Graduate Schools in West Virginia | WV Graduate Programs

Universities in West Virginia offer graduate students the opportunity to pursue their passion while surrounded by the rolling hills and vibrant culture of the Appalachian region. Whether you’re more interested in pursuing research, building up your career, or giving back to your community, one of the many colleges in West Virginia may be there to support you.


West Virginia is home to 44 colleges and universities, among which are two historically black colleges, three medical schools, a law school, and two land-grant universities.

Why Earn Your Graduate Degree at Universities in West Virginia?

Graduate students who choose to attend universities in West Virginia may enjoy a range of unique benefits, not just within their academic programs, but also of living and working in West Virginia. For one, US News & World Report ranked West Virginia among the top 10 most affordable states to live in. Considering the financial investment you might be putting into your education, that could be an important factor.

But that’s not the only reason to study here. There’s also the beautiful, rugged landscape, the fascinating history and unique opportunities to put your skills into practice.

Unique History & Culture

West Virginia’s unique history spans all the way back to its founding. It was the only state to have formed during the Civil War by seceding from a Confederate state to remain in the Union. Prior to that, the region was a part of its neighbor, Virginia. WV was also an important player in the Industrial Revolution through its coal mining industry.

Today, West Virginia is known as “The Mountain State,” and for good reason—local culture is influenced in many ways by their Appalachian heritage. Consider, for example, the thriving tradition of Appalachian folk music, traditional arts, and festivals dedicated to preserving these traditions.

And if that’s not quite for you, West Virginia has newer artistic innovation to share as well. This includes folk, blues, and independent music festivals that draw artists from across the country and around the world, and an active state symphony orchestra.

Natural Resources & Recreation

Tourism plays an important role in West Virginia’s state economy, due in part to the beautiful mountain vistas and scenic river valleys they’re known for. In fact, West Virginia could be a destination for anyone interested in outdoor recreation, with numerous options for hiking, backpacking, fishing, whitewater rafting, climbing, and skiing.

The state has many different protected nature areas, including the Monongahela National Forest, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the George Washington National Forest, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and more.

West Virginia is also home to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. 

Opportunities in West Virginia

Graduate students at universities in West Virginia may put their learning into practice in a variety of fields, gaining hands-on experience while potentially even giving back. The exact opportunities open to you may vary, but here are just a few areas that might be up for consideration.

  • Research & Development: WV is home to several institutions related to research, technology development, and engineering. This includes federal research organizations like the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Forestry Science laboratory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center. There are also university research institutions focused on neuroscience, cancer research, technology, alternative fuels, and more. Several aerospace engineering corporations also have a presence in the state.
  • Energy: From coal to alternative fuels, West Virginia has been active in researching and producing energy throughout its history. Today, they’re a leader in natural gas production. They’re also active with renewable energy, biomass, geothermal energy, and more.
  • Healthcare: In 2015, hospitals were one of the biggest sources of employment in West Virginia, responsible for about 6.9%.i According to US News, the state has about 65 hospitals, some of which rank nationally. Some universities, such as West Virginia University, also pursue healthcare research to advance the field.
  • Forestry: West Virginia is known for its natural resources—and forests are no exception. In fact, not one but two national forests can be found here: the Monongahela National Forest, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, which are made up of many different protected areas in and around the Appalachian Mountains. There’s also the Forestry Science Laboratory, dedicated to researching the health and sustainability of hardwood forests.

Cities in West Virginia

West Virginia might be known for its protected areas and natural resources, but it’s also full of vibrant cities and towns, each with its own local identity.  

Discover Top West Virginia Cities for a Graduate Program

 PopulationMedian Household IncomeMedian Gross Rent% of person having a bachelor’s degree or higher
Green Bayiv31,492$32,577$59414.8%

Charleston WV

Briefly the state capita, from 1870 to 1875, Charleston is the largest city in West Virginia by population. It’s fairly centrally located, in Kanawha County, and can trace its roots back to the Revolutionary War. Residents of Charleston may take part in a variety of local cultural events, including music and arts festivals, cultural festivals, street fairs, and more.

Charleston is made up of 15 different neighborhoods within the city itself, and twenty-nine suburban communities. The region is also the home of the University of Charleston, West Virginia University, Marshall University, and West Virginia State University, to name a few

Huntington West Virginia

Huntington is located in southwestern West Virginia, near the borders of Kentucky and Ohio, along the Ohio River and Guyandotte River. It’s one of the largest cities in the tri-state area, and boasts a busy inlet port, extensive natural resources, and many different industries.

Huntington has the unique honor of being one of the first planned communities in the country, developing around the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway after it was founded in 1871. Today, the city can be divided into four regions—West, South, East, and Downtown—each made up of many different smaller neighborhoods. Downtown Huntingdon also contains a national historic district.

What to Study in West Virginia

West Virginia Universities offer graduate students an array of programs,incuding everything from creative arts to hard sciences. Below are just three examples of the types of programs you might find.


Universities in West Virginia may offer a range of unique business programs, whether you’re interested in earning your MBA or studying something a little more technical or specialized. Many of these programs may focus on a specific work area, or on the business needs of a specific industry.

Some programs may even be able to support you in finding opportunities to flex your new business chops in the field at an internship in your West Virginia community. And because graduate business programs and related degrees tend to attract professionals, you might also find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate your career.

A few West Virginia graduate programs related to business that you may be interested in:

Biology & Biotechnology

Want to apply your flair for the scientific method to help people and the world? If so, you might consider coming to West Virginia to study biology, biotechnology, and related specialties in that area. These programs are often focused on research practices, helping students prepare to advance their fields, improve healthcare practices, and understand more about the human body and various health conditions.

Some students in these programs may even choose to pursue research opportunities in addition to their degree programs. This could be within federal biology and health research organizations, or within university research institutions.

Here are several biology and biotechnology graduate programs in West Virginia for you to consider.

Medicine & Health Care

Considering that hospitals and healthcare constitute one of the major employers in West Virginia, it follows that the universities here might offer a range of graduate programs to help people meet this demand. This includes programs designed to help people prepare for new careers in medicine and healthcare, as well as ones designed for experienced professionals.

Some universities may either have their own hospitals, or maintain relationships with the ones in their area. In fact, West Virginia University Hospitals were ranked both state-wide and nationally by US News & World Report. For graduate students, this means that if you’re looking for hands-on experience to enhance your education, you may have a variety of solid options.

Here are a few examples of the types of health care graduate programs you could pursue in West Virginia.

Find Graduate Programs & Universities in West Virginia

Start searching for universities in West Virginia offering grad programs in your subject area! Review the sponsored program listings here and use the menu to filter by program level, format, and area of study. Click on any programs you think you’re interested in to read more and get in touch!


Sources: [i] | [ii],00 | [iii],00 | [iv],00

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  • Northcentral University

  • West Virginia University

  • American Public University

  • American Military University

  • West Virginia State University

  • Marshall University

  • Salem-Teikyo University

  • Wheeling Jesuit University

  • West Virginia Wesleyan College

  • Alderson Broaddus College

  • Fairmont State University

  • West Virginia University Institute of Technology

  • West Virginia School Of Osteopathic Medicine

  • University of Charleston