UCF is a leading metropolitan research university known for helping students unleash their potential and advancing innovation in our community and state. Led by world-class faculty members with unrivaled industry experience, UCF’s graduate programs continue to earn top national recognitions for accomplishing those goals and more.

More than 9,000 UCF students enroll in UCF’s graduate programs to advance their careers or launch new ones. And many are thriving on campus and after graduation in programs ranked among the best in the nation.

In June, U.S. News & World Report ranked three engineering and computer science programs in the top 50 on the 2024 Best Graduate Schools list.

U.S. News & World Report has recognized UCF’s exceptional faculty and graduate programs in its 2024 list of Best Graduate Schools. UCF’s emergency management program ranks No. 1 in the nation, and four programs rank in the top 25. Nine graduate programs placed in the top 50 nationally, including five in public affairs, three in education and one in health. U.S. News will release rankings for the engineering and medicine categories at a later date.

“UCF’s world-class faculty excel at providing our graduate students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive as innovative leaders and creators,” says President Alexander N. Cartwright. “The U.S. News rankings demonstrate that our students graduate well-prepared to unleash their potential in individual, business, and government sectors that are growing in Florida and vital to our economy, health, and quality of life.”

The UCF Emergency Management Research Initiative team after collecting critical high-water mark data following Hurricane Ian.

UCF Grads Shape Emergency Responses Nationwide

UCF has a proven track record in emergency management. The university’s Master of Emergency and Crisis Management program — which is offered the College of Community Innovation and Education — has climbed the rankings over seven consecutive years. The homeland security program and its faculty researchers enable students to navigate increasingly complex manmade and natural disasters, while learning from past disasters to improve their preparedness and response in the future.

Graduates of the program go on to become leaders in directing and implementing emergency responses in Florida and throughout the country, including in Boston and Washington, D.C. They are saving lives, helping communities prepare as well as possible to navigate disasters, and putting into practice the lessons they learned from outstanding faculty who contribute to national research and regional solutions related to crises.

“Our students are equipped to assist communities and organizations in every phase of emergency management — from preparedness and mitigation to response and recovery,” says  Claire Connolly Knox, professor in UCF’s School of Public Administration.

“We are thrilled to be ranked No. 1 and nationally recognized again as a leader in emergency and crisis management,” she adds. “This honor highlights the innovative and community-focused research by our faculty and continuous engagement with community partners invested in our outstanding students and alumni.”

Other highlights include:

  • 12 in Education — Student Counseling and Personnel Services
  • 15 in Public Affairs — Nonprofit Management, up three spots since last year
  • 21 in Public Affairs — Public Management and Leadership, up five spots since last year
  • 27 in Public Affairs — Public Finance and Budgeting
  • 32 in Education — Curriculum and Instruction
  • 41 in Health — Physical Therapy
  • 42 in Best Education Schools, up four spots since last year
  • 47 in Public Affairs
  • 59 in Nursing — Doctor of Nursing Practice

UCF’s many strong rankings are a testament to the excellence of UCF’s faculty, who bring to the classroom extensive experience in academia, industry and research, as well as to the university’s commitment to help students unleash their potential in a culture focused on collaboration and finding solutions that benefit our society.

UCF students who have graduated from the nonprofit management program have gone on to make a big impact by helping communities in Florida and beyond. In one example, more than 12 years ago, program graduate Eric Camarillo ’16 ’19MNM launched faith-based nonprofit organization SALT Outreach Inc. in Central Florida to help provide services to the homeless, including mobile shower trailers, laundry, clothing, haircuts, mail services and help with employment. SALT has grown to more than 30 staff members who help hundreds of people every day.

“Throughout the School of Public Administration, our faculty, staff and advisory boards have worked hard to ensure we are offering students in Central Florida, across the country and around the globe a world-class, innovative education,” says Doug Goodman, professor and school director. “We are honored to be recognized as leaders in emergency management, nonprofit management, public leadership management and public finance and budgeting, fields that are critical to the health and well-being of our citizens and the success of our communities.”

The Best Graduate Education Schools category includes graduate-level educator preparation and advancement programs, such as teacher education, school counseling and psychology, educational leadership, and curriculum and instruction, all offered through the College of Community Innovation and Education. The college offers graduate students numerous opportunities to collaborate closely with expert faculty, from receiving mentorship and support in research and scholarship to engaging in robust internships and field experiences with school district, nonprofit and agency partners. Some faculty members also lead federally funded projects that offer tuition assistance and prepare students to work with students in high-need schools.

UCF’s continued rise has also drawn praise from other outlets:

  • In February, U.S. News & World Report released its best online program national rankings, which placed UCF tied at No. 7 in the nation for best online bachelor’s programs. Of the 14 UCF national rankings from U.S. News, six online programs made the top 10, two made the top 15 and three were in the top 50. UCF has ranked in the top 20 overall Best Online Programs for the past seven years.
  • In March, The Princeton Review and PC Gamer recognized UCF’s game design programs among the best in the world. The graduate Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy is ranked No. 1 in the world for the fourth time in five years. The undergraduate game design program, Games and Interactive Media (GaIM) in UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media, achieved its highest ranking ever, advancing to No. 5 in the world.
  • Sports Business Journal named Orlando the No. 1 Best Sports Business City for event hosting, including the NBA, Orlando City and Orlando Pride Soccer, the nation’s premier tennis center, college football bowl games, the NFL Pro Bowl, U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, the Arnold Palmer Invitational — and, of course, the UCF Knights. With its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference in 2023, UCF has skyrocketed to unprecedented success as the youngest Power Four program in the country. With one of the country’s top graduate sports business programs, UCF has also provided a pipeline of talented graduates to some of the nation’s biggest sports brands.