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USF’s online MBA program jumps into nation’s top 20 in new U.S. News ranking

TAMPA – The University of South Florida’s online MBA program is among the top 20 in the nation for delivering an online graduate business degree, according to new rankings released today by U.S. News and World Report.

The online MBA program in the USF Muma College of Business climbed a substantial 12 spots in the national rankings, taking the No. 19 position — No. 15 among public universities — on the annual survey of the 2023 Best Online Programs

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“We know our program is rigorous and relevant and we are always pleased to be included in rankings that validate that sentiment,” said GJ de Vreede, interim dean of the Muma College of Business. “Our move into the top tier serves as a signal to employers — as well as potential students — that USF’s online MBA focuses on timely business skills and prepares graduates for in-demand jobs.”

USF’s online MBA program has garnered top positions on other national rankings, including the Princeton Review, Fortune, and Poets&Quants, making it one of the country’s top distance education MBA programs.

“This double-digit jump to be among the top 20 programs in the country makes us extremely proud,” said Eric Douthirt, USF’s MBA program director. “We are a national leader for online graduate business education, and we know we have a high-quality program.”

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Douthirt said over the past few years, Muma College of Business leaders have focused on improving the program’s three-year graduation rate and retention rate — two key metrics in the U.S. News ranking’s methodology.

For 2022, the program’s three-year graduate rate stood at 81% and the retention rate was 96%. Those metrics fall under the “engagement” category, which is worth 30% in the ranking formula, according to the publication’s methodology.

The Muma College of Business online MBA attracts a broad diversity of students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Most students work full-time and can complete the program in two to three years. Others choose to enroll full-time and finish in one year.

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Douthirt also said program administrators bolstered its student record collection procedures, zeroing in on data points factored into the methodology. For example, 54% of online MBA students at USF have some level of employer sponsorship, which lowers the average student's indebtedness.

In its methodology, U.S. News computed its rankings based on data from five categories — engagement, peer assessment, faculty credentials and training, student excellence, and services and technologies.

Here is a look at each category and its weight in the publication's ranking formula.

  • Engagement (30%) looked at how well the program promotes course participation, allowing students opportunities to interact readily with their instructors and classmates. Other factors included graduation and retention rates.
  • Peer assessment (25%) surveyed high-ranking academic officials in MBA programs.
  • Faculty credentials and training (15%) considered whether the academic credentials of instructors mirrored those of instructors for campus-based programs and whether they are prepared to teach distance learners.
  • Student excellence (15%) gauged student aptitudes, ambitions, and accomplishments.
  • Services and technologies (15%) measured how the program incorporated diverse online learning technologies to allow greater flexibility for students to take courses online. This also factors in student indebtedness and support services.

The U.S. News ranking is the latest in a series of top rankings for the program. In November 2022, Poets&Quants listed USF’s online MBA program at No. 25 in the country, according to its 2023 ranking of the Best Online MBA Programs

The Princeton Review listed the USF online MBA program at No. 20 among the nation’s top programs — No. 11 among public universities — in its 2022 survey of Top 50 Online MBA Programs.

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