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Nursing, business named in top graduate programs in online education

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Jan. 15, 2013)   —   Two graduate programs at East Carolina University rank among the best nationally in online education in a listing released today by U.S. News & World Report.

The ECU College of Nursing ranked 10 out of 72 master’s or doctorate of nursing practice programs in the country. The online Master of Business Administration program in the College of Business ranked 40 out of 148 graduate business programs. The complete listing of online education programs can be viewed at

U.S. News ranked online master’s degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education and computer information technology on criteria including student engagement, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity and student services and technology.

Online degrees have been growing in popularity the past 10 years driven in part by a competitive job market and stagnant economy, according to U.S. News.

ECU’s College of Nursing has been consistently named by U.S. News as one of the largest distance education programs in the country since 2004. The current rankings assess quality categories over size.

“Our investment in distance education allows us to connect our students to campus using virtual clinics and to nursing scholars around the world through streaming video and conferencing technology,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing. “The beauty of our graduate distance education strategy is that students, who are all registered nurses, can fill vital nursing positions while pursuing their graduate degrees.”

Nursing offers seven online options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery. Of 704 total students enrolled in the MSN program, 606 - or 86 percent - are 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. It is the largest online MBA program in the UNC system.

Of 797 total students enrolled in the MBA program last fall, 629 - or 79 percent - were distance education students. 

All required courses are available online, so MBA students can earn a degree without having to come to campus.

“The College of Business is very proud to rank among the top nationally in online education for the second year in a row," said Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business. “Whether online or in the classroom, our MBA program continues to maintain high standards in preparing the next generation of leaders. There is no higher level of accomplishment for us than students who value their educational experience, benefit directly from it, and go on to make a difference in their communities.”   


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-3764