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Exploring Virginia’s (VA) Best Online Master’s Programs

Author: Taylor Cromwell

Editor: Staff Editor

If you’ve thought about pursuing an online master’s degree, it’s a great time to expand your horizons or specialize in your field. Virginia residents are in luck, too, as the state boasts a plethora of online master’s programs tailored to their needs.

Search hundreds of schools for the master’s YOU want……

A state known for its blend of tradition and innovation, Virginia is home to renowned institutions like the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and Liberty University. These universities offer diverse online master’s degree programs in fields like business administration, healthcare management, computer science, and the arts.

With an emphasis on affordability, flexibility, and quality education, Virginia’s online master’s programs allow you to pursue your dreams without compromising your current commitments. Whether you aspire to climb the corporate ladder, contribute to cutting-edge research, or make a lasting impact in your community, Virginia has the perfect online master’s program for you.

This guide navigates you through the best online master’s programs in Virginia and provides you with detailed insights and recommendations to help you make a well-informed decision about your academic and career aspirations. Use this guide to delve into the world of online graduate programs in Virginia and gather the state-specific data you need to unlock your potential and open doors to exciting career opportunities in the heart of the Old Dominion State.

Top-Rated Online Master’s Programs in Virginia for 2024

Online learning has been increasingly popular among master’s students across the country, and Virginia is no exception. Most major universities in the state – the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University, for example – as well as many smaller schools now provide online master’s programs. One of the biggest perks of online learning is the flexibility it affords you both in your studies and your life outside of school.

While much of the curriculum is available online, some programs still require in-person attendance for specific components like labs or workshops. This varies by program, so be sure to check individual program websites. Generally, though, on-campus visits are not a common requirement, so online master’s programs in Virginia are highly accessible to students across the state and beyond.

Although the “best” schools may vary by individual preference, three universities in Virginia consistently offer quality master’s programs with flexible study options and reasonable costs. Choosing a graduate degree program is an important, pivotal decision, and these three options serve as a quality benchmark while you explore your options.

Virginia Commonwealth University

A branch of Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU Online is a global leader in providing quality higher education using a number of delivery methods, including fully online and hybrid options. The program admits thousands of students yearly, each with their own specific, flexible educational and career path. The school also places a high priority on giving students the resources they need to succeed in their online master’s programs.

VCU currently offers 21 master’s degrees online with programs that include a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Supply Chain Management, and more. VCU students also have several options when it comes to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. It also ranks among the top three public universities for online master’s programs. Through Mason Online, the school offers a wide array of online learning experiences to students that are both affordable and come with a stellar reputation.

Whether you’re traveling, stationed abroad, or just want to take online classes, you have options through George Mason. The school’s mission is to “make education accessible and affordable for all students,” and it does this by offering 62 graduate programs that are either fully online or offered through a hybrid model. The fully online master’s degree offerings include accounting, computer science, social work, systems engineering, and more.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech, one of the largest schools in Virginia, offers a range of online degrees and certificates. Its current offering includes 14 online programs with degrees in aerospace engineering, Business administration, political science, and more. You must first apply through Virginia Tech’s graduate school to be admitted into any of its graduate programs. VT Online is an approved SARA institution, which makes it easier for students to access distance education programs across state lines.

Types of Online Master’s Programs Available in Virginia

Virginia offers a diverse range of online master’s programs to cater to different needs and schedules. Whether you prefer full-time or part-time study, want to skip the GRE requirement, or seek an accelerated pace, there’s an option for you. The section below explores these various options.

Full-Time Online Master’s Programs in VA

If you’re looking to get your degree as quickly as possible, a full-time program is your best option. Thankfully, Virginia schools offer a large selection of full-time online masters programs ranging from MBA programs like the one at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Master of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.

Part-Time Online Master’s Programs in VA

Many programs offer both full-time and part-time options. This Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia offers both types of online instruction with several different entry timelines. Part-time programs often work better for individuals who must work while earning their degrees or who have other significant responsibilities that demand their time.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in VA

Want to apply for an online master’s program in Virginia but don’t have a GRE score? Many programs don’t require a GRE to apply. At Liberty University, for example, you can apply to all its online master’s degrees without a GRE. Franklin University also offers online master’s degrees without a GRE requirement.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in VA

Accelerated online master’s programs allow you to complete your studies as quickly as possible, some even in as little as a year. Virginia Tech, for example, offers accelerated programs for VT undergraduate students, and Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University offer online accelerated master’s programs.

In-Demand Online Master’s Degrees in Virginia


A master’s degree in cybersecurity is tailored for tech enthusiasts and professionals seeking to combat evolving digital threats. In Virginia, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is particularly high due to the presence of government agencies and tech industries in the state and nearby D.C. Pursuing this degree equips graduates with the skills to protect sensitive data and infrastructure. Additional technology-related master’s degrees include those in computer science.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Healthcare Administration

A master’s in healthcare administration is ideal for healthcare professionals aspiring to lead and manage healthcare organizations effectively. With Virginia’s growing healthcare sector, this program addresses the demand for qualified administrators who can navigate the complex healthcare landscape.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Data Science

A master’s in data science is for those interested in harnessing the power of data analytics. According to Bridge for Innovation, Virginia’s per capita tech economy is one of the strongest in the nation. With the technology and business sectors thriving in Virginia, professionals with expertise in data science are in high demand. Graduates of many different computer science master’s degrees can unlock opportunities in diverse industries in the state.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Public Policy

A master’s in public policy attracts individuals passionate about making a difference in their communities. As a graduate of a public policy master’s, you can pursue roles in government, nonprofits, advocacy, and more. Related to public policy, Virginia’s dynamic political landscape and proximity to the nation’s capital create a strong demand for legal and policy experts with master’s degrees in fields related to legal studies.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Educational Leadership

A master’s in educational leadership prepares educators for leadership roles in schools and educational organizations. With a focus on improving education systems, Virginia values these professionals with master’s-level training in education who can shape the future of education.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Understanding the Expenses of VA Master’s Programs

Understanding the expenses of online master’s programs in Virginia is crucial before embarking on this extensive educational journey. Alleviate potential financial stress by gaining a clear grasp of the total financial commitment, a well-thought-out payment plan, and secured financial aid.

Here are three online master’s programs in Virginia, along with their key financial data to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of expenses for online graduate programs in Virginia.

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Tuition Cost










Virginia Graduate Program Funding Options

Virginia offers a range of financial aid options to support master’s students in their pursuit of higher education. These funding opportunities can help alleviate the financial burden associated with earning a master’s degree.

Key avenues you can explore for additional financial assistance include scholarships and grants offered byVirginia universities to master’s students based on student merit and/or need. You should also check individual school websites to learn more about specific scholarships available. The VA Higher Education Fund even has a master list of scholarships within the state.

Fellowships, often awarded based on academic excellence or research potential, are another valuable resource. Virginia Tech’s graduate school, for example, offers several fellowship opportunities for graduate students, including the George E. & Hester B. Aker Fellowship, Ellen E. Wade Graduate Studies Fellowship, and David W. Francis & Lilian Francis Research Fellowship.

Federal work-study programs are another source of funding for graduate students. They offer part-time employment while you’re enrolled in school. This allows you to gain work experience while earning money to cover your educational expenses. Check with each university’s financial aid office for details.

Finally, graduate assistantships provide tuition waivers and stipends in exchange for research assistance. At the University of Virginia, for example, you can find both graduate teaching assistant and research assistant positions that include tuition remission and health insurance subsidies.

Top Career Choices for VA Master’s Graduates

Earning a master’s degree in Virginia can significantly boost your earning potential and open doors to high-paying career opportunities. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with master’s degrees tend to earn substantially more than those with only a bachelor’s degree — on average 20% more.

In Virginia, where the job market is robust, professionals can expect a favorable pay bump after completing a master’s program. Most schools publish career outcomes pages like this one from Virginia Tech to show salary and career outcomes for graduate students.

The section below explores five high-growth and well-paying career options in Virginia that typically require a master’s degree to give you an idea of what you can expect after earning your degree. Though actual earnings vary based on experience and location, the state median annual pay from the BLS for each of these professions gives you a solid idea of what you can anticipate.

Nurse Practitioner

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepares nurses for advanced nursing roles. Nurse practitioners, for example, provide primary and specialized healthcare services. In Virginia, nurse practitioners are in demand and earn a high annual wage.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$116,980 38% MS in Nursing

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023

Software Developer

With a master’s degree in computer science, software developers design and create software applications. Virginia’s growing technology sector offers high earning potential for these professionals.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$132,850 25% MS in Computer Science

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists and their assistants help people of all ages with physical, psychological, and developmental disabilities achieve independence to lead productive and satisfying lives. A master’s degree in occupational therapy prepares you for this rewarding career.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$97,980 12% MS in Occupational Therapy

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders. A master’s in speech-language pathology is essential for this profession and allows you to have a positive impact on patients.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$97,940 19% MS in Speech-Language Pathology

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists provide counseling to help individuals and families manage their relationships and mental health. A master’s in marriage and family therapy is typically required, and licensure requirements vary by state.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$75,990 15% MS in Marriage and Family Therapy

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023