About the Institute

Virginia Military Institute believes that the measure of a college lies in the quality and performance of its graduates and their contributions to society.


Founded in 1839, Virginia Military Institute  (VMI)  is the oldest  state-supported military college in the United States. Throughout its storied history, VMI has produced leaders and individuals whose daily lives reflect the integrity, fairness, and appreciation for the value of hard work that is instilled at the Institute. For the individual who wants an undergraduate experience more complete and transformative than an ordinary college or university can provide and more versatile in its applications than a military service academy affords, VMI offers a superb education.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked VMI among the nation’s top undergraduate public liberal arts colleges since 2001. The Institute’s efficacy is well demonstrated by generations of VMI graduates. Among the alumni of VMI are a Nobel Prize winner, 11 Rhodes Scholars, seven Medal of Honor recipients, a Pulitzer Prize winner, college presidents, and generals and flag officers.

No other college in America is so attentive to and so proud of its product: citizen-soldiers prepared both for civilian leadership in their professions and for military leadership in times of national need. VMI graduates have made distinguished contributions both in the military and in fields as diverse as business, engineering, international affairs, medicine, and public policy, often at remarkably young ages. VMI’s multi-faceted program is designed to instill in each cadet the lifelong values of integrity, devotion to duty, self-discipline, and self-reliance.

One Corps, One VMI - VMI's Unifying Action Plan



Two cadets review primary source materials in the VMI Archives


The VMI academic program educates cadets in a rigorous environment that encourages lifelong learning and develops citizens of character who anticipate, respond, and lead in a complex and changing world. VMI offers cadets a challenging four-year core curriculum and 14 nationally recognized majors in engineering, the sciences, and the humanities, with an array of enrichment opportunities provided through the Institute Honors Program, undergraduate research, foreign study, internships, and the Institute Writing Program.


Leadership and Character

Cadet leads company in parade

The distinctive VMI approach to higher education, which is the result of over 180 years of development, continues to prove its effectiveness in providing young men and women an environment that fosters intellectual, physical, and character development. VMI graduates leave the Institute demonstrating the ability to apply the art and science of leadership to inspire, motivate, and develop subordinates, accomplish organizational goals, and lead in a complex and changing world. VMI’s mission of producing leaders—educated men and women of unimpeachable character and absolute integrity—remains the clear focus today and for the future.



Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)

Cadet walks through woods during FTX

VMI’s mission is to produce citizen-soldiers, men and women educated for civilian life and also prepared to serve their country in the armed forces. At VMI, the Department of Defense maintains Army, Naval, and Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units. All cadets must take ROTC as an all-college program requirement for completion of their degree. Approximately 50 percent of VMI graduates are commissioned each year upon graduation. VMI cadets may receive ROTC scholarships for Army, Marines, Navy, or Air Force for all or part of the cadetship.  These scholarships cover tuition and may also include allowances for books and fees and living expenses. 




Cadet portrait after swinging bat with scoreboard in the background

For cadets of special athletic ability, VMI maintains a highly developed program of intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Southern Conference (SoCon) for most sports. Every cadet is welcomed as a candidate for participation in any sport in which he/ she may be interested. Cadets who do not participate in varsity athletics are encouraged to participate in club sports or other athletic programs. Athletic competition develops cadets physically and enhances their team building skills. This is an essential aspect of VMI’s method of developing leadership in each cadet.


VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders