Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Virginia 2023

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Virginia 2023

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Virginia offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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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A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 32 liberal arts colleges in Virginia. To be ranked among the 25 best liberal arts colleges in Virginia, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Virginia 2022

  1. #3

    James Madison University

    Harrisonburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    21K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    James Madison University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #4

    Radford University

    Radford , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    8K

    Radford University’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #6

    Virginia State University

    Petersburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    910/17

    Virginia State University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #9

    University of Mary Washington

    Fredericksburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/26

    University of Mary Washington’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    930/17

    Norfolk State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Management Information Systems
    • Marketing
    • Management Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Tourism And Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #13

    Stratford University

    Alexandria , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Stratford University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Stratford University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Human Resources
    • Marketing
    • Informatics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Advanced Culinary Arts
    • Baking And Pastry Arts
    • Hotel And Restaurant Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cybersecurity
    • Network Administration
    • Software Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #14

    Hollins University

    Roanoke , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/25

  8. #15

    Longwood University

    Farmville , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

  9. #16

    Marymount University

    Arlington , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/24

    Marymount University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accelerated
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #18

    Hampden–Sydney College

    Hampden-Sydney , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

  11. #19

    Randolph College

    Lynchburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

  12. #20

    Eastern Mennonite University

    Harrisonburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/26

  13. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

  14. #22

    Southern Virginia University

    Buena Vista , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1234/24

    What is Southern Virginia University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #23

    Bridgewater College

    Bridgewater , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

  16. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/20

    What is University of Virginia's College at Wise known for?

    University of Virginia's College at Wise’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Virginia's College at Wise’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Virginia’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Your Area of Interest

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 utilized 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. Washington and Lee University
  2. Virginia Military Institute
  3. Hollins University
  4. University of Richmond
  5. Hampden–Sydney College
  6. Sweet Briar College
  7. Randolph–Macon College
  8. Marymount University
  9. University of Mary Washington
  10. Eastern Mennonite University
  11. Randolph College
  12. Emory and Henry College
  13. James Madison University
  14. Radford University
  15. Christopher Newport University
  16. Roanoke College
  17. Bridgewater College
  18. Longwood University
  19. University of Lynchburg

Check out our directory of liberal arts colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top liberal arts schools in every state.