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Online programs receive national rankings from US News & World Report

Natalie Newman, owner of Regina Nicole Boutique in Sylva, earned her master’s degree in innovation leadership and entrepreneurship, a WCU program designed with working professionals in mind and taught completely online.

Western Carolina University has been listed among the nation’s best providers of online degree programs in a collection of rankings released Tuesday, Jan. 14, by U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine put WCU at 123rd for online bachelor’s degree programs out of 358 institutions of higher learning. It also listed WCU as 92nd in the nation for online graduate business programs other than MBAs, out of the 179 institutions evaluated in that category.

More than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled in WCU online degree programs. The university has been consistently ranked among the highest in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, now in the ninth year of collecting data from distance education providers.

“Earning a degree online through Western is gaining a quality education and opening a door for success,” said Tony Miller, WCU’s associate director of WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach, which supports online degree programs. “Online studies are flexible for anyone who cannot routinely be on campus or doesn’t necessarily have a routine 9-to-5 schedule. The same academic excellence found in the classroom is offered to accommodate people who work and have families and other obligations.”

WCU's online degree programs continue an upward enrollment trend, building upon a reputation for student support services and academic rigor.

WCU offers online bachelor’s degree programs in birth-kindergarten education, criminal justice, emergency and disaster management, emergency medical care, engineering technology, business administration and law, and innovation leadership and entrepreneurship, plus a program allowing registered nurses to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Master’s degree programs provided online by WCU are construction management, innovation leadership and entrepreneurship, health sciences, human resources, special education, nurse educator, nurse administration, project management, school administration, and elementary and middle grades education.

“Both our undergraduate and graduate online programs in entrepreneurship mesh with modern demands of the business world, and the digital platform provides instruction to students that will help them succeed in the increasingly global marketplace,” said Wendy Cagle, an assistant professor with the WCU Entrepreneurship Program. “We appreciate this recognition from a respected, national publication.”

U.S. News & World Report assessed schools based on four general, weighted categories for online programs: engagement; student services and technology; faculty credentials and training; and expert opinion. For non-MBA online graduate business programs, assessments were based on five weighted categories: engagement; expert opinion; faculty credentials and training; student excellence; and services and technologies.

Information about the university’s online programs is available at the website or by calling the Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397.

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