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.

Top Online Colleges in Virginia 2020
#1 Liberty University Online Lynchburg, VA
#2 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
#3 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
#4 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
#5 Hampton University Hampton, VA
#6 Averett University Danville, VA
#7 Bluefield College Bluefield, VA

The Best Online Colleges in Virginia

  1. Liberty University Online

    Lynchburg, VA

    Established in 1971, Liberty University, a non–profit Christian university, has more than 15,000 resident and more than 90,000 online students, most its students are online students. Of its more than 500 programs of study, almost half are available online.

    Liberty University offers associate, bachelor’s, master, doctoral and certificate programs entirely online through LUOnline. Associate degrees include information systems and paralegal studies. Bachelor’s degrees include aeronautics and graphic design. Master’s degrees include executive leadership and human services counseling. Doctoral degrees include nursing and international business. Available certifications include web development and public administration.

    Online student resources include an online writing center, academic advising, disability accommodations, an online job board, online communities and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email or over the phone.

  2. Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA

    Established in 1930, Old Dominion University is one of the largest universities in the region. It is also one of the country’s largest online universities – ODU Online – with more than 165 programs of study available and over 24,000 students in attendance, a third of whom attend online. Interestingly, the university’s first foray into distance learning came in 1994 with its use of TELETECHNET, a satellite service. Alongside its online offerings, the university also offers classes via video streaming, web conferencing and more.

    ODU Online offers bachelor’s, master, doctoral and certificate programs online. Bachelor’s degrees include medical technology and nuclear engineering technology. Master’s degree options include aerospace engineering and dental hygiene. Doctoral degree offerings include human resource training and instructional design. Available certifications include professional writing and global health.

    Online student resources include technical support, online career coaching, an online job board and an online library.

  3. Regent University

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Pat Robertson established Christian Broadcasting Network University in 1977, which later became Regent University, a private Christian university. The university has over 6,000 students enrolled and offers more than 70 programs of study. The university offers majors within the realms of education, business, government, law and communication.

    Regent University offers associate, bachelor’s, master and doctoral degrees through its Regent Online platform. Associate degrees include criminal justice and information systems. Bachelor’s degrees include accounting, criminal justice, early childhood education and cybersecurity. Master’s degree options include TESOL, script writing, student affairs, American government and political communication. Doctoral degree offerings include organizational leadership and strategic leadership.

    Resources available to online students include multiple online libraries with librarians available via video chat, email, text message or over the phone.

  4. George Mason University

    Fairfax, VA

    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

    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

    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

    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.

Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Virginia Ranking Guidelines

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

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