U.S. News & World Report has again honored Virginia Tech’s online Master of Information Technology degree program as one of the nation’s best distance-learning courses in its recent second-annual Top Online Education rankings.

The online master’s computer information technology program – offered by the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business – is ranked third in the United States, behind University of Southern California in the No. 1 spot, and Sam Houston State University in Texas in second.

The program encompasses the Department of Computer Science and the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, both in the College of Engineering; and the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, the Department of Business Information Technology, and the Department of Management, all in the Pamplin College of Business.

“Virginia Tech’s Master of Information Technology program was created in 2000 to meet needs of students in Virginia and beyond that were not addressed by existing programs. The fully online program was innovative at the time and we have continuously improved the program and its delivery, as demonstrated by this most recent national ranking,” said Scott Midkiff, Virginia Tech’s vice president for information technology and chief information officer, and former department head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “In addition to serving students, the Masters of Information Technology program has helped Virginia Tech continue to explore innovations in technology-enabled teaching and learning.”

“We are very pleased with this recognition of the Master of Information Technology program at Virginia Tech,” said Parviz Ghandforoush, professor with the Department of Business Information Technology and managing director of the Master of Information Technology program. “Courses in the program are taught by a dedicated group of senior level faculty using a state of the art technology where students from several states in the U.S., along with those from many foreign nations participate online in this program.”

"The Department of Computer Science is very pleased with the high national ranking of the Virginia Tech [Master of Information Technology] program, which we offer in collaboration with the Pamplin School of Business,” said Barbara Ryder, head of the Department of Computer Science and the J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering. “This program is an important component of our outreach to the business professional community.”

The Virginia Tech College of Engineering ranked 13th overall in the nation for Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, according to the 2013 list. It is the only engineering distance-learning program ranked from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Boasting more than 2,000 graduate students, the College of Engineering’s graduate program has been honored time and again by U.S. News & World Report as a national leader. It ranks 24th overall in the nation for 2013 in a separate list released in spring 2012.

 “I am pleased with the recognition of the continued efforts of the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College to provide quality online certificates and degrees to engineers across the commonwealth and beyond,” said Glenda Scales, associate dean for international programs and information technology for the College of Engineering.

Virginia Tech offers a total of 37 distance-learning programs online, with 18 graduate degrees and 17 graduate or post-baccalaureate certificates through Virginia Tech Online. Additionally, two professional course studies are available. The university’s first online program was launched in 1997.

This is the second year that U.S. News has issued a Top Online Education program ranking. Only degree-granting programs offering courses that are 100 percent online were considered for the rankings, U.S. News said in its release of the 2013 list.

Online bachelor’s degree programs as well as graduate online degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology were ranked. The rankings consider each program by teaching practices and student engagement, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

Online master’s degrees were ranked using student accreditation as opposed to student assessment, and an added ranking category for admissions selectivity.

In its report, citing a 2012 report by Learning House, U.S. News said, “Roughly 80 percent of online students live within 100 miles of their school’s campus or learning center, and the vast majority of those students live within 50 miles. This proximity can help students overcome one of their main complaints of online programs: lack of face-to-face time with instructors.”

For more on the 2013 Top Online Education program rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Share this story