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Multiple Online Programs at USM Earn High Rankings by U.S. News & World Report

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 10:44am | By: Van Arnold

Online programs at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) continue to rate highly nationwide, earning distinction in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs Rankings for 2021.

USM’s online bachelor’s degree in business received an impressive No. 39 national ranking – and No. 1 in Mississippi - as part of a debut category in the U.S. News rankings. At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, 280 students were enrolled in USM’s online bachelor’s in business program.

“It is rewarding to consider that our program was ranked as a top-40 program the first year that the U.S. News & World Report ranked online bachelor’s in business programs,” said Dr. Bret Becton, Dean of USM’s College of Business and Economic Development.

“We provide our students with an affordable and challenging online business education that is among the best in the country.”

U.S. News noted that baccalaureate-level rankings in business and psychology were added this year because those are two of the most popular undergraduate degrees offered to distance learners.

Other notable USM rankings include:

  • Online bachelor’s degree programs ranked No. 75 nationwide, first among Mississippi institutions.
  • Online bachelor’s degree program for veterans ranked No. 50 nationwide, first among Mississippi institutions.
  • Online master’s degree in business administration ranked No. 94 nationwide.

The newest ranking marks a significant leap for USM’s bachelor’s degree programs, which rose from No. 93 last year to No. 75 in 2021.

Dr. Amy Chasteen, USM’s Executive Vice Provost, points out that these accolades are the result of faculty engagement and extensive efforts to design strong programs.

“Our faculty work hard to create exceptional educational opportunities for our distance learners,” said Chasteen. “New online students from around the nation and world are given the opportunity to earn an affordable, reputable degree through Southern Miss, and we are proud to meet the growing demand for quality online degree programs.”

In establishing the 2021 rankings, U.S. News chose factors that weigh how these programs are being delivered and their effectiveness at awarding affordable degrees in a reasonable amount of time. More than 350 college and universities are included in the 2021 rankings. A total of 1,641 programs were assessed – an all-time high.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced college and universities nationwide to strategically reshape much of their academic learning formats. Online courses are no longer just an option for many students – they have become a requirement. Many undergraduate and graduate programs are shifting to a fully or partially online format for fall semester classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among students, faculty and staff.

At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, USM had 2,887 students enrolled in online programs. Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Dean of Online Learning and Enrollment, emphasizes that the latest U.S. News rankings validate the ongoing commitment the University has made in providing online programs that meet students’ expectations.

“I am proud of the success of our online programs efforts to meet the needs of our students. Faculty at Southern Miss constantly strive to improve our courses through our partnership with Quality Matters,” said Hutchinson. “This recognition from U.S. News is a testament to the high standards of our programs, hard work of our faculty and staff, and continued quality of programs we offer.”

To see the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Online Programs Rankings, visit: U.S. News 2021 Best Online Programs. To learn more about online programs offered at USM, call 601.266.5518 or visit: