The Best Online Colleges in Virginia

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Virginia boasts a long, rich history of higher education. Founded in 1693, the College of William and Mary educated several early U.S. leaders, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Jefferson went on to establish the University of Virginia, and many other Virginia colleges honor the state's history.

Today, Virginia’s 124 degree–granting colleges and universities provide a wide range of opportunities, including numerous online programs. Government support for online learning starts in high school; the Virginia legislature requires all high school students to take at least one online course to graduate.

Many online colleges in Virginia, including the the state’s flagship schools, collaborate to offer innovative online programs through the Electronic Campus of Virginia. Community college students may take online courses through any of the 24 participating VCCS schools. Virginia also participates in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus, a cooperative effort that offers online courses to students throughout the southern U.S.

The result of these collaborative efforts is a flourishing system of online schools in Virginia. The federal government reports that in 2012, 35% of students enrolled in Virginia colleges and universities took some or all their courses online. According to the College Board, the average in–state tuition rate was $12,820, and the average out–of–state rate was $33,270.

Four Reasons to Find an Online College in Your State

  1. Guaranteed in–state tuition saves you money
  2. Be a part of a university or college you know and love
  3. Get a degree from a school that employers know and trust
  4. Be close enough to easily visit when desired

Ranking Guidelines for the Best Online Colleges in Virginia

Best Online Colleges in Virginia
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We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Virginia, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Virginia may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Virginia.

The Best Online Colleges in Virginia

1
Liberty University Online
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4

George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA

About this school

George Mason University, established in 1957, was a branch of the University of Virginia up until 1972. With 33,000 students enrolled, it is also one of the largest universities in the state. The university is named after the man who drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the document upon which the Bill of Rights was based.

George Mason University, through Mason Online, offers online bachelor’s, master and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include cybersecurity, information technology and nursing. Online master’s degrees include biodefense, bioinformatics and conflict resolution. Available online certifications include behavior analysis, education leadership and assistive technology.

Online student resources include accessibility services, health services, an online writing lab and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email or over the phone.

5

Hampton University 

Hampton, VA

About this school

Hampton University is a historically black university established in 1868 to educate freedmen and Native Americans. The joint efforts of black and white leaders within the American Missionary Association helped to create the university. The university has more than 5,000 students and offers more than 80 programs of study.

Hampton University offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs through its Hampton Online platform. Associate degrees include flight education and business management. Bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice and human resource management. Master’s degree options include information assurance. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing and business administration, while specialist degree offerings include counseling. Available certifications include entrepreneurship and paralegal studies.

Online student resources include technical support and an extensive online library.

6

Averett University 

Danville, VA

About this school

Averett University is a nonprofit Baptist university originally established in 1859 as a women’s college. The main campus features a flight school and an equestrian center. The university offers more than 30 programs of study and has more than 2,500 students.

Averett University offers online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Online associate degrees include business, while online bachelor’s degrees include nursing and criminal justice. Online master’s degrees include human resource management, leadership and special education.

Resources available to online students include online academic support, an online student services center and an online library.

7

Bluefield College 

Bluefield, VA

About this school

The Baptist General Association of Virginia established Bluefield College, a Christian liberal arts college, in 1922. The college has more than 900 students and offers degree programs in many areas.

Bluefield College offers online bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice, early childhood education and nursing. Online master’s degrees include education, while available online certifications include entrepreneurship and small business management.

Resources made available to online students include an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia

Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in Virginia
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Value when it comes to online colleges is about more than just cost. When researching affordable online colleges in Virginia, students should consider tuition rates alongside factors like program offerings, the school’s reputation, and the quality of instruction in order to receive the most valuable education.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Programs in Virginia

1
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
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Old Dominion University 

Norfolk, VA

About this school

Founded by the College of William and Mary in 1930, ODU served as an extension of William and Mary and Virginia Polytechnic Institute before becoming an independent institution in 1962. Now home to six academic colleges, ODU offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 24,000 learners from its Norfolk campus, at regional education centers, and online.

ODU offers almost 40 undergraduate degree completion programs online, alongside full bachelor’s degrees in 14 disciplines. Students with 60 credits of college coursework can complete bachelor’s degrees in fields like business administration, finance, fashion merchandising, and public health.

The online degree completion program in occupational and technical studies includes concentrations in training specialization and marketing education, while the electrical engineering technology program allows learners to concentrate in embedded systems, communication systems, computer engineering, or mechatronics systems technology. Additional interdisciplinary studies degree completion programs include leadership, professional writing, teacher preparation, and cybercrime.

In addition to degree completion programs, ODU offers full online bachelor’s degrees in communication, computer science, human services, marketing, occupational and technical studies, information systems technology, and fashion merchandising. Online bachelor’s degrees include 120 credits.

Online certificates in education, professional writing, and engineering supplement degree options, as do online endorsements in secondary, mathematics, technology, special, and elementary education.

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5

James Madison University 

Harrisonburg, VA

About this school

Serving the Shenandoah Valley since 1908, JMU was renamed in honor of President James Madison in 1938. The university currently offers 139 degrees to more than 21,000 learners each year. JMU boasts a 16–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio and hosts students at its main Harrisonburg campus and online.

Online undergraduate programs at JMU include an autism spectrum disorders certificate, an RN–to–BSN degree, and an adult learners degree. The undergraduate autism spectrum disorders certificate consists of three classes that build theoretical knowledge and practical skills applicable to working with children and adults with autism. Learners can complete the program in two semesters. An additional graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders incorporates a learning practicum into the curriculum.

Practicing nurses can complete the RN–to–BSN degree online at JMU in 3–5 semesters. The asynchronous curriculum builds professional practice skills and advanced nursing knowledge. Learners complete classes in leadership and management in healthcare, healthcare informatics, nursing research, and public health, as well as a community health practicum at a mentored clinical site.

Adult learners can earn an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in individualized studies online through three degree tracks: a bachelor of individualized studies, bachelor of arts in individualized studies, and bachelor of science in individualized studies.

The bachelor of individualized studies emphasizes general education and offers two concentrations, while the bachelor of arts in individualized studies includes additional philosophy and foreign language classes. Alternatively, the online bachelor of science in individualized studies incorporates coursework in natural science and mathematics. Applicants to the online adult learner program must be at least 22 years old and possess 30 transferable college credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

6

University of Virginia-Main Campus 

Charlottesville, VA

About this school

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, UVA is the flagship institution of the state. UVA hosts 11 academic schools through its 1,682–acre main campus, at additional sites throughout the state, and online.

Undergraduate online programs at UVA include two bachelor’s completion tracks and six certificate programs. Bachelor’s programs in the liberal arts and healthcare management allow learners to transfer in 60 credits of previous college coursework.

The liberal arts curriculum includes 18 credits of classes in the humanities and social sciences. Students complete coursework in topics like art, history, and politics. Elective options allow learners to explore areas of personal and professional interest.

The healthcare management degree includes required interdisciplinary coursework alongside professional studies classes in health sciences management. Learners study legal and ethical decision–making, ethics and finance, and management, as related to healthcare professions. Students also study healthcare organizations, changes and economics in the healthcare system, and population health.

The online certificate in accounting at UVA prepares students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant examination. Students can complete the 30–credit program in 20 months. UVA also offers 18–credit certificates in cybersecurity analysis, government contracting, human resource management, and procurement and contract management. The procurement and contract management certificate adheres to the core competencies put forward by the National Contract Management Association.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in Virginia

Most Affordable Associate Degrees in Virginia
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Value when it comes to online colleges is about more than just cost. When researching affordable online colleges in Virginia, students should consider tuition rates alongside factors like program offerings, the school’s reputation, and the quality of instruction in order to receive the most valuable education.

The Most Affordable Online Associate Programs in Virginia

1
John Tyler Community College
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Virginia Western Community College 

Roanoke, VA

About this school

VWCC hosts more than 11,000 learners on its 70–acre campus in Roanoke and online. The college uses the Canvas learning management system to deliver online programs. VWCC’s online associate of science degrees in social sciences, business administration, and general studies include 60 credits that learners can complete in two years.

The social science curriculum explores aspects of anthropology, economics, and psychology, while the general studies program provides a broad educational foundation that students can transfer to a bachelor’s track. Business administration students study topics like accounting, microeconomics, and public speaking. VWCC also offers an associate of arts in liberal arts that focuses on communication, journalism, and the humanities.

VWCC offers an associate of applied science program in information technology with two concentrations. Learners can specialize in cybersecurity and network administration or database and program development by completing 67 or 66 credits, respectively. Students may also earn a 61–credit associate of applied science in management.

Online certificates in legal office assisting, computer tomography imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging comprise 9–17 credits. Students can also earn information technology certificates in cybersecurity, desktop support, network and security administration, and database and program development through 17–24 credits of coursework. VWCC also offers an online career studies certificate that leads to Cisco CCNA networking credentials.

5

Lord Fairfax Community College 

Middletown, VA

About this school

Established in 1970, LFCC offers more than 75 associate and certificate programs to over 10,000 students each year. LFCC features several options for distance learners, including 10 online associate and certificate programs.

Students can earn associate of arts and science degrees in business administration, education, liberal arts, and general studies after two years of study. The business administration curriculum emphasizes economics, finance, and management; the education program prepares students to pursue teacher licensure; the liberal arts degree is well–suited for students interested in fields such as history, prelaw, and communication; and the general studies program allows students to specialize in areas of personal and professional interest.

LFCC’s 63–credit online associate of applied science degree in health information technology prepares students for careers as health information managers, supervisors, and specialists. The curriculum covers topics such as medical terminology, health record administration, and information systems and technology in healthcare. Health science and pre–allied health certificates build knowledge and skills applicable to careers in nursing, surgical technology, and emergency management services.

Online learners can complete LFCC’s 16–credit certificate in early childhood development, preparing to work as instructional assistants or childcare workers. The online general education certificate builds writing, analytical, and computing skills, while the general business certificate focuses on business law, human resource management, and business computing.

6

Tidewater Community College 

Norfolk, VA

About this school

With educational facilities in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach, TCC is the second–largest community college in Virginia. TCC serves nearly 33,000 learners annually through associate, certificate, workforce development, and continuing education programs.

TCC offers 10 online degrees and certificates through the Blackboard learning management system. Students interested in transferring to a four–year institution can earn an associate of science degree in general studies or social science or an associate of arts in liberal arts. The online associate of science in business administration — also well–suited for transfer students — includes 61 credits that learners can complete while taking advantage of TCC’s Z–Degree, textbook–free option.

Associate of applied science degrees in accounting, criminal justice, and management prepare students for entry–level careers. The accounting degree includes 67 credits that learners can complete in two years. The criminal justice curriculum allows students to specialize in forensic science, homeland security, or public law, while the management curriculum provides theoretical and practical instruction in business law, economics, and human resource management.

TCC also offers online certificates in accounting, law enforcement, small business management and entrepreneurship, and land surveying. The accounting certificate incorporates 34–43 credits of coursework and qualifies students to sit for certification exams administered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation. The land surveying certificate prepares students to sit for the fundamentals in surveying exam offered by the state of Virginia.

7

Blue Ridge Community College 

Weyers Cave, VA

About this school

Serving the Shenandoah Valley since 1966, BRCC is one of 23 schools in the Virginia Community College System. Based in Weyers Cave, BRCC hosts aviation maintenance, welding and machining, and outpost facilities throughout the region and provides degree, diploma, and certificate programs to nearly 5,000 learners each year.

BRCC offers online associate of applied science degrees in management and accounting. The 61–credit management curriculum covers topics like supervision, economics, software usage, and communication. Graduates can work as managers of small businesses and sales representatives.

The 67–credit accounting program prepares students for careers as accounting technicians, bookkeepers, and office managers. Students study topics like financial management, computer applications, and organizational dynamics before a completing capstone seminar. During their culminating capstone course, students participate in activities that simulate workplace situations commonly encountered by accounting professionals.

BRCC also offers online workforce and continuing education certificates in healthcare, business, information technology, and construction in partnership with ed2go.

8

Southwest Virginia Community College 

Cedar Bluff, VA

About this school

Located in Cedar Bluff, SWCC hosts learners in four counties and online, providing associate degrees, certificate programs, and workforce development opportunities to almost 4,000 students. SWCC offers 20 online and hybrid programs in disciplines such as justice administration, early childhood development, and information systems technology. Distance learners access courses through the Canvas learning management system.

SWCC’s online associate of arts and science degrees in business administration, general studies, and liberal arts prepare learners to transfer to a four–year college or university. Associate of arts and science degrees in education and psychology similarly build foundational knowledge applicable to bachelor’s programs. SWCC holds numerous articulation agreements with institutions throughout the region to facilitate seamless credit transfers.

SWCC also offers online associate degrees to prepare learners for entry–level careers in administrative support, emergency management and preparedness, information systems technology, and accounting. The administrative support curriculum includes 65 credits of classes in record and database management, office administration, and communication, while the emergency management and preparedness degree incorporates 66 credits of interdisciplinary classes in resource management, personal and community health, and criminology.

Career studies and general certificates in computed tomography, early childhood education, and management include 15–17 credits. The computed tomography curriculum prepares students to take certification exams offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, while the early childhood education certificate meets the education qualifications for Head Start teaching assistant positions.

Certificates in legal studies, network administration, and health sciences comprise 26–37 credits and prepare students for careers as paralegals, network technicians, and general healthcare professionals, respectively.

9

Northern Virginia Community College 

Annandale, VA

About this school

As the largest public education institution in Virginia and the second–largest community college in the United States, NOVA serves more than 75,000 students each year. With six campuses in northern Virginia and online options, NOVA provides over 160 associate degree, certificate program, and workforce development options.

Using the Canvas learning management system, NOVA gives students access to online classes in over 50 subjects with online degrees and certificates available in more than 30 disciplines. NOVA offers two types of certificates online: general and career studies.

General certificates in the administration of justice, bookkeeping, early childhood development, and general education include 31–34 credits that learners can complete in one year. Twelve career studies certificates build professional knowledge and skills in areas such as accounting, social media marketing, leadership development, and promotion and public relations. Career studies certificates include 16–27 credits.

NOVA’s online associate of arts in liberal arts allows students to specialize in communication studies, English, or international studies. Students can also pursue associate of science degrees in science, social sciences, general studies, business administration, or information technology. NOVA’s online associate of arts and associate of science degrees may appeal to learners planning to pursue a four–year degree.

Associate of applied science degrees provide pathways for entry–level positions in fields like accounting, information systems technology, cybersecurity, and business management. These degrees include 64–66 credits of coursework.

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End of list, bravo!

Additional Online Colleges in Virginia Featured on TBS

Christendom College

College of William and Mary

Hampden–Sydney College

Longwood University

Mary Baldwin University

Patrick Henry College

Strayer University

University of Richmond

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Washington and Lee University

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TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.
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