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UM System online programs continue to shine in rankings


Sara Diedrich

Online programs across University of Missouri System institutions continue to be recognized as among the best in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Online Programs.

That recognition includes Missouri University of Science and Technology’s online master of engineering programs, which rose nine spots to No. 9, tying with Texas A&M University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Missouri-Columbia’s online master’s in education program rose one spot to No. 14. Additionally, the University of Missouri-St. Louis continued to rank among the top 50 institutions for overall online bachelor programs at No. 47 and the University of Missouri-Kansas City remained in the top 50 for its online master’s in nursing program at No. 46.

“We are pleased that as more and more institutions join the ranks of online learning in response to the worldwide pandemic, our innovative online programs continue to meet the needs of a growing demand for digital learning by offering programs recognized among the best in the nation,” said Matthew Gunkel, chief online learning and technology officer for UM System. “Our online programs provide students with a high-quality education through a curriculum developed by the same faculty who teach on campus.”

For the 2022 edition, U.S. News & World Report assessed 1,733 online degree programs and ranked 1,651 – both all-time highs. The rankings measure overall academic quality and are across varying disciplines such as master’s in engineering and nursing.

Online programs through the UM System also ranked well in a category that U.S. News calls “Best for Veterans.” Missouri S&T’s online master’s in engineering program ranked No. 7 for veterans, up three spots from 2021. MU’s online bachelor programs for veterans continues to rank among the top 20 at No. 17, and its online master’s in education program for veterans rose one spot to No. 4, tying with Auburn University.  

The new rankings are included in the 2022 edition of Best Online Programs ranking released today by U.S. News & World Report and are based on data from 2021.

Increased access to quality online education is a strategic goal for the UM System, which now promotes more than 350 online degree and certificate offerings from its four universities through Missouri Online. Efforts are paying off with enrollment of distance students growing 27% systemwide over the past three academic years. This is growth in fully online programs and doesn’t include enrollment in courses that may have been moved online due to the pandemic.

U.S. News ranked universities and schools with online programs in five categories: engagement, service and technologies, faculty credentials and training and expert opinion.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the vast majority of students enrolled in the ranked bachelor’s online programs have earned at least some college credit. Rather than first-time college students, they are more likely to be working professionals in their 20s to 40s looking to advance in or change their careers. Consequently, the factors U.S. News selected to make comparisons between programs did not include measures only applicable to teenage applicants, such as high school grades and standardized test scores. Instead, it chose factors that weigh how online programs are being delivered and their effectiveness at awarding affordable degrees in a reasonable amount of time.



Reviewed 2022-01-25