The online degree programs at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are attracting national recognition.
In Tuesday’s latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, UCF tied for No. 7 for the best online bachelor’s programs in the outlet’s prestigious rankings. It was a jump one spot higher than last year.
Meanwhile, individual UCF online degree programs were singled out. UCF is tied for the fourth-best online psychology bachelor’s degree and tied for the 10th-best online business bachelor’s degree in lodging and restaurant management.
“Of the 14 UCF national rankings from U.S. News, six programs made the top 10, two made the top 15 and three were in the top 50,” according to the school news release.
For UCF officials, the rankings show the school’s mission to make higher education more accessible is paying off.
“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,” said UCF President Alexander Cartwright in a statement. “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.”
UCF was one of the first schools in the country — in 1996 — to begin offering online courses. Online classes make it possible for students working full-time or living far away from UCF’s campuses to pursue their degrees, school officials said.
Take Xavier Henderson who attended online courses as he pursued his master’s degree in aerospace engineering. He was studying while he worked full-time as a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin in the space industry based at Cape Canaveral.
“I liked the flexibility of online courses,” said Henderson, who graduated in 2021. “There were times I would be on a work trip and the professors would accommodate that. 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.”
Online courses have become popular at UCF which has one of the biggest student enrollments in the country.
Psychology lecturer Martha Hubertz said online courses are helping educate students even better than in-person courses because students can master the concepts at their own pace. The online courses contain extras, like immersive graphics, to help students learn differently and absorb the material.
“Online can be superior to face-to-face when it’s done right,” Hubertz said.