Virginia, with a population of approximately 8 million, boasts a rich history in this country as the first permanent British colony. Moderate in both size and density, the state offers a variety of potential business opportunities for graduates to explore. Virginia has an eclectic range of institutions, with schools like Virginia Tech and University of Virginia as well as private colleges.
Among Virginia’s many choices for higher education is one of the oldest colleges in the country, the College of William and Mary, founded in 1693. The state also is home to one of only eight public U.S. colleges of Ivy League status, the University of Virginia.
Virginia hosts a variety of public institutions that offer programs for all levels of higher learning, from specialty diplomas to doctoral degrees. Some of the public colleges in the state are shown below, with the highest type of degree available and other distinctive characteristics:
|George Mason University||Fairfax||19,700||Doctoral, NCAA Division I|
|James Madison University||Harrisonburg||17,200||Master’s, NCAA Division I|
|Longwood University||Farmville||4,800||Master’s, NCAA Division I|
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg||5,800||Doctoral|
|Eastern Virginia Medical School||Norfolk||1,100||Specialty|
|Christopher Newport University||Newport News||4,780||Master’s|
|Virginia State University||Petersburg||5,890||Master’s|
|Norfolk State University||Norfolk||6,200||Master’s|
|Richard Bland College||Petersburg||1,600||Associate|
The state of Virginia has a community college system that allows students to pursue work-ready training. Students are able to choose from more than two dozen certificate programs in agriculture, business, engineering, finance, health care and other subject areas.
Additionally, community colleges in Virginia offer associate degrees in a number of different specialties. The system has hybrid programs in which students attend some classes delivered through online learning and some classes on campus. There are 23 different community schools in Virginia as shown here:
|Blue Ridge Community College||Central Virginia Community College|
|Dabney S. Lancaster Community College||Danville Community College|
|Eastern Shore Community College||Germanna Community College|
|J. Sargeant Community College||John Tyler Community College|
|Lord Fairfax Community College||Mountain Empire Community College|
|New River Community College||Northern Virginia Community College|
|Patrick Henry Community College||Paul D. Camp Community College|
|Piedmont Virginia Community College||Rappahannock Community College|
|Southside Virginia Community College||Southwest Virginia Community College|
|Thomas Nelson Community College||Tidewater Community College|
|Virginia Highlands Community College||Virginia Western Community College|
|Wytheville Community College|
There is an extensive list of private schools in Virginia, and they vary dramatically in offerings. Private schools offer specialty degrees as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a variety of different subjects. The pool of institutions in Virginia includes larger private colleges like Liberty University (over 56,000 students) and smaller schools like the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (approximately 70 students). The table below shows some of the private colleges in Virginia, with the highest degree available.
|University of Richmond||Richmond||3,400||Bachelor’s|
|Hampden-Sydney College||Hampden Sydney||1,050||Bachelor’s|
|Sweet Briar College||Sweet Briar||1,900||Bachelor’s|
For students who do not have the time or means to attend on-campus classes, Virginia offers online colleges. In recent years, Virginia created a system to improve and expand the online learning programs for students of higher education. The state provides flexible and convenient programs for those looking to earn bachelor’s, master’s or specialty degrees.
The University of Virginia features online options for full degree programs in a number of different subjects. Its School of Continuing and Professional Studies has online offerings such as a noncredit Certificate in Public Relations or a graduate-level Certificate in Cybersecurity Management. Some other public and private institutions that offer online programs include:
Even study programs relating to health care may have online options. For example, Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Clinical Embryology & Andrology Program is offered online except for brief residential courses on campus.
The Virginia Polytechnic Institution and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, offers a substantial number of master’s degree and graduate certificate programs through its Extended Learning Enrollment Services department. Students can choose from among 15 fully online master’s degrees in subjects such as aerospace engineering, agriculture, education, information technology, ocean engineering, political science and more. Other master’s programs are presented in either a fully interactive videoconferencing or blended format. Certificate programs are available in natural resources, environmental politics, security studies, nuclear engineering, software development and several other subjects. Individual courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels are also available to currently registered Virginia Tech students and for those seeking to fulfill professional development or continuing education licensing or job requirements.
Some online degree programs and courses may be offered at discounted rates for out-of-state students.
For additional information on Virginia Tech’s distance learning courses and programs, visit their website at: http://www.vto.vt.edu.
Northern Virginia Community College (aka NOVA) is a two-year public institution with six campuses located in and around the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Through its Extended Learning Institute, NOVA offers over 20 associate degrees and more than a dozen certificates that can be earned entirely online. Degree subjects include accounting, business management, fine arts, liberal arts, information technology, marketing, science and social sciences. Certificate programs are available in administration of justice, bookkeeping, early childhood development, cyber security, health science and many others. Additional online courses and degree programs are offered directly through individual NOVA campuses. Most ELI classes are 16 weeks in length, although some are offered in an 8-week accelerated format.
All distance learning programs require access to the internet with some additionally requiring the use of computer programs on CD-ROM, listening to audio or video programs, using voice mail or attending scheduled web meetings through the Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom.
More information on Northern Virginia Community College’s ELI programs can be found at: http://eli.nvcc.edu.
Virginia has a strong technology industry and is home to a number of computer chip manufacturing plants. The other industries in the state include coal, tobacco, Internet tech, tourism and business. Some of the biggest employers in the state are as follows:
Located next to the political hub of the country, Virginia is also a state with one of the fastest-growing job markets in the U.S.
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, Virginia
Northern Virginia Community CollegeAnnandale, Virginia
George Mason UniversityFairfax, Virginia
Tidewater Community CollegeNorfolk, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg, Virginia
Columbia CollegeFairfax, Virginia
University of Virginia-Main CampusCharlottesville, Virginia
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk, Virginia
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg, Virginia