15:01 PM

UHD Earns U.S. News & World Report Rankings for Second Year

Online Programs Ranked Among the Nation's Best


By Mike Emery

Each year, U.S. News & World Report recognizes the best of the best in its annual assessment of online higher education programs. Among the programs acknowledged in the publication’s 2020 rankings are two based at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD).

UHD received rankings in U.S. News & World Report’s round-up of Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. This is the second consecutive year that the University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for excellence in its academic offerings.

UHD’s online Master of Science in (MSCJ) Criminal Justice program, based within the College of Public Service, is ranked No. 21 in the nation. It also is ranked No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs for Veterans. The University’s online bachelor’s programs are also firmly established within the top 100 in the country (ranked No. 80 among more than 300 institutions).

The University’s online MSCJ was its first internet-based program and focuses on developing students’ mastery of criminological theory, program evaluation and criminal justice administration. Students are required to successfully complete 36 hours of coursework focused on topics relevant to the discipline, including a capstone graduate project or thesis. This new ranking places UHD’s program among the top three online master’s program in criminal justice in Texas.

Among those students who have benefitted from this program is recent alumna Jessica Ayala. Her passion for victim’s services led her to a position as a Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to graduating, she said the graduate degree would ultimately help her accomplish her goal of serving the community.

“In a competitive workforce, I need to stand out and excel in my career,” she said. “I’ve been working in victims services for almost nine years and it’s important that I’m educated in other areas of criminal justice.”

UHD’s online bachelor’s program includes its Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences in Applied Administration (BAAS-AA) degree offered through University College. Its curriculum allows students to develop competencies that support students’ career goals. Coursework covers topics such as human resources, budgeting, administrative communication, change management, decision making skills, negotiation and mediation, information systems and project administration. The BAAS-AA offers students a choice of two concentrations: Safety Management and Applied Public Administration & Leadership.

The degree supports students with a range of career goals. Student Keith Baines appreciates the flexibility of the courses and its comprehensive curriculum. He aspires to start his own nonprofit organization aimed at helping formerly incarcerated populations return to school. UHD’s BAAS-AA will help him accomplish that goal, he said.

“My goal is to help people,” he said. “This degree will allow me to do that."

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).

According to UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz, the 2020 rankings reflect the institution’s commitment to delivering quality academic programs and preparing students for a competitive workforce.

“At UHD, we are consistently focused on delivering a rigorous curriculum that helps our students grow personally and professionally," he said. "These recent U.S. News & World Report rankings are reflective of that commitment. This acknowledgement also evidences the immense professionalism of our faculty, which is continuously developing relevant coursework aimed at ensuring the success for our students in our classrooms and throughout their careers.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

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.