There are 14 D1 schools in Virginia. These colleges and universities boast the classification of Division I as determined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA. Institutions that provide student athletes with seven sports for men and women or eight sports for women and six for men can be designated as Division I schools.

Division I colleges and universities must meet other qualifications related to funding and attendance. The majority of games played by Division I teams must be against colleges and universities with the same classification. Division I schools offer scholarships to athletes and meet rigorous academic standards.

George Mason University Here and Abroad

Originally founded in 1949 as a part of the University of Virginia, George Mason University became its own entity in 1972. Named after the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the main campus of George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia. Students can also study at one of three satellite campuses in Virginia and one in South Korea. George Mason University has 10 athletic sports for both men and women.

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Check Out D1 Soccer Colleges in Virginia

Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, James Madison University was founded in 1908. This rapidly expanding institution offers more than 115 academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Freshman enjoy success at James Madison University as evidenced by a 90 percent retention rate. Host to six Division I sports for men and 11 for women, James Madison University offers competitive soccer for both genders.

Be a Part of a Large Virtual Campus at Liberty

Liberty University is a private Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Considered one of the biggest Christian universities in the world, Liberty University is host to 15,000 students at their main campus and more than 90,000 students enrolled in online courses. Coined “The Liberty Way,” this institution provides intensive advising and support for students. Liberty University is one of the D1 schools in Virginia that plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Practical Learning Is a Focus at Longwood University

Founded in 1839, Longwood University is among the oldest colleges in the United States. This liberal arts institution believes in experiential and hands-on learning. Every Longwood student is required to complete an internship or field experience or study abroad prior to graduation. Longwood University is one of the Division I colleges that offers six men’s and eight women’s sports.

Norfolk State University Is a Virginia Division I HBCU

Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Norfolk State University is the only historically black university, or HBCU, among the Virginia Division 1 colleges. Norfolk State University is home to 10 colleges, schools and academic programs.

The institution was founded in 1935 with just 85 students enrolled. Now, 5,305 students take advantage of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Students can study at the main campus or online. There are seven men’s and eight women’s intercollegiate athletic teams at Norfolk State University.

Old Dominion University Is Focused on Climate Change

Considered one of the largest D1 schools in Virginia, Old Dominion University is classified as a space-grant and sea-grant institution. Old Dominion University is known as a research institution, and students are involved in groundbreaking work on climate change, bioelectrics and engineering.

Students can study at the main campus in Norfolk, Virginia or join one of the largest online learning communities in the world. A campus that is full of extracurricular opportunities, Old Dominion University is home to nine men’s and 10 women’s sports.

Women Outnumber Men at Radford University

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Radford University was founded in 1910. More than 7,900 undergraduate students and 1,400 graduate students are enrolled in this institution.

Radford has a small student to faculty ratio of 16:1 and reports that graduate assistants teach less than 3 percent of classes for undergraduate students. Women comprise 61 percent of enrolled students at this institution. Female students at Radford have their choice of nine sports, and men can choose from six intercollegiate sports.

University of Richmond Offers Free Tuition

Only 90 miles from Washington, D.C., the University of Richmond is home to just over 4,000 students. Founded in 1830, the University of Richmond was recently ranked among the 25 best liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report in 2019.

Free tuition is offered to residents of Virginia with a parental income of $60,000 or less. Dedicated to intellectual engagement, all students are awarded $4,000 to use toward an internship or summer research experience. This D1 school in Virginia offers 17 different intercollegiate sports.

University of Virginia Is Nationally Ranked

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, 16,034 undergraduate and 6,771 graduate students take advantage of 48 bachelor's programs and 157 graduate and professional programs.

In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia the third best public national university in the country. This institution is one of the few D1 soccer colleges in Virginia for both men and women.

Virginia Commonwealth University Is Focused on Research

More than 31,000 students attend Virginia Commonwealth University. Recently awarded $25 million to work on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, this institution is focused on research and innovation. Twenty graduate programs at Virginia Commonwealth are listed in the U.S. News & World Report top 50 graduate programs in the country.

Service learning and civic engagement is a focal point of student development at this university as evidenced by 1.3 million hours of student service to the community. Black and gold spirit is evident at athletic contests represented by seven men’s and eight women’s sports.

Virginia Military Institute Is Predominantly Male

The Virginia Military Institute is one of the unique D1 schools in Virginia. The first state-funded military institution in the country, Virginia Military Institute was founded in 1839. Approximately 1,700 cadets attend this liberal arts college and focus on civic engagement, character development, leadership and academics.

Predominately male, only 11 percent of the student body is comprised of women. One of the few D1 soccer colleges in Virginia for both men and women, there are nine other men’s sports and five other women’s sports available to students.

Research Is a Focus at Virginia Tech

Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, also known as Virginia Tech, was founded in 1872. Considered one of the top 50 research institutions in the United States, Virginia Tech has more than $531 million for research projects.

This institution is home to 110 undergraduate and 170 graduate degree programs. More than 34,000 students take advantage of a 2,600-acre campus and corporate research center. "Hokie" athletics include 11 women’s and 10 men’s sports.

A Storied Past for William & Mary

Thought of as a public Ivy League school, the College of William & Mary is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England, the College of William & Mary was the birthplace of Phi Beta Kappa.

Just over 6,000 students attend the college, and over half are engaged in service-learning projects in the community. Offering 40 undergraduate and 40 graduate programs, the College of William & Mary has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Students can get involved in 10 men’s and 11 women’s sports while in college.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.