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Three online master's degree areas earn U.S. News recognition

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U.S. News & World Report recognized UNG's online graduate programs in nursing, criminal justice and education in the publication's Best Online Programs rankings.

For the second year in a row, three online master's degree areas at the University of North Georgia (UNG) received high marks from U.S. News & World Report's Best Online Programs rankings.

The publication recognized UNG's criminal justice, education and nursing online graduate programs — all three fields have current workforce shortages or projected job growth.

The specific degrees singled out are the Master of Science in criminal justice, Master of Education in early childhood education, Master of Education in middle grades math and science, Master of Education in curriculum and instruction, Master of Science in kinesiology, and Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nursing education.

UNG has seen a combined 36% increase in new student enrollment in these six programs from summer and fall 2018 to summer and fall 2020. Some programs only begin new cohorts in the summer, with others offering summer, fall and spring enrollment starts.

Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, said the strength and growth of the programs resulted from intentional efforts by UNG.

"We are pleased to be have been recognized by U.S. News for our online graduate programs in nursing, education and criminal justice," Gille said. "Providing access to quality graduate programs that help people advance in their careers is an important part of our mission."

The rankings, designed for learners looking to complete or further their education, evaluate more than 1,600 online bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Cory Thornton, UNG director of graduate admissions, said the quality of UNG's online graduate programs stands out.

"These programs are intentionally designed for online learning," Thornton said. "They're as engaging and rigorous as face-to-face."

The online delivery of courses also increases the accessibility of these graduate degrees.

"These programs provide flexibility for working adults and those with family responsibilities," Thornton said.

In fall 2020, the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best College list also ranked UNG tied for 15th among regional public universities in the South. The recognition was one of many strong placements in national rankings UNG earned in 2020.

UNG ranked third among public universities in Georgia, preceded by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, in Money magazine's list of Best Colleges released in August 2020. That list focused on a combination of strength of education, affordability, and outcomes such as earnings and employment.

UNG, one of the state's largest public universities, serves nearly 20,000 students online and on five campuses located across northeast Georgia in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County. UNG offers more than 100 programs of study, including certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and professional doctoral programs.

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