Admissions Criteria

Admissions Criteria

The Darden Admissions Committee evaluates a variety of factors when considering applicants for admission.

Darden looks for students who are…

  • Ready to share their perspective
    The #1 ranked Darden faculty use the case method, which focuses on class participation to draw out the different perspectives of each student. While it requires commitment and teamwork, this process also broadens students’ understanding of global business issues and builds strategic communication skills like no other method of learning can.
  • Ready to get involved
    The University of Virginia’s traditions of student self-governance and the Honor Code hold true at Darden. Students, faculty and staff are all highly involved in co-curricular clubs and activities at Darden and also in the Charlottesville community. The diverse environment outside of class complements the case method and enhances learning by practice.
  • Ready to make an impact
    Attending Darden is ultimately about leadership: making an impact on society by building on experience and potential. Darden students and alumni have strong decision-making skills developed through the case method, a bias for action and commitment to integrity and to each other.

Admissions Criteria Areas

Darden also looks at the following three areas in considering candidates for admission: academics, professional experience and personal qualities and characteristics.


The admissions committee looks for evidence of superior academic performance and intellectual ability, and for non-native English speakers, evidence of proficient English skills for success in the program. Although no specific undergraduate major is required for admission, course work in accounting and statistics is highly recommended prior to matriculation. Transfer credits from other institutions cannot be used to satisfy the requirements of the Darden MBA degree.

Professional Experience

Darden seeks innovative students who demonstrate potential for action-oriented leadership in the world of practical affairs. The average number of years of full-time work experience is approximately four years.

Please bear in mind that Darden does not require a minimum number of years' work experience prior to entering the MBA program, and it is important for you to assess your own readiness when deciding to apply. Successful candidates are able to demonstrate strength in our criteria regardless of their number of years' work experience.

Personal Qualities & Characteristics

The admissions committee looks for breadth of life experiences, an interest in community service and characteristics that cannot be quantitatively measured, such as motivation, maturity, integrity and self-awareness. Factors such as international exposure, diversity and culture/gender sensitivity are also taken into consideration.

In addition, we value a commitment to ongoing personal and professional development. Interviews play a critical role in assessing candidates for admission. We look for individuals with strong interpersonal and communication skills because these are essential for success in a case-method pedagogy as well as positions of broad managerial responsibility.

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