COE online program rated best in nation for student selectivity; jumps to 13th overall in U.S. News rankings

elearning-iconGAINESVILLE, Fla.—The University of Florida College of Education has one of America’s best online master’s degree programs in teacher education, and some of the nation’s best graduate students, according to national rankings announced Wednesday (Jan. 7) by U.S. News & World Report.

The college’s distance learning program was rated 13th in the magazine’s 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs survey, an improvement of 34 positions over last year’s ranking of 47th.

U.S. News rated the COE’s “admissions selectivity”—an indicator of the high quality of its online graduate students—as tops in the nation.

“The college’s substantial spike in the rankings is well-earned recognition for our faculty and online support and instructional development teams. Their goal from the start has been to create a superb online learning experience for students of the same high quality as our on-campus offerings,” said COE spokesman Larry Lansford. “It’s what students expect from the University of Florida.”

Lansford said the college’s top national ranking in student selectivity “reflects the high bar we set to attract and enroll students with proven aptitudes, ambitions and accomplishments who can handle the demands of rigorous coursework.”

“Awarding online degrees judiciously will enhance the legitimacy of our graduates in the job market. Our ultimate goal is to develop master educators who can lead transformations in teacher practice and leadership that ultimately improve student learning,” he said.

The COE’s online program also scored high marks for new student retention rates: retaining 99 percent of new students in 2013 and 95 percent in 2014. U.S. News also cited the program’s on-the-job, cohort instructional approach as a distinguishing characteristic. Lansford said the “job-embedded” feature allows practicing educators to earn graduate degrees in education and teacher leadership while remaining on the job.

UF was one of three education colleges in Florida with online graduate programs ranked among the nation’s top 20 by U.S. News. The others were Florida State University (at No. 2) and the University of South Florida (20th).

UF also was one of the top two highest ranking education schools, along with Auburn, in the Southeastern Conference.

Among all UF graduate schools, only the fourth-ranked Hough Graduate School of Business rated higher in its specialty than the College of Education.

This is the third year that U.S. News has collected data on distance learning programs in higher education. Besides admissions selectivity, which accounted for 15 percent of the weighted ratings, the magazine ranked teacher education programs based on wide-ranging criteria that also included student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer assessment.

You can view the complete online graduate education rankings and accompanying data on the U.S. News website at:

Two of the college’s individual online graduate degree programs–education technology and educational leadership–have received top 10 rankings over the past year from, a higher education website for college information seekers.

    SOURCE: Tom Dana, associate dean, UF College of Education; 352-273-4134;;
    MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137;;