California State University, Fullerton

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CSUF Online Degree Programs Earn High Rankings

U.S. News and World Report Scores Programs Offered Nationwide

Jan. 15, 2013

Two Cal State Fullerton online degree programs are among the top 10 in the nation, and another group is in the top 25, per the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

At No. 5 on the list of the publisher's "2013 Best Online Graduate Business Programs," released today (Tuesday, Jan. 15), is the master of science degree program in information technology.

"This program, the first fully online degree in the college, has excelled in its mission due to the commitment of our faculty and their willingness to adapt," said Anil Puri, dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. "They have been innovative in developing pedagogy, while retaining the rigor necessary for the program. This program is now spawning additional online offerings by the college."

U.S. News identifies Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College of Business and Economics among schools and colleges offering "top performing online graduate business/MBA programs,” alongside Arizona State University's Carey School of Business (No. 2), Indiana University—Bloomington's Kelley School of Business (No. 3), and the University of Florida's Hough Graduate School of Business (No. 4).

At No. 5 of 213 such programs scored by U.S. News, CSUF's master's degree program in information technology is the highest ranked of any California-based online graduate business program. The only other such program based in the state and ranked in the top 25 is offered by the University of San Diego, at No. 23.

In addition to its overall rank, the CSUF program is also No. 5 among online graduate programs in business for student engagement and No. 11 for student services and technology. The degree program has been offered since August 2005 by the Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences.

Software Engineering Is No. 10

Cal State Fullerton's online graduate program in software engineering ranks No. 10 on the list of "2013 Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs" among 70 evaluated by U.S. News.

"Software engineering focuses on assurance of software quality," noted Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "It also has a definite applied flavor, making what is taught to be relevant to practicing professionals."

Offered since 2004 by the Computer Science Department, the online master of science degree program in software engineering is No. 3 in the nation among such programs for student services and technology, and No. 6 for faculty credentials and training.

Unnikrishnan observed that "software engineering as a discipline is a 24/7 activity that is carried out online around the globe. As an example, a piece of large software will be developed for eight hours in Orange County; it will be handed over to a software developer in, say, Dublin, Ireland, for continuing work for the next eight hours and then, he or she will hand the product to someone in Bangalore for the next eight. It will come back to the OC for the following eight hours," he explained.

"Such an activity will involve online collaboration for its success. The master of science in software engineering online program mimics what happens in the practice of the profession," he said, adding that faculty members who teach the online courses are "engaged in continuous improvement. They are receptive to changes in the profession and feedback from students and industry. The result is a continuously improving and evolving content and pedagogy."

Education’s Online Degree Programs

Listed at No. 24 in the "2013 Best Online Graduate Education Programs" are those offered by the College of Education. They include the university's oldest online degree program, the M.S. in instructional design and technology, launched in the fall of 2002. In addition, the master of science in education degree program offers four online concentrations: in educational technology, elementary curriculum and instruction, reading and secondary education — all offered since 2010. 

U.S. News examined 208 online graduate programs in education to compile its ranking, which places CSUF’s programs in the top 12 percent overall nationally and in the top 10 percent in the areas of student engagement and student services and technology.

“These rankings reflect the quality of our program design and delivery, which includes a highly interactive learning environment and development of a community of learners within each program,” said Claire Cavallaro, dean of the College of Education.

The retention rate for new students enrolled in these programs during in the 2011-12 academic year was 98 percent. The next application deadline for applying to the programs is Feb. 15 for admission for the fall.

Behind the Tallies

For the 2013 rankings, U.S. News evaluated almost 860 online programs overall — bachelor's degree programs, as well as online master's degree programs in business, education, engineering, nursing and computer information technology.

Only those degree-granting programs offering courses that are 100 percent online were considered for the rankings. The following factors were considered: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, plus students services and technology. Admissions selectivity also factored into the rankings for all online graduate programs. Academic peer reputation was included in the calculations for engineering and business program rankings. Details can be found online.

Cal State Fullerton's latest online graduate program, in environmental engineering, was introduced in the fall.

By: Paula Selleck, 657-278-4856

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