US News recently reported their 2013 online engineering masters degree program rankings. The top 10 online schools according to the report were:

  1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)
  2. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
  3. Columbia University (Fu Foundation)
  4. Purdue University (West Lafayette)
  5. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  6. Auburn University
  7. North Carolina State University
  8. University of Madison – Wisconsin
  9. Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  10. California State University

Now before you get annoyed about not seeing your favorite school, note that university rankings are a pretty touchy business. What’s important to the rankers may not be what’s important to the students or alumni. Here are the ranking point categories used in this report:

  • Peer ranking
  • Faculty credentials and training
  • Student services and Technology
  • Student Engagement
  • Admissions selectivity

To qualify to be ranked, a school had to have a 100% online program. The report had 70 schools that met this criteria and who responded to the questionnaire. Note that nowhere in this ranking is there any reflection of graduate employment rates and average starting salaries. That’s a big deal for a lot of degree rankings (especially business degrees), and leaving it out, even for online degrees, seems like a big miss.

 

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