Online graduate programs among nation’s best

By Jeff Stensland
January 8, 2014  

The University of South Carolina has three graduate programs ranked among the best in the nation in the latest U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Education Programs.

The 2014 rankings released Wednesday place USC’s College of Education graduate degree program at No. 15 overall (No. 11 among public institutions), the College of Nursing at No. 16 (No. 11 among public institutions) and the College of Engineering and Computing at No. 36 (No. 26 among public institutions).

Online graduate degree programs are increasingly popular among busy professionals who wish to improve their knowledge without exiting the workforce. The U.S. News and World Report rankings are based on student engagement, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology.

The College of Education first began offering online degree programs in 2005 with a master’s degree in educational administration for graduate students pursuing careers in school administration. Three other degrees are now offered, including a master’s in teaching, educational technology and higher education business administration.

“We are proud that we continue to be in the top 20 Colleges of Education to offer relevant online programs to our students. Our faculty continues to be dedicated to creating a diversity of programs, courses, and clinical experiences to push the status quo,” said Dean Lemuel Watson.

The College of Nursing is new to the rankings this year. It offers both master’s and doctoral level degree options that allow professionals the chance to earn their degrees while continuing to work in the community, said Dean Jeanette Andrews.

"We are very honored by this prestigious ranking by the U.S. News & World Report.  We have stellar faculty and staff who lead our online programs and our student s have outstanding achievements and success,” she said.

The College of Engineering and Computing’s online graduate engineering degree has been offered for decades and also was developed for professional engineers working in the field. The college now offers several master’s degrees, including the new Master of Engineering Management and System Design degrees, as well as a doctoral degree.

“We work closely with industry when planning our online offerings to ensure we are educating professionals who can benefit these companies as soon as they graduate, “ said Dean Tony Ambler. “We realize that education must be flexible so working professionals can take advantage of advanced degrees, and we aim to provide education that is of benefit to their companies as they study.”