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Online engineering grad programs ranked No. 1

January 10, 2012

U.S. News and World Report has ranked the University of Wisconsin–Madison No. 1 for its online graduate engineering programs in the categories of teaching practices and student engagement, and student services and technology.

UW-Madison is one of only three universities that made the U.S. News and World Report honor roll for top-quality online engineering degree programs.

This important distinction was announced Jan. 9 as U.S. News and World Report released its first ranking of online master’s of engineering programs, which required eligible programs to pass rigorous standards for quality education.

“UW-Madison is extremely honored to have the quality of our online engineering degree programs recognized as best-in-class by U.S. News and World Report,” says Paul Peercy, dean of the UW–Madison College of Engineering. “These programs are meeting the growing demand of practicing engineers who want to take their careers to a higher level.”

In the teaching practices and student engagement category, the UW–Madison programs were judged on factors such as a high level of student collaboration and participation, instructor availability to answer student questions, small class size and an instructional designer dedicated to developing courses to meet online learner needs.

In the student services and technology category, the UW–Madison programs were ranked highly based on such factors as students’ ability to conveniently receive classes through both audio and visual methods, and the use of a centralized student information system.

The UW–Madison online engineering graduate programs also ranked among the top five in the faculty credentials and training category.

The online engineering degree programs fill a vital educational need, says Wayne Pferdehirt, director of distance degree programs for the Department of Engineering Professional Development in the College of Engineering. “We see our online master’s degree programs as a way to provide practicing engineers who are not able to attend courses on campus with an exceptional educational experience that links them to UW–Madison’s world-class faculty and research,” he says. “We believe that an effective use of online delivery can improve engineering education by engaging working professionals and faculty in collaborative, immediately applicable learning on an international level.”

The College of Engineering and Department of Engineering Professional Development offer a variety of online engineering graduate programs, in areas including engineering management, engine systems, polymer engineering and science, technical Japanese, electrical and computer engineering (power electronics) and mechanical engineering (controls).