U.S. News and World Report released its rankings for the “Best Online Programs” of 2021. A record high of 1,641 online degree programs were assessed this year, and, once again, Ball State Online proved its ability to compete on a national scale.

Academic quality is nothing new to Ball State Online. Many of our online degree programs have consistently ranked among the best since 2013.

Several factors are considered before determining if a degree can claim a “Best Online Program” honor, such as faculty credentials, student engagement (which includes retention and graduation rates), class size, peer reputation, and the quality of the university’s student services and technology.

“Ultimately, the Best Online Programs rankings measure whether online degree programs have academic standards commensurate with quality brick-and-mortar programs, properly adapted toward the unique pedagogy of distance education,” states U.S. News and World Report.

As the first in Indiana to offer online and distance education, our reputation for high-quality academic experiences and commitment to life-long learning are things we don’t take very lightly. Take a look at the rankings below and you’ll see why.

2021 Best Online Programs

Bachelor’s Degrees

Ball State University’s online bachelor degrees have ranked in the top 40 in the nation since 2013.

Graduate Business Degrees

The master’s in business administration (MBA) category is one of the most competitive nationally – with over 300 programs in consideration – however, our online MBA has maintained a top 20 status for the past eight years.

“We are extremely excited and honored to be named a top 20 program again. More than half of our incoming students cite the U.S. News as the reason they applied,” says Jason Webber, director of MBA and certificate programs.

“While our overall score keeps us in the top 20, we typically excel in faculty credentials and student services. In the Miller College of Business, all of our faculty who teach in the MBA program have a PhD and almost all of them are tenured or are tenure-track. This is something our prospective students often ask us about. These prospects are looking for academic experts who have demonstrated research experience in our core courses,” acknowledges Webber.

Graduate Education Degrees

Ball State has reputation for exceptional educator preparation programs – having been first established as a school for educators – as well as a long history of national recognition of those programs. Ball State’s Teachers College is the largest preparers of educators in the state of Indiana and one of the largest schools of education in the nation.

“The reason Teachers College has such a sterling reputation is because we are focused on excellence, making sure we have top-notch resources, and our focus on equity – making sure we serve populations that might be neglected or underserved by other institutions,” says Anand Marri, dean of Teachers College. “The U.S. News rankings contribute to the sustainability of our online programs because it allows us to better allocate resources to make sure we are supporting these programs and continue to improve.”

Graduate Information Technology Degrees

Our online master’s in information and communication sciences (CICS) degree earned a top 25 ranking in its first year being considered in the graduate information technology category. Additionally, it was the only online information technology program in the state to earn this honor.

Having already earned Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association’s (ITERA) 2020 “Outstanding Program of the Year,” the recent U.S. News designation continues to add to the credibility behind this program.

“CICS has a long history of national and international recognition as a top technology program. The U.S. News and World Report ranking is the most well-known and widely regarded of such recognition and ranking programs,” says Dennis Trinkle, director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences. “We are especially pleased that the U.S. News ranking will help make our remarkable program more visible to all those who might benefit from its distinctive experience.”

Graduate Nursing Degrees

Our master’s in nursing remains a strong top 25 online program since 2014.

Programs for Veterans

  • 17th – Master’s Degrees in Education Programs
  • 37th – Bachelor’s Degrees

U.S. News and World Report also recognizes the Ball State as a leader in reducing the cost of education for veterans through online programs. Highly ranked programs have strong traditional academic foundations based on student-instructor access, graduation rates and instructor credentials.