The College of Education at the University of Florida continues to stake claim as the state’s best online graduate degree program in education and rates second best in the nation, according to the annual rankings released today (Jan. 9) by U.S. News and World Report magazine.

UF tied with Creighton University for the No. 2 spot nationally among American education colleges after holding the top spot for the past two years in the U.S. News survey. Clemson University jumped nine spots from 10th to nab the top position for 2018. UF remains the highest ranked education college among Southeastern Conference institutions.

UF and Florida State University, which tied with Auburn for the 13th post, were the only two Florida education colleges to rank among the top 40 nationally.

“It took several years of extremely hard work and dedication by our faculty instructors, course designers and technical staff for the college to achieve recognition as having one of the best online graduate education programs in the country,” said UF Education Dean Glenn Good. “We were proud to be ranked No. 1 nationally for two straight years and we remain pleased to be rated in the top 1 percent of programs in the nation, and still the best in Florida.

“There is always some fluctuation in the rankings from year to year, and the competition is greater the higher the ranking. We’ll just work that much harder to regain the top spot next year.”

U.S. News said the 2018 rankings of America’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs are based on data evaluated from 292 U.S. education schools with online graduate programs. The ratings take into account five weighted factors: student engagement (35 percent), student services and technology (20 percent), admissions selectivity (15 percent), faculty credentials and training (15 percent), and peer reputation (15 percent).

UF’s College of Education offers nine web-based degree programs, geared mainly to working teachers and school administrators seeking additional certifications, career advancement or professional development. In 2017, online course enrollments totaled 1,938 and the college offered more than 130 online courses.

The College of Education’s distance learning program was the highest rated University of Florida online field of study in the U.S. News 2018 survey.

“A key distinction of the College of Education’s online program is its cohort instructional approach, where the students start and complete the degree coursework together,” said Education Senior Associate Dean Tom Dana. “That creates more opportunities for students to interact with each other and their instructors.”

The college’s instructional design team partners with professors to customize an online course-management system to incorporate audio, video and interactive tools. “The goal is to better establish instructor presence, deliver compelling lessons and promote relationships,” said COE e-learning director Jason Arnold, “not only between instructors and students but also among students.”

For more information on the college’s distance learning program, visit

Source: Tom Dana, senior associate dean, UF College of Education, 352-273-4134
Source: Jason Arnold, director of e-learning, UF College of Education, 352-273-4442
Writer: Larry Lansford, news & communications manager, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137

What Others Are Saying

Below are a few comments from COE faculty members and students about some of the distinctive traits that help explain the exemplary national reputation and top rankings of the College of Education’s online graduate degree and certification programs:

“It is so rewarding to teach in these online graduate programs because our students translate what they learn with us into powerful and creative solutions in their educational contexts. We learn alongside them daily, using technology to join them virtually as they address their problems of practice.”

– ALYSON ADAMS, PhD, clinical associate professor; associate director of teaching and teacher education

“Our online programs allow practitioners to stay current with the latest research and evidence-based practices, and they can do it on their own schedule. Having online video models of exemplary practices provide teachers with concrete examples they can use to improve their own practice.”

– HOLLY LANE, PhD associate professor of special education; director of the COE School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies; and developer of the COE’s online Dyslexia Graduate Certificate Program

“The success of our online graduate program in Educational Leadership relies upon the quality of our students and graduates who are engaged in the good work of educational leadership in Florida and throughout the world. The enthusiasm of our students is contagious. That enthusiasm challenges our faculty to maintain the highest-quality teaching and research in our classes.”

– LINDA ELDRIDGE, PhD, director of Educational Leadership programs

“I want to tell you how much help the (online Dyslexia Graduate Certificate) courses have been to my work. I have not only learned about dyslexia—but can now talk the language needed to be an advocate for students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.”

– Comment from current participant in Dyslexia Graduate Certificate Program

“Our online EdD program is action–oriented. Our students aren’t just making an impact after they graduate, but as a direct result of all of the work they do within our program as they learn-to-lead and lead-to-learn as practitioner scholars.”

– NANCY DANA, PhD, professor in School of Teaching and Learning, and head of the online EdD program in Curriculum, Teaching and Teacher Education

“Our online graduate program in Reading and Literacy Education allows students to schedule courses and complete assignments in ways that meet their personal needs and professional goals.”

– ZHIHUI FANG, PhD, professor and head of Reading and Literacy Education