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Quality and Flexibility: UCF Digital Forensics Program Ranks Among Top in Nation by U.S. News

Rising in the national rankings, UCF’s faculty-led, innovative online program positions students for success.
By: UCF News | February 7, 2024

With a commitment to unleashing the potential of students, the University of Central Florida offers multiple pathways to earn a high-quality undergraduate or graduate degree, including exceptional online programs developed by expert faculty that offer convenience and flexibility for thousands of students to succeed even while juggling full-time jobs and family responsibilities.

By meeting student’s needs where they are and providing access to outstanding online programs, UCF continues to support students to develop skills that fuel the economy and meet the needs of Florida’s growing workforce.

Today, U.S. News & World Report once again recognized the quality of UCF’s online degrees through the release of its best online program national rankings, which included ranking the university No. 7 tied in the nation for best online bachelor’s programs and No. 23 for best online graduate computer information technology programs. With the 2024 release, UCF has ranked in the top 20 overall Best Online Programs for the past seven years.

UCF took fifth place for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, a ranking that reflects the university’s commitment to providing student veterans with the resources, tools and assistance they need to succeed. The on-campus Office of Military and Veteran Success offers support and camaraderie to achieve their educational and career goals through distance learning. UCF’s graduate education programs and graduate engineering programs were also ranked among the best in the nation for veterans.

“UCF’s commitment to developing the talent for Florida’s workforce includes broadening access to the high-quality online education that enables us to meet students’ needs for flexibility and supports their success,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “We are grateful for the faculty-led innovation that allows us to deliver accessible, top notch online education that prepares the talent for the industries of today and of the future.”

The Evidence of a Quality Digital Forensics Degree

U.S. News and World Report has ranked UCF among the top colleges and universities on its list of Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs. The university came in at No. 23, four spots higher than its previous ranking in 2023.

The ranking specifically highlights the online Master of Science in Digital Forensics, offered by the Department of Computer Science.

“I’m proud to see UCF rising in the online rankings for computer information technology graduate programs,” says Damla Turgut, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Our success story reflects the collaboration, innovation and the dedication of our faculty and students.”

Alan Tromba has taken a winding path to UCF, first in art and then military aviation, both at different institutions. He now works in the IT field and is pursuing an online master’s degree in digital forensics. The program has earned UCF the No. 23 ranking for U.S. News’ Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.

“It became apparent that my degree program had put me a step ahead of my counterparts. I chose UCF’s program for three reasons: one, because it was solely involved in digital forensics and not a concentration, two, because UCF was on the short list for top universities for the field, and three, cost and availability,” says Tromba, who lives in Brandon, Florida. “As much as I enjoyed in-person courses, the price and ability to not have to commute to campus was a great motivator. Based on how things have been going for me professionally by choosing this program, I’d say it was money well spent.”

A Pipeline to High-value Careers

UCF alumnus Xavier Henderson ’17 ’21MS earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2017, attending in-person classes. He followed that up in 2021 with a master’s degree in the same field — but this time it was an online program. By that time, Henderson had a full-time job as a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, working on space-related programs at Cape Canaveral. Taking classes online allowed him to excel even while navigating work demands.

UCF now ranks No. 52 for Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, according to U.S. News’ latest release.

“I liked the flexibility of online courses. There were times I would be on a work trip and the professors would accommodate that,” Henderson says. “They don’t make it easy, but they provide you with all the tools you need to get a UCF degree online as you would in-person.”

A Longtime Leader in Online Education

UCF Online has built new pathways for students — some of whom live thousands of miles away and have full-time jobs — to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, doctorates and graduate certificates. UCF is meeting the needs of its students, who are pursuing a better life for themselves and their families through distance learning.

Every faculty member goes through a rigorous training and qualification process before they teach an online class.

“One of the keys to our continued success in delivering high-quality online programs is the hard work of our faculty,” says Tom Cavanagh, vice provost for Digital Learning at UCF. “Their dedication and innovation deliver engaging learning environments that not only improve the success of our students, but also set UCF apart as a leader in digital learning.”

UCF began offering online courses in 1996 — long before most universities — and has deep experience in distance learning. From admission to graduation, UCF Online students can access a range of services, including online success coaches, academic advising, library services, career support, tech support and more.

Story from Quality and Flexibility: UCF Online Programs Rank Among Top 10 in Nation by U.S. News for 2024 by Mark Schlueb for UCF Today