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U.S. News hails Virginia Tech's online master's program among nation's best in debut list


Students study Students work on laptop computers.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 26, 2012 – U.S. News & World Report has honored Virginia Tech’s online Masters of Information Technology program as among the nation’s best in its debut 2012 Top Online Education rankings.

 The master’s program – run jointly by the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business -- ranked high for Teaching Practices and Student Engagement, Faculty Credentials and Training, and Student Services and Technology.

Listed under Computer Information Technology programs, Virginia Tech ranked fourth in the nation for Teaching Practices and Student Engagement; 10th for Faculty Credentials and Training; and 16th for Student Services and Technology.

Virginia Tech’s Masters of Information Technology program includes 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.

“Today, all of our courses are available online and students from several states in the U.S., along with those from many foreign nations participate online in this program,” said Parviz Ghandforoush, professor with the Department of Business Information Technology and managing director of Masters of Information Technology program.

The recent U.S. News rankings also shine a light on the Department of Computer Science, itself ranked 44th in the nation by U.S. News in its Best Graduate Schools 2012 survey. In Graduate Program rankings for engineering, the overall College of Engineering’s Teaching Practices and Student Engagement efforts ranked 56th in the nation on the survey.

This is the first year that U.S. News has issue a Top Online Education program ranking. Online bachelor’s degree programs as well as graduate online degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology were ranked.

“These rankings were created in response to today’s high demand for education provided in a flexible manner,” stated U.S. News in announcing the rankings. “With many distractions to detract from one’s schooling, online education has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility.”

To be ranked on the new listing, 80 percent of a program’s course content must be available online, according to editors of the list. As this is the debut year of the list, no numeric rankings for overall program quality were used, as is normal per the U.S. News ranked annual listings of Best Graduate Schools and Undergraduate Schools.

“The numerical ranking is for a specific indicator, not for a program’s overall quality,” list editors stated.

U.S. News ranked online bachelor’s degree programs in three areas: 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.

For more on the 2012 Top Online Education program rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 6,000 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked Pamplin College of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting and information systems, business information technology, economics, finance, hospitality and tourism management, management, and marketing. Pamplin emphasizes technology and analysis that improve business, entrepreneurship that leads to innovation and innovative companies, international opportunities for learning and research, and an inclusive, collaborative community. It is named in honor of two alumni: the late Robert B. Pamplin, retired chairman of Georgia-Pacific, and businessman, author, and philanthropist Robert B. Pamplin Jr.