U of A Climbs in U.S. News Rankings in Two Categories of Online Programs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Online degree programs at the University of Arkansas climbed in two categories in the 2021 U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Online Programs” rankings. Those programs ranked in the top 50 nationally, and other online programs ranked well.

The U of A’s eight online bachelor’s degree programs offered by four academic colleges rose to No. 21 in the 2021 national survey, climbing eight spots from the previous year. The bachelor’s programs ranked No. 19 among public institutions.

Online master’s degree programs in engineering rose to No. 42 in 2021, up four spots from 2020. These programs from the College of Engineering ranked No. 32 among public institutions.

Online master’s degree programs in education from the College of Education and Health Professions ranked No. 72 overall and No. 63 among public institutions.

Online programs from academic colleges across the U of A are showcased on the University of Arkansas ONLINE website.

“Congratulations to the faculty who created these high-quality online programs,” said Cheryl Murphy, vice provost for distance education. “The faculty’s commitment to academic excellence and the institution’s willingness to invest in online education make it possible for the U of A to stay nationally competitive in a very aggressive space.”


Online bachelor's degree programs ranked No. 21 among 337 ranked programs. Those programs include:

Online bachelor’s degree programs are offered by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; the Sam M. Walton College of Business; and the College of Education and Health Professions.


Online master's degree engineering programs from the College of Engineering ranked No. 42 among 97 institutions in 2021.

“Our online programs allow the College of Engineering to extend our reach across the globe, providing engineers from all over the opportunity to deepen their skillsets in areas that impact us all,” said Kim Needy, dean of the College of Engineering. “I’m pleased to see the outstanding work of our faculty and staff recognized in these rankings.”

Graduate engineering programs delivered online are master's degrees in engineering,electrical engineering and engineering management.


Online master's degree programs in education from the College of Education and Health Professions ranked No. 72 among 296 ranked institutions in 2021. The college’s online programs in Educational Leadership ranked No. 27 within the “specialties” sub-category “Educational Administration and Supervision.”

“We are pleased that our online master’s degree programs in education have been recognized among the best online programs in the nation,” said Brian Primack, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions. “We are especially proud to provide affordable, accessible education that emphasizes high-quality instruction and support while allowing students the flexibility of an online learning environment.”

Graduate education degree programs delivered online:


U.S. News rankings for undergraduate degree programs are based on four categories: student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation. Rankings for graduate education and graduate engineering programs include those four categories and selectivity of admissions. Full rankings, data and detailed methodologies are available on the U.S. News website.


Providing quality online programs is imperative as more people rely on distance learning to access higher education, both at the U of A and nationwide.

More than 14,700 U of A students took at least one online course in academic year 2020, which represented almost 50 percent of the student population. About 11 percent of all U of A students, or 3,427 students, studied exclusively online in the same academic year. Nationwide, almost 7 million students studied at a distance in 2018, with nearly half of them taking exclusively distance education courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics website.

In the last academic year at the U of A, 226 undergraduate students and 689 graduate students earned degrees through online programs.

About the Global Campus: The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


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