Established in 1957, George Mason University is a four-year, public institution located in Fairfax. The school also operates campuses in Arlington, Manassas, and Sterling. Their main location has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1972 and currently serves more than 32,000 students. Working adults and students looking for more flexible options can enroll in George Mason’s online classes and degree programs. Available areas of study include business, engineering, information technology, nursing, and public policy. Individual online college courses are also available in theatre, computer science, social work, information technology, psychology, public affairs, English, mathematics, biology, and communications, to name a few. U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate-level online computer information technology programs at No. 11 for faculty credentials and training and No. 12 for student engagement and accreditation.
Located in Lynchburg, Liberty University is a private, Christian institution established in 1971. The school has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges since 1980 and is the largest Evangelical Christian University in the world, serving more than 56,000 students. Liberty is also known as one of the top online universities in the country. Available online degree programs include, but are not limited to, business, criminal justice, education, information systems, nursing, legal studies, psychology, public policy, and religion. Certificates, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are all offered online. The online bachelors degree programs at Liberty were ranked among the top 60 schools for student services and technology by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the school’s graduate-level nursing programs ranked in the top 25 for student engagement and accreditation and admissions selectivity.
The University of Virginia was established in 1819 in Charlottesville. The school has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1904 and currently serves more than 24,000 students at the main campus. The University of Virginia was ranked No. 15 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best national universities and No. 2 on their list of top public schools. The university also operates campuses in Lynchburg and Wise. For students who are working full time or cannot make it to campus on a regular basis, online courses are also available. The University of Virginia online offers classes in accounting, business, computer science, economics, education, mathematics, psychology, religion, and sociology.
A number of colleges and universities in Virginia are expanding their online courses and degree program offerings to meet growing demand. These types of programs are typically asynchronous, meaning students do not have a specific time they have to log in to the virtual classroom. This makes it possible for working adults and non-traditional students to log in and complete course work whenever and from wherever they have internet access. Please note, however, that some online programs may still have a few on-campus requirements or field-work courses. Most course work can still be completed remotely, but it is best to check with the specific school to understand exactly what is required of online students.
Government, military, agriculture, and communications are all important sectors of Virginia’s economy. Some of the largest employers in the state include the University of Virginia, VCU Health System, Philip Morris USA, and AT&T Corporation. The U.S. government also employs a large number of residents, with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office all located in the state. Given these economic influences, students who graduate with online degrees in business, engineering, health care, and computer technology are best suited to fill positions with top local employers.