Acknowledging VMI’s total educational value as well as the high demand for VMI graduates in the job market, major ratings publications name VMI in their lists of top undergraduate programs. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks VMI among the nation’s top five public liberal arts colleges.
Ninety-five percent of the full-time faculty members hold a doctoral degree. Over 1600 cadets pursue B.A. or B.S. degrees in 14 major fields of study: biology; chemistry; civil engineering; computer and information sciences; economics and business; electrical and computer engineering; English, rhetoric and humanistic studies; history; international studies and political science; applied mathematics; mechanical engineering; modern languages and cultures; physics; and psychology.
Civil engineering, a subject rarely taught in colleges and universities before 1839, was the cornerstone program at VMI’s founding. The first industrial chemistry course in the South was offered at VMI, and, in 1868, modern courses in physics and meteorology were developed by Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury. Today the Institute’s engineering program remains nationally recognized for its quality. In fact, in its most recent rankings, U.S. News & World Report again ranked VMI engineering among the nation’s best undergraduate programs.
VMI’s demanding academic program reflects the established needs and the emerging trends of a constantly changing society on the local, regional, national, and international levels. VMI’s global outreach includes student/faculty exchanges with a number of foreign academies and universities, internships, numerous semester-abroad programs, and summer-abroad programs. Each year, more than 100 cadets are involved in VMI’s international programs. VMI also offers outstanding academic enrichment programs in writing, undergraduate research, and honors.
Successful completion of VMI’s unique educational system enables cadets to enter many civilian professions, the armed forces, or to continue at graduate and professional schools. VMI produces leaders for all walks of life: business, industry, public service, education, the professions, and the military. One reason the Institute is held in such high regard is that approximately 98 percent of each class has full-time employment or has entered graduate school within five months of graduation. Approximately 50 percent of graduates take a commission, and about 18 percent of VMI graduates make the armed forces a career.