Study in Virginia | Top Universities

Study in Virginia

By Staff W

Updated June 7, 2019 Updated June 7, 2019

If you’re looking for a state rich with the history of the modern United States, you could do a lot worse than to look to Virginia.

The state was the home of Jamestown, the country's first first permanent English settlement, as well as other earlier failed attempts at colonization such as the Roanoke Colony.

The state has been nicknamed the Mother of Presidents, as it was the birthplace of eight United States presidents – including George Washington.

It is a coastal state, and its biggest urban area is Virginia Beach, a city of 438,000 people, located as the name suggests on the Atlantic coastline. The city is notable for being the home of the world’s longest pleasure beach.

Most of the state, though, is covered in lush greenery, with the Appalachian Mountains towards the west of the state offering a dramatic backdrop.

State capital Richmond – also capital of the confederacy during the American Civil War – is a prosperous and sunny city, rich in history and culture, and considered to be one of the best cities in which to do business in the United States.

The University of Virginia is based in Charlottesville, another historically significant city, which offers a heady mixture of southern manners and intellectual sophistication – a fitting symbol of a proud southern state clearly influenced by the nearby northeast US.

Virginia: Fast facts

•    Population of 8.1 million, making it the 12th most populous state in the US, despite only being the 35th biggest

•    Famous Virginians include George Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, CBS news anchor Katie Couric and Timbaland

•    Virginia is named for Queen Elizabeth I of England – the ‘Virgin Queen’

•    Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers in the US, with one in 11 workers employed in the sector

•    Over half of the battles fought in the American Civil War were fought in Virginia

•    65% percent of the state is covered in forest

•    One of the state’s nicknames is the mother of all states, as all or parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin were originally part of Virginia

•    The Pentagon is located in Arlington County, Virginia

Top universities in Virginia

The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson and classed as classed as a ‘Public Ivy’, is one of the most prestigious public institutions in the country.

It is a research intensive university, and is ranked 126 in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings. The Charlottesville based university is one of the only in the world classed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Virginia is also home to a number of other prominent universities. Among them is the College of William and Mary, a state-assisted liberal arts university, ranked 519 in the world. It enjoys the distinction of being the second oldest institution in the US, after Harvard.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute – more commonly referred to as Virginia Tech – is another of the state’s famous public institutions. Focusing on technological education, the research university is ranked 326 in the world and is the only university in the US to maintain a corps of cadets.

Ranked at 401-450, Virginia Commonwealth University is the state’s final ranked university. Founded in 1832, the state serves over 30,000 students. It is famous for its Medical Center.

More states on the east coast:

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in June 2019

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