The University of Virginia’s College at Wise - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
UVa-Wise offers students a high-caliber liberal arts education, a prestigious University of Virginia degree,...

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

Wise, Virginia

UVa-Wise is one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the nation.  A division of the University of Virginia, UVa-Wise is home to innovative majors like Virginia’s only undergraduate degree program in software engineering. The College is recognized by US News and World Report for having graduates with one of the lowest average debt loads of any public liberal arts college in the nation (currently ranked #2).  UVa-Wise is a member of the Council for Public Liberal Arts (COPLAC).  The College offers accredited programs in nursing, education, computer science, management information systems, and software engineering.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,027 undergraduate students
66% of undergrad students are full time
41% male — 59% female
5% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
102 full-time faculty
0 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

30% of students live on campus. The College offers a variety of housing options for students including: traditional, apartment style, and suite style rooms are available. Freshmen are required to live on campus. Several on campus dining options are available including the Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons and Papa John’s Pizza.

School Location

Wise, VA amid the scenic Appalachian Mountains in southwest Virginia. A 400 acre campus located 60 minutes from Tri-Cities, Tennessee and Virginia.

Retention Fall 2015

72% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

41% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 2%
Black or African American 11%
White 77%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


NCAA Division II, Appalachian Athletic Conference and the Mountain East Conference.

6 Men’s sports: Basketball, Baseball, Football, Cross-Country Golf, Tennis
6 Women’s sports: Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Cross-Country, Tennis, Lacrosse

Academic Programs

30 majors; 35 minors; 8 pre-professional; over 20 teaching licensures

Majors: Accounting, Administration of Justice, Art, Biology, Biochemistry, Business Administration, Chemistry, College Major (interdisciplinary studies), Communication Studies, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, Environmental Science, Foreign Studies (Concentration in French, German or Spanish), French, Government, Hispanic and Hispanic American Studies, History, Mathematics, Management Information Systems, Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science, Music, Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, Software Engineering, Spanish, Theatre.

Education: Elementary, middle, secondary, special education, library media, health education, driver’s education, physical education

Pre-professional: Dentistry, Forestry, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physical therapy, Veterinary

More Distinctions

  • UVa-Wise has been named one of Virginia’s top arts and humanities colleges by Virginia Living Magazine.  

  • UVa-Wise offers the following accredited programs:

    • TEAC: UVa-Wise’s teacher education program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
    • ABET: Degree programs in computer science, management information systems, and software engineering are accredited by ABET. This is the gold standard for information technology and engineering programs.
    • CCNE: Commission on College Nursing Education
  • UVa-Wise offers the only undergraduate degree in software engineering in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • UVa-Wise is committed to sustainability – the following buildings have received LEED designation – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

    • Winston Ely Health and Wellness Center – LEED Silver
    • Leonard Sandridge Science Center – LEED Platinum
    • David J. Prior Convocation Center – LEED Silver
    • Commonwealth Hall (residence hall) – LEED Certified
    • Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons –LEED Certified

Research Opportunities

Undergraduate research opportunities are abundant at UVa-Wise.  Students work side by side with faculty members in a laboratory or field based research project.  Student research at UVa-Wise has been published in The New York Times and presented at national conferences.  Other opportunities for research include Healthy Appalachia, a unique partnership between the University of Virginia and UVa-Wise that looks at improving the quality of life and health care in southwest Virginia.    

Study Abroad

Students have an array of possibilities to study abroad because of UVa-Wise’s relationship with sister-schools in Europe, Chile, and the United Kingdom. Other partnerships open up possibilities to study at more than 400 universities in 65 countries ranging from Bulgaria to Uruguay. UVa-Wise also sponsors week-long trips to locales such as India, Ecuador, China, and Belize during fall and spring break weeks. Professors lead these trips that are designed to spark students’ interest in travel.

The Peake Honors Program offers high achieving students special seminars that emphasize rigorous thinking and discussion.


Three national fraternities and four national sororities on campus are service based. They focus on beautification projects, constructing play units for the severely handicapped, and other environmental projects.

Engaged Faculty

UVa-Wise professors love to teach; several members of the faculty have been honored with statewide awards for outstanding classroom teaching.

The most popular majors based on the number of graduates in 2015 at UVa-Wise are psychology, administration of justice, business administration, and education.

Classes at UVa-Wise are small, averaging 17 students per class.  Classes are taught by faculty members at UVa-Wise not graduate students, so students have the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty members beginning with the very first day of class!

Faculty members sponsor clubs, coach athletic teams, and work side by side with students doing undergraduate research.  At the end of four years, faculty members know students well and can help direct them to graduate and professional school opportunities as well as help them to make employment connections.

Life Outside the Classroom

Southwest Virginia is home to the State Theater of Virginia and great local music but it’s the natural beauty that truly defines the area.  In this scenic area, students can enjoy the outdoors by bicycling, hiking, fishing, skiing, and horseback riding. There are plenty of areas to explore including – High Knob, the Guest River Gorge, the Breaks Interstate Park, and Cumberland Falls.

The Outdoor Recreation program organizes activities throughout the year that include: jumping out of an airplane at 12,000 feet, caving, and trips to professional sports team events.

Intramural sports are incredibly popular; and the majority of students are involved. Activities include flag football, volleyball, dodgeball, ultimate Frisbee, water polo, and wiffleball just to name a few.

The College provides a number of activities including movies, lectures, and events. The Colgate Darden Lecture Series has funded nationally known speakers that include:  Temple Grandin, Martha Nussbaum, Irshad Manji, Steven Pinker, and Br. Guy Consolmagno.

The Pro-Art Association brings a variety of performances to campus and to the surrounding each year. Past events have included the Joffrey Ballet and the Vienna Boys Choir.

Guaranteed Achievers

  • 100% of software engineering graduates are employed upon graduation
  • 95% of education graduates are employed in their education field or are pursuing an advanced degree.
  • 90% of natural science graduates are admitted to graduate or professional school upon first application.

Professional Opportunities

UVa-Wise is the only school in Virginia with an undergraduate software engineering major. Companies such as Norththrop Grumman and CGI are closely affiliated with this program. Through partnerships with these companies, students have a wide variety of opportunities for internships, financial assistance, and future employment opportunities. Sykes, Inc has partnered with UVa-Wise and the Department of Business and Economics to offer UVa-Wise students a unique opportunity for student internships and job opportunities with the international technical support company.

Internships, Graduate Schools, and Employers

UVa-Wise students have recently completed internships with:  Carolina Panthers, Disney, Henrico County Police, Northrup Grumman, U. S. Forest Service, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia’s Attorney General’s office.

Recent graduates have attended the following graduate/professional schools: Appalachia College of Pharmacy, Carnegie Mellon University, East Tennessee University – Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, University of Dayton, Purdue University, Duke University, and University of Virginia.

Employers of recent graduates include: Eastman Chemical Company, Northrop-Grumman, Wellmont Health Systems, Tampa Bay Buccaneer, ESPN, University of Virginia Health System, HBO, United States Geological Survey – National Fish Health Lab


Notable alumni include: Frank Taylor, actor; Ron Short, playwright, actor, musician; Jerry Kilgore former Attorney General of Virginia; Hollie Kiser, the first winner of “Make Me a Supermodel”, Randy Hippeard, quarterback for the Orlando Predators, and Brent Kennedy, author.


Admissions Fall 2015

1,042 Total Applicants 
801 Total Admissions 
296 Total Freshman Enrollment

76.87% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 420 530
SAT Math 430 510
SAT Writing 410 510
ACT Composite 17 22
ACT Math 16 21
ACT English 15 22
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,056 $20,658
Fees $4,164 $4,796
Total $9,220 $25,454
Room and Board (on campus) $10,256 $10,256
Room Only $6,144 $6,144
Board Only $4,112 $4,112
Estimated Total On Campus $19,476 $35,710


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

96% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
51% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$12,494 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$4,629 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

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