UVA Darden Launches Application for Admission to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2026

07 August 2023

By David Hendrick

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has launched the application for admission to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2026. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Full-Time MBA program seeks talented students from across the world for the two-year, transformational program.

Students may apply to Darden by one of four deadlines:

  • Early Action: Thursday, 7 September 2023
  • Round 1: Wednesday, 4 October 2023
  • Round 2: Thursday, 4 January 2024
  • Round 3: Wednesday, 3 April 2024

The Early Action round includes non-binding and binding options, with the binding option available for students who know Darden is their first choice. The Early Action round is unique among rounds in that applicants have the option to schedule their own admissions interview.

Highlights of the Full-Time MBA application cycle include:

  • Enhanced test flexibility, for the first time accepting the new GMAT Focus format alongside the GMAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT and the Executive Assessment. Additionally, candidates with compelling alternate evidence of achievement may apply for a test waiver.
  • A range of essay questions, which give every student the opportunity to demonstrate his or her strengths and narrative. The essay questions are designed to help the Admissions committee gain a holistic view of the applicant.
  • A portfolio of financial aid and scholarship offerings, which aim to make the School accessible to meritorious students.

The Darden admissions team and various school leaders will host a variety of events, both virtual and in-person, in the coming months to connect with students and answer questions about Darden and the admissions process.

Choose the Test That Works for You

Darden has been a leader in test flexibility and test optionality in graduate business education, and the addition of the new GMAT Focus and revised GRE expands the possibilities for prospective students. While most students submit standardized test scores, after successful trial runs in recent years, the school will continue to grant test waivers to students who can show strong alternative evidence to demonstrate readiness for the Darden MBA.

Applicants are encouraged to review a list of frequently asked questions and read more about the School’s approach to test flexibility.

Dawna Clarke

Dawna Clarke

“At Darden, we know that standardized test scores are just one measure of a student’s ability to thrive at Darden,” said Clarke. “Test flexibility and test waivers are an acknowledgement that each applicant is unique, and there are a multitude of ways to show academic preparedness. Our message is simply: choose the approach that works for you.”

Darden Offers Strong Suite of Scholarships, Up to and Including Full-Tuition

Darden aims to be both affordable and accessible and offers robust financial aid programs to meritorious students. Scholarships seek to honor both accomplishments and potential and to make a Darden MBA attainable for students from all backgrounds.

Darden is need-blind in its admissions process, meaning students are admitted based on merit, with any scholarship consideration following admission decisions.

The Darden School of Business, as well as other partner foundations and organizations such as the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, offer both merit scholarships and competitive scholarships to students with a range of backgrounds and interests. Awards are offered at various levels, up to and including full tuition and fees. For most merit awards, a candidate’s application to Darden will be reviewed by the School and Foundation scholarship committees, and applicants are advised to put forth their strongest application package for both admission and scholarship review.

Darden provides need-based scholarships for those who qualify for the Access Darden program, along with opportunities for all students to apply for loans to cover nearly the total cost of attendance.

One of the School’s top scholarships, The Oculus Fellowship, goes to those with outstanding academic ability, achievement, and potential as well as promise as a visionary business leader. In addition to covering full tuition and fees, the award includes a variety of personal and professional enrichment opportunities. Exceptional students applying in Early Action, Round 1 or Round 2 may be invited to interview for The Oculus Fellowship.

Outstanding ROI, Faculty and Grounds

Students joining the Full-Time MBA Class of 2026 will find a school operating with great momentum, including the most significant enhancements to Grounds in a generation.

The Darden School has been named the best education experience in the United States 10 years in a row by The Economist, and in early 2023, The Princeton Review ranked the Darden School in the Top 10 in 11 categories, the most of any School. Top 5 rankings included Darden hallmarks such as best campus environment, best career prospect, best classroom experience, and best professors, among others. The Darden Class of 2023 broke numerous employment records, and the ROI of the Darden MBA remains near the top among graduate business schools.

New for the 2023-24 academic year, the Darden Full-Time MBA will be led by esteemed educator and leader Melissa Thomas-Hunt, who returned to Darden in 2021 after serving as the head of global diversity and belonging at Airbnb, where she led the strategy and execution of our global internal diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging programs. As the senior associate dean for the Full-Time MBA program, Thomas-Hunt brings both private sector experience and 25 years of experience in graduate business education, including as the former global chief diversity officer at Darden.

The lobby of The Forum Hotel.

Additionally, prospective students can take full advantage of The Forum Hotel, which dramatically enhances the Grounds in Charlottesville. The hotel, which is operated by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, features 198 guest rooms and two restaurants. Additionally, more than 22,000 square feet of gathering and classroom space, including a ballroom, tiered and flat classrooms and small meeting spaces, open up new avenues for instruction and gatherings, while a six-acre arboretum and botanical garden enhances the usable outdoor space at Darden and adds connectivity to North Grounds and Charlottesville.

Read more on the Discover Darden blog and view the application.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Molly Mitchell
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia