At a time when students are increasingly embracing distance learning, they might be surprised to learn that NC State — the literal definition of a brick-and-mortar campus — offers some of the best undergraduate degrees and the country’s online undergraduate.
In its annual survey of 1,600 online degree programs, US News and World Report ranked seven NC State offerings in the top 10, including the undergraduate degree in public sector leadership, the graduate program in business analytics, and graduate degrees in multiple engineering disciplines.
Rankings are based on factors such as student engagement, services, technologies, faculty credentials, and expert program opinions.
Enter the Top 10
The undergraduate degree in Public Sector Leadership, offered by the School of Public and International Affairs, continues its meteoric rise in the rankings, rising from 71st place four years ago to 10th this year.
Program director Traciel “Trace” Reid says strong student support, academic rigor and flexibility are key to the program’s success. “One of the things that makes this program particularly appealing is that it’s a scalable program,” she says. “It’s a program that tries to stay at the forefront of the issues our students need to be successful.”
The program’s student population is also changing. While service members and their families have always been drawn to the program, they are now being joined by mid-career professionals looking to advance in their jobs, those looking to change careers, and those opting to teach at distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike traditional NC State undergraduate programs, Leadership in the Public Sector is a degree program. This means incoming students must have completed college coursework – typically 60 credit hours at a community college – before entering the program.
The program’s academic advisor, LaShica Waters, works with incoming students to map out their future course of study while taking into account the college courses they have already taken. It is a complex process that is tailored to each student.
“Everyone comes with different classes and different needs,” Reid says. “LaShica makes sure they get a lesson plan to follow, which is really critical to their success.”
Student success is not limited to the measures taken by American News, such as graduation rates and program reputation, Reid says.
“We want to make sure we have a quality program that we can be proud of and a program that students can look back on when they graduate and say, ‘I made a really good decision enrolling. . “”
Top faculty, quality service
Across the campus of Engineering Online, the College of Engineering’s extensive distance learning program, this year’s rankings reflect a tradition of excellence dating back more than two decades. The program, which originally distributed lectures on VHS tapes through the Postal Service, placed seventh overall this year. Mechanical engineering and civil engineering ranked fourth, while industrial engineering ranked seventh and electrical engineering eighth.
Program director Linda Krute says online graduate programs appeal to students who want to deepen their professional knowledge and increase their credentials. Online engineering students often encounter a mid-career “trigger moment” that prompts them to return to school, she says.
“Adult education is different from on-campus education in that adults have to decide when in their working life they have the time and resources to be successful in an online program,” she says. . “A lot of times it’s after they’ve settled into their job and maybe expanded their family.”
Krute attributes the success of the programs to the college’s star faculty and high standard of student services. “These are online degrees, but for students the experience is the same as if they were on campus,” she says. “The same courses, the same faculty, the same assignments, the same exams and finally the same diplomas.”
Harness the power of Big Data
NC State’s Business Analytics Graduate Program made the list for the first time, debuting in ninth place. This is an area of study that is set to expand at Poole College of Management, where two new online graduate programs are now available: the Master of Management in Marketing Analytics and the Master of Management in Risk and Analytics.
Nichole Miller, assistant dean of MBA programs, says data analytics skills are increasingly in demand in the business world. “There’s so much data out there,” she says. “How do you take all this information and make sense of it? And then how do you present it to someone like me, who isn’t a numbers guy, so that I can make a data-informed decision? »
Teaching these real-world skills is a hallmark of Poole College’s graduate programs, including its acclaimed Jenkins MBA, which ranked 20th in the country this year. American News listing.
“Our online offerings are aimed at working professionals,” says Miller. “They are successful because they offer a high level of quality and a high degree of flexibility. Students can choose courses based on what is happening in their life and work. »
Like engineering programs, online business programs are popular with people looking to improve their skills and advance their careers.
“One thing that sets us apart is the accessibility of our faculty,” says Miller. “They love teaching, but they’re also renowned for their research, and they bring it all into the classroom, whether on campus or online.”
Complete the classification
NC State’s online master’s degree in computer information technology ranked 28th and the online master’s degree in education ranked 46th in the nation.
Additionally, NC State’s graduate programs in business administration, engineering, and education were recognized for their efforts on behalf of veterans.