Online graduate programs in nursing and business at East Carolina University rank among the nation’s best, according to a listing released Jan. 7 by U.S. News & World Report.
The ECU College of Nursing ranked 18th while the online Master of Business Administration program in the College of Business was ranked 69.
Also recognized was criminal justice, which placed 25th among ranked programs in the country and the highest in the state. ECU’s graduate education and bachelor’s programs also were listed.
U.S. News surveyed online graduate programs in business, computer information technology, criminal justice, education, engineering, MBA and nursing on criteria including student engagement, faculty credentials, admissions selectivity, student services and technology and program ratings by peer institutions.
ECU’s online nursing and business programs have consistently been recognized by U.S. News.
“We are honored to be ranked 18th in the country for online master of science in nursing degree programs,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing. “The ECU College of Nursing is committed to offering programs that give working nurses the ability to pursue advanced education while continuing to make an impact on the lives of their patients.”
Nursing offers five online options: adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery.
Of 616 total students enrolled in the MSN program in the 2013-2014 academic year, 582 - or 94.5 percent - were distance education students.
The online program in the College of Business has grown from a single course offering in 1998 to undergraduate and graduate degrees in several concentrations. Of 684 total students enrolled in the MBA program for the fall 2014 semester, 75 percent attended part-time and selected online classes.
“We’re proud that our online MBA program again ranks among the nation’s top schools for the third straight year, ever since U.S. News & World Report began ranking graduate-level business distance education programs,” said Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the ECU College of Business. “The ECU College of Business has pioneered the field of distance education, and we continue to innovate - providing an engaging learning environment to the leaders of today and tomorrow.”
This year, U.S. News evaluated schools based solely on data related to their MBA program. In the past, U.S. News had combined MBA programs and all other online graduate business programs to develop a single ranking. This year, non-MBA business degrees have been assessed separately.
This is the first year that ECU’s online criminal justice graduate program was ranked by U.S. News, said Dr. William P. Bloss, professor and chair of the department.
The program is growing rapidly and enrollment is expected to reach 60 students by fall 2015.
“The majority of our students are working practitioners,” Bloss said. Many work rotating shifts or travel with jobs in law enforcement, making online education their best option for attaining a higher degree. “We are committed to making our program as accessible to as many people as we can,” he said.