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College's online graduate programs ranked 3rd in the country

Kristen B. Morales

January 21, 2016

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The University of Georgia College of Education's online graduate programs are among the top three in the country, according to rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report.

The annual list of best online graduate education programs places UGA at No. 3, tied with Florida State University. Last year the College ranked No. 28 on the list.

"Our online graduate programs draw their strength from our faculty, who continue to challenge and innovate within the online learning community," said Craig H. Kennedy, dean of the College of Education. "And because we offer online options for master's degrees and many teaching certificates and endorsements, there are a variety of options that appeal to a broad range of students."

In addition to teacher-preparation and other educator-focused degrees, the annual list also boosted UGA's rank among undergraduate programs. UGA moved up to No. 5 for its bachelor of business administration, offered through the Terry College of Business, and the bachelor of science in special education, offered through the College of Education. Other lists released today focus on programs in engineering, nursing, criminal justice and computer information technology.

This rise to one of the top online programs in the country reflects the quality of faculty, the innovations they use in creating online courses and the overall collaborative nature of UGA's online programs across campus.

Administered through UGA's Office of Online Learning, the degree programs incorporate new and innovative teaching methods, such as pairing faculty with staff who are formally trained in instructional design and distance education, and expanding the tools available for instruction. There is also a large number of full-time, tenure-track faculty who teach online.

At the College of Education, several internal initiatives provide training and resources to faculty who teach online courses, as well as incentives for developing innovative online programs. The college recently launched several new degree programs that also contributed to its high ranking, such as new master's degree programs in social studies education, middle grades education and instructional design and development.

Overall, the College of Education offers 11 master's or specialist degrees online, plus another 11 graduate certificates or teaching endorsements. Nearly 90 courses at the college are taught online every year, with the College of Education leading the university in the number of degrees available online.

Announced every January, the U.S. News survey weighs factors such as student engagement, diverse learning technologies, admissions and faculty credentials. The College of Education pioneered online learning at the University of Georgia when it launched the university's first online degree program in 2001, a master's in adult education.

See the full list of winners.