- U.S. News & World Report released its fifth annual quality rankings of online education programs, identifying top schools for bachelor’s degrees, MBAs, and graduate business, criminal justice, education, engineering, information technology, and nursing.
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide and Pennsylvania State University-World Campus tied for the top spot among online bachelor’s degree programs, and Temple University (Fox) was ranked No. 1 among online MBA programs, followed by Indiana University-Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business, which also ranked No. 1 for graduate business programs.
- Boston University topped the list of graduate criminal justice programs, the universities of Florida and Houston tied for top education programs, and UCLA (Samueli) was No. 1 for engineering programs, followed by the University of Southern California, which also topped the list for IT programs.
The U.S. News list ranks the programs at individual schools, not the overall school, providing a narrower focus for quality. One complaint of the Obama Administration’s College Scorecard is that it doesn’t provide a breakdown by program when it describes graduate earnings, relying on an average across an entire institution. Many rankings also distinguish only among entire colleges or universities.
The rankings methodology is different for each category, but generally relies on the level of student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, peer reputation, and, in some cases, admissions selectivity. Student engagement has the highest weight in each category.