graduate study in West Virginia, USA, postgraduate, graduate, study, abroad

Study for in West Virginia, United States

State overview

This state in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States, is nestled between Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland and is traditionally a gateway state between the life and values of the North and South of America.

West Virginia is considered one of the most picturesque states, and is a place where many international students choose to undertake their graduate program in the US.

The state has been named one of the safest places to live and study in America.

Education profile

West Virginia offers many quality and affordable options to undertake postgraduate study.  Some of the institutions available for graduate programs in West Virginia are:

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

Before travelling to the USA to study in West Virginia you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in West Virginia, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the last bastions of what could be described as ‘classic American life’, in that it has remained largely untouched by the rampant commercialism of strip malls and chain coffee shops that have taken over towns across the US.

The state is a slow-paced, ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ place of family-run businesses, which represents much of what people nostalgically call ‘real America’.

The diverse terrain of the state means that international students living in West Virginia have access to a lot of outdoor activities. The state has several National Parks, State parks and forests which provide great places for skiing, fishing, biking, hunting, swimming and hiking. Many people visit the state each year to take part in its famous white water rafting.

Working in West Virginia

Due to the stunning natural beauty and vast outdoor spaces, tourism is a big industry in West Virginia. Workers run and maintain the many National and State parks and forest areas for tourists.

Its natural resources also provide much employment in the state, the main one of these being coal. West Virginia is the top coal-producer in the United States, and the state also produces large amounts of natural gas and some oil.

The largest employer in West Virginia is the supermarket chain Walmart, followed by the state’s health system.


Most postgraduates coming to West Virginia choose to live in accommodation provided by the universities, as this is the easiest way to get to know fellow students and settle into university life. Most halls of residence in West Virginia provide postgraduates with furniture, cooking appliances and have places to relax like gyms and cafes.

Some students will choose to live privately in rented accommodation.

Weather and climate

The climate of West Virginia varies widely between the lower and higher parts of the state.  The lower regions have a humid subtropical climates with hot, humid summers and milder winters. The rest of the state has a humid continental climate with warm to hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters.

Some highland areas in the south have a mountain temperate climate with moderate winter temperatures and much cooler summers.

What to do next

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