Business Degrees in Virginia
Virginia is a state with many contrasts: mountains in the west and ocean in the east; the economic powerhouse of the Northeast Corridor 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 National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) statistics. Of these, 25 offer undergraduate business programs that are accredited and 16 have graduate-level accredited programs. While looking for accreditation narrows your choices somewhat, it tends to also focus your search on the better 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 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), and/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 a variety of essential 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.
Undergraduate Business Schools in Virginia
Virginia offers 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 has quite a few schools in the “lower end of moderate” range.
The overall average tuition cost 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 nice characteristic of Virginia undergraduate business schools is that they tend to have very high acceptance rates. The average acceptance rate of our schools 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.
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 rates in VA 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, 7 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 getting out of it with a degree.
In the table below, you’ll find all the important 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.
|School||City||Tuition||Aid||Median SAT||Median ACT||Accept. Rate||Grad. Rate|
|Christopher Newport University||Newport News||$13,054||$5,577||1060-1250||23-28||62%||75%|
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg||$21,234||$16,273||1250-1470||28-33||37%||92%|
|George Mason University||Fairfax||$11,300||$6,833||1060-1250||24-29||81%||70%|
|James Madison University||Harrisonburg||$10,390||$6,628||1030-1220||22-27||72%||82%|
|Norfolk State University||Norfolk||$8,738||$7,090||620-860||16-20||85%||37%|
|Old Dominion University||Norfolk||$9,750||$6,899||890-1130||18-25||85%||51%|
|Regent University||Virginia Beach||$16,438||$7,193||920-1145||19-25||81%||31%|
|University of Richmond||Richmond||$49,420||$31,038||1220-1420||29-32||32%||88%|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||$13,130||$8,996||980-1200||21-27||81%||62%|
|Virginia International University||$9,608||$1,313||25%||33%|
|Virginia Military Institute||Lexington||$17,492||$13,910||1060-1240||23-28||51%||78%|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Blacksburg||$12,852||$8,571||1100-1320||71%||84%|
|Virginia State University||Petersburg||$8,472||$14,743||730-900||15-19||94%||44%|
|Virginia Union University||Richmond||$17,034||$9,827||41%||33%|
|Virginia Western Community College||Roanoke||$5,093||$3,208||0%||0%|
|Washington and Lee University||Lexington||$48,267||$37,083||1320-1460||30-33||24%||92%|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville||$16,412||$17,830||1240-1460||29-33||30%||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 top 20 in the nation. 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 terms of 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 of the schools, which mostly range from 400 to 590. The two schools above the latter figure are the University of Richmond (590) and University of Virginia (715). Ten schools have a percentage of full-time faculty with doctorate degrees in the 70% to 95% range; Shenandoah University, interestingly, is at 100%.
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 1/3 of the core program can be done online between residencies. Most online programs offer the same basic curriculum and courses as their offline equivalents.
The table that follows shows graduate business school tuition costs, average accepted applicant GMAT scores, percentage of faculty with a doctorate degree, and student-to-faculty ratios. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg||$63,002||581||88%||5.37|
|George Mason University||Fairfax||$45,600||572||77%||2.1|
|James Madison University||Harrisonburg||$37,800||556||71%||0.54|
|Old Dominion University||Norfolk||$21,393||484||77%||0.45|
|Regent University||Virginia Beach||$32,000||535|
|University of Richmond||Richmond||$65,000||634||90%|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville||$65,350||713||95%||2.95|
|University of Virginia-Darden||Charlottesville||$116,300||672||99%||10.56|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||$27,098||527||80%||6.55|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Blacksburg||$48,000||590||83%||1.31|
|Virginia Union University||Richmond||$22,320|
Job Outlook for Business Graduates in Virginia
According to 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. 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%.
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 very low 3.5%, about half a point below the national average, and it only peaked at around 7.5% during the Great Recession (many states went over 10%). 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). 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. All other categories were below 20,000.
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. (By way of comparison, neighboring North Carolina had an overall average almost 1/3 lower and ranked 40th.)
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. 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. Tax preparers were the lowest-paid group for which we have data, at $37,770.
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||11-2011||240||$64||$132,990||5.8%|
|Public Relations Managers||11-2031||3,620||$43||$89,330||10.4%|
|Administrative Services Managers||11-3011||31,640||$42||$86,530||10.1%|
|Computer and IT Systems Managers||11-3021||6,080||$105||$219,250||11.9%|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||11-3111||7,850||$36||$74,550||5.0%|
|Human Resources Managers||11-3121||13,460||$82||$169,660||8.9%|
|Training and Development Managers||11-3131||5,370||$54||$111,680||10.3%|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||11-9041||1,720||$42||$86,770||5.5%|
|Business Managers of Artists and Athletes||13-1011||0,690||$24||$49,170||4.9%|
|Human Resources Specialists||13-1071||13,540||$77||$159,800||7.1%|
|Labor Relations Specialists||13-1075||51,370||$67||$139,120||-7.8%|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||13-1121||2,350||$33||$68,720||10.2%|
|Compensation Job Analysis Specialists||13-1141||1,130||$32||$65,530||8.5%|
|Training and Development Specialists||13-1151||9,290||$39||$81,770||11.5%|
|Market Analysts and Marketing Specialists||13-1161||7,840||$42||$87,160||22.8%|
|Business Operations Specialists||13-1199||48,070||$50||$104,770||8.8%|
|Accountants and Auditors||13-2011||19,620||$36||$75,680||10.0%|
|Tax Examiners and Collectors||13-2081||790||$65||$134,180||-0.6%|
1. National Center for Education Statistics:https://nces.ed.gov/
2. AACSB, Best Business Schools:http://bestbizschools.aacsb.edu/aacsb-accredited
3. ACBSP, Business Schools:https://www.acbsp.org/?page=accreditation
4. IACBE, Business Schools:http://iacbe.org/accreditation/
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employment and Wage Estimates Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
7. Virginia Department of Education: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/
8. US News & World Report, 2018 Best Business Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools