Business: Major and Minor


A Remarkable Achievement

Consistently over the last four years, graduating business seniors at Southern Virginia University have collectively scored in the 90th to 95th percentile of the national ETS Major Field Test in business. In this assessment of knowledge in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, global issues, and four other business fields, Southern Virginia business major students placed in the top five to ten percent nationally when compared with over 80,000 graduating seniors at over 560 other colleges and universities.

This achievement is all the more impressive because there is no restriction on who can be a business major at Southern Virginia. Unlike many universities where students must apply to be admitted to business programs, Southern Virginia offers open enrollment to anyone interested in this major.

So How Do We Do What We Do?

How is Southern Virginia able to do this? The coursework is similar to that of any reputable school of business: introductory accounting and statistics and a thorough grounding in economics, finance, marketing, organizational leadership and management, business law, etc. Students take as many business courses as they like. Leadership, ethics, and a global perspective are integrated and emphasized throughout the curriculum.

The minimum number of courses required for a business major is a little above average for liberal arts colleges and lower than big state schools. Students also take a capstone strategic management course and are able to select elective courses that complement their personal interests and goals. So, what is the secret?

Excellence in Teaching

Two reasons for these impressive results are Southern Virginia’s exceptional faculty and the school’s broader educational focus on a strong grounding in the core curriculum of letters, arts, and sciences. Articles in The Wall Street Journal and other publications highlight how this educational model provides the creativity, the critical thinking skills, and the articulation skills essential to success in a highly dynamic, constantly changing and competitive business world.

At Southern Virginia you experience real and meaningful classroom interaction with faculty and with student peers. Every class is taught by a seasoned professor, and the small class sizes promote involvement and leave no room to hide in class discussions. Each business professor has professional “real world” experience to draw upon, integrating classroom learning with what is happening outside the classroom and around the world.

Because classes are small, papers, projects and exams are focused on active learning—real work that corresponds to the real world.

Southern Virginia professors listen: they counsel, engage, advise, and mentor. This keeps the committed student focused, moving forward, exploring and expanding horizons.

“During my experience at Southern Virginia University I gained a wealth of information and experience that I believe could not have been obtained from most other academic institutions. Southern Virginia University provided some unique opportunities along with an outstanding faculty that supported and encouraged involvement and initiative.”Will Woolston, ’01

Graduate Sooner

Our majors and minors are based on mastery of fundamental principles underlying a discipline. There is no inflation of course requirements for a major—something that often happens at larger universities with larger departments.

Required coursework is designed so that a focused student can graduate in three to four years. This amounts to substantial savings over programs with long lists of requirements. Students who attend Southern Virginia for their entire college experience graduate, on average, in 3.7 years, as compared to the five or six years common at large schools. Over twenty percent of our students graduate in three years or less.

After Graduation, What?

The business professors know their students well, which enables them to write specific and thorough letters of recommendation. Professors and students see each other in the classroom, in advising meetings, at the supermarket, in their homes, and often at church. When a potential graduate school or employer asks for an evaluation of a student’s character and abilities, there’s no question that ours is a thorough, accurate, and example-laden endorsement.

Whether your goal is to enter the business world or attend graduate school, Southern Virginia University offers you a rich and varied educational tool kit to prepare you to function effectively and productively in the 21st century.

“I am grateful for the education that I received at Southern Virginia University and feel that I have an advantage over other new hires, especially in the area of applying myself to learn this job because the professors at Southern Virginia University expected more out of us than it seems like other schools did.”Joseph Jones, ’05

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Faculty Contacts:

  • David Dixon, Ph.D. – Program Coordinator
  • Todd Brotherson, Ph.D.
  • Jack Heilpern, MBA
  • John Brandt, MBA



Coulter Sims ’15
“[Sims] has been a great example of how he’s not only just had one idea, but he’s had several ideas… His business is doing so well that he’s excited to just finish his school and get on to just running his business full time, and that’s what you want in an entrepreneur.”
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Garret Bernal ’13
“I feel like I already have a lot of practice doing the things I am doing in my internship, such as event planning, because of my experience coordinating events for Southern Virginia… Southern Virginia has prepared me the most by providing so many hands-on experiences and leadership opportunities.”
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