U.S. News releases rankings for top online programs

Based on criteria such as student engagement and peer reputation

U.S. News & World Report released its rankings today for the top online programs, including for bachelor's programs, MBA programs, and graduate school programs.

Pennsylvania State University–World Campus, Florida State University, and Arizona State University were among the top schools, all ranking in the top five schools in for three degree programs.

Methodology

U.S. News sent surveys to administrators and faculty at regionally accredited public, private, and for-profit schools offering the relevant programs.

For each type of program, researchers collected data through the surveys related to broad categories like student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer reputation. Researchers then assigned each school a score, up to 100, according to a combination of factors within those categories, such as class size, percentage of tenured faculty, and student indebtedness.

Institutional data on student and faculty statistics reflects the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015; but data on services, programs, and technology is updated through 2015. 

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Top-ranked bachelor's programs

Bachelor's program scores used the following criteria and weights: student engagement (40%), faculty credentials and training (20%), peer reputation (20%), and student services and technology (20%). The following bachelor's programs received the five highest scores:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Worldwide (100);
  • Pennsylvania State University—World Campus (100);
  • Western Kentucky University (97);
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (96); and
  • University of Georgia (95).

Top-ranked online MBA programs

Online MBA program scores were based on student engagement (28%), admissions selectivity (25%), peer reputation (25%); faculty credentials and training (11%); and student services and technology (11%). The top five MBA programs are:

  • Temple University's Fox School of Business (100);
  • Indiana University at Bloomington's Kelley School of Business (99);
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School (97);
  • University of Florida's Hough Graduate School of Business (92); and
  • Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business (91).

Top-ranked non-MBA graduate business programs

Non-MBA online graduate business programs were scored based on student engagement (33%), admissions selectivity (20%), peer reputation (20%), student services and technology (13.5%), and faculty credentials (13.5%). The top five non-MBA graduate business programs are:

  • Indiana University at Bloomington's Kelley School of Business (100);
  • University of Connecticut (94);
  • Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business (93);
  • Florida State University (92); and
  • University of Texas at Dallas (92).

U.S. News also released rankings for the top online graduate programs in

  • Computer information technology (#1: University of Southern California)
  • Criminal justice (#1: Boston University)
  • Education (#1: University of Florida and University of Houston)
  • Engineering (#1: University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Nursing (#1: University of South Carolina)

(U.S. News & World Report, January 2016).

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