Online graduate business programs in data analytics, the online MBA, and forensic accounting and fraud examination at West Virginia University have been recognized in the top 50 of the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Online Program rankings.
Business Data Analytics and Forensic & Fraud Examination programs at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics comprised the Non-MBA category in business, tied for 26th in the nation out of 150 programs. These business programs saw a substantial jump up from last year’s 63rd ranking, and include a data analytics program that had been in existence only two years at the time of the ranking, as well as a forensic accounting and fraud examination program that has been called the national model.
In the MBA category, WVU’s Online Hybrid MBA was tied for 45th out of 285 ranked programs, up two places over last year. The program has been ranked in the U.S. News top 50 for seven of the eight years it has been offered.
“Rankings are really an external validation of what we do very, very well every single day — working with our top scholars in the field, identifying the best methods to deliver excellent content in a vibrant and innovative way, and making sure that our online environment meets and exceeds the quality of a face-to-face classroom,” said Virginia Kleist, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Academic Operations and Research. “Our record breaking Business Data Analytics, Online MBA and Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination Master’s Degree programs earned their Top 50 U.S. News rankings the hard way.
“These rankings really reflect the talent and efforts to deliver a superb education for elite business school students from across the nation. I’m extraordinarily proud of our whole team, and it is a great, blended team of many players to pull this off the way that we do it.”
An architect of the nationally renowned Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination programs at WVU, Richard Riley said the ranking demonstrates a commitment to the student experience and excellence in the forensic business arena.
“We are excited to the see the continued national recognition of our Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination programs,” said Riley, the Louis F. Tanner Distinguished Professor of Public Accounting and Master of Forensic and Fraud Examination Program Coordinator, Accounting. “Our hands-on experiential classroom where students learn by working up to seven investigative cases combined with on-line access is what really sets us apart. Our graduates reflect seasoned professionals, younger professionals looking to make career adjustments and entry-level students looking for direct entry into the FAFE field. This diversity of perspectives elevates all and is reflected in our student outcomes – career mobility and success.”
More than 1,500 online programs were assessed for the 2019 rankings, with indicators focusing on graduate indebtedness, course delivery and academic and career support made available to students remotely, U.S. News said.
Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College, said the business program rankings reflect the college’s heightened commitment to deliver quality, online business education.
“We have worked hard to develop online business graduate programs that reflect a vision for what the market will demand and what will enhance the global workforce,” Reyes said. “The programs in which we have been recognized by U.S. News — Business Data Analytics, Forensic & Fraud Examination and the Online Hybrid MBA — are ones that have been forward-thinking and responsive to the needs of industry. Our new online, graduate program in cybersecurity, which was only unveiled this year and, therefore, was not reviewed, is yet another example of that. These programs are also reflective of the outstanding faculty and staff who deliver them, helping us to build upon a reputation of fueling the careers of successful students.”
Dr. Keith Bailey, WVU dean of Online Learning and Continuing Professional Education, said the rankings demonstrate the continual strategic importance of expanding access to high-quality programs through online education.
“As an R1 institution that offers numerous online programs, we are continually reviewing curriculum, working with faculty and listening to student recommendations to improve and grow our online offerings,” said Bailey. “Our goal with online learning is to be constantly evolving, and seeing continual increases in rankings illustrates the importance of online programming at West Virginia University.”
WVU also entered the U.S. News rankings in the engineering and education disciplines in the online graduate rankings. For the third consecutive year, WVU’s online graduate program in software engineering has been ranked in the top 30. The program, offered by the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was tied for 30th this year in the U.S. News rankings.
Online graduate education programs offered by the WVU College of Education and Human Services were in the top 100, and represented the biggest move up in the rankings for the University. The programs moved from 190th last year to a tie for 77th this year out of 299 ranked programs.