Best Colleges in Virginia 2022

Here are the best colleges and universities in Virginia. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Best Colleges in Virginia 2022

Colleges and Universities in Virginia

Liberty University, a private Christian school in Lynchburg, is the largest school in Virginia, serving over 60,000 students. The largest public university, Virginia Tech, has a student population of about half that but offers many in-person degree programs as well as eight master’s programs and 19 certificate programs online. Students who attend Virginia Tech can pursue fields like engineering, criminal justice, education, and business.

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The majority of Virginia’s universities and colleges could be considered small schools, serving populations of less than 5,000 students. Included on this list are public schools, like Christopher Newport University in Newport News, and private schools, like Hampton University, a historically black university in Hampton. Though most of its higher education institutes charge tuition fees above the national average, Virginia offers several loan forgiveness programs for qualifying attorneys and medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmaceutical professionals.

Virginia is perhaps most famous for its rich history — but the state is also home to many unique museums and famous landmarks. For example, those who love the classics can visit the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond. Those who harbor romantic dreams of espionage and intrigue might visit the CIA Museum in McLean. And, if you like your attractions random, you could check out Virginia’s 300-yard-long natural tunnel or its 29-ton spinning granite ball. While you’re here, you might consider attending one of the 78 colleges located in the state.

Learn more about Virginia’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s many colleges and universities.


What are Virginia’s Colleges & Universities?

Virginia’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Virginia's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

We’ve identified 43 colleges and universities in Virginia that meet our criteria. This list of the top 25 colleges in Virginia below focuses on schools that offer bachelor’s degrees. The ranking features fully accredited public and private colleges and universities in Virginia.

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Best Colleges in Virginia 2022

  1. #1

    University of Virginia

    Charlottesville , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    23%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    What is University of Virginia known for?

    University of Virginia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    George Mason University

    Fairfax , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/27

    What is George Mason University known for?

    George Mason University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Law
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Virginia Tech

    Blacksburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    36K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1285/28

    What is Virginia Tech known for?

    Virginia Tech’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    William & Mary

    Williamsburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is William & Mary known for?

    William & Mary’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • History
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    What is Virginia Commonwealth University known for?

    Virginia Commonwealth University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    University of Richmond

    University of Richmond , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/31

    What is University of Richmond known for?

    University of Richmond’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Old Dominion University

    Norfolk , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/21

    What is Old Dominion University known for?

    Old Dominion University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    75K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Liberty University known for?

    Liberty University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    James Madison University

    Harrisonburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    21K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/25

    What is James Madison University known for?

    James Madison University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Hampton University

    Hampton , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Hampton University known for?

    Hampton University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Radford University

    Radford , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Radford University known for?

    Radford University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Virginia Military Institute

    Lexington , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/24

    What is Virginia Military Institute known for?

    Virginia Military Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Virginia State University

    Petersburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/17

    What is Virginia State University known for?

    Virginia State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Regent University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    What is Regent University known for?

    Regent University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Christopher Newport University

    Newport News , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/24

    What is Christopher Newport University known for?

    Christopher Newport University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Sweet Briar College

    Sweet Briar , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/24

    What is Sweet Briar College known for?

    Sweet Briar College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    ECPI University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    15K

    What is ECPI University known for?

    ECPI University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    REQUEST INFO
  18. #19

    University of Mary Washington

    Fredericksburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/26

    What is University of Mary Washington known for?

    University of Mary Washington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Norfolk State University

    Norfolk , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    950/18

    What is Norfolk State University known for?

    Norfolk State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Virginia Union University

    Richmond , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    849/15

    What is Virginia Union University known for?

    Virginia Union University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Roanoke College

    Salem , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is Roanoke College known for?

    Roanoke College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Stratford University

    Alexandria , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Stratford University known for?

    Stratford University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Hollins University

    Roanoke , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    What is Hollins University known for?

    Hollins University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #25

    Longwood University

    Farmville , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    What is Longwood University known for?

    Longwood University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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Virginia’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Virginia
  2. Washington and Lee University
  3. William & Mary
  4. Virginia Military Institute
  5. George Mason University
  6. Hollins University
  7. Virginia Tech
  8. University of Richmond
  9. Hampden–Sydney College
  10. Hampton University
  11. Sweet Briar College
  12. Virginia Commonwealth University
  13. Randolph–Macon College
  14. Marymount University
  15. University of Mary Washington
  16. Eastern Mennonite University
  17. Randolph College
  18. Emory and Henry College
  19. James Madison University
  20. Old Dominion University
  21. Radford University
  22. Christopher Newport University
  23. Roanoke College
  24. Liberty University
  25. Shenandoah University
  26. Bridgewater College
  27. Longwood University
  28. University of Lynchburg