During winter vacation, U.S. News and World Report released its rankings of online graduate studies programs nationwide. Both the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program and the online graduate programs in education offered here at the University of Maine are ranked among the country’s top 200, with the online MBA program rising 41 places over last year.
This is the second year in a row that both of these graduate programs have been recognized by the report, and it is the first year that either of these programs has made it into the top 100 (the graduate business program is currently tied for 90th).
“The University of Maine’s ongoing national rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review and others speak to the quality, breadth and depth of the state’s flagship university, and the impact a research institution can have on student success,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said. “The newest U.S. News & World Report rankings demonstrate the excellence and growing stature of our online programs that meet the needs of our students in Maine and beyond for accessible, high-quality education.”
Launched in 1948, the U.S. News and World Report is commonly known for its yearly rankings of everything from colleges and graduate schools to cars, hospitals, law firms, states and even countries. While well known, the Report’s rankings have, in the past, been criticized by some universities and publications for their methods of selection.
The U.S. News and World Report rankings are created by averaging the scores a program achieves in five different categories: student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.
“We attribute this significant increase in our ranking to the efforts of our faculty,” Dean of the Graduate School of Business J. Michael Weber said. “They excel at delivering industry relevant content and providing experiential learning opportunities for our students. We can also thank our alumni, who have been more than willing to provide employment/outcome data and testimonials regarding their success after graduation. We are excited that our Online MBA has broken into the top 100 best programs, as this is an incredible affirmation of the high quality MBA that we deliver.”
Of the current 97 students in the MBA program at UMaine, 62 are enrolled online.
The MBA that UMaine offers is able to be completed either entirely online, entirely in person or through a mixture of the two. Weber said the program is one of the most affordable of its kind in the U.S.
In the coming months, the MBA program at the UMaine School of Business will be merging with an equivalent program at the University of Southern Maine. This merger will increase the number of professors in the program and will enable it to offer more electives and concentrations.
Weber said that the total number of MBA students will increase to around 150 which, if true, would mean a gain of over 50 percent.
The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), unlike the Business School, offers a large number of graduate programs, many of which may be taken online. Some of its degrees, such as the Master of Arts in Special Education and in Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction are offered only through online courses.
In the recent U.S News and World Report rankings, the Online Graduate programs of the CEHD were given a score of 73 out of 100, making them among the highest-scoring in the region of New England and the outright highest-scoring in Maine.
There are, at the moment, roughly 209 students enrolled in online graduate education programs with the CEHD, and at least another 300 students taking exclusively in-person courses. Two of the online courses for the Masters in Education (MEd) in Special Education were, as recently as December of last year, certified with UMaine GOLD status, which means they have established standards of excellence in many disciplines.
UMaine expects that at least 25 courses will be certified as GOLD this year, and, currently, six more online graduate programs are being developed according to UMaine GOLD standards.
Amanda Mancheva, a student who is now enrolled in the online MBA, started her studies at Orono in 2013, when she moved to Maine from Sofia, Bulgaria. Here, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is now employed by the business school as a graduate assistant.
“I am happy I got the opportunity to continue my higher education here while also being a graduate assistant for the business school,” Mancheva said. “Maine has really offered me some amazing opportunities both in academic and in personal aspect, and I try to take advantage of all of [them].”
More information on these rankings and on the UMaine programs may be found on the UMaine website or by contacting UMaineOnline at 207.581.5858 or firstname.lastname@example.org.