ILLINOIS — After months of campus closures and restrictions, the coronavirus pandemic has given new importance to online education and the flexibility it offers college students.
While some colleges have temporarily moved online as an alternative to in-person learning, a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report gives a nod to select schools and degree programs across Illinois that were specifically designed to be earned online.
A total of 18 colleges and universities from Illinois earned a spot on the 2021 list of best online bachelor's programs, released Tuesday by U.S. News.
Intended for those looking to complete or further their education, the rankings evaluate more than 1,600 online bachelor's programs across the country. Additional rankings include master's degree programs in several areas.
The rankings did not take into account schools or programs that have temporarily moved online due to the pandemic, according to a release by U.S. News. The list also doesn’t include blended learning programs that combine courses in brick-and-mortar classrooms with online
To determine which schools and programs made this year’s list, U.S. News looked at overall academic quality across a variety of disciplines. In addition to online bachelor's degrees, U.S. News ranked master's programs in business, education, nursing, engineering, computer information technology and criminal justice. Online MBA programs were split from other business degrees and ranked separately.
New this year, U.S. News added rankings of online bachelor's programs in business and psychology.
The methodologies to determine the best programs varied according to specialty. Learn more about the methodologies used at USNews.com.
Here’s a look at how Illinois schools fared on this year’s list of the best online bachelor's degrees:
2 — University of Illinois-Chicago
14 — Illinois State University
21 — Loyola University Chicago
31 — Concordia University Chicago
34 — University of Illinois-Springfield
53 — University of St. Francis
75 —McKendree University
107 — DePaul University
137 — Western Illinois University
144 — Dominican University
152 — Moody Bible Institute
197 — Illinois College
223 — Judson University
256-337 — Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences
256-337 — Eastern Illinois University
256-337 — Governors State University
256-337 — Lincoln Christian University
256-337 — Trinity International University
Best online master's business programs:
53 — University of Illinois-Springfield
72 — University of St. Francis
125-164 — Judson University
Best online master's criminal justice programs:
Unranked — McKendree University
Best online master's education programs:
3 — University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
21 — Northern Illinois University
83 — University of St. Francis
91 — University of Illinois-Springfield
118 — Concordia University Chicago
167 — McKendree University
202— DePaul University
227-296— Eastern Illinois University
227-296— Roosevelt University
227-296— Trinity International University
Best online master's engineering programs:
9 — University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
74-97 — Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Best online master's information technology programs:
56 — Loyola University Chicago
Best online MBA programs:
126 — University of St. Francis
170— Concordia University Chicago
197— McKendree University
224-295— Eastern Illinois University
224-29— Governors State University
224-295— Judson University
224-295— Western Illinois University
Unranked— Northern Illinois University
Best online master's in nursing programs:
1 — Rush University
5 — St. Xavier University
42 — Northern Illinois University
49— Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville
75 — McKendree University
75 — University of St. Francis
80 — Lewis University
99 — St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
108 — Illinois State University
135-173 — Bradley University
Florida-based Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University moved back up to No. 1 this year among best online bachelor's programs. For MBAs, Carnegie Mellon University tied with the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill for the top spot.
Meanwhile, Columbia University had the top-ranked computer information technology master’s program. Tied for No. 1 among the best online master's in nursing programs were Rush University and the University of South Carolina.
Finally, the No. 1 master’s programs in education and engineering are at the University of Florida and Columbia University, respectively.
See the full 2021 list of Best Online Programs here.