UHD Earns High Marks in U.S. News & World Report for Third Consecutive Year
Online Programs Ranked Among the Nation’s Best
By Sam Byrd
Each year, U.S. News & World Report performs as the standard bearer in its annual assessment of online higher education programs. Among the programs acknowledged in the publication’s 2021 rankings are two based at the University of Houston-Downtown.
The University's degrees are ranked in the Top 100 among U.S. News & World Report's Online Bachelor’s Programs (No. 86 out of 362 institutions of higher education) and is No. 30 in the publication's Best Online Programs in Graduate Criminal Justice. Both are the highest ranked programs in Houston within their respective categories. This is the third consecutive year that UHD has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report – the gold standard of University rankings – for excellence in its academic offerings.
Additionally, the University ranked well among programs for Veterans. Making its debut on the list, UHD ranked No. 54 among Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for former service members. The University ranked No. 16 for Best Online Master’s Criminal Justice Programs among this group.
Among UHD’s online offerings is its Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences in Applied Administration (BAAS-AA) program. This degree program is based in University College and supports students as they develop competencies and skills necessary to ascend in their career ladders. Coursework is focused on developing communication, team building and leadership skills. Course topics include human resources, budgeting, administrative communication, change management, decision making skills, negotiation and mediation, information systems and project administration. UHD’s BAAS-AA is listed among the top six online bachelor’s programs in the state according to the recent rankings.
As director of the BAAS-AA program, Dr. Karen Kaser mentioned the pride this ranking brings to UHD’s curriculum as well as the hard work conducted every day between faculty, students and staff members.
“The dedication of our faculty and staff and the hard work of our students enabled us to earn this ranking. We also are delighted to be ranked among the Top 100 Online Bachelor’s Degrees for Veterans. The BAAS-AA provides a path to success for those who have served our country,” she said.
Based in UHD’s College of Public Service, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) helps develop students’ knowledge of criminological theory, program evaluation and criminal justice administration. The 36-hour program includes courses focused on the most pertinent issues in the field and offers the skills needed for students in their careers or to continue on to a doctoral program. The degree program also requires a capstone graduate project or thesis. The MSCJ U.S. News & World Report ranking places it among the top five online criminal justice programs in the state.
Dr. Ashley Blackburn, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, spoke to the honor this ranking brings UHD.
“The Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work is proud to have its Online Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice continue to be ranked among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. We offer exceptional educational programs that prepare students for success in future careers or opportunities for promotion for those students who are already employed in the criminal justice field,” she said.
Also of note, UHD’s online programs were highlighted in the most recent rankings. Online class options have remained a steady reason why some students make UHD their first choice for a college education.
Tiffany Lampkin, a 2020 graduate from UHD’s University College, benefitted from UHD's online programs.
She said, “I chose an online program at UHD because it is an accredited university that fit my needs. I was working full time while also raising my children, so going to class online made the most sense because I could take care of my schoolwork on my own schedule. Online classes helped me achieve my overall education plan by being flexible and having professors who were willing to work with me.”
U.S. News & World Report rankings are compiled based on engagement, services and technologies, faculty credentials and training, expert opinions from academic officials and student excellence (for master’s programs only).
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.