With a commitment to unleashing the potential of students, UCF offers multiple pathways to earn a high-quality undergraduate or graduate degree, including exceptional online programs developed by expert faculty that offer convenience and flexibility for thousands of students to succeed even while juggling full-time jobs and family responsibilities.
By meeting students’ needs where they are and providing access to outstanding online programs, UCF continues to support students to develop skills that fuel the economy and meet the needs of Florida’s growing workforce.
Today, U.S. News & World Report once again recognized the quality of UCF’s online degrees through the release of its best online program national rankings, which included ranking the university No. 7 in the nation for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
Of the 14 UCF national rankings from U.S. News, six programs made the top 10, two made the top 15 and three were in the top 50.
With the 2024 release, UCF has ranked in the top 20 overall Best Online Programs for the past seven years.
- 4 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in Psychology
- 5 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, up two spots from last year
- 7 for Overall Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, up one spot from last year
- 9 for Best Online Graduate Programs in Special Education
- 10 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in Business – Lodging & Restaurant Management
- 10 for Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs, up three spots from last year
- 11 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs – Educational/Instructional Media Design, up two spots from last year
- 14 for Overall Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
UCF took fifth place for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, a ranking that reflects the university’s commitment to providing student veterans with the resources, tools and assistance they need to succeed. The on-campus Office of Military and Veteran Success offers support and camaraderie to achieve their educational and career goals through distance learning. UCF’s graduate education programs and graduate engineering programs were also ranked among the best in the nation for veterans.
“UCF’s commitment to developing the talent for Florida’s workforce includes broadening access to the high-quality online education that enables us to meet students’ needs for flexibility and supports their success,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “We are grateful for the faculty-led innovation that allows us to deliver accessible, top notch online education that prepares the talent for the industries of today and of the future.”
A Longtime Leader in Online Education
UCF Online has built new pathways for students — some of whom live thousands of miles away and have full-time jobs — to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, doctorates and graduate certificates. UCF is meeting the needs of its students, who are pursuing a better life for themselves and their families through distance learning.
Every faculty member goes through a rigorous training and qualification process before they teach an online class.
“One of the keys to our continued success in delivering high-quality online programs is the hard work of our faculty,” says Tom Cavanagh, vice provost for Digital Learning at UCF. “Their dedication and innovation deliver engaging learning environments that not only improve the success of our students, but also set UCF apart as a leader in digital learning.”
UCF began offering online courses in 1996 — long before most universities — and has deep experience in distance learning. From admission to graduation, UCF Online students can access a range of services, including online success coaches, academic advising, library services, career support, tech support and more.
Leveraging Technology for Psychology Education
Psychology lecturer Martha Hubertz has been at the forefront of innovation in online classes for years. Her courses are mostly filled with transfer and first-generation students. Over time, she’s incorporated immersive graphics, learning experiences and gamification into her courses.
“I think online can actually be better than face-to-face. I think it’s meeting them where they’re at and scaffolding them where we want them to be,” Hubertz says. “Online can be superior to face-to-face when it’s done right.”
She also uses Personalized Adaptive Learning (PAL), allowing students to progress through content as they master it at their own pace. Introducing PAL has caused test scores to skyrocket.
“An advantage of UCF’s online bachelor’s in psychology program is that students in the program get the same classes, taught by the same faculty, as any psychology major, regardless of whether they are on-campus residential students, commute to UCF or are online-only students,” says Florian Jentsch, chair of the psychology department. “In fact, there are no differences between campus and online students when they are taking one of our online classes and in the opportunities they have for academic advisement.”
A Pipeline to High-value Careers
UCF alumnus Xavier Henderson ’17 ’21MS earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2017, attending in-person classes. He followed that up in 2021 with a master’s degree in the same field — but this time it was an online program. By that time, Henderson had a full-time job as a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, working on space-related programs at Cape Canaveral. Taking classes online allowed him to excel even while navigating work demands.
“I liked the flexibility of online courses. There were times I would be on a work trip and the professors would accommodate that,” Henderson says. “They don’t make it easy, but they provide you with all the tools you need to get a UCF degree online as you would in-person.”
Alan Tromba has taken a winding path to UCF, first in art and then military aviation, both at different institutions. He now works in the IT field and is pursuing an online master’s degree in digital forensics. The program has earned UCF the No. 23 ranking for U.S. News‘ Best Online Computer Information Technology Programs.
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“It became apparent that my degree program had put me a step ahead of my counterparts. I chose UCF’s program for three reasons: one, because it was solely involved in digital forensics and not a concentration, two, because UCF was on the short list for top universities for the field, and three, cost and availability,” says Tromba, who lives in Brandon, Florida. “As much as I enjoyed in-person courses, the price and ability to not have to commute to campus was a great motivator. Based on how things have been going for me professionally by choosing this program, I’d say it was money well spent.”