The best online programs in 2015

East coast and Midwest public universities dominate in best online bachelor programs

online-rankingsOnline education is appealing for its novel approach to teaching, flexibility, and cost. This phenomenon can be expected to grow.

In 2013, the number of students taking at least one online course increased by over
411,000 to a new total of 7.1 million, according to a study by Babson Survey Research Group.

Interested in capitalizing on all the benefits online learning has to offer, but unsure which program is best? You’re in luck, because U.S. News & World Report has released the Best Online Program Rankings in 2015.

These rankings, accessible on both and, includes more than 1,000 programs–an increase of more than 20 percent from last year, according to a press release.

Online programs are ranked in the following eight categories:  Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Best Online Graduate Business Programs (non-MBA), Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs, Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, Best Online MBA Programs and Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, law enforcement careers are expected to increase by 11 percent by 2016, and U.S. News has included a new category to cater to this growing industry by ranking the Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs. In addition, the Best Online MBA Programs category has been added in response to the MBA degree’s growth in popularity.

(Read on to see the best online program rankings by category in 2015) 

Bachelors Programs

1.  Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Ranked in the top 1 percent of universities worldwide, Penn State offers a wide range of bachelor’s degrees designed to equip learners without the knowledge and skills needed for career success. The programs are taught by the same Penn State faculty who teach in residence. Students are fully supported with academic advising, technical support, a world-class library and career counseling.

East coast and Midwest institutions such as Daytona State College, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Western Kentucky University all tied for second place. Click here for full bachelor program rankings.

MBA Programs

1.  Indiana University-Bloomington (Kelley)

Kelley Direct allows high-caliber working professionals to earn the world-renowned Kelley MBA or MS degree while enjoying the ultimate in flexibility. In addition to the flexibility inherent in an online program, students have 2-5 years to complete the program. Students will be working with the same Kelley faculty that teach in our highly-ranked full-time and part-time MBA programs, many of whom have been teaching in the program for 10+ years.

Fun fact: Billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban graduated from the Kelley School of Business in 1981 with a BS in Business Administration.

Temple University (Fox) and UNC Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flager) tied for second place. Click here for full MBA program rankings.

Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

1.  University of California-Irvine

Courses are taught by on-campus, department faculty who are international experts in the field. Program admits approximately 60 students per year and runs in a cohort format. Week on campus course serves as an opportunity for students to interact with their professors, and cohort members, which sets the stage for further dialogue in the online courses.

Schools across the nation such as Arizona State University, Boston University, and Pace University all secured second place. For the full ranking, click here.

Graduate Education Programs

1.  University of Houston

In addition to being one the nation’s most ethnically diverse institutions, UH has been designated a Tier One Research University by the Carnegie Foundation, ranks among the nation’s best colleges (Princeton review) and the 25 Most Underrated Colleges in America (Business Insider). UH is among the Top 10 most affordable post-secondary schools in Texas (College Database, 2013).

See the full list of Graduate Education program rankings here.

Graduate Information Technology Programs

1.  University of Southern California

Online and on-campus students are admitted according to the same criteria and receive instruction from the same faculty members. Online and on-campus class sections meet simultaneously and are seamlessly integrated. Online sections have specific enrollment capacities to ensure proper academic support is provided.

See the full rankings here.

Graduate Nursing Programs

1.  Medical University of South Carolina

MUSC boasts over 14 years of experience in online education across the U.S. with a 98 percent success rate of graduating. The school offers excellent faculty mentorship of students, and online supportive services are provided by the Center for Academic Excellence.

Find out which other nursing programs made the list here.

Have you taken an online course? What did you think of these rankings?

Let us know in the comments below.


Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Latest posts by Michael Sharnoff (see all)

Oops! We could not locate your form.

IT Campus Leadership

Your source for IT solutions and innovations to support campus-wide success. Weekly on Wednesday.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Please enter your work email address.
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.