For the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF among the top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s programs in the nation.
“Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned that online options help our students learn and perform better, and we are proud to offer access to affordable, high-quality degrees.”
— Interim President Thad Seymour Jr.
UCF’s undergraduate online programs tied for No. 16 this year. The university also tied for No. 12 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, No. 17 for Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs and No. 31 for Best Graduate Online Nursing Programs.
The rankings are based on the publication’s 2020 Best Online Programs rankings, which assess schools based on student engagement, online learning technologies and support, faculty credentials and training, and the program’s reputation among other universities.
“As the landscape of higher education has shifted to accommodate students who take classes remotely, so has UCF, which is why the university’s online programs continue to rank among the top in the nation,” says Interim President Thad Seymour Jr. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned that online options help our students learn and perform better, and we are proud to offer access to affordable, high-quality degrees.”
The first online programs launched at UCF in 1996, and today nearly half of all academic credits at UCF are completed in online or blended courses, which combine face-to-face and online instruction. Following 20 years of digital learning, the university in 2016 established UCF Online, an initiative that allows students to earn their degree fully online, from anywhere in the world, at a reduced fee rate.
“At UCF, we understand that many students have schedules and responsibilities that require flexibility,” Thomas Cavanagh, vice provost for Digital Learning. “That’s why we put so much effort into offering a robust, high-quality online learning experience.”
To ensure academic quality remains high, more than 75 percent of undergraduate online courses are taught by full-time faculty members who must go through the same rigorous departmental review process as for any face-to-face course. In addition, each faculty member wanting to create a new online course receives 80 hours of professional development with an instructional designer, while faculty members interested in teaching existing online courses receive 35 hours of training.
But academic success for students so often extends beyond the classroom. That’s why UCF offers students support from success coaches in addition to academic advisors. Success coaches provide mentorship for students from admission to graduation and beyond, helping students navigate a range of challenges from better understanding financial literacy to how to address personal crises now and in the future.
“Whether our students are just down the street or across the country, we strive to ensure that they receive the same high-quality education online that they would on campus,” says Cavanagh. “It’s that commitment that has made UCF an online learning leader for more than 20 years.”