U.S. News & World Report: WT’s Online Programs Among Top in Texas, Country

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CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s online undergraduate program is No. 2 in Texas and tied for No. 30 in the country, according to newly released 2023 rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Several undergraduate and graduate programs also rank highly state- and nationwide in the new standings, with 11 total programs earning the magazine’s coveted Best Program status: online bachelor’s programs, online bachelor’s programs for veterans, online undergraduate business programs, online MBA, online MBA for veterans, and graduate programs in computer information technology, criminal justice, education, engineering, business (non-MBA) and nursing.

“West Texas A&M University is one of the only universities in the nation to be recognized as a quality leader in all eight categories U.S. News & World Report evaluates in the annual rankings,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The University has offered online courses for 25 years and is in an excellent position to continue as a national leader in online instruction for the next 25 years, as the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building will be a hub for innovation and support of distance learning.”

WT’s online undergraduate program ranks behind only Texas A&M University in the state and is tied with the likes of University of Massachusetts–Lowell and University of Missouri across the nation.

WT’s online bachelor’s program for veterans also ranked No. 1 in Texas and tied for No. 16 in the country.

U.S. News & World Report assessed more than 1,800 online degree programs around the country based on a variety of objective factors, such as student engagement, faculty credentials, and services and technologies. The rankings are a key resource for students seeking information about online programs for degree completion and career advancement.

WT’s commitment to being a learner-centered university is a key component of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $115 million.

The One West campaign will have an enormous impact on WT’s continued growth in the online-education field with the total renovation of the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building, the second-oldest building on University grounds. Following a $45 million legislative allotment and a $2.5 million gift from the Stanley Schaeffer family, the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building is currently being transformed into the home of cutting-edge advancements in WT’s distance learning program. It also will house the WT Graduate School and new spaces for research.

WT earned eight Best Graduate Program accolades by the magazine.

“WT graduate programming continues to receive these national types of recognitions, demonstrating the worth of the degree in reputation, quality, affordability and flexibility,” said Dr. Angela Spaulding, vice president for research and compliance and dean of the Graduate School.

WT’s Graduate School scored highly compared to other universities in Texas:

  • No. 1 in Texas in computer information technology (tied for No. 16 overall)
  • No. 2 in Texas in engineering
  • No. 3 (tied) in Texas in MBA and No. 3 (tied) in Texas in MBA programs for veterans
  • No. 4 in Texas in graduate business degrees in specialized disciplines—master of finance and economics and master of professional accounting (tied for No. 38 overall)
  • No. 6 in Texas in criminal justice (tied for No. 30 overall)
  • No. 7 in Texas in nursing
  • No. 8 in Texas in education

“The graduate engineering program is designed to prepare engineering students with working knowledge of many engineering disciplines while also having the flexibility to concentrate on a specific area,” said Dr. Emily Hunt, dean of WT’s College of Engineering. “This degree provides a rare opportunity to expand skills into all facets of engineering. The industry need in Texas has driven the enrollment growth for our interdisciplinary engineering graduate program at WT, and we are proud to have designed, developed, and constructed a high-quality program.”

The included programs in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business have been recognized as part of the Best Program rankings for 11 consecutive years.

“Our undergraduate online offerings and graduate programs in business, computing, and nursing have been part of U.S. News & World Report and other external rankings for several years,” Terry said. “Education, engineering, and public administration/criminal justice programs have emerged as the best online programs in their disciplines in recent years.”

Since 1997, WT has been a pioneer in online learning, fundamentally because it offers students in the Panhandle region and beyond easier access to higher education.

The Best Online Programs include rankings of bachelor’s programs as well as the following master’s-level disciplines: MBA, business (non-MBA), computer information technology (including computer science), criminal justice/criminology, education, engineering, and nursing. While the methodologies are different for each discipline, they all incorporate metrics specific to online learning. The rankings only include degree-granting programs that are offered primarily online by regionally accredited institutions.

“Most of the undergraduate programs in the Best Online Programs rankings are degree completion programs, meaning the vast majority of their students already have some college credit,” said Liana Loewus, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “The methodologies are developed with those students in mind, setting these rankings apart from those that are focused on recent high school graduates pursuing higher education for the first time.”

Prospective students can see how WT compares to other institutions and how the rankings are calculated at U.S. News & World Report.

 

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