Return to: Darden Graduate School of Business Administration: Programs/Courses
Office of Admissions
Darden School of Business
100 Darden Boulevard
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
Candidates are encouraged to visit the Darden admissions website to obtain detailed information on admission criteria and requirements, request more information, or apply online. Candidates can also sign up for class visits and open houses at Darden or register for upcoming recruitment events around the U.S. and abroad. Visits are scheduled between September and April when classes are in session, and the majority of recruitment events outside of Darden take place in the fall and winter.
The Darden School seeks to admit people whose academic ability, leadership potential and experience and personal qualities indicate that they can contribute to, and benefit from, the program. All applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
The application requires completion of essays, transcripts of all academic work, and two letters of recommendation. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and should submit a score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson Test of English (PTE), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Offers of admission require an interview which is an integral part of the evaluation process.
The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration’s financial aid program assists students in meeting the cost of earning an MBA through a combination of school-based scholarships, federal loans and third-party loans. No financial assistance will be offered in the form of employment, and students should not plan to work during the school year. Loans and scholarships are used to complement each other.
U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens seeking federal financial aid through the University must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the University of Financial Aid Application. The required FAFSA and University financial aid forms can be obtained via the Darden web site at www.darden.virginia.edu/web/MBA/Financial-Aid.
The Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation offer a loan option for qualified international and domestic students who do not have a cosigner through Discover Bank. Details regarding the Custom Graduate Loan through Discover can be obtained via the Darden web site at http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/MBA/Financial-Aid/Loan-Programs/.
Although students may finance the full cost of attendance using federal student loans, students may research alternative student loan options through private lenders. The Darden School of Business neither encourages nor discourages students from researching and applying for private student loans. While Federal loans typically offer safety nets not found with private loans, we encourage students to carefully research and consider all available loan options.
Financial aid decisions are made and admitted students notified of merit awards close to their offer of admission. In order to receive timely award notification, applicants who wish to be considered for loan assistance should apply by May 15.
Applicants will not be considered for financial assistance until they have been admitted to the Darden School and submitted other required documents. The admissions decision is made without regard to an applicant’s financial situation.
At some point throughout the two year program nearly 30 percent of all Darden students receive a merit scholarship from the school in amounts ranging from $1000 to full tuition and stipend. The sources of scholarship are unrestricted funds of the school, gifts, and bequests of alumni and friends and special contributions from business concerns and persons interested in encouraging business education and supporting the Darden School.
A current list of named fellowships and scholarships offered by the Darden School may be found in the Darden information section of the Graduate Record. The availability, addition, or deletion of individual scholarships may vary. There are additional unrestricted scholarships available each year. First year merit scholarships, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance of a “B” average (3.0), are automatically carried over to the student’s second year at Darden, unless superseded by a higher valued scholarship.
Students of the University are subject to two sets of regulations, those of the University as a whole and those of the respective schools. Listed below are rules that apply within the Darden School. Appropriate excerpts from the University regulations are set forth in the next section.
Performance in the School
In addition to (1) following the University standards of conduct, (2) abiding by the obligations of the Honor System, and (3) meeting the standards of the Darden School for scholastic achievement, a Darden School student is expected to (4) perform in a manner that is consistent with the academic good order and educational processes of both the individual courses and the Darden School in general. This latter requirement is important in a learning experience that encourages responsible competition and cooperation. Disruption of the learning experience can deprive others of the educational benefits for which they came to the Darden School.
The faculty has provided a process for the review of the conduct of a student whose behavior is disruptive of the administrative and academic good order or educational process of other students, of individual courses or the Darden School in general.
Proceedings brought before the Honor Committee or the Judiciary Committee of the University or the Academic Standards Committee of the Darden School and falling solely within their single or collective jurisdiction shall take precedence over action under this review procedure.
The procedure supplements but does not abrogate an instructor’s rights and responsibilities for maintaining an effective and orderly learning atmosphere in class.
The process, in brief, provides for the establishment of an ad hoc committee of inquiry, which may include a student member, to hear the issue and, on behalf of the faculty, impose the penalty, if any, that it considers appropriate, up to and including enforced withdrawal from the Darden School.
The committee’s decision may be appealed to the school’s faculty.
Darden students are expected to attend class in order to contribute as well as learn. Whenever students miss class, they should, out of courtesy, inform their instructor as to the circumstances, in advance if possible.
The school recognizes the following grade categories: Distinguished Performance (DP); High Performance (HP); Standard Performance (SP); Low Performance (LP); Unsatisfactory Performance (UP); Fail/No Credit (F). Only grades of UP and F have academic standards consequences.
Credit/No Credit Grades
Darden students may not take courses on CR/NC basis.
The dean’s office may ask a student at any time to withdraw from a particular course or from the school because of unsatisfactory academic work or for other adequate reasons.
The most current course descriptions are available online at http://www.darden.virginia.edu/.
The Darden School offers, on a selected basis, courses approved by the faculty that are pertinent to the students enrolled in its doctoral program. Courses differ each term, depending on the doctoral students in residence and their fields of concentration. Doctoral students, and other students for whom these offerings might be appropriate, should contact the director of the doctoral program for current course descriptions at +1-434-243-8423.
The Darden School’s Master of Business Administration program prepares students to be leaders in the world of practical affairs— leaders who understand all facets of business and who are ready to act analytically, intuitively, ethically and decisively, in any environment. The academic experience centers around a general management curriculum taught through the case method, which engages students in active, content-rich discussions about real business problems and solutions. The Darden approach to case studies reveals how all aspects of business tie together and develops in students a bias for action, an ability to make decisions in the face of ambiguity and exceptional communication skills.
The Darden required curriculum in the First Year is designed to provide you with an integrated perspective on general management. All core courses are crafted from a series of cases designed to build your leadership, communication and decision-making skills. Beginning in the final quarter of your First Year, the curriculum allows for some customization of your coursework including some choice among specified electives. For example, you may choose from a diverse selection of courses, ranging from traditional options such as “Corporate Finance,” “Leading Strategic Change” and “System Dynamics,” to courses focused on areas such as entrepreneurship, sustainability and managing teams.
You will also have the option to take courses from other schools at the University of Virginia, participate in numerous overseas exchange programs and Global Business Experiences, and show further specialization by concentrating in one of eleven areas.
The Student Body
The Darden School matriculates approximately 320 highly qualified individuals yearly. New students come from around the world and virtually every profession. These students are then organized into learning teams of five to six students and sections of 65 students. Each learning team and each section are designed to have a diversity of functional skills, demographics, and international background. Darden students quickly learn that one of the most important assets of their education is the network of relationships built among classmates from all over the world. The first year sections are shuffled at the beginning of the second semester in January to provide maximum opportunity to meet, learn from, and form long-term relationships with a wide range of classmates.
The Case Method
At Darden, we believe that the best training for a business leader is to put you in the shoes of current and past executives at real companies. Given a specific business challenge, what would you do, why would you do it and how would you defend your position?
Rather than lecture, our professors engage students in lively discussions using the case method. Over the course of the two-year MBA program, you will study over 500 real-life business cases. Each case presents a series of decisions to be made, and you — as the decision maker — must analyze the situation and express what you would do.
With the help of your learning team — a group of five to six students with whom you will study — and the skillful guidance of Darden’s faculty, you will strengthen your communication and leadership skills. You will learn to reconcile differing viewpoints, make difficult decisions in the face of ambiguity, and challenge, persuade and inspire others.
The case method involves a four-step learning process:
- Read and consider each case on your own
- Share your ideas with your learning team
- Discuss the case in class and explore the input of everyone in your section
- Reflect on how your initial ideas changed as a result of the input from your learning team, class and professors
While the case method is the predominant method of instruction at Darden, other variations of the case method are also used, including interactive simulations, company visits, live cases, guest speakers and experiential field work.
Standards for the MBA Degree
The Darden School requires a minimum performance standard for its MBA graduates. In addition, the school has performance standards for the first year program, each semester of the MBA program and each course. In administering these standards, the school uses six grades, defined by the faculty as follows: Distinguished Performance (DP); High Performance (HP); Standard Performance (SP); Low Performance (LP); Unsatisfactory Performance (UP); Fail/No Credit (F).. The grade categories HP, SP, and LP are relative performance indicators, and, as such, they depend on how other students in the class perform. The DP, UP, and F grades are based on absolute performance standards in every course; therefore, faculty are not required to award DP, UP, or F grades. The UP grade is assigned to a student who has demonstrated an unsatisfactory level of understanding in a course. The F grade is assigned to a student who has demonstrated little or no understanding of the course content or the application thereof. In addition, occasions arise that necessitate assigning a grade that falls outside the standard range. The symbol IN (incomplete), assigned in such cases implies that, for reasons known to the individual faculty member, an enrolled student has not completed the work of the course at the end of a specified academic period. An important element of student performance is classroom participation. Depending on the appraisal criteria of the instructor and course, classroom participation frequently accounts for up to 50 percent of a student’s grade. This proportion reflects the central role and importance of active engagement by the student in the learning process. While assessments about classroom participation are incorporated into grades received by students at the end of each term, the first year program expects each student to be aware of, and responsible for, her or his participation on an ongoing basis.
Statement of Standards for a Darden MBA Degree
The Darden School requires minimum performance standards for its students to graduate with an MBA degree. There are minimum performance standards that students must meet: 1) upon completion of half of the credit hours required to graduate (i.e., mid-degree); and 2) at graduation. All performance standards are determined by the faculty and are based on Academic Standard Committee (ASC) points. If a student does not meet these minimum performance standards, an automatic dismissal from Darden results. At the mid-degree point, a student who is dismissed may petition the ASC for readmission. At graduation, a student who is dismissed may petition the Darden faculty for readmission.
The Darden School has a minimum performance standard when half of the total credit hours required to graduate from the programs have been completed (i.e. mid-degree requirement). If a student does not meet the mid-degree requirement of her respective MBA program, automatic dismissal from Darden results, and the student must petition the ASC for readmission. The Darden School also requires a minimum performance standard for its students to graduate with an MBA degree (i.e. the graduation requirement). If a student does not meet the graduation requirement of The Darden School, automatic dismissal from Darden results, and the student must petition the faculty for readmission.
Performance standards for the mid-degree and graduation requirements are enforced on the basis of Academic Standards Committee (ASC) points. Students receive ASC points when they earn a UP or F as a grade of record in a course. ASC points are computed by multiplying the credit hours of the course by the weight assigned to the grade. A UP has a weight of 1 while an F has a weight of 2. For example, ASC points by course credit hours are as follows:
|0.5 credit hours
||1.5 credit hours
||3.0 credit hours
||0.5 ASC points
||1.5 ASC points
||3.0 ASC points
||1.0 ASC points
||3.0 ASC points
||6.0 ASC points
The minimum performance standards are determined by multiplying the ASC percentage approved by the faculty and the credit hours applicable to the ASC requirement (mid-term and graduation) rounded to the nearest 0.5 credit hours.
Mid-degree: The minimum performance standard to continue pursuit of a Darden MBA degree is not met when ASC points are 30% or more of the cumulative credit hours completed. E.g. If the cumulative number of credit-hours completed is 30 then students with 9 or more ASC points (30 * 30%) will be automatically dismissed from Darden.
Graduation: The minimum performance standard to graduate is not met when the ASC points are 25% or more of the total credit hours required for graduation e.g. If the total number of credit-hours required for graduation is 60 then students with 15 or more ASC points (60 * 25%) will be automatically dismissed from Darden.
| ASC Requirement
||Mid-degree credit hours
||30% * 30 mid-point credit hours =9
||Total credit hours
||25% * 60 total credit hours=15 or more ASC points
There are two designations for every course as determined by the respective MBA programs: required and core. Being deemed a “required” course by an MBA program determines whether a make-up assignment is required for receiving an F grade of record. Being deemed a “core” course determines the distribution used to determine grades.
If a student receives an F as a grade of record in a required course, the student must satisfactorily complete a written makeup assignment. Students must receive a grade of Low Performance or better on the written makeup assignment to receive the credit hours for the required course; however, the grade of F will remain on the transcript. Students who do not receive a grade of Low Performance or better will be dismissed from the program and they must petition the faculty for readmission. Written makeup assignments will be given only for required courses. ASC will formally notify the student of the need for a makeup assignment. All required courses must stand ready to administer a makeup assignment to any student receiving an F. The form of the written make-up assignment and the completion date are at the discretion of the MBA programs in conjunction with the course head. The assignment should cover material representative of the entire course for which the credit hours are attributable. This makeup requirement will be administered by the course head of the relevant course, who must inform the Academic Standards Committee and the Registrar of the outcome through a written correspondence. If the course head advises the Academic Standards Committee that the make-up activity has been completed satisfactorily, the original F grade remains on the transcript, but the notation “Credit by Additional Work” is added to the transcript.
Non-required courses are defined as any course that is not defined as a required course by the MBA programs. No makeup assignment is required for a student earning an F grade in a non-required course. First Year Electives in the Full-Time Program are exception to the F course grade requirement for non-required courses. Students are required to earn 4.5 credits of First Year Electives. Students who earn an F grade in a First Year Elective course will be required to make up these credits in their Second Year by taking a course that is either:
- a First-Year Program elective that is also offered in the Second-Year Program,
- a First-Year Program elective that is offered in the First-Year Program during their Second Year.
Faculty permission is required for students to retake the First Year Elective in which they received an F; however, the grade of F will remain on the transcript, but the notation “Credit by Additional Work” is added to the transcript.
The Readmission Procedure
Students, who are dismissed from the MBA Program because they do not meet the mid-degree requirement, may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission. Students, who are dismissed from the MBA Program because they do not meet the graduation requirement as stated in Section II-E-2 (i.e. an accumulation of ASC points equal to 25% of the total credit hours needed to earn an MBA degree), may only petition the faculty for readmission. Readmission will depend on the presence of extenuating circumstances and the ability of the student to complete the remainder of the program satisfactorily. Students who, based on grades received before the end of the program, have failed to meet the graduation standards of the Darden School may submit a petition for the consideration of the faculty at the time the grades are available or at the end of the program. Students who, based on grades received before the mid-degree evaluation, have failed to meet the mid-degree standards of the Darden School may submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee for consideration at the time the grades are available or at the mid-degree evaluation of the program.
The Grade of Incomplete (IN)
The IN grade should be assigned and administered consistently with the following IN grade policy statement:
IN Grade Policy Statement
From time to time, occasions arise that necessitate assigning a student a grade that falls outside the standard range. An IN implies that, for reasons known to the individual faculty member, the student enrolled has not completed his or her work at the end of the specified academic period.
The IN grade can only be assigned by the instructor teaching the course, only after the student has informed the instructor of the problem area, and only after the instructor has specifically reviewed with the student the provisions under which the IN grade is granted.
In assigning an IN grade, a faculty member assumes the responsibility of determining the requirements to be met to replace the IN with a standard grade. In accepting an IN grade, the student must assume the responsibility for clearing the IN grade, normally, on or before the end of the semester immediately following the semester in which the IN assignment was made or, in unusual circumstances, by a time approved by the Academic Standards Committee. (Example: An IN grade assigned in June would normally have to be cleared by the end of the summer term in order for the student to begin classes in the fall. An IN grade assigned in the fall term would normally have to be cleared before the end of the spring term.)
An IN grade can only be cleared by a standard letter grade or a W (withdrawn), not by a second IN. An IN grade that is not cleared by the student within the prescribed period will automatically become an F grade.
Students who receive one or more IN grades will come under Academic Standards Committee jurisdiction and will remain under the Academic Standards Committee until the IN grade becomes a letter grade. At that point, normal rules regarding Academic Standards Committee jurisdiction will apply.
The Academic Standards Committee will take no direct (formal notification) action on an IN grade unless the student’s grades apart from the IN grade(s) warrant Academic Standards Committee action. In essence, the student who receives one or more IN grades will be monitored by the Academic Standards Committee until the IN grade(s) is removed.
No student can enter the second year or receive an MBA with an IN grade.