Online Christian Colleges in Virginia

According to Pew Research Center, 73% of adults in Virginia identify as Christian. Considering the population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, this percentage accounts for more than 4.8 million Virginians. Evangelical Protestants comprise the bulk of Christians in Virginia, and the next largest segments include Catholics and other Protestants.

Among Christians, 81% state that religion is important to their lives and 76% attend religious service at least monthly. Pew Research Center

Among Christians, 81% state that religion is important to their lives and 76% attend religious service at least monthly, with one third of those attending weekly. With the large number of Christians in the state, it's no surprise that Christian colleges in Virginia flourish. Christian institutions in the state offer degrees and certificates that prepare students for career success while affirming their faith through integrative curricula, campus worship gatherings, and opportunities to strengthen community relationships.

Most Christian universities in Virginia are affiliated with Protestant denominations. However, the state does have interdenominational schools and institutions with other affiliations. Distance education is another option, ideal for students who want the services and resources of a traditional institution with the convenience of asynchronous coursework. Online Christian colleges in Virginia provide accredited programs at all levels.

Online Christian Colleges in Virginia

Online Christian universities in Virginia provide affordable alternatives to on-campus learning. Distance learners complete asynchronous coursework through platforms such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and Canvas. Asynchronous courses allow students to complete assignments and communicate with peers and instructors at their convenience.

Online learners can design a degree plan that fits their immediate and long-term goals; some learners study part time so they can work or fulfill family and church obligations, while others take classes at an accelerated pace and earn a bachelor's in two or three years. Online Christian colleges save students money by offering low tuition rates that often disregard residency status, and many scholarships and grants are reserved for online students. Distance learners also save money on costs such as transportation and on-campus housing.

Distance programs can fail to foster communication among students, faculty, and university leaders. However, online Bible colleges in Virginia address this issue by providing resources that connect students to their communities and bolster learners' faith. These online programs focus on helping students reduce negative influences and focus on their studies, church, and family. In addition to offering curricula that emphasize religious doctrine and related social and political values, Virginia Christian colleges provide online spiritual guidance, live streams of worship services and guest speaker series, and opportunities for in-person engagement through campus ministries and service projects.

Virginia's Best Online Christian Schools

Eastern Mennonite University

Founded as a Bible college in 1917, EMU now offers more than 50 academic programs. Affiliated with the Mennonite Church, EMU incorporates service, social justice, discipleship, and peacemaking into both its classroom and campus communities. Boasting a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, EMU serves learners from its main campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia; its satellite location in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and online.

EMU's slate of online programs compares with any of the Christian colleges in Virginia and includes undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Hybrid programs include master of business administration degrees. The school's online RN-to-BSN degree completion program includes 120 credits, although students must bring 60 credits with them when they enroll. Distance learners complete 43 credits of nursing coursework in five semesters. EMU delivers all online coursework asynchronously.

Eastern Mennonite University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Liberty University

Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty provides Christ-centered academic programs to more than 100,000 learners. Founded in 1971, Liberty maintains an informal affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. The university offers 600 programs of study, including 400 online certificates and degrees — more than any of the other Christian colleges and universities in Virginia.

Students can complete undergraduate certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees online in fields such as accounting, psychology, history, and education. Liberty also offers over 350 online master's degrees, in addition to online doctoral programs in business, nursing, music, and education. Liberty delivers all online coursework asynchronously, and most of the school's distance learning programs eliminate on-campus requirements.

Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Regent University

Established as a graduate-level institution in 1977, Regent now offers undergraduate and graduate programs through nine schools and colleges. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent serves more than 10,000 students each year and trains learners to represent Christ in life and in their professions. Regent offers an expansive array of distance learning options, earning the university a spot among the best Christian colleges in Virginia.

Regent offers online programs in 10 disciplines, including undergraduate programs in graphic arts and political communications. Standout master's programs include theatre, worship and media, practical theology, and film and television. Regent also houses a strong online doctorate program in theology. In most cases, distance learning programs at Regent deliver coursework asynchronously and do not include any in-person or on-campus requirements.

Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Averett University

Averett University offers courses at its central campus in Danville, at regional centers in Richmond and Tidewater, and online. Founded in 1859, Averett maintains an affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia and serves nearly 1,500 learners each year. Averett's diversity of programs earns the school a place among the best Christian colleges in Virginia.

Averett offers online programs in seven disciplines. Distance learners can complete an RN-to-BSN degree completion program at Averett, in which they receive 58 transfer credits for nursing licensure. Core nursing classes include contemporary nursing practice, leadership and community health, and research and evidence-based practice.

Averett also offers distance learning degrees in applied sciences, business, education, and criminal justice. The college delivers its online coursework asynchronously and eliminates on-campus courses for distance learners.

Averett Unviersity is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Mary Baldwin University

Initially opening its doors as a seminary for women in the 1940s, MBU is the nation's oldest Presbyterian-affiliated women's college. The modern version of MBU earns a place among the stronger Christian colleges in Virginia. The university operates a central campus in Staunton and a satellite campus in Fishersville and offers several of its best programs through distance learning.

Online programs at MBU include 15 undergraduate degrees offered through the university's five academic colleges. Distance learners can complete bachelor's degrees in fields such as applied behavior analysis, healthcare administration, marketing, and communication. MBU's online graduate programs primarily focus on education. In most cases, MBU's online degrees do not include any in-person requirements and deliver all coursework asynchronously.

Mary Baldwin University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Bluefield College

One of the more noteworthy Christian colleges in Virginia, Bluefield offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs. Founded in 1922, Bluefield began as a junior college, but now offers bachelor's and master's degrees, serving more than 900 students both online and at a central campus in the eponymous city of Bluefield, Virginia. The university maintains an affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

Bluefield College offers 12 online programs. Undergraduate students can complete bachelor's degrees in fields such as business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, and human services. Bluefield also offers programs in Christ-centered fields like ministry leadership and professionally-focused MBA and MSN degrees.

Distance learners can also become certified as Virginia chemistry teachers through Bluefield College. Aiming for flexibility for working professionals, Bluefield College delivers online coursework asynchronously.

Bluefield College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

What Christian Colleges are in Virginia?

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Finding the Right Christian College

Online Christian colleges synthesize the teachings of scripture into all programs, regardless of discipline. However, institutions utilize varying types of pedagogy. Some institutions provide a liberal arts education that supports academic discovery through the pursuit of diverse topics, while others require students to focus almost exclusively on their major. When considering religious education, some colleges highlight theology and related historical and philosophical study, while others prepare students to build Christian businesses or develop cross-cultural missions.

When considering religious education, some colleges highlight theology and related historical and philosophical study, while others prepare students to build Christian businesses or develop cross-cultural missions.

Prospective students should also consider location when choosing from Christian universities in Virginia. Some schools are based in small towns, and others are in large metropolitan areas. Each student must decide which environment is conducive to their academic and personal growth. Campus safety is another important consideration. Even distance learners may need to visit campus complete an internship, conduct research, or engage in a ministry event.

Beyond resources such as online academic advising and tutoring, look for a college that provides opportunities to praise God and discuss scripture with peers, faculty, school leaders, and community members. These types of relationships often lead to opportunities for funding, travel, and job placements. Christian colleges in Virginia generally foster an intimate academic environment by enrolling fewer students, which results in small class sizes, personal attention from professors, and more financial resources for each student.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

The types of available degrees constitute the major difference between seminary schools and Bible colleges in Virginia. Bible colleges offer associate and bachelor's degrees across field such as psychology, fine arts, and business administration. Unlike secular universities, Bible schools deliver curricula from a Christian perspective, and general education requirements often include courses such as history of the Vatican, Old Testament as literature, and sociology of religious communities.

Seminary schools offer graduate programs; students may earn a master of divinity or an integrated Ph.D. in theology and practice. Seminary schools train students for positions such as director of worship ministries, clergyman, and regional church steward. However, Christian students planning to pursue secular careers also benefit from seminary schools, which provide advanced leadership and communication skills necessary for positions such as university professor, lawyer, family counselor, and office administrator.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Christian universities in Virginia should hold regional or national accreditation. Six organizations in the U.S. award regional accreditation; the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits Virginia institutions. National accreditation is less common and may impede the transfer of credits and degrees. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) only awards federal funding to accredited institutions, and students must be enrolled in an accredited institution to receive federal financial aid. The ED maintains a list of accredited schools on its website.

Most religious institutions hold national or regional accreditation, along with specialized accreditation, to ensure the universal recognition of their degrees.

Programs can also earn field-specific accreditation, and Christian colleges in Virginia often receive recognition from organizations such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Most religious institutions hold national or regional accreditation, along with specialized accreditation, to ensure the universal recognition of their degrees.

Career and Salary Expectations

Christian universities in Virginia help students develop career skills while preparing them to serve their congregations and communities as ethical leaders. Virginia offers ample professional opportunities for individuals who plan to work in the state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate in Virginia is 3.4%, which is the 14th lowest in the country. The BLS estimates the average pay for all occupations in the state to be $53,980 per year. This salary does not consider degree level or industry, which means college graduates often earn much more. Virginia boasts a relatively low cost of living. According to PayScale, even the urban center of Richmond has a cost of living below the national average.

In Virginia, there is significant growth for registered nurses, software developers, and operations managers.

According to the BLS, the fastest-growing jobs in the country are in the energy, business, healthcare, and technology fields. The Virginia Employment Commission reports similar findings, including significant growth for registered nurses, software developers, and operations managers. The table below highlights common careers for graduates of Christian colleges in Virginia. The BLS projects a 7-8% growth in religious positions, such as church program director and clergy, by 2026.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Virginia
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 2,750 $23.34 $48,540
Marriage and Family Therapists 1,000 $23.38 $48,630
Mental Health Counselors 8,980 $23.23 $48,310
Rehabilitation Counselors 3,010 $20.07 $41,750
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 8,620 $24.42 $50,780
Healthcare Social Workers 2,990 $26.01 $54,100
Social and Human Service Assistants 6,750 $15.38 $31,990
Clergy 1,190 $20.01 $41,620
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 560 $24.55 $51,060
Religious Workers, all other 110 $13.08 $27,210
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Though seminary schools and Bible colleges in Virginia offer competitive tuition rates for online learners, the total cost of earning a degree can still be substantial. Luckily, many scholarships and grants are available specifically for Christian students or Virginia residents, and some are reserved for Christian learners in the state. In addition to the awards below, research opportunities from religious and professional organizations and from community businesses.

Christian Scholarships

InFaith Community Foundation Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a graduating high school senior and a member of a church affiliated with the InFaith Organizational Fund. Applicants must be enrolled in a four-year college or university and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

National Presbyterian College Scholarship Up to $2,500

Who Can Apply: The award is available to members of the National Presbyterian Church. Applicants must be enrolled in their first year of college and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. View Scholarship

United Church of Christ Undergraduate Scholarship Up to $1,500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a member of a UCC congregation, must be younger than 25 years old, must be enrolled in a four-year program, and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Ruth K. Jacobs Memorial Scholarship $1,500, renewable

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be full-time junior or senior undergraduate students or graduate students. Applicants must be enrolled in a music program at an accredited U.S. or Canadian school and must plan to pursue a career in choral church music. View Scholarship

Catholic Financial Life College Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: The award supports CFL members and their relatives. Applicants must have completed at least 10 hours of service with an approved Christian organization. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Virginia Residents

Granville P. Meade Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Virginia high school seniors who are attending an in-state college or university. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and academic achievement. View Scholarship

Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation Scholarship $1,000-10,000

Who Can Apply: The award is available to any middle or high school student in Virginia. Applicants submit an essay on any topic related to General Lee and/or General Jackson. View Scholarship

Virginia High School League Scholarships $500-1,500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be enrolled in or graduating from a high school that partners with the VHSL. Applicants must demonstrate academic and extracurricular achievement and a commitment to community service. View Scholarship

The Esperanza Education Fund Scholarship $5,000-20,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be graduating from a Virginia high school and must plan to enroll full time in an accredited college or university. Both of the applicant's parents must have been born outside the United States, and their family's annual income cannot exceed $100,000. View Scholarship

Resources

Find a Church in Your Community

In addition to the community engagement resources that Christian colleges in Virginia provide, students can use websites such as Churchfinder and USAChurches to find local congregations. Users can search by denomination, proximity, church size, and worship style. Each church profile includes service times, contact information, and special programming, such as leadership training and service opportunities.

Get Connected

Students attending a Christian college in Virginia often join faith-based professional organizations to access funding, academic, and career development opportunities.

  • Christian Business Network Through its Global Connectivity Platform, CBN connects Christian students with business owners and industry professionals, strengthening the community economically and socially. Members benefit from career resources including webinars and articles.
  • College Ministries of Virginia CMOV plants and sustains campus ministries across the state, including chapters for women leaders and Virginia Tech students. These Christian Student Fellowships organize small group Bible study sessions and large congregational gatherings.
  • Association of Christian Schools International ACSI provides certification and postgraduate education programs. The association advocates for the Christian community at all levels of government and offers financial aid and career development opportunities for student members.

Find Christian Ministries

Religious students who choose not to attend Christian institutions can participate in Christian organizations at public schools. The organizations below provide access campus ministries and community service opportunities while connecting Christian students to peers and religious leaders around the world.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Founded in 1951, Cru is one of the largest campus ministry organizations in the United States. With more than 101,000 members, Cru organizes national alumni gatherings and college summits. The organization also hosts small leadership training sessions for Christian students.
  • Chi Alpha Chi Alpha members receive access to an online library and to community service, career networking, and global mission opportunities. The organization financially supports campus ministries across the country.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES connects Christian students through its regional convention and annual World Assembly. Members have access to job and mission opportunities and an online library of Bible study guides and group discussion strategies.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA supports its more than 113,000 members with global service mission trips, leadership training camps, and campus ministry groups. Members can access professional development opportunities and job listings.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association With more than 500 U.S. campus ministries, CCMA strengthens the Christian community through student leadership training and outreach initiatives. The association provides professional certification and graduate programs through its university partners.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement USA Founded in 1969, LSM-USA operates nine regional campus ministry branches in the United States. Christian students benefit from Bible study groups, internship opportunities, and alternative spring trips.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship As the official campus ministry organization for the Presbyterian Church of America, RUF provides students with leadership training, internship, and conference opportunities. RUF strengthens ties to surrounding communities by building churches in university cities and towns./li>
  • UKirk UKirk provides student leaders with mission trips and networking opportunities, such as the national summit. The organization also supports campus ministers through Bible study discussion guides and promotional resources including program funding, logos, and print materials.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife supports Christian student leaders through group training sessions, internship and career opportunities, and an online resource library. The organization facilitates networking events, such as the annual international conference, Welcoming the Nations.

Public Universities in Virginia with Christian Ministries