“The Best Online Programs rankings offer adults the information needed to identify programs that best suit their life and career goals,” says Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “The top programs not only demonstrate strong academics but also create learning environments that are particularly well-suited to remote students.”

The evaluation process
U.S. News evaluates online bachelor’s degree programs at the program level rather than the school level, using data gathered directly from each program. The methodologies are based on a number of factors, including student engagement, faculty credentials, student services, and technology. Only degree-granting programs at regionally accredited institutions that are offered primarily online were considered.

New this year, U.S. News updated the methodologies for the Best Online Programs in the following ways:

  • Updated index to measure class size: Rather than using two components for class size, U.S. News created one index measure that more accurately reflects the varying class sizes across campuses.
  • More accurately accounting for average indebtedness of graduates: With this, U.S. News ensures that programs graduating students with lower levels of debt are rewarded in the rankings.
  • Added graduation rate for nursing programs: To better account for the time frame required to complete some graduate nursing programs, U.S. News added a four-year graduation rate measure to this ranking.

Other rankings include:

Computer Information Technology
1. University of Southern California
2. New York University (tie)
2. Virginia Tech (tie)

Education
1. Clemson University (SC)
2. Creighton University (NE) (tie)
2. University of Florida (tie)

Engineering
1. Columbia University (NY)
2. University of California—Los Angeles (tie)
2. University of Southern California (tie)

Nursing
1. St. Xavier University (IL)
2. Ohio State University
3. Medical University of South Carolina

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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