Two TU graduate programs ranked among top 100 in nation

By Rebecca Kirkman & Cody Boteler on January 26, 2021

Online graduate programs in computer science, education recognized by U.S. News & World Report.

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The U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Online Programs guide has ranked two Towson University degree tracks among the nation’s top online graduate programs.

TU’s master’s in applied information technology (AIT) ranked No. 54 in the Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Program category. This is the first time the AIT program, which is in the Fisher College of Science & Mathematics, was ranked. Towson University’s College of Education was ranked No. 91 in the Best Online Master’s in Education Programs—80 spots higher than its 2020 ranking, and the highest among any Maryland institution on the list.

"These U.S. News & World Report rankings confirm what we all know here at Towson University—that rigorous graduate programs are taught by world-class faculty and are among the very best in the country," Provost Melanie Perreault said. "TU is producing leaders in technology and education today and we are so proud of this recognition.”

The AIT program requires students to choose at least one post-baccalaureate certificate to complete before earning the master’s degree. There are eight certificates to choose from, making the program customizable and vocation oriented.

“Our AIT program has an incredibly flexible approach to providing master’s education. I think it’s a model that’s very useful; it allows students to mix and match to a certain extent,” says Suranjan Chakraborty, director of the AIT program.

TU is one of only three schools in the state, joining UMBC and Johns Hopkins University, to appear in the online information technology program list.

Chakraborty says the AIT program is flexible in its admissions process as well. Students are not required to have a background in computer science to gain admission to the program.

“We have a huge number of students who have come from very diverse backgrounds,” he says.

That flexibility allows students to enroll directly after finishing their undergraduate work or for a mid-career change. Most of the courses are offered online. 

The list evaluated fully online master’s programs offered by the College of Education in transformational educational leadership and instructional technology as well as three post-baccalaureate certificates. 

“The newest ranking of the College of Education’s online programs speaks to the quality of our programs, faculty and how the college is in tune with the needs of our students and our partners,” says College of Education (COE) Dean Laurie Mullen.

In 2021, the U.S. News & World Report rankings increased the weight of faculty credentials and training in their calculations, a change that more closely aligns with TU’s strengths, says COE Associate Dean Laila Richman. 

“Faculty in our online programs are dedicated to maintaining high-quality, online instructional experiences for students,” Richman adds, noting that faculty engage with the Faculty Academic Center of Excellence at Towson (FACET) and in other professional development focused on best practices in online instruction. “The quality of our faculty and programs is helping to build a national reputation, which also contributes to our rise in the rankings.”

The guide's criteria also credits institutions for implementing best practices for online learning and offering technologies and services catered toward remote learners, such as incorporating learning analytics platforms and adaptive learning, as well as providing remote access to admissions counseling, resume writing and career placement support.

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Learn more about graduate studies at Towson University.

More recent rankings and achievements:

  • U.S. News & World Report has once again named Towson University one of the best public universities in the country. The publication’s 2021 rankings placed Towson University 100th among national public universities.
  • Money magazine ranked Towson University 103rd on its 2020 Best Colleges for Your Money list—four spots higher than its 2019 ranking—and in Maryland, second only to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Forbes ranked TU 320th in a field of 650 public and private colleges surveyed for its 2019 America’s Top Colleges list. TU also placed 137th out of 299 public and private institutions on the Forbes 2019 America’s Best Value Colleges ranking.
  • Washington Monthly ranked Towson University No. 30 among national public universities and No. 55 among all national universities in its 2020 College Rankings. Towson University was also recognized as No. 31 in the subcategory of social mobility, and one of just nine institutions in the nation with a student voter registration rate above 85%.
  • Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education 2020 student-sourced rankings put TU in the No. 394 slot on a national list of more than 800 U.S. colleges.
  • Princeton Review included TU among the 224 colleges selected for its 2021 Best Regional Colleges for the Best Northeastern category. Princeton Review does not assign numerical rankings. TU was also placed in the top 9% of universities worldwide in the Center for World University Rankings for 2020-21.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.