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Significant Jump in National Rankings for UCF’s Online Engineering Graduate Programs

By: Kimberly J. Lewis | January 24, 2023

In just one year, the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida rose 42 spots in national rankings to land in the top 40 overall Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs – an extremely competitive category included in today’s U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of online college programs.

The 2023 rankings recognize the quality of UCF’s online degrees, ranking UCF No. 8 in the nation for overall Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and No. 7 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.

Online college programs, including the online degree programs offered by the College of Engineering and Computer Science, are a vital pathway for the approximately 73% of college enrollees who are considered nontraditional students. These students work a full-time job, are parents, are veterans or are working adults taking care of aging parents. High-quality online programs fit their demanding work and home life — they can earn degrees, gain skills employers are seeking and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow while staying employed and supporting their families.

Ali Gordon, Ph.D., associate dean for Graduate Affairs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, credits the college’s long history of offering online classes and degree programs, and increasing enrollment in those programs, to growing national recognition. The college has 433 online master’s degree students enrolled as of Fall 2022.

“Our college has been serving students and our industrial community with online offerings for years,” Gordon says. “That’s always been a part of our DNA.”

Since the 1990s, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has offered online courses to help students, particularly those with full-time jobs in the burgeoning central Florida industrial region, advance their education. In 2016, the college offered its first fully online master’s degree program. It has steadily expanded its online degree offerings to keep pace with industry trends, such as adding the nation’s first master’s degree program in Smart Cities, and the nation’s first master’s degree in Travel Technology and Analytics.

UCF now offers 18+ engineering and computer science (digital forensics) online master’s degree programs.

“Our online programs are designed for professionals who want to augment their skill set on the job with advanced engineering and computer science topics. Companies want their employees to have more specialized expertise,” Gordon says.

The university began offering online classes in 1996 — long before most universities — and has continually fine-tuned its course offerings and kept pace with new instructional technology. Every faculty instructor who plans to teach online is paired with an instructional designer to learn the most effective way to deliver an online course. Through the UCF Center for Distributed Learning (CDL), all instructors receive over 80 hours of training in digital teaching before their first online course.

Read about UCF’s 2023 online rankings on UCF Today: “Rising in U.S. News Rankings, UCF Advances Florida’s Workforce through High-Quality Online Programs.”


Adapted from Jan. 24, 2023 story by Mark Schlueb, UCF Today.