Thinking about going online to get your bachelor’s degree, or start a master’s program? U.S. News has come out with its third-annual ranking of the best online degree programs in the nation.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the rankings don’t look anything like U.S. News’ “best colleges” list, dominated by private Ivy League schools and flagship state universities. According to U.S. News, the best place to get a bachelor’s degree online is Central Michigan University, followed by SUNY College of Technology-Delhi and Pace University in New York.
Washington State University is the only Washington school to make the top 25 in online bachelor’s degrees, coming in at 21. But perhaps it doesn’t matter — when you’re online, you can go to college wherever you want.
WSU has been a state leader in online education. In 2012, it launched the Global Campus, an online portal to WSU courses and programs which it describes as its fifth campus (the other four are the physical campuses in Pullman, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Spokane).
U.S. News ranked WSU’s MBA and Executive MBA degrees among the top 10 online graduate business programs for the second year in a row. The College of Engineering and Architecture’s online master’s degree in engineering and technology management ranked 21st among online graduate engineering programs.
But if location is no object, prospective students might want to look at U.S. News’ top-ranked programs anywhere in the nation.
For graduate engineering programs, Columbia University in New York and University of California-Los Angeles top the list. The best places to get a graduate degree in business are Indiana University-Bloomington and Arizona State University.
The University of Southern California, Boston University and Virginia Tech are the top three graduate information technology programs.
U.S. News created its rankings after analyzing the results of a questionnaire it distributed in summer 2013. Nearly 1,000 distance education programs submitted the questionnaire, up from 860 programs the previous year, the magazine reported. Editors considered only degree-granting programs offering courses entirely online.
According to the report, “all six rankings include peer review data based on schools’ evaluations of each other. The new rankings also give greater weight to one-year retention rates, graduation rates and required time to graduate. Selectivity has less weight in some of the master’s disciplines and again is not a ranking factor used in the online bachelor’s programs rankings, since most online undergraduate programs don’t require standardized test scores or high school transcripts.”
The U.S. News report also includes information about how to tell good online degree programs from bad ones, and analyzes a wide variety of other programs, including graduate programs in nursing and education.