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Academics

SPIA Online Bachelor’s Powers Up in Rankings — Again

The annual ranking of online college programs by U.S. News brings good news for NC State's graduate programs in business, engineering, information technology and education. But the online bachelor's degree in public sector leadership gets the headlines.

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NC State's online degree programs score well in this year's U.S. News rankings. Photo: unsplash.com

NC State’s online bachelor’s degree, Leadership in the Public Sector, continued its meteoric rise in national rankings, climbing 25 spots on this year’s list of the best online college programs, compiled by U.S. News & World Report.

The program is now ranked 14th in the nation, up from 39th place last year and 71st place three years ago. In 2017, the program didn’t even make the top 100, ranking 103rd.

The annual survey of 1,600 online degree programs conducted by U.S. News measures factors such as student engagement, services and technologies, faculty credentials and expert opinions. 

“We certainly check all those boxes,” says Irwin Morris, interim director of the Leadership in the Public Sector degree program.

Morris, the William T. Kretzer Distinguished Professor of Humanities, is executive director of the School of Public and International Affairs, academic home to the online bachelor’s program.

Morris notes that the leadership program is unique, the only fully online undergraduate degree completion program at NC State. The program is open to students who have earned at least 60 college credits but never completed an undergraduate degree. It’s a great match for students transferring credit from a community college. And it’s popular with veterans and active-duty service members.

“One thing that makes our program increasingly valuable is it’s completely online,” Morris says. “Most of our students are professionally active. Many have full-time jobs so it’s not feasible for them to take classes that meet during the day.”

Morris credits the quality of the faculty and robust academic advising with keeping students engaged and on track. Plus, he says, a partnership with DELTA, NC State’s distance education experts, ensures that the online experience meets students’ needs and expectations.

Graduate Programs Ranked

Several of NC State’s online graduate programs also performed well on this year’s U.S. News list.

NC State’s online master’s program in engineering ranked sixth overall, an improvement of one spot over last year. NC State’s Jenkins Online MBA program ranked 16th, as did the university’s online master’s program in computer information technology. The online master’s degree in education ranked 42nd in the nation.

NC State’s graduate programs in business administration, business analytics, engineering and education were recognized for their efforts to support veterans.

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