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Online programs at Md. colleges move up U.S. News rankings

Online programs at most Maryland universities improved over the past year — some strikingly so, according to rankings released Wednesday by U.S. News and World Report.

Towson University and the University of Baltimore, with their joint master of business administration program, saw the greatest improvement: The joint MBA program jumped 44 spots to No. 62 on U.S. News’ 2015 list of best online MBA programs.

Last year, when compiling its list of the best online programs in each discipline, U.S. News did not distinguish between types of graduate business programs; MBAs were lumped together with other business degrees.

This year, MBAs were ranked separately because, according to U.S. News, prospective students research online MBA programs more than any other type of degree.

The online, graduate-level nursing program at Johns Hopkins University also reached a milestone in 2015, landing at No. 3 on the list, up from No. 24 last year. Hopkins’ nursing program ranked higher than any other online program in any discipline at a Maryland school, and is one of only two that made the Top 10.

The other program to be ranked in the Top 10 is also offered at Hopkins: the graduate-level computer information technology program, which rose eight spots to No. 5 this year.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County was also recognized for its computer information technology program, which was ranked No. 11 this year.

The rankings only include degree-granting programs that are offered predominately online, which excludes many partially online offerings at Maryland schools.

To compile the list, U.S. News evaluated online programs based on a variety of factors, including levels of student engagement, faculty credentials and the quality of student services and technologies.

The only university ranked in the category of “best online bachelor’s degree” was Stevenson University. However, the Baltimore County institution slipped to No. 167 this year from No. 153 last year.

Engineering programs at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, College Park were again ranked highly (at No. 12 and No. 13, respectively.)

And, graduate-level education programs at McDaniel College and Towson University made the list this year (at No. 122 and No. 148, respectively).

About Alissa Gulin

Alissa Gulin covers health care, education and general business at The Daily Record.