Clemson University’s online graduate program in education is tops in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Online Programs rankings released Tuesday.

Other schools in the top four were Creighton University, the University of Florida, and the University of North Texas. The University of Houston and Utah State University were tied for fifth.

U.S. News & World Report evaluates distance education programs at the program level rather than the school level. Nearly 1,500 distance education programs for bachelor’s degrees as well as graduate programs in engineering, business, computer information technology, criminal justice, education, and nursing were evaluated.

U.S. News ranked online graduate education programs on five general categories: student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

“The Best Online Programs rankings offer adults the information needed to identify programs that best suit their life and career goals,” said 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.”

Clemson was tied for 10th in last year’s ranking.

“Our college is committed to the constant improvement of its graduate programs designed for distance learners, and that commitment has made this program without peer in a very short amount of time,” said George J. Petersen, dean of the College of Education. “This recognition indicates our focused and intentional efforts to deliver a best-in-class, professional and educational experience for our students.”

Jeff Marshall, chair of the college’s teaching and learning department, said the recent successes in online programs can be credited to faculty and staff who don’t settle for anything less than excellence in content and delivery. They constantly evaluate and improve every aspect of the program. He said preparing faculty to excel in online environments is vital to the continual improvement effort. He added that providing constant, effective communication and support for students in the program is another key component to success.

The University of South Carolina’s online education graduate program ranked tied for 76th with the University of Maine, Southeast Missouri State University, Hofstra University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Boise State University.

Winthrop University’s online graduate education program was 219th, tied with Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Kennesaw State University, Keiser University, and Alabama State University.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Charleston Southern University’s online bachelor’s degree program 35th along with Ball State University, Fort Hays State University, and Regent University. The University of South Carolina – Aiken was tied with 12 other schools. Anderson University was 143rd, tied with nine other schools. Columbia College tied for 153rd. North Greenville University ranked tied for 184th. Limestone College was 222nd. Coker College tied for 254th.

The Medical University of South Carolina ranked third for the best online nursing program, while the University of South Carolina tied for fifth with George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Texas-Tyler.


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