Options & Accreditation

Home not only to the College of William & Mary, the country’s second oldest university, Virginia also boasts a bevy of other institutions of every kind to meet the needs of students. For those who do not have the time or means to pursue a traditional on campus degree program, the state is has 84 colleges, universities and specialty schools offering varied options in online education. The state views online learning as a very important component of the educational landscape and has passed legislation to continue improving and expanding its offerings for students of higher education.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 35 percent of the state’s students are enrolled in online programs, and over half of those are exclusively online students. As of 2013, 18 universities and colleges offer online or hybrid (online and campus-blended) programs as bachelor’s, master’s or specialty degrees. Additionally, over 20 community colleges provide online associate and diploma programs. Nationally based online schools also have campuses in Virginia, further supporting online degree and certificate programs at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Education in Virginia

Online Schools In Virginia

The state places high importance on online education and this is evidenced through the introduction of several programs to increase the access and range of online learning options. In 2014, a special program was enacted to introduce online work readiness courses to every social services agency, K-12 school, community college and employer in the state to spark career entry and advancement opportunities. Once fully in motion, the program will produce 21 online work development courses that will be shared with over 145,000 Virginia teachers.

Compare Universities and Colleges


Averett University

Danville, Virginia Private not-for-profit
Very Safe

Bluefield College

Bluefield, Virginia Private not-for-profit
Super Safe

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, Virginia Private not-for-profit
Super Safe

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia Public
Super Safe

Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia Private not-for-profit
Very Safe

Central Virginia Community College

Lynchburg, Virginia Public

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia Public
Super Safe

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Roanoke, Virginia Private not-for-profit

Dabney S Lancaster Community College

Clifton Forge, Virginia Public

Danville Community College

Danville, Virginia Public

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Virginia Online School and Program Spotlights

Online College Spotlight
Hampton University

First founded in 1861, this online school in Virginia embraces both its history and modern technological advances to reach online students via Hampton U Online. Online offerings include four associate, eight bachelor’s, one master’s and four doctorate degrees. Online certificate programs are also available in human resource management and paralegal practice. Associate programs are available in aviation management, flight education, general studies and business management. At the master’s degree level, the university has developed an online information assurance program. Hampton U Online has several support services and resources in place to help distance learners near and far, including an online bookstore, career center, online library, 24/7 tech assistance and virtual proctoring. Additionally, men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces can take advantage of the university’s military credit policy.

For more information on the online programs at Hampton University, visit:

Online College Spotlight
Virginia Tech

At VT, students can choose from a substantial range of online master’s degrees and graduate certificates delivered by its Extended Learning Enrollment Services department. The schools is well known for its extensive programs in technology and engineering, which is reflected in its online offerings. Students choose from 15 fully online master’s programs in subjects such as aerospace engineering, agriculture, education, information technology, ocean engineering and political science. Other master’s programs are conducted 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 at the undergraduate and graduate levels are also available to 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:

Online College Spotlight
George Mason University

At GMU, students are given the option to study entirely online or split class and study time into equal online and face-to-face interactions with 34 fully online programs and 10 hybrid online programs. A few of the fully online programs include nursing and biodefense, and some of the hybrid classes include wireless communications and applied Information technology. Meeting the minimum technology requirements is essential to success in the online environment. The school recommends all students have reliable access to their GMU email account, Blackboard (the online portal through which classes are managed) and various other software such as a Flash player and Adobe Acrobat. Students have the option to purchase the required textbooks either online from the campus bookstore or from outside booksellers.

For more information about the George Mason University online learning programs, visit the school’s distance learning page:

Online College Spotlight
Averett University

AU is committed to being a leader in online education and their course catalog of 12 different online programs reflects this. Degrees range from science in business, sociology and criminal justice to master’s in marketing. Requirements for admission are the same as non-online programs, but they typically look for a GPA of 2.0 in high school and two years full-time work experience. Currently, Averett University only offers students online access through computers with required Internet browsers and operating systems. Some programs combine online and face-to-face learning, while others have fully online options. For example, the undergraduate degrees in sociology and criminal justice are entirely online, while master’s in business administration can either be taken entirely online or at any of the twelve satellite campuses throughout the state.

See more on the Averett University learning programs:

Online College Spotlight
Northern Virginia Community College

As a two-year public institution, this online college in Virginia supports over 20 associate degrees and more than a dozen certificates earned entirely online. Popular fields 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 available directly through individual NOVA campuses. Most 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 also 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:


Best Online Schools in Virginia for Future Service Members

Virginia is not only home to many of the top colleges and universities in the country, but also can also boast of its strong network of Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) programs. For civic-minded students looking to receive a great education while serving their country, these online schools in Virginia should be top contenders. The schools listed below offer at least two ROTC programs for Army, Navy and/or Air Force branches. Highlighted selections mark the universities that keep tuition under $20,000 per year. These fine online schools in Virginia deserve special recognition for combining economical educational opportunities with civic-minded programs.

College Name Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
Virginia Military Institute $6,880 Lexington Yes Yes Yes
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $9,187 Blacksburg Yes Yes Yes
University of Virginia-Main Campus $9,622 Charlottesville Yes Yes Yes
Norfolk State University $3,540 Norfolk Yes Yes No
James Madison University $4,862 Harrisonburg Yes No Yes
Old Dominion University $5,203 Norfolk Yes Yes No
George Mason University $7,010 Fairfax Yes No Yes
Hampton University $17,732 Hampton Yes Yes No
Liberty University $18,562 Lynchburg Yes No Yes

Best Online Schools in Virginia for Personal Attention

The Commonwealth of Virginia spans tidelands, the piedmont, the mountains, the cities and the nation’s capital. Students can choose among rigorous, top-notch programs from online schools in Virginia in most every major academic area and professional field. Small class sizes can impact how students learn and grow. These exceptional schools have more than 5,000 students, yet they maintain an average student-faculty ratio less than 20 to 1.

College Name Student-Teacher-Ratio Undergraduate Students Tuition Type City
Norfolk State University 19 to 1 7,351 $3,540 Public Norfolk
Radford University 19 to 1 8,835 $5,702 Public Radford
Virginia Commonwealth University 19 to 1 26,661 $7,943 Public Richmond
Liberty University 19 to 1 57,635 $18,562 Private not-for-profit Lynchburg
Saint Pauls College 18 to 1 465 $12,380 Private not-for-profit Lawrenceville
Ferrum College 18 to 1 1,572 $27,310 Private not-for-profit Ferrum
Longwood University 18 to 1 4,571 $6,120 Public Farmville
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs 17 to 1 1,340 $9,000 Private not-for-profit Danville
Christopher Newport University 17 to 1 4,918 $6,210 Public Newport News
Southern Virginia University 16 to 1 859 $18,900 Private not-for-profit Buena Vista
Virginia State University 16 to 1 5,937 $4,550 Public Petersburg
University of Virginia-Main Campus 16 to 1 18,580 $9,622 Public Charlottesville
James Madison University 16 to 1 19,620 $4,862 Public Harrisonburg
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 16 to 1 24,730 $9,187 Public Blacksburg
George Mason University 16 to 1 32,634 $7,010 Public Fairfax
Virginia Union University 15 to 1 1,544 $13,314 Private not-for-profit Richmond
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise 15 to 1 2,869 $4,454 Public Wise
University of Mary Washington 15 to 1 5,036 $4,686 Public Fredericksburg
Bridgewater College 14 to 1 1,700 $27,450 Private not-for-profit Bridgewater
Marymount University 14 to 1 2,717 $24,900 Private not-for-profit Arlington
Virginia Wesleyan College 12 to 1 1,514 $30,348 Private not-for-profit Norfolk
Lynchburg College 12 to 1 2,388 $31,060 Private not-for-profit Lynchburg
College of William and Mary 12 to 1 6,607 $8,677 Public Williamsburg
Sentara College of Health Sciences 11 to 1 406 $285 Private not-for-profit Chesapeake
Randolph-Macon College 11 to 1 1,300 $32,625 Private not-for-profit Ashland
Virginia Military Institute 11 to 1 1,736 $6,880 Public Lexington
Mary Baldwin College 11 to 1 1,844 $27,670 Private not-for-profit Staunton
Roanoke College 11 to 1 2,169 $33,516 Private not-for-profit Salem
Averett University 10 to 1 934 $25,950 Private not-for-profit Danville
Emory & Henry College 10 to 1 971 $28,122 Private not-for-profit Emory
Bluefield College 10 to 1 979 $21,060 Private not-for-profit Bluefield
Jefferson College of Health Sciences 10 to 1 1,010 $21,330 Private not-for-profit Roanoke
Hampden-Sydney College 10 to 1 1,097 $34,498 Private not-for-profit Hampden-Sydney
Eastern Mennonite University 10 to 1 1,243 $27,830 Private not-for-profit Harrisonburg
Shenandoah University 10 to 1 2,718 $26,530 Private not-for-profit Winchester
Hampton University 10 to 1 5,186 $17,732 Private not-for-profit Hampton
Bethel College 9 to 1 92 $6,750 Private not-for-profit Hampton
Hollins University 9 to 1 776 $31,490 Private not-for-profit Roanoke
Virginia University of Lynchburg 9 to 1 826 $7,200 Private not-for-profit Lynchburg
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing 8 to 1 313 $7,500 Private not-for-profit Richmond
Randolph College 8 to 1 592 $31,030 Private not-for-profit Lynchburg
Sweet Briar College 8 to 1 884 $31,850 Private not-for-profit Sweet Briar
Virginia Intermont College 7 to 1 604 $24,542 Private not-for-profit Bristol
Washington and Lee University 7 to 1 1,803 $42,425 Private not-for-profit Lexington
University of Richmond 7 to 1 3,908 $44,210 Private not-for-profit University of Richmond

Best Online Schools in Virginia for Women in Tech

Virginia is an exceptional choice for women seeking a technology or engineering degree. Thanks to the many online schools in Virginia that make women’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education a priority, the state can take pride in the influx of female technology degree earners. This influx is thanks to some exceptional schools that are instituting programs specifically for the needs of their female tech/engineering students. Programs such as mentorships with women who are seeking the same educational goals help to foster a strong and supportive network for female tech students. For those in search of the premiere online schools in Virginia for women in the tech field, look no further than the list below. We’ve compiled the best in the state and commend each of these schools for making women in technology an important consideration. 

College Name Tuition + Fees City Women in Tech Degrees Awarded Total Enrollment Institution Type
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $10,923 Blacksburg 346 27,939 Public
University of Virginia-Main Campus $12,216 Charlottesville 208 20,950 Public
Virginia Commonwealth University $9,886 Richmond 177 24,783 Public
George Mason University $9,620 Fairfax 146 20,189 Public
Old Dominion University $8,190 Norfolk 121 16,616 Public
James Madison University $8,808 Harrisonburg 81 18,166 Public
Marymount University $25,178 Arlington 31 2,649 Private Not for Profit
Norfolk State University $6,860 Norfolk 13 5,474 Public
Liberty University $19,968 Lynchburg 11 32,093 Private Not for Profit
Virginia State University $7,420 Petersburg 7 5,265 Public
Shenandoah University $28,800 Winchester 5 2,539 Private Not for Profit

Best Online Schools in Virginia Fighting for Families

Virginia is a haven for the most exceptional social work programs in the nation, especially those with an emphasis on children and family assistance. The social work field is entering a boon, and is projected to be one of the fastest job-growth disciplines. The following online schools in Virginia recognize the importance of preparing their students for all of the demands in this field. From fieldwork, extraordinary curriculum, and a vast network of clinical settings, these are among some of the best programs for prospective students concentrating on the welfare of families. Accessible scholarships and fellowships aid in creating even more affordable paths to a degree. We’ve compiled the premier programs specifically for students who seek comprehensive education in social work.

College Name City Social Degrees Awarded Women Men Tuition & Fees Total Enrollment
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond 398 341 57 $9,886 24,783
Old Dominion University Norfolk 329 267 62 $8,190 16,616
George Mason University Fairfax 178 133 45 $9,620 20,189
Norfolk State University Norfolk 172 146 26 $6,860 5,474
James Madison University Harrisonburg 121 96 25 $8,808 18,166
University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville 119 89 30 $12,216 20,950
Radford University Radford 100 84 16 $8,590 8,565
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg 100 51 49 $10,923 27,939
Christopher Newport University Newport News 74 56 18 $10,572 4,795
Longwood University Farmville 53 45 8 $10,890 4,148
Mary Baldwin College Staunton 43 40 3 $28,020 1,185
University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg 36 31 5 $9,306 3,991
Virginia State University Petersburg 36 30 6 $7,420 5,265
College of William and Mary Williamsburg 32 26 6 $13,570 7,684
Roanoke College Salem 28 24 4 $34,971 1,972
Regent University Virginia Beach 26 25 1 $15,308 2,569
Hampton University Hampton 23 17 6 $19,738 4,564
Randolph-Macon College Ashland 21 20 1 $33,525 1,234
Lynchburg College Lynchburg 20 12 8 $32,005 2,356
Virginia Wesleyan College Norfolk 20 18 2 $30,998 1,253
Ferrum College Ferrum 18 18 $27,425 1,496
Washington and Lee University Lexington 17 11 6 $43,362 2,192
Bridgewater College Bridgewater 15 10 5 $28,000 1,637
University of Richmond University of Richmond 14 11 3 $44,210 3,628
Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg 13 10 3 $27,970 1,119
Virginia Intermont College Bristol 12 10 2 $24,642 488
Virginia Union University Richmond 10 6 4 $14,630 1,625
Emory & Henry College Emory 9 8 1 $28,122 928
Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar 9 9 $32,325 730
Averett University Danville 6 5 1 $25,950 839
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs Danville 6 4 2 $9,100 523
Hollins University Roanoke 5 5 $32,075 782