Four FSU Online Programs Rank Top 25 in US News & World Report

Florida State University’s concerted effort to increase enrollment in its graduate program has received an additional boost from US News & World Report.

Surpassing more than 1,200 programs studied by the respected publication, four online FSU programs are now listed in the top 25 online graduate programs nationwide. Of the four, two made it into the Top 10.

Here is an overview of online graduate programs rated by US News & World Report:

  • The College of Communications and Information Technology’s online graduate program ranked #6 overall and #3 among public institutions.
  • The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s online master’s degree in criminal justice ranked No. 6 nationally, two spots higher than the previous year, and No. 5 among public universities.
  • The College of Education’s online graduate program ranked #22 overall and #21 among public universities.
  • The College of Business’ online MBA program ranked #28, like last year, among public universities and landed at #37 overall.

Mark Riley, dean of the Graduate School, said success of this magnitude is a joint effort between students and faculty.

About 33% of current FSU graduate students take all courses online; higher than the pre-COVID period, when approximately 22% of graduate students studied entirely online.

“We have brilliant students,” Riley told the Democrat. “They work with faculty in a wonderful way to transform the Graduate School programs we offer.”

The FSU graduate program has been experiencing this transformation since March 2020.

Anticipating that testing centers would close due to COVID-19 guidelines, Riley says the university moved quickly to accommodate students still seeking postgraduate degrees. Florida State would become the first in the state university system to waive the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for fall 2020 enrollment.

In two years, FSU has seen a 30.2% increase in enrollment for master’s and specialist degrees. Enrollment has grown from 7,634 students in fall 2019 to 9,946 students enrolled in fall 2021.

Yet student performance before and during COVID has remained stable. A recent analysis of fall 2020 graduating students reveals that their grades are just as high as previous classes, Riley said.

To determine its ranking, US News looks for a series of characteristics to evaluate each program in a category. Qualities such as commitment, faculty credentials and training, student excellence, and student services and technology all play a role in final program rankings.

Ashley Jarvis, studying online for a master’s degree in public administration, finds these qualities and more while pursuing a virtual education.

“It’s been really helpful to take online classes, especially during COVID times and because I’m working full time,” Jarvis said.

“To be able to get a high-level education while being able to work and take care of my family, it allows me to do that without having to take time off work and being flexible with my schedule.”

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Contact Democrat writer Mariah Wiggs at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @WiggsMariah.

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