Masters Degree Programs in Virginia
Overview of Master's Education in Virginia
The Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org, 2013) reports that about 15 percent of Virginians between the ages of 25 and 64 hold a graduate or professional degree based on 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. There are a myriad of choices for those who want to attend graduate school in Virginia. Many of the state’s 100-plus higher learning institutions offer master’s programs, including faith-based private colleges like Regent University, and large public schools like Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. In addition to in-state colleges, there are also 65 out-of-state institutions that offer classes or degree programs in Virginia (yesvirginia.org, 2013). For those looking to take Web-based courses in Virginia, online master degrees are also available at several major universities.
Before enrolling in Virginia masters programs, students are expected to meet certain requirements, depending on what school they want to attend. Generally, graduate schools require candidates to have earned a bachelor’s degree, a minimum GPA in their undergraduate coursework, and a certain score on entry examinations such as the GRE or GMAT.
Information Technology Master's Degrees in Virginia
While most people probably think of California's Silicon Valley as the embodiment of the high tech industry, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (yesvirginia.org, 2013), Virginia actually has the country's highest concentration of technology workers, with about 284,000 employed by companies like Boeing, Accenture, HP Enterprise Services, IBM, Lockheed Martin and Oracle. One IT career Virginians can pursue with a master’s degree is computer and information systems manager, a position that was held by about 16,000 workers in the state in May 2012 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). Although these positions can be obtained with an undergraduate degree, oftentimes employers require a graduate degree such as an MBA according to the BLS (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).
Supply Chain Management Master's Degrees in Virginia
Virginia has become a popular state for logistics, thanks to its convenient distance from the Eastern and Midwestern distribution markets. As a result, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, companies like Best Buy, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Amazon distribute their products from the state -- resulting in over 68,000 workers being employed in logistics-related jobs such as trucking, transportation support, and warehousing (yesvirginia.org, 2013). One job individuals can pursue in this field is logistician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6,320 logisticians were employed in Virginia in May 2012 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). While an associate degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for logisticians, earning a master’s degree (such as an MBA with a concentration in logistics or supply chain management) may help professionals seeking leadership roles.
Popular Schools in Virginia for Earning a Master's Degree
The most popular schools for graduate students, based on Fall 2012 enrollment numbers from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (schev.edu, 2013), are Liberty University (25,073), George Mason University (11,668), and Virginia Tech (6,808). In addition, Virginia has a number of graduate schools that have been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com, 2013), including:
- George Mason University: Ranked as the No. 1 up-and-coming school in America, George Mason also scores highly for several of its grad programs. Its criminology and health care management programs are ranked No. 17 and No. 36 in the nation, respectively.
- University of Virginia: The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia is ranked No. 12 in the nation for its full-time MBA programs. The university is also home to the country’s 10th-best English grad programs and 15th-best nursing grad programs. To top things off, the school is tied with UCLA as the second-best public school in the U.S among national universities.
- Virginia Commonwealth University: VCU is rated as having the best nursing anesthesia program in the nation. Other highly ranked grad programs include fine arts (No. 4) healthcare management (No. 5), social work (No. 11), and education (No. 28).
- Virginia Tech: This college boasts the nation’s third-best online graduate program in computer information technology. It’s also rated as the 24th-best engineering school in the country, with the 13th-best online graduate engineering program.
Note: Most current rankings as of August 2013
Employment Outlook in Virginia
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of June 2013, Virginia had an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, several points lower than the national rate (bls.gov/eag, 2013). Among IT professionals in the state, job prospects for computer and information systems managers should remain solid in Virginia according to the Virginia Workforce Connection, with over 4,400 new jobs and a swift growth rate of 28 percent expected between 2010 and 2020. At 38 percent, the projected growth rate of logisticians is nearly double the state average (vawc.virginia.gov, 2013). As of May 2012, Virginia ranks as the third-highest paying state for both careers. Computer and information systems managers in the state earned an impressive average salary of $143,380 per year at that time, while the average salary for logisticians working in Virginia was also strong at $84,260 per year (bls.gov/oes, 2013).
Lumina Foundation, A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education, Virginia, Accessed August 2, 2013 http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation/report/#virginia
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Higher Education System, Accessed August 2, 2013, http://www.yesvirginia.org/whyvirginia/education_system/higher_education.aspx
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Leading IT Companies "Say Yes" to Virginia, Accessed August 2, 2013, http://www.yesvirginia.org/it/Default.aspx
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Information Technology Industry, Accessed August 2, 2013 http://www.yesvirginia.org/pdf/industrystudies/Information%20Technology%20Industry%20Study%202013/index.html
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Virginia, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Computer and Information Systems Managers, July 11, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Global Logistics Industry, Accessed August 2, 2013 http://www.yesvirginia.org/pdf/industrystudies/Global%20Logistics%20Industry%20Study%202013/index.html#/3/zoomed
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Logisticians, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia Economy at a Glance, August 2, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.va.htm
U.S. News & World Report, Virginia Commonwealth University, Accessed August 2, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/virginia-commonwealth-university-234030/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, Virginia Tech, Accessed August 2, 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-graduate-schools/virginia-polytechnic-institute-and-state-university-233921
U.S. News & World Report, University of Virginia, Accessed August 16, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-virginia-main-campus-234076/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University, Accessed August 16, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/george-mason-university-232186/overall-rankings
Virginia Workforce Connection, Occupation Employment and Projections (Long-Term), Accessed August 16, 2013, https://www.vawc.virginia.gov/analyzer/default.asp
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Fall 2012 Headcount Enrollment, Accessed Aug. 16, 2013, http://research.schev.edu/enrollment/E2_Report.asp