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UWG online MBA ranked 4th in nation

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An online business program at the University of West Georgia has been ranked No. 4 in the nation.

The Richards College of Business at UWG announced that its online master’s in business administration degree (WebMBA) was ranked fourth nationally by U.S. News & World Report for 2014, outperforming more than 200 other business programs evaluated for the “Best Online Programs” rankings.

U.S. News emphasizes admissions selectivity, peer reputation, student engagement and other factors when evaluating the quality of online business degree programs.

UWG shares its number four ranking with the University of Texas, and follows online business programs offered at Indiana University, Arizona State University and University of Florida, respectively.

“This ranking confirms what we already firmly believed — that our online MBA is a world-class educational experience for those who want to take their career to the next level,” said Dr. Faye S. McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business. “The Richards College WebMBA is a rigorous program that prepares professionals to succeed in the real world. We are thrilled to be recognized by U.S. News and will continue our relentless efforts to provide all our students with the very best business education.”

Founded in 2001, the online degree costs $700 per credit, both in and out of state. The deadline to apply for the upcoming fall semester is Aug. 3. Approximately 50 students are enrolled in the program currently, McIntyre said.

Four full-time doctoral recipients serve as faculty who teach the courses exclusively online. McIntyre said the ranking serves as a “great recognition.”

“Our student engagement score speaks really well of both our faculty and students,” she said. “It just affirms for us that we have the best of the best.”

U.S. News uses four credentials in its rankings — faculty credentials and training (in which UWG received a 92); student services and technology (55); student engagement (97); and admissions selectivity (86).

McIntyre said the diplomas received by Web MBA students do not reflect that the degree was earned online.

“It just says MBA,” she said, “because it’s just as rigorous and difficult to attain as the traditional classroom degree.”

The dean said the “stigma” of earning a degree online is fading, especially with accredited institutions like UWG.

“Because we’re accredited and offering this progressive, online degree, it doesn’t have the stigma commonly attached to a degre from an online school,” McIntyre said.

The ranking comes as the university marks 50 years since it first began offering business degrees. The university later formed an official business school in 1973, naming it the Richards College of Business in 1997. The school offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and certificate business programs.

Students in the Richards College WebMBA can complete all of their coursework online, with the exception of a two-day in-person orientation in Atlanta. Since its inception in 2001, the program has graduated students from 14 states and currently has international students representing China, India and Chile.

“That time in Atlanta is the only time any of our students have to come anywhere near the Carrollton campus,” McIntyre said. “From there, it’s entirely online and can be done anywhere.”

She said graduates have gone on to successful careers in financial services, energy, real estate, technology and health care, among other industries. Students can complete the degree in 1.5 years.

The WebMBA is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the premier accrediting body for business degree programs. In 2014, the Richards College marks 30 years since it first received accreditation from AACSB International.

For additional information about the UWG WebMBA program, visit www.westga.edu/business.

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