Online MBA Programs in Virginia

Virginia offers a wide range of online MBA programs for those looking to boost their earnings, change careers, or climb the corporate ladder. From inexpensive, completely online programs that can be finished within a year to more expensive hybrid programs that incorporate international coursework, prospective students have a field of options to consider.

Today, schools invest the same resources and energy into their online MBA programs as their traditional programs. Tenured faculty members teach today’s online courses, making remote learning degrees just as valued in the marketplace as conventional MBA degrees.

But the increase in attention means that choosing the right online program is more complex than ever. Prospective students must wade through reams of data to compare the finer points of several programs to find the best fit for their needs. Choosing a program that fits a prospective student’s lifestyle, goals, and budget is no simple task. This guide is designed to make the job easier.


Compare Online MBA Programs in Virginia

This matrix quickly sorts the performers in every category. It provides crucial information on each program to help students quickly understand the complex world of MBA programs’ tuition cost, specializations, graduation rates, and more. Embarking on an online MBA is a life-changing journey. It opens networking doors, boosts knowledge, and provides entrepreneurs, and sharpens skill sets. Here is a quick breakdown of how online MBA programs in Virginia rate.

SchoolCityAccred.Accept. RateTuitionGPAGMAT3yr Grad Rate
George Mason UniversityFairfaxAACSB8%$1,0163.3545
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgAACSB19%$9003.152690%
Longwood UniversityFarmvilleAACSB$4073.1100%
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkAACSB25%$5953.258053%
Radford UniversityRadfordAACSB8%$7263.3495
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachACBSP$6753.148%
University of LynchburgLynchburgACBSP3%$5553.3510
University of VirginiaDardenAACSB
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondAACSB4%$8783.4367
William & MaryWilliamsburgAACSB8%$1,3003.254287%

Affordable Programs in Virginia

The first consideration when choosing an MBA program is usually financial. How much will this degree cost? While every MBA program requires an upfront investment, high tuition costs can be prohibitive to some students. The average price of an online MBA program in Virginia is $784 per credit hour, slightly less than the national average of $820.

The most affordable option in Virginia is Longwood University. Charging only $398 per credit hour, Longwood undercuts the second-ranked option by more than $100. It also has the lowest number of credit hours needed to graduate, at 31. Total tuition for an online MBA degree from Longwood runs a scant $12,338.

The second least expensive program belongs to the University of Lynchburg, which charges students $555 for each credit hour of instruction. The 36-hour program has a total cost of $19,980.

As the third least expensive option, Regent University charges $675 per credit hour, which is still more than $100 the state average. Regent’s program requires 42 hours of instructional time, making its total $28,350.

Old Dominion University ranks fourth among most affordable programs by credit hour, with a slightly higher price tag than the University of Lynchburg’s. At $676 per credit hour, this program costs a total of $27,040 to complete its required 40 hours.
Radford University ranks as the fifth most affordable program on this list per credit hour. However, by charging $726 per credit hour for a 36-hour program, Radford’s $26,136 total tuition is less than third-place Regent’s.

Most affordable online MBA programs in Virginia:

  • Longwood University
  • University of Lynchburg
  • Regent University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Radford University

Programs with Lowest Debt at Graduation

Beyond tuition, price-sensitive students should consider the total cost of a program. While it’s impractical to estimate the total cost of incidentals that will likely be needed to complete an MBA, looking at how many students graduate carrying, debt can be helpful. Programs that graduate students with higher debt loads usually cater to students who need financial assistance. While programs that graduate very few students with debt probably draw from the ranks of the well-heeled. For a complete picture of the financial status of a program’s students, compare their total tuition cost to their debt-at-graduation percentage.

About half of all online MBA students take out loans to afford their education. Nationally, 46.6% of MBA students graduate owing money. Among students at online MBA programs in Virginia, 45% carry some debt upon graduation.

The program with the lowest percentage of debt-carrying graduates is James Madison University. Only 6% of its students were in the red by the time they turned their tassels.

After James Madison, the numbers shoot up quite a bit. It’s important to note that not every school provides this data to the public.

The program with the second-lowest student debt at graduation is Longwood University. It slides under the statewide average, with 42% of its graduates still paying off student loans at the end of their studies.

William & Mary comes in third on the list, tying Virginia’s average. A full 45% of its students have debt on graduation day.

The fourth- and fifth-ranked business schools in Virginia show another leap. Sixty-two percent of Virginia Commonwealth University students who complete the online MBA program still owe money on student loans at graduation, just less than two-thirds. A full 69% of students at Regent University have some debt load by the time they’ve completed the program.

Online MBA programs in Virginia with the lowest debt at graduation:

  • James Madison University
  • Longwood University
  • William & Mary
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Regent University

No GMAT Required

For years, colleges and universities have used standardized test scores as the backbone of their admission process. While grade point averages and volunteer activities can vary from place to place, standardized exams were viewed as the one equal measure of all students. Recently, however, there has been a rise in Virginia MBA programs with no GMAT requirement.

Today, many MBA programs are waiving the standardized test requirement, meaning that students do not need to provide GMAT or GRE scores to be considered for acceptance. MBA programs will often waive standardized test scores in exceptional circumstances, such as a long work history or a high undergraduate GPA. Some schools do not require standardized test scores but will accept them. In those cases, students with lower GPAs can prove their academic mettle by delivering high GMAT or GRE scores that more accurately reflect their abilities.

While many students dislike standardized tests’ added pressure and cost, most Virginia programs still require them. Many of these programs waived test score requirements last year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, but have recently begun to insist upon seeing scores again.

Three schools on this list, Regent, George Mason, and William & Mary universities, do not require GMAT or GRE scores at all. However, both universities will still accept standardized test scores for students who wish to add them to their application.

Some institutions, such as Longwood University, only require standardized test scores if student GPAs and work experience do not meet a certain threshold.

While most Virginia business schools will accept any standardized test scores, Longwood University stands alone as the only school that requires students to take the GMAT and not the GRE. In contrast, the University of Virginia accepts scores from the GMAT, GRE, MCAT, EA, and LSAT.

Online MBA students who feel strongly about not taking the GMAT or GRE are encouraged to contact admissions offices and request an exemption.

Best options in Virgina with no GMAT requirment:

  • Regent University
  • George Mason University
  • William & Mary

Highest Graduation Rate

In addition to cost concerns, potential online MBA students should consider that post-secondary degrees are hard work. Potential students who have been absent from academia for a long time or may need extra help should deeply consider the on-time graduation rates of the programs they compare. The on-time graduation rate measures how many students complete the entire degree within the timeframe set by the institution (usually two to three years). This list measures only the number of students who graduate within three years of beginning their online MBA in Virginia.

This number provides a glimpse into how invested programs are in helping students finish their degrees. Schools with higher rates often provide extra resources, such as tutors and guidance counselors, to help students stay on top of coursework and manage their class loads effectively each semester. Programs with lower rates usually do not devote the same attention to ensuring students finish the program on time.

Nationally, 68% of students finish their program within three years; however, a whopping 76% of students pursuing an online MBA program in Virginia graduate within a three-year window.

The No. 1 school for an on-time graduate is Longwood University, which graduated a perfect 100% of its students in three years.
James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth universities are not far behind, which saw 90% and 87% of their students earn MBA degrees in three or fewer years.

After the top three, there’s a steep drop-off among programs that provide data. Old Dominion University graduated slightly more than half of its students within three years (53%), and 48% of students at Regent University could finish their studies within that timeframe.

Notably, the three-year graduation rate does not account for every graduate. Many students take four or five years to finish their degrees.

Online MBA programs in Virginia with the highest graduation rates:

  • Longwood University
  • James Madison
  • Virginia Commonwealth
  • Old Dominion University
  • Regent University

Highest Acceptance Rates

The second most common question among students who want to pursue online MBAs in Virginia concerns the acceptance rate. At the base level, acceptance rates can help students gauge the amount of work required to enroll in their program of choice. Across all online MBA programs in the United States, 79% of students are accepted for admission. In Virginia, the odds are even more significant, with 91% of all applicants receiving admission.

While no one wants to be refused admission, it’s important to remember that acceptance rates do not tell the whole story. Most MBA programs in Virginia have minimum requirements students must meet to be considered for acceptance. Applicants who do not meet those requirements are not captured in this data.

James Madison University and the University of Lynchburg top the list, with each program taking a full 100% of qualified applicants last year. Students who meet the minimum threshold of requirements to those programs can rest easy knowing they’re likely to gain acceptance.

Longwood University accepted 99% of all students who met its minimum requirements right behind those programs. Longwood’s online MBA program accepted 127 students last year, meaning that only one student didn’t make the cut.
George Mason University accepted 93% of all qualified applicants to its 153-member cohort last year. This gives GMU the third-highest acceptance rate on the list.

The fourth- and fifth-ranked programs accepted 89% of their applicants — still a very high number by any metric. The institutions behind those programs, Radford and Virginia Commonwealth universities have 60 and 105, respectively.

Top online MBA programs in Virginia with the highest acceptance rates:

  • James Madison University
  • University of Lynchburg
  • Longwood University
  • George Mason University

Online MBA Program Profiles

Choosing an online MBA program is a big decision. While each program on this list confers an MBA degree upon graduates, not all institutions provide an equal education. Some institutions offer only a general MBA degree, while others maintain specialized programs that add niche areas of emphasis, like cybersecurity or sports management, to the MBA degree. The programs on this list cost anywhere from $12,000 to more than $130,000 in total and provide a wide range of educational options, including international trips, weekend residencies, and in-person capstone collaborations.

These program profiles provide a brief overview of the highlights of each MBA program and their required standards for admission.

George Mason University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(703) 993-2353
Email:[email protected]
Website:masononline.gmu.edu
Location:Fairfax, VA

George Mason University offers an online MBA program designed for working professionals. All classes can be completed online in an asynchronous format that allows students to work at their own pace. The MBA is also customizable. Online students also can participate in the school’s Global Residency Program, where they spend one week abroad and complete a team project. Ambitious students looking to increase their expertise in data can add a Certificate in Business Analytics to their degree.

With the third-highest tuition cost per credit hour at $1,016, George Mason University is one of the more expensive options for an online MBA in Virginia. However, its 93% acceptance rate, high enrollment of 153, and no GMAT requirement make it achievable. Most online MBA students can complete George Mason’s 48-hour in two years. To be considered for admission, applicants must have two years of professional work experience, pay a $75 application fee, write a personal statement, provide a current resume, hold a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and complete an online application form.

James Madison University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(540) 568-7820
Email:[email protected]
Website:jmu.edu
Location:Harrisonburg, VA

The MBA program offered by James Madison University is an excellent fit for students who want a mix of online and in-person education. The hybrid nature of the program requires some in-person attendance, but most of the work is completed online. JMU students also have the option to participate in an international residency that lasts 10-12 days. Students can choose one of three concentrations: executive leadership, information security, or innovation. Depending on the concentration, JMU’s MBA can be completed in 21 or 28 months. At $900 per credit hour, the 42-hour program will cost a total of $37,800. Although the university accepted 100% of qualified applicants last year, students must submit standardized test scores, one letter of recommendation, have prior real-world work experience, and write a 250-word statement of purpose to be eligible for admission. Before beginning MBA coursework, JMU students must have completed undergraduate courses in financial accounting, statistics, and economics.

Longwood University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(434) 395-2077
Email:[email protected]
Website:online.longwood.edu
Location:Farmville, VA

The general business online program offered by Longwood University is a 31-credit hour degree that is delivered 100% online. The school offers four MBA tracks, allowing students to focus on real estate, marketing, general business, or data analytics. No matter which option is chosen, the degree program can be completed in as little as ten months. With a total price tag of just over $12,000 or $398 per credit hour, Longwood’s MBA is also the most affordable option on the list. The program accepts 99% of applicants into its 127-member program, making it an excellent option for price-sensitive students worried about their academic credentials.

Longwood’s admission requirements are simple. They include a professional resume and undergraduate transcripts, and standardized test scores in some cases. Students who have high undergraduate GPAs or long work histories can forego the GMAT requirement. More specifically, no GMAT is required if students have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and either a 3.0 GPA, a 2.75 GPA and three years of professional experience, a 2.50 GPA, and five years of work experience, or any GPA and eight years of professional work experience.

Old Dominion University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(757) 683-3689
Email:[email protected]
Website:online.odu.edu
Location:Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business offers a fast-paced MBA program that delivers courses in eight-week chunks. Although not all courses and exams are asynchronous, the program can be completed 100% online; some instructors may schedule specific times and dates for tests or lectures. At $676 per credit hour

Online MBA students at Old Dominion University can choose to add a concentration or graduate certificate in one of five areas: business analytics, maritime and ports management, project management, public procurement, and contract management, or supply chain management.

To apply, prospective students must submit a letter of recommendation, a 500-word goals statement, a resume, and standardized test scores, preferably from the GMAT. The GMAT requirement can be waived for students who have a terminal degree in another field, five years of full-time experience at the managerial level, three years of full-time military experience at the O3 or E7 (and above) levels, and an undergraduate GPA higher than 3.2, or for currently enrolled students who have a cumulative GPA above 3.5.

Radford University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(540) 831-5408
Email:[email protected]
Website:radford.edu
Location:Radford, VA

By offering courses in a seven-week asynchronous format, Radford University allows students to complete its online either of its two online MBA programs in just under 12 months. Students can choose between a general MBA, and an MBA focused on data business analytics. However, students in the regular MBA track can add a Concentration in Business Analytics to their studies. To finish either degree in less than a year, students must take two seven-week courses at a time. With a price tag of $444 per credit hour, the total cost for Radford’s 36-hour program runs $15,984, making it one of the least expensive options provided by a Virginia institution.

To be accepted, students must hold a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, submit a statement of purpose, provide two references, and score 400 or above the GMAT. The standardized test requirement can be waived for prospects who have five years of qualified work experience. To waive the GMAT, students must submit a waiver form and letter of intent, arguing why their work experience justifies the exemption.

Regent University

School Info

Business Accred:ACBSP
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Private
TEL:(757) 352-4125
Email:[email protected]
Website:regent.edu
Location:Virginia Beach, VA

Regent University offers students a fast-paced online MBA taught from a Christian perspective. With an affordable cost of $675 per credit hour, the 36-hour program costs a total of $24,300. Each course operates on an eight-week schedule, and students who take two courses at a time can complete the program in just 16 months. Regent students also can customize their education by adding two courses, which confers an area of concentration on their degrees. The 13 available concentrations are accounting, business analytics, cybersecurity management, entrepreneurship, finance and investing, general management, healthcare management, human resources management, innovation management, leadership, marketing, not-for-profit management, and product management.

Regent boasted the largest enrollment with 486 members last semester, but it has the lowest acceptance rate (79%) of all programs on the list. To be considered for admission, prospective students must complete an online questionnaire, submit their transcripts, and provide proof of ID. Standardized test scores are accepted but not required.

University of Lynchburg

School Info

Business Accred:ACBSP
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Private
TEL:(434) 544-8230
Email:[email protected]
Website:lynchburg.edu
Location:Lynchburg, VA

The University of Lynchburg offers a customizable, convenient, and affordable online MBA program. Charging only $555 per credit hour and accepting 100% of its applicants, this 36-hour program has a total cost of $19,980 and can be completed in just two years. Lynchburg students can choose to complete a general MBA degree or pick from two areas of emphasis to add a specialization to their degrees. Those areas of focus are cybersecurity and sports management. All classes at the University of Lynchburg are delivered 100% online and available in the evenings and during the summer.

To be considered for admission, potential students must complete an online application, submit their undergraduate transcripts, write an essay, provide two letters of recommendation, and submit standardized test scores. A minimum GMAT score of 400 is required for admission (or GRE equivalent), but this requirement can be waived for students with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

University of Virginia

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(434) 924-7281
Email:[email protected]
Website:darden.virginia.edu
Location:Darden, VA

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business offers two Executive MBA programs that are taught two-thirds in person and one-third online. Both the Global EMBA and the regular EMBA are structured 21-month programs divided into ten two-month long quarters. Each program includes one weekend residency a month, two weeklong residencies at the start and end of the program, and international residencies at different stages. Each quarter, students will take three or four classes. Online sessions occur twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, for 90 minutes at a time. The GEMBA option is more expensive than the regular EMBA because it includes more international residencies, but both programs confer the same MBA degree upon graduates. As the priciest MBA option on this list, UVA charges just over $32,000 per semester (fees for optional global residencies not included) for a total cost of more than $128,000.

Students must complete an application form that includes short-answer questions, submit standardized test scores, provide a resume and one or two recommendations, and pay a $250 application fee. Prospective students are encouraged to have at least five years of professional work experience.

Virginia Commonwealth University

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(804) 828-6669
Email:[email protected]
Website:business.vcu.edu
Location:Richmond, VA

The Virginia Commonwealth University online MBA program is a majority online program that takes two years to complete. While most of the program is delivered online, three on-campus residency weekends are also required. Those weekends occur at the start of the first and second years and the end of the second year. While many classes are taught asynchronously, VCU requires students to collaborate with their peers to attend a weekly video conference. Students must take three courses (two for three credits and one for one credit) at $878 per credit hour each semester. Total tuition runs $39,510 for the complete program.

To apply, students must pay a $70 application fee, provide undergraduate transcripts and a current resume, write a statement of intent, and submit three letters of recommendation. While it is not required, the school prefers applicants who have spent at least 18 months working in a professional setting. While standardized test scores are not required, they are accepted.

William & Mary

School Info

Business Accred:AACSB
Regional Accred:SACSCOC
School Type:Public
TEL:(757) 221-2420
Email:[email protected]
Website:online.mason.wm.edu
Location:Williamsburg, VA

The online MBA program offered by William & Mary University’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business is centered around the concept of design thinking. First coined by Leonardo da Vinci, design thinking is problem-solving that prioritizes constant refinement and does not presume a solution. The idea is incorporated throughout all of the program’s courses. WMU students who want more profound experience in analytics have the option of complementing their degree with an Online Foundation in Business Analytics Certificate that includes five data-centered courses. The 374-member enrollment is the second-highest list, and the $1,300 per credit hour price tag makes WMU the second most expensive option. The total tuition cost of the 49-hour program is $63,700.

To be accepted, all prospective students must have a minimum of two years of professional experience, provide two letters of reference, submit two personal essays, deliver a current resume, pay an application fee of $100, and sit for a personal interview. WMU does not require GMAT or GRE scores. It has an 86% acceptance rate.

Virginia MBA Salary, Job Growth, and Career Outlook

Good ole Old Dominion is one of the most amicable states to business graduates and their corporate success goals. In 2019 CNBC ranked Virginia as the top state for business, a distinction the Mother of States has achieved four times over the ranking system’s 13-year history. With the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, the Pentagon, located in the heart of Arlington, Virginia, professionals who obtain a post-graduate degree can expect to work in the state’s big-budget defense sector, which accounts for 12 percent of the GDP due in large part to the government’s $686 billion budget for the Pentagon’s defense spending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Virginia, the service sector reigns supreme, with business and communications occupying this broad industry’s largest share. As a state with little union protections, businesses find refuge and an amenable business landscape to exploit, leading Virginia to house six of the nation’s 20 highest-income neighborhoods. A total of 29 Fortune-1000 enterprises were rounded off by 16 Fortune-500 corporations.

Regardless of the fertile outlook, Virginia is not immune to the sporadic forces of the market. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics shows a steady but shacky increase in the statewide government supersector. At the same time, the professional and business industry has seen a steady, sharp incline post-Recession. In general, the business and job growth outlook in Virginia is bar none in the nation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics, Virginia’s management occupations exceed national expectations with an average annual salary of $139,610. At the same time, it’s business and financial operations vaunts a shattering $86,000 average salary. Among the most lucrative business and management sectors in the country, Virginia is ripe for working professionals looking to cement themselves in their respective industries or areas of expertise. Virginia’s exclusive Fairfax County metropolitan area boasts the third-highest employment in the management sector per 1000 households. Consequently, it also has the sixth top paying area for management occupation, with the average annual salary in this industry, reaching $150,870 in 2020. Listed below is a slew of the most common and lucrative occupations of MBA-degree holders in the Virginia job market:

  • Administrative Services and Facilities Managers: $111,980
  • Emergency Management Directors: $92,490
  • Financial Managers: $165,600
  • Legislators: $33,480
  • Medical and Health Services Managers: $115,410
  • Social and Community Service Managers: $85,900

Like many Northeastern states, Virginia is a great place for business hopefuls to settle down. With a diverse economy and a degree of prestige, few other states can rival. Virginia has an unprecedented scope of opportunity for graduate professionals inclined toward the corporate and governmental world’s managerial and administrative side. Virginia’s Job Outlook projects occupations to grow by 9.3 percent by 2024, three percentage points higher than the national average projections. Among the top five growing occupations are Management Analysts and Accountants and Auditors, signifying a need for MBA degree holders and professionals in pertinent business sectors. Three hundred years later and good ole Old Dominion is still among the nation’s brightest shining stars; MBA graduates will find opportunity and success befitting the nation’s birthplace.


References:
National Center for Education Statistics:https://nces.ed.gov/
AACSB, Best Business Schools:https://bestbizschools.aacsb.edu/aacsb-accredited
ACBSP, Business Schools:https://www.acbsp.org/page/accreditation
IACBE, Business Schools:https://iacbe.org/accreditation/
US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm
CNBC Amazon had it right: Virginia is America’s Top State for Business in 2019 https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/09/virginia-is-americas-top-state-for-business-in-2019.html
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics: Virginia
https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm#11-0000
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Virginia: Government
https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMS51000009000000001?amp%253bdata_tool=XGtable&output_view=data&include_graphs=true
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Virginia: Professional and Business Services
https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMS51000006000000001?amp%253bdata_tool=XGtable&output_view=data&include_graphs=trued
U.S. News and World Reports Education: George Mason University | MBA Program
https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/
World Atlas What are the biggest industries in Virginia?
https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-biggest-industries-in-virginia.html