Business Schools in Virginia

    Virginia is a state with many contrasts: mountains in the west and ocean in the east; the Northeast Corridor’s economic powerhouse above and the Old South below; rapidly growing private industry and a prominent role in the public sector due to its proximity to the nation’s capital. It’s a state where nearly anyone can find a place to fit in, making it a great place to consider starting a business career.

    The absolute number of public and non-profit schools that grant undergraduate and graduate business degrees in Virginia is not large; there are 41, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) statistics.1 Of these, 25 offer undergraduate business programs that are accredited, and 16 have graduate-level accredited programs. While specifically seeking out accreditation narrows your choices somewhat, it also tends to focus your search on the best options available. Accreditation assures you that the program you start has clear objectives and that the school has proven that it produces quality outcomes while adhering to national and international standards. An accredited business degree also typically offers ways to gain real-world experience through interaction with real businesses, while many unaccredited schools do not.

    All of the schools in this article have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). They are all public or non-profit and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    This article contains essential data to help you choose the school in Virginia that best suits your unique needs, based on various critical factors: tuition, financial aid, entrance exam scores, acceptance rates, and more. The three sections that follow describe undergraduate programs, graduate schools, and the job prospects for business school graduates in Virginia.

    Best Business Schools in Virginia

    Best business schools in Virginia according to US News data.

    • University of Virginia – #13 in Best Business Schools, #6 in Top Graduate Management Programs, #18 in Best Executive MBA Programs, #7 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #32 Most Innovative Schools, #3 in Top Public Schools, #8 in Best Undergraduate Business School Programs, #25 in Top National Universities
    • College of William and Mary – #55 in Best Business School, #87 in Top Part-time MBA Programs, #16 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #38 in Top National Universities, #44 in Best Undergraduate Business Schools, #10 in Top Public Schools
    • George Mason University – #47 in Best Part-time MBA, #136 in Top National Universities, #28 in Most Innovative Schools, #92 in Best Collegs for Veterans, #87 in Best Undergraduate Business School Programs, #56 in Best Online Graduate Business Programs
    • James Madison University – #70 in Best Part-time MBA Programs, #6 in Top Regional Universities South, #60 Best Value Schools, #2 in Most Inovative Schools, #2 Top Public Schools, #108 Best Undergraduate Business School Programs
    • Old Dominion University – #87 in Top Part-time MBA Programs, #199 in Best Undergraduate Business Schools, #121 in Top Public Schools, #66 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, #68 in Best Online MBA Programs

    Undergraduate Business Schools in Virginia

    Virginia has a decent variety of offerings for undergraduate business study. As a relatively wealthy state—as we’ll see shortly, it is among the top 10 states in median income—tuitions are not as low as in some neighboring states, and there aren’t as many extreme budget options. However, the state still has quite a few schools in the “lower end of moderate” range.

    The overall average tuition cost in Virginia is around $19,800, with an average financial aid of about $12,400. The two most expensive schools are the University of Richmond ($49,400) and Washington and Lee University ($48,300), while Virginia Western Community College comes in at just over $5,000. The bulk of the schools on our list (11 of 25) fall in the range of $10,000 to $20,000. Five schools are under $10,000.

    We have acceptance rate data for 24 of our 25 schools (the exception being Virginia Western Community College). One excellent characteristic of Virginia undergraduate business schools is that they tend to have very high acceptance rates. Our schools’ average acceptance rate is 63%, with the lowest at Liberty University (24%) and the highest at Virginia State University (94%). Two-thirds of the schools have acceptance rates over 60%, which compares favorably to the schools in many other states where acceptance rates are more competitive.

    Graduation rates for undergraduate business degrees in Virginia also tend to be on the high side, ranging from 31% (Regent University) to 94% (the University of Virginia). Unlike many states, the highest figures are not always at the most expensive schools; the two schools with the highest VA rates have roughly average tuition costs. Nearly 80% of our Virginia undergraduate business schools (19 of 24) have graduation rates of 50% or higher, though, of those 19, seven are between 50% and 60%. When looking at the combination of acceptance rate and graduate rate, two schools are nearly tied for the top spot: James Madison University (72% acceptance and 82% graduation) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (71% acceptance and 84% graduation). These are excellent low-risk options to consider for those who want a good chance of getting into a program and also leaving with a degree.

    In the table below, you’ll find all the essential data you need about undergraduate business schools in Virginia, including annual in-state tuition costs, average aid per student, acceptance rates, SAT and ACT score ranges of accepted students, and graduation rates. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.

    SchoolCityTuitionAidMedian SATMedian ACTAccept. RateGrad. Rate
    Christopher Newport UniversityNewport News$13,054$5,5771060-125023-2862%75%
    College of William and MaryWilliamsburg$21,234$16,2731250-147028-3337%92%
    George Mason UniversityFairfax$11,300$6,8331060-125024-2981%70%
    Hampton University$24,242$11,486860-104019-2465%55%
    James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg$10,390$6,6281030-122022-2772%82%
    Liberty UniversityLynchburg$21,292$6,570950-119021-2824%54%
    Longwood UniversityFarmville$12,240$7,333870-107018-2374%65%
    Lynchburg CollegeLynchburg$36,620$21,764920-112019-2564%56%
    Marymount UniversityArlington$29,780$14,015860-108018-2391%52%
    Norfolk State UniversityNorfolk$8,738$7,090620-86016-2085%37%
    Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk$9,750$6,899890-113018-2585%51%
    Radford UniversityRadford$10,081$8,02581%58%
    Regent UniversityVirginia Beach$16,438$7,193920-114519-2581%31%
    Roanoke CollegeSalem$41,429$23,836970-120021-2773%63%
    Shenandoah UniversityWinchester$31,322$14,421880-112019-2588%57%
    University of RichmondRichmond$49,420$31,0381220-142029-3232%88%
    Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond$13,130$8,996980-120021-2781%62%
    Virginia International University$9,608$1,31325%33%
    Virginia Military InstituteLexington$17,492$13,9101060-124023-2851%78%
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg$12,852$8,5711100-132071%84%
    Virginia State UniversityPetersburg$8,472$14,743730-90015-1994%44%
    Virginia Union UniversityRichmond$17,034$9,82741%33%
    Virginia Western Community CollegeRoanoke$5,093$3,2080%0%
    Washington and Lee UniversityLexington$48,267$37,0831320-146030-3324%92%
    University of VirginiaCharlottesville$16,412$17,8301240-146029-3330%94%

    Graduate Business Schools in Virginia

    Our list contains 16 accredited schools that offer graduate business degrees in Virginia. This includes the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, which offers an MBA program that perennially ranks in the nation’s top 20. Naturally, this is also (by far) the most expensive graduate-level business program in the state at $116,300 for tuition and fees. The University of Richmond ($65,000) and College of William and Mary ($63,000) are a distant second and third in cost; all of the other schools are under $50,000. The overall average tuition is around $42,600, or $36,300 if the Darden School is excluded. There are five schools under $25,000, with the lowest Longwood University at just over $20,000.

    We have average admission GMAT scores for 12 schools, which mostly range from 400 to 590. The two schools above the latter figure are the University of Richmond (590) and the University of Virginia (715). Ten schools have a percentage of full-time faculty with doctorate degrees in the 70% to 95% range; Shenandoah University boasts 100% faculty with doctoral degrees.

    As in other states, there are several options for online MBA programs in Virginia. The Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary has a well-respected two-year program designed for students with at least two years of prior work experience. George Mason University’s Executive MBA program offers three specialization tracks—Global, National Security, and Critical Infrastructure Protection & Management—which help prepare businesspeople to become leaders in international and public institutions. Other schools offering online MBAs include James Madison University, Longwood University, Old Dominion University, and Radford University. The Darden School at the University of Virginia offers Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA programs where about a third of the core program can be done online between residencies. Most online programs from these schools offer the same basic curriculum and courses as their offline equivalents.

    Popular graduate programs in Virginia: Online MBA in Business Intelligence | Online MBA in Economics | Online MBA in Digital Marketing

    The table below shows graduate business school tuition costs, average accepted applicant GMAT scores, the percentage of faculty with a doctorate, and student-to-faculty ratios. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.

    SchoolCityTuitionAvg. GMATFaculty
    with Doct.
    College of William and MaryWilliamsburg$63,00258188%5.37
    George Mason UniversityFairfax$45,60057277%2.1
    James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg$37,80055671%0.54
    Longwood UniversityFarmville$20,19653891%0.08
    Lynchburg CollegeLynchburg$23,940400
    Marymount UniversityArlington$39,780
    Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk$21,39348477%0.45
    Radford UniversityRadford$21,32250890%0.25
    Regent UniversityVirginia Beach$32,000535
    Shenandoah UniversityWinchester$41,080100%1.17
    University of RichmondRichmond$65,00063490%
    University of VirginiaCharlottesville$65,35071395%2.95
    University of Virginia-DardenCharlottesville$116,30067299%10.56
    Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond$27,09852780%6.55
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg$48,00059083%1.31
    Virginia Union UniversityRichmond$22,320

    Job Outlook for Business School Graduates in Virginia

    According to the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, 2016 to 2026, total growth of at least 5% is predicted in 32 out of 37 business and management occupations across the US.5 The highest growth will be for market analysts and marketing specialists, at 22.8% over ten years, with financial managers coming in second at 18.7%.5

    Virginia’s economy has outpaced the nation as a whole for at least the last three decades. The state’s overall unemployment rate currently sits at a meager 3.5%, about half a point below the national average. It only peaked at around 7.5% during the Great Recession (many states went over 10%).7 About 346,000 people were employed in the business and management sector in Virginia in 2016; this excludes one category for which figures were not available (tax preparers).6 Operations managers (51,370) and management analysts (48,070) were the two largest subgroups; accountants and auditors came in at 38,330 employed, followed by business operations specialists at 31,640.6 All other categories were below 20,000.6

    BLS data shows an overall average annual wage in 2016 across all occupations in Virginia of $68,114, good enough for a top 10 finish (9th place) out of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.6 (By way of comparison, neighboring North Carolina had an overall average almost a third lower and ranked 40th.6)

    Business and management occupations had a weighted average annual salary of around $107,000 in the same year, which, compared to many states, is higher in absolute terms but with a lower differential from the overall average.6 Not surprisingly, chief executives were the highest-paid subgroup at just shy of $220,000, well ahead of several categories ranging from $150,000 to $170,000.6 Tax preparers were the lowest-paid group for which we have data, at $37,770.6

    Chief Executives11-101138,330$41$84,7400.08
    Operations Managers11-10213,920$51$106,0609.1%
    Advertising and Promotions Managers11-2011240$64$132,9905.8%
    Marketing Managers11-202113010.0%
    Sales Managers11-20223,870$77$160,8707.4%
    Public Relations Managers11-20313,620$43$89,33010.4%
    Administrative Services Managers11-301131,640$42$86,53010.1%
    Computer and IT Systems Managers11-30216,080$105$219,25011.9%
    Financial Managers11-3031370$66$136,26018.7%
    Purchasing Managers11-30612,480$33$67,9805.6%
    Compensation and Benefits Managers11-31117,850$36$74,5505.0%
    Human Resources Managers11-312113,460$82$169,6608.9%
    Training and Development Managers11-31315,370$54$111,68010.3%
    Construction Managers11-90219,050$34$71,09011.4%
    Architectural and Engineering Managers11-90411,720$42$86,7705.5%
    Business Managers of Artists and Athletes13-10110,690$24$49,1704.9%
    Compliance Officers13-10417,860$45$92,9108.2%
    Cost Estimators13-10511,770$41$86,19010.6%
    Human Resources Specialists13-107113,540$77$159,8007.1%
    Labor Relations Specialists13-107551,370$67$139,120-7.8%
    Management Analysts13-111119,900$36$74,39012.0%
    Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners13-11212,350$33$68,72010.2%
    Compensation Job Analysis Specialists13-11411,130$32$65,5308.5%
    Training and Development Specialists13-11519,290$39$81,77011.5%
    Market Analysts and Marketing Specialists13-11617,840$42$87,16022.8%
    Business Operations Specialists13-119948,070$50$104,7708.8%
    Accountants and Auditors13-201119,620$36$75,68010.0%
    Budget Analysts13-20314,170$81$167,4906.5%
    Credit Analysts13-20414,080$28$57,8508.4%
    Financial Analysts13-20511,310$72$150,15010.8%
    Insurance Underwriters13-20532,520$64$132,450-5.2%
    Financial Examiners13-20615,330$80$167,4009.8%
    Credit Counselors13-20711,400$25$52,33013.9%
    Loan Officers13-2072$18$37,77011.5%
    Tax Examiners and Collectors13-2081790$65$134,180-0.6%
    Tax Preparers13-208211,780$34$70,13010.8%

    Other Popular State Pages

    1. National Center for Education Statistics:
    2. AACSB, Best Business Schools:
    3. ACBSP, Business Schools:
    4. IACBE, Business Schools:
    5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations:
    6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employment and Wage Estimates Virginia:
    7. Virginia Department of Education:
    8. US News & World Report, 2018 Best Business Schools: