University of Virginia

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Updated August 7, 2020

The University of Virginia was founded in 1817 just west of Charlottesville and the laying of the cornerstone for the first building was celebrated not only by local residents, but by dignitaries that included James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The land for the university was purchased from James Madison while he was beginning the first of two terms as President of the United States. Eventually, Madison became Rector of the university.

Although the college opened in 1817, its premise began long before that while Thomas Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary from 1760 to 1762 and acquired his first books on architecture. Jefferson's ability prompted Lord Dunmore, the Governor of Virginia to ask him to design an addition to the College of William and Mary. This drawing became the precursor for the design of the University of Jefferson, which he created more than 40 years later.

In 1779, while Governor of Virginia, Jefferson served on the board of the College of William and Mary, expanding his interest in architecture and education. In 1800, while serving as Vice President to John Adams, Jefferson wrote of establishing a university in the central part of the state that was broad, liberal and modern. After retiring to Monticello after serving two terms as President of the United States, Jefferson was elected to the Board of Trustees at Albemarle Academy, a school that didn't exist at the time, other than on paper. In 1816, the Virginia General Assembly established the charter for Central College and Jefferson was elected to the Board of Visitors and Rector of the College.

At the time the university was established, students could only study medicine, law or religion at university. Under Jefferson's guidance, the University of Virginia offered specializations that included astronomy, architecture, botany, philosophy and political science. The University of Virginia was also the first university centered upon a library rather than a church and one of the first to be completely separated from a religious doctrine. Unlike other universities of its time, the university did not offer, and still does not offer, a Divinity school.

By the American Civil War, the University of Virginia was the largest in the southern United States and second only to Harvard University in scope. Unlike many universities in the South, the University of Virginia remained open throughout the war. In 1865, Union General George Armstrong Custer marched troops into Charlottesville, but was convinced to spare the school.

In 1950, the university began the process of desegregation when African American graduate and professional students were admitted. African American undergraduates were admitted in 9155. Women had been admitted to the university for graduate studies since the 1890s and were admitted to nursing or education undergraduate programs during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1944, Mary Washington College became the Women's Undergraduate Arts and Sciences Division of the university. The school became completely co-educational in 1970 and, in 1972, Mary Washington became an independent state university.

Today, the University of Virginia is the third best public national university according to U.S. News & World Report and the third best for public college value by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. In 2016, Money Magazine was ranked the fourth best public college.

University of Virginia Accreditation Details

The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Accreditation indicates that the university admits or exceeds criteria set forth by the accrediting agency that demonstrate excellence in education. In addition to regional accreditation, specific programs are accredited by the following agencies or organizations:

  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • American Bar Association
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Association of American Law Schools
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Computing Accreditation Commission
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission
  • Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • Planning Accreditation Board
  • Teacher Education Accreditation Council

University of Virginia Application Requirements

High school students who wish to attend the University of Virginia must complete the Common Application. Students must submit official high school transcripts as well as ACT or SAT scores. Students must also provide recommendations and complete the University of Virginia supplement.

Students who have earned 24 or more semester hours of college credit are considered transfer students at the University of Virginia. Students must be in good standing at their current college or university and must have a grade point average of 3.00 or better. Students must satisfy the English composition requirement either by completing the course or scoring a five on the AP English Language and Composition examination. Students must provide an official high school transcript and official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended a well as SAT or ACT scores.

University of Virginia Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition for Virginia residents is $10,016 and for non-Virginia residents is $36,720 per year. Graduate tuition is as follows:

  • Architecture – $8,163 per semester
  • Education – $8,140 per semester
  • Batten – $8,148 per semester

Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, fellowships and outreach financial resources. There are limited merit scholarships available and students are automatically considered for merit awards. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as financial aid documents through the Financial Aid Office at the University of Virginia.

University of Virginia Degree Program(s) Available

Master of Arts in Psychology

The Master of Arts in Psychology requires 72 credits of coursework including the topical and non-topical research, practicum and a Contemporary Issues course. Extension, correspondence, home study or transfer courses cannot be used toward the Master's degree. The program is organized into seven broad areas of specialization including:

  • Clinical
  • Cognitive
  • Community
  • Developmental
  • Quantitative
  • Sensory and Systems Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

Each area meets formally and informally in order to discuss the topic, including the weekly developmental brunch, the cognitive studies group, the neuroscience seminar, social lunch and other gatherings. Students are also provided guidance through distinguished speakers in order to provide further insight into current topics in psychology.

Students are required to pass a Major Area Qualifying Examination in order to be accepted into the program. Students will be required to be a teaching assistant at least one semester each year in residence. In addition, students are required to complete a dissertation and must complete an oral defense of the dissertation.

The University of Virginia has been providing outstanding education for almost two centuries. The programs offered through the university provide students with excellence in education. Many programs at the University of Virginia also offer flexible scheduling that allow adult students who may have social, work or family obligations that could prevent them from achieving their higher education goals.

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