Released on March 12, 2019

By Gene Kruckemyer ’73

Emergency management, nonprofit management and counselor education among the top programs included in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 guide to the Best Graduate Schools.

Students in acute care lab, high-fidelity simulation

UCF’s graduate nursing programs saw the biggest improvements in the rankings this year, moving up more than 25 points from last year.

Twenty-seven UCF programs were nationally ranked today in the top 100 of their fields by U.S. News & World Report, and 35 graduate programs total were included in the publication’s 2020 Best Graduate Schools edition. This is a record number of programs ranked for the university.

The list shows the university’s upward trajectory in the number of programs on the top 100 list; there were 18 programs ranked in 2017. The rankings measure the quality of 800 schools’ faculty, research and students, and are based on peer and expert opinions.

“From our growing academic reputation to our successful athletic programs, the University of Central Florida has made impressive gains over the last decade,” says Elizabeth A. Dooley, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The new rankings reflect our focus on student success and faculty excellence and puts us one step closer to reaching our goal of becoming a 21st-century university committed to fueling the talent, ideas and innovation that will drive our community and state forward.”

UCF’s top-ranked program this year, Emergency and Crisis Management, tied for No. 7, above programs at Texas A&M University, American University and George Washington University. The program is under the direction of Associate Professor Claire Connolly Knox, who says the course builds on the strength of the faculty, advisory board and alumni who mentor students.

“Effective emergency and crisis management is vital for every community,” Knox says. “Since 2016, four hurricanes — Matthew, Irma, Maria and Michael — and three mass casualty events — Pulse nightclub, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and Fort Lauderdale Airport — have greatly impacted Florida communities. There is an increasing need for emergency management specialists to expand their knowledge, skills and abilities through an advanced degree so they can more ethically manage emergencies and crises.”

The next highest UCF rankings are the Nonprofit Management at No. 8 (moving up from 12) and Counselor Education at No. 9 (moving up from 10).

Other programs ranked in the top 50 are: Optics and Photonics (No. 12), Elementary Education(No. 22), Public Administration (No. 23), Criminal Justice (No. 26), Industrial Engineering (No. 36) and Health Administration (No. 46).

UCF programs with the biggest point-gain improvements this year were in nursing. UCF’s master’s nursing school ranked No. 61 overall, moving up 26 points, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice ranked No. 72, improving by 29 points.

Other programs in the top 100 are:
Computer Engineering (No. 52)
Communication Sciences and Disorders (No. 53)
Electrical Engineering (No. 53)
Overall best public administration graduate school (No. 53)
Materials Science and Engineering (No. 57)
Physics (No. 61)
Environmental Engineering (No. 63)
Civil Engineering (No. 65)
Mechanical Engineering (No. 65)
Social Work (No. 70)
Overall best graduate engineering school (No. 75)
Overall best graduate education school (No. 78)
Computer Science (No. 82)
Overall medical research school (No. 88)
Part-time MBA (No. 89)

This was the first time in the top 100 for the part-time MBA, which includes both the UCF Evening MBA and the UCF Part-time Professional MBA.

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