Online Master’s Degree Programs in Virginia
Earning a master’s degree can be a pathway to pursuing career advancement in many fields and to cultivating new skills in various areas of professional practice and academic study. Online master’s programs offer what is generally a more convenient and flexible means of achieving these goals without having to regularly attend campus-based classes. Residents of Virginia who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree have a broad range of online options, including online master’s programs in business administration and various business specializations, counseling and social work, teaching and education, and computer and information sciences.
Many of Virginia’s public and non-profit private colleges and universities now offer online master’s programs, and there are an even larger number of schools located in other states with online master’s programs that accept applicants who live in Virginia. This page provides an overview of the types of online master’s programs that are offered by accredited schools in Virginia as a well as information about online master’s programs offered by schools located in the Mid-Atlantic region that may be of interest to residents of Virginia.
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School in Virginia That Offer Online Master’s Programs
The Virginia system of higher education is overseen and administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and features some of the oldest and most prestigious public educational institutions in the country. Located in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, which was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, is the system’s flagship public research university, and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg is its oldest, with a history that dates back to 1693. George Mason University, located in the Northern Virginia/DC-area city of Fairfax, is the largest of Virginia’s public universities, with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, ranking as the second largest by enrollment.
Most of Virginia’s public colleges and universities are active in offering online courses and full degree programs, and many have online master’s programs in various fields and disciplines. George Mason University, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion University are three state institutions that SCHEV highlights on its website as centers for online learning. The table below lists the ten largest state-funded colleges and universities in Virginia based on enrollment data collected by the US Department of Education for its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|George Mason University (GMU)||Fairfax||Yes|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)||Blacksburg||Yes|
|Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)||Richmond||Yes|
|Old Dominion University (ODU)||Norfolk||Yes|
|University of Virginia (UVA)||Charlottesville||Yes|
|James Madison University (JMU)||Harrisonburg||Yes|
|College of William & Mary||Williamsburg||Yes|
|Norfolk State University||Norfolk||Yes|
|Christopher Newport University||Newport News||No|
In addition to Virginia’s public colleges and universities, there are a number of private degree-granting institutions in the state that offer online master’s programs. Liberty University in the Central Virginia city of Lynchburg, for example, offers online master’s programs in business, criminal justice, divinity, education, human services, public health, and many other fields. The table below lists the five largest accredited, non-profit private universities in Virginia, the location of each school’s main campus, and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|Regent University||Virginia Beach||Yes|
|University of Richmond||Richmond||Yes|
Regional Out-of-State Schools That Offer Online Master’s Programs
One of the advantages of online learning is that it provides students with options for earning a degree without having to relocate in order to be near a school’s campus or commute to campus-based classes. Residents of Virginia who are interested in earning a master’s degree online may want to explore online master’s programs offered by out-of-state colleges and universities, including a number of schools located in the Virginia region.
North of Virginia there are three large, non-profit, private research universities that offer online master’s programs in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area: American University; The George Washington University (GW); and Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Located in DC, American University has online master’s programs in communication, economics, healthcare management, homeland security, nutrition, public policy, sports analytics, and more. GW, which is also located in DC, offers online master’s programs through several of its academic divisions, including its School of Business, its College of Professional Studies, its Graduate School of Education and Human Development, its School of Nursing, and its School of Engineering and Applied Science. Among GW’s online offerings are master’s programs in cybersecurity, medical laboratory science, organizational leadership, rehabilitation counseling, and political management.
With several campuses in Baltimore, MD, and a School of Advanced International Studies located in Washington DC, JHU provides a broad array of academic opportunities for students interested in pursuing a master’s degree online. The Johns Hopkins School of Education offers online master’s programs in educational technologies, organizational leadership, and health education. JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health has an online Master of Public Health (MPH) program, and the Whiting School of Engineering at JHU offers online master’s programs in various specializations, including cybersecurity, data science, environmental planning, financial mathematics, and physics. JHU also has an online Master of Liberal Arts program, and online master’s programs in biotechnology, communication, and data analytics.
To the south of Virginia, in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region, there are two universities that offer online master’s programs: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill); and Duke University. UNC-Chapel Hill is the UNC system’s flagship institution and it offers online programs through its Kenan-Flagler Business School, as well as its Schools of Government, Media and Journalism, and Public Health. Among the online programs offered by UNC-Chapel Hill are master’s programs in accounting and business administration, technology and communication, and radiological science. Duke, which is a large private research university, has online master’s programs in nursing, engineering, and environmental studies.
Most Common Types of Master’s Programs in Virginia
The US Department of Education collects data from colleges and universities on a range of institutional factors, including enrollment and graduation numbers. Through an analysis of data on graduates from master’s degree programs in Virginia, we have identified the 15 most common disciplines and areas of study in which students completed master’s programs in the state. While IPEDS subject area classifications do not align precisely with specific online master’s programs, an analysis of the IPEDS data provides a representative overview of the most commonly pursued areas of study at the master’s level by students in Virginia. These areas are:
- Business Administration and Management
- Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions
- Theology/Theological Studies
- Counseling Psychology
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Special Education and Teaching
- Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Public Health
- Educational Leadership and Administration
- Information Science/Studies
- Elementary Education and Teaching
In the sections below, we provide details on online master’s programs offered by schools in Virginia and in the Virginia region in many of the areas of study listed above.
- Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Education and Teaching Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Counseling and Psychology Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Accounting Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Computer and Information Sciences Programs in Virginia
- Online Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Programs in Virginia
Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Programs in Virginia
George Mason University (GMU) is one of several public universities in Virginia that offer online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. The GMU online MBA program includes 48 credit hours of required coursework and has two optional features that potential applicants may want to consider: a Global Residency that gives students the opportunity to spend a week abroad studying companies and the business environment as part of a team of students; and a Business Analytics certificate that can be integrated into the MBA curriculum.
The Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University (ODU) offers an online MBA program that has a 40-credit pathway for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in business and a 45-credit pathway for students who majored in a field other than business. The program gives students the option of adding a certificate in four specializations while earning their MBA: Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization; Maritime, Ports, and Logistics Management; Public Procurement and Contract Management; and Business Analytics and Big Data.
In addition to the GMU and ODU programs, there are two other options for earning an online MBA through one of Virginia’s publicly funded schools. Radford University’s College of Graduate Studies and Research has an online MBA program that can be completed in two years. And the College of William & Mary offers an online MBA program through its Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The William & Mary online MBA program includes one weekend-long on-campus residency during which students learn from guest speakers, attend workshops and panel discussions, and participate in networking sessions.
Among the accredited, non-profit private schools in Virginia that offer online MBA programs are Liberty University and Regent University. The Liberty University online MBA features 19 designated tracks that students can choose from, including specializations in Accounting, Criminal Justice Administration, Human Resources, International Business, Non-Profit Leadership and Management, and Strategic Media and Digital Content. Regent’s online MBA program has 14 options for specialization, including Economic, Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management, and Small Business Technology Management.
Virginia residents who would like to explore out-of-state options for earning an online MBA may want to consider the programs offered by The George Washington University (GW) and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). GW’s School of Business has an MBA program that can be completed fully online or through a mix of online and on-campus courses. The program features an optional four-day residency on the GW campus. The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill offers an online MBA program (MBA@UNC) that requires 62 credits of coursework and that can be completed in as few as 18 months. The program features concentrations in: Data Analytics and Decision Modeling; Entrepreneurship; Finance; Marketing; and Strategy and Consulting.
Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Virginia
There are currently two schools in Virginia that offer fully online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs: George Mason University (GMU) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The GMU program focuses on social justice, empowerment, and systems transformation and features a generalist and clinical practice curriculum that includes two fieldwork practicums. VCU’s online MSW program has an advanced practice clinical social work focus. The program is designed for students who are able to complete fieldwork placements in local communities in Virginia and the DC metropolitan area.
Morgan State University, a publicly funded school in Baltimore that is the largest of Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), offers an online MSW program that accepts applicants from Virginia. The Morgan State program is designed for full-time students and can be completed in two years. It has a generalist practice curriculum with both clinical and macro practice coursework and a focus on urban communities and social empowerment. West Virginia University (WVU), a publicly funded school in Morgantown, WV, has an online MSW program that is designed for part-time enrollment and takes three years to complete for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. Students who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) may be eligible for the WVU program’s Advanced Standing track, which has fewer course requirements and can be completed in two years of part-time enrollment.
Note: Online MSW programs require students to complete in-person field education placements in addition to online coursework. Field placements take place at sites approved by the program and online students are typically allowed to find field education sites in their geographical location. However, applicants to online MSW programs, particularly online MSW programs offered by out-of-state schools, should inquire about field education requirements and placement procedures prior to submitting an application to ensure that a convenient site can be found. Applicants to out-of-state programs should also be aware that licensing for clinical social workers is administered at the state level and the training and education requirements for licensure vary by state. As a result, students interested in becoming licensed in clinical social work should confirm that an out-of-state program will meet Virginia’s licensing requirements before applying.
Online Master’s in Education and Teaching Programs in Virginia
Teachers and education professionals have an array of options for adding new skills and specialties through a broad range of online master’s program in education and teaching offered by schools in Virginia. George Mason University (GMU) has three types of online Master of Education (MEd) programs with a total of five specializations. GMU’s online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program has two designated tracks: Assistive Technology, and Blended and Online Learning in Schools. GMU also offers an online MEd in Education Leadership program with a general track and a concentration in Independent School Leadership, and an online MEd in Special Education program.
Old Dominion University (ODU) has numerous online master’s in education and teaching programs, including online Master of Science (MS) in Education programs in Elementary Education and Secondary Education for licensed teachers; online MS in Education in Elementary (K-6) and Secondary (6-12) Education programs that prepare students for initial licensure in Virginia; and an online MS in Education in Special Education program with a Virginia licensure track. Among the other programs offered by ODU’s Darden College of Education & Professional Studies are online MS in Education programs with the following specializations: Educational Leadership (K-12); Instructional Design and Technology; Reading Education; STEM Education; Mathematic Specialist (Elementary School); and School Librarianship.
Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), James Madison University (JMU), Radford University, and Norfolk State University are several of the other public universities in Virginia that offer online master’s program in education and teaching. Virginia Tech has an online Instructional Technology Master of Arts (ITMA) for K-12 teachers. The School of Education at VCU offers three types of online master’s programs in the field of education: an online MEd in Educational Leadership; an online MEd in Special Education; and an online MEd in Reading Education. JMU’s online programs include an online MEd in Educational Technology program. Radford offers two types of education master’s program online: an MS in Educational Leadership, and an MS in Education with a specialization in Mathematics Education. And Norfolk State University has an online MA in Pre-Elementary Education that has a track for students preparing for licensure in Early Childhood Special Education.
Liberty University is one of the private universities in Virginia offering online master’s programs for teachers and educators. Among the online programs offered by Liberty are: an online MEd program with specializations in Administration and Supervision, Math Specialist, and Reading Specialist; and an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program with specializations in Elementary Education, Middle Grades, Secondary Education, and Special Education. Regent University offers several options for students interested in earning an MEd degree online, including online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (STEM Education), Instructional Design and Technology, and Leadership in Mathematics Education programs. And Marymount University has an online MEd in Administration and Supervision program designed to prepare students for administrative roles in Catholic schools.
While there are many schools in Virginia that offer online master’s in education programs, residents of the state may want to explore online programs offered by regional, out-of-state schools such as American University, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and The George Washington University (GW). American University has an online MS in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics program that focuses on adult education. JHU has an online MA in Teaching Writing program for educators at the K-12 and post-secondary levels that requires students to attend one on-site residency. And GW offers several types of master’s in education programs online. These include: an online MA in Educational Leadership and Administration program; an online MA in Educational Technology Leadership program; an online MA in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services program; and an online MA in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners program.
Note: There are two important factors that potential applicants to online master’s in education and teaching programs should consider prior to applying to an online program. Some online programs require supervised student teaching internships that must be completed in person at a school or educational institution approved by the program. In addition, teacher licensing requirements vary by state. As a result, online programs that are designed to prepare students for licensure in one state may not provide adequate preparation for licensure in other states. Students from Virginia who are considering an online program and who intend to apply for licensure should research Virginia’s requirements carefully prior to submitting an application to a program offered by an out-of-state school, and they should contact a program administrator regarding any student-teaching requirements the program may have.
Online Master’s in Counseling and Psychology Programs in Virginia
George Mason University (GMU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and the College of William & Mary are three of the state schools in Virginia that offer online master’s programs in counseling and psychology. GMU has an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology program that provides training and instruction on the use of psychology in organizational and human resource management. VCU’s College of Health Professions offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation Counseling, and William & Mary’s School of Education offers an online Master or Education (MEd) in Counseling program with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling.
Liberty University is one of the private, non-profit schools in Virginia offering an array of online counseling and psychology programs. Through Liberty University Online, students can earn Master of Arts (MA) degrees in the following counseling specializations: Human Services Counseling; Professional Counseling; School Counseling, Addiction Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy. Liberty also offers an online MA in Applied Psychology program with a Developmental Psychology track and an Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology track.
Regent University is another private, non-profit, degree-granting institution that offers several types of online master’s in counseling and psychology programs. Regent’s online counseling programs include: an online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program; an online MA in School Counseling program; an online MA in Pastoral Counseling program; and an online MA in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program. In addition, Regent University has an online MS in General Psychology program that features six designated concentrations: Addictions; Cyberpsychology; Doctoral Preparation; Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Leadership Coaching; and Marriage and Family Psychology.
Hampton University also offers an online master’s in counseling program. The program, which is offered through Hampton U Online, is an MA in Counseling with a General Counseling concentration and a curriculum that is designed to prepare students for counseling licensure in Virginia.
Outside of Virginia there are many schools that offer various types of counseling and psychology degree programs online. The University of Kentucky, a state-funded school in Lexington, KY, has a Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Distance Learning Program that provides all of its didactic instruction online and that accepts applicants from Virginia. Similarly, Kentucky’s University of the Cumberlands, a private university in Williamsburg, offers an online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that accepts applicants from Virginia. The University of Georgia, which is located in Athens, offers an online MEd in Educational Psychology program with concentrations in Applied Cognition and Development and Gifted and Creative Education.
Note: Online master’s in counseling programs and some online master’s in psychology programs require students to complete in-person internships and/or practicums at clinical sites approved by the program. Applicants to out-of-state programs should contact a program administrator regarding potential clinical sites prior to submitting an application. It is also important to note that professional counselors are required to be licensed in their state of practice and licensure requirements vary by state. Applicants to out-of-state programs who intend to apply for a counseling license in Virginia should research Virginia licensing requirements carefully in order to determine whether a program will meet the requirements for licensure eligibility in Virginia.
Online Master’s in Accounting Programs in Virginia
There are currently two schools in Virginia that offer fully online master’s in accounting programs. George Mason University (GMU) has an online Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program that is designed to help students prepare for eventual licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The program consists of five core courses in accounting principles and practices and five electives in areas like government and non-profit sector accounting, taxation, and forensic accounting. Liberty University offers an online MSA program that features 30 credit hours of coursework. The Liberty University program has a general accounting option and six specializations: Audit and Financial Reporting; Business Accounting; Forensic Accounting; Financial Services; Leadership; and Taxation.
Virginia residents may also want to explore online master’s in accounting programs offered by regional, out-of-state schools, including programs offered by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Auburn University. UNC-Chapel Hill has an online Master of Accounting (MAC) program that it offers through its Kenan-Flagler School of Business. The UNC MAC program is comprised of 48 credits of coursework, some of which may be waived for students who have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business. Students may be able to graduate from the program in as few as 12 months and are allotted 36 months to complete the MAC degree requirements. Alabama’s Auburn University offers an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program designed for students with an undergraduate major in accounting or business, or prior college-level coursework in accounting, economics, finance, management, and statistics. The program requires students to attend a three-day campus residency during which they participate in an Auburn MAcc Leadership Summit.
Note: CPA licensure requirements vary by state. Virginia residents who are considering online accounting master’s programs offered by out-of-state schools with the intention of pursuing CPA licensure should examine Virginia’s licensure eligibility requirements carefully to ensure they are taking the courses and receiving the training they will need to sit for the CPA exam.
Online Master’s in Computer and Information Sciences Programs in Virginia
Several of Virginia’s public universities offer online master’s programs in computer and information sciences. Old Dominion University (ODU) has an online Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science program that is designed for students with a technical background, programming experience, and prior college-level coursework in data structures, operating systems, and computer architecture. ODU also offers an online MS in Cybersecurity that is designed for students with a similar level of prior training and experience in computer science.
Virginia Tech offers an online Master of Information Technology (IT) program that has an applied focus and that includes coursework in cybersecurity, business information systems, healthcare IT systems, and software development. And George Mason University (GMU), James Madison University (JMU), and Norfolk State University offer online master’s programs in cybersecurity. GMU’s program is an online MS in Applied Information Technology program with a Cybersecurity concentration; JMU has an online MS in Information Security program; and Norfolk State’s program is an online MS in Cybersecurity program.
Liberty University is one of several private, non-profit schools in Virginia offering online master’s programs in the fields of information systems and technology. Among the programs offered by Liberty are an online MS in Information Systems program that focuses on organizational data systems, and an online MS in Information Technology program that focuses on business IT systems design and management. Hampton University offers an online MS in Information Assurance that is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in computer science, engineering, or mathematics. And Marymount University has an online MS in Cybersecurity program that has tracks in Data Science and Digital Health.
In addition to online master’s in computer and information science programs offered by schools in Virginia, there are numerous programs in these fields offered online by schools in other states, including two schools in the neighboring state of Maryland. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has an online MS in Computer Science program that focuses on communications and networking systems and that has 11 optional focus areas/tracks, including: Bioinformatics; Cybersecurity; Data Science and Cloud Computing; Human-Computer Interaction; and Software Engineering. JHU also offers an online MS in Information Systems Engineering program with focus areas/tracks in Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, Enterprise and Web Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Management, Network Engineering, Software Engineering, and Systems Engineering.
The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMCG) offers an online MS in Information Technology program that has eight designated specializations: Database Systems Technology; Homeland Security Management; Informatics; Information Assurance; Project Management; Software Engineering; Systems Engineering; and Telecommunications Management.
Online Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Programs in Virginia
There are two public universities in Virginia that have online Master of Public Health (MPH) programs: George Mason University (GMU), and Old Dominion University (ODU). The GMU online MPH program has a Public Health Practice concentration and is designed for students who have at least two years of experience in the field of public health. Students in the program take all of their didactic courses online but must complete a 200-hour practicum in a supervised public health setting at a site approved by the program. ODU offers an online MPH program that has two concentrations: Global Environmental Health, and Human Behavior and Health Promotion. Both programs require students to complete 43 credit hours of coursework, including a practicum. The ODU program does not require applicants to have prior professional experience in public health.
Liberty University and Shenandoah University are two of the private, non-profit universities in Virginia that offer online MPH programs. The Liberty University online MPH program has three specialization options: Global Health; Health Promotion; and Nutrition. Students in the program take several core public health courses, complete a cluster of courses in their specialization, and engage in a required practicum at a public health agency approved by the program. Shenandoah University’s online MPH is offered through the university’s School of Health Professions and focuses on public health issues and policies related to rural and underserved populations. Students in the program must complete applied practice and integrated learning experiences that involve a field placement at a public health agency approved by the program.
Outside of Virginia there are many options for earning a master’s degree in public health online from accredited colleges and universities, including several schools in the Virginia region. The Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC has an online MPH program with 12-month and 18-month completion plans for students who enroll full-time, and flexible part-time enrollment options for students who would prefer to complete their degree in two, three, or four years. Rather than designated concentrations, the GW program allows students to choose from elective courses in six areas of public health practice: Global Health; Health Policy; Environmental and Occupational Health; Epidemiology and Public Health Research Methods; Health Communication; and Program Planning and Evaluation. Students in the program must complete an in-person public health practicum at a local, national, or international public health organization.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which has campuses in Baltimore and Washington DC, offers an MPH program that is mostly online but that requires students to attend several campus-based sessions at JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and/or at other designated sites. Online students spend an average of four weeks on-site during the program, which can be completed in two to three years of part-time enrollment. In addition to earning an MPH degree, students enrolled in the JHU MPH program have the option of attending campus-based and online public health specialization certificate programs through summer institutes offered by the Bloomberg School.
Note: Online MPH programs may require students to complete in-person practicum and field experiences at sites approved by the program. Applicants to online programs should contact a program administrator regarding potential field placements prior to submitting an application to an online program, particularly a program offered by a school located in another state.