.

    All of the online programs are Masters programs, but the fields of study are unique among online degree programs, warranting their inclusion on this list, along with Marymount Universitys dedication to academic excellence and student-centered learning experiences.

    Notables

    Marymount University offers a Masters of Education degree in Administration and Supervision with a focus on Catholic School Leadership which takes place entirely online. It also offers online Masters programs in Cybersecurity a unique field among online programs, and a very good Master of Business Administration online program. In the healthcare field, Marymount offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Courses for their online programs can be taken entirely online, on campus, or in any combination, making this a fairly versatile program as well.

  9. Virginia Commonwealth University
    Location

    Richmond, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Virginia Commonwealth University was founded in 1838 and is one of the leading public research schools in the country. It earned top marks from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and is considered to be among the most innovative colleges in the commonwealth of Virginia, thanks to its many course delivery options, including synchronous and asynchronous online courses.

    Program Features

    VCUs online programs include a Masters degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and a Master of Education degree in Sports Leadership, two very unique fields of study for an entirely online program. In addition, out of state students find a welcome home at Virginia Commonwealth University, with very few states (California, Florida, and Massachusetts) excluded. Students in online programs at VCU also are eligible for the same financial aid benefits as traditional students.

    Featured online programs include:

    Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, M.A. Sports Leadership, M.Ed.

    Notables

    One of the factors that really sets Virginia Commonwealth University apart from other online colleges in VA is the way they structure their tuition and fees. No matter if a student is in a degree program or is just taking a few classes, VCUs online course fees are $55 per credit hour, up to a maximum of three credit hours, on top of the standard tuition that all online students pay, a welcome change from the confusing and expensive fee structures at other online colleges in Virginia.

  10. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Liberty University is the largest Christian higher education institution in the world, and also has the benefit of having among the lowest tuition rates in the country. Liberty has long been an innovator in the fields of education, and was among the first colleges in the US to embrace online learning, beginning its distance education efforts as far back as 1985. Today, online students enjoy the same low tuition rates regardless of their state of residence, and may choose from a wide variety of programs leading to certificates or associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. These factors combined make Liberty University one of the top online schools in Virginia.

    Program Features

    Liberty Universitys online program includes over 250 fields of study easily one of the most comprehensive catalogs of all Virginia colleges. Online applicants need to have a 2.0 cumulative GPA in all previously completed educational efforts. Liberty also maintains a very accessible and inclusive admissions policy for members of the military, which includes discounts on tuition, vouchers for textbooks, and a wide array of other support services for students who have armed forces service in their background.

    Featured online programs include:

    Accounting Criminal Justice Religion Information Systems Psychology Early Childhood Education

    Notables

    While some online colleges can make a student feel a little bit like a single number in a sea of others, Liberty University tries to make their online courses intimate. They preserve a 17:1 student-professor ratio for online courses, much lower than the ratio found in other online programs. Liberty also offers a broad range of academic services via their website, including library access, a writing center, exam prep, note taking tips, and study aids. For accessibility, affordability, and the broad range of offerings, Liberty University is a top choice for online colleges in VA.

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