Skip to main content

ASU among top ranked in the country for best online programs

U.S. News & World Report ranked 11 programs in top 3 in their categories

Silhouetted people hold up pitchfork gestures against a setting sun
January 26, 2021

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2021 year in review.

Eleven Arizona State University online undergraduate and graduate degree programs ranked among the top three in their categories in the country by U.S. News & World Report. 

In addition to being ranked among the top 10 in the country for best online bachelor’s degree programs, ASU’s online bachelor's degree program in business was named best in the nation, tying with the University of Florida. The online bachelor’s degree in psychology ranked second. Both of these were new categories to the 2021 Best Online Programs rankings. 

In 2020, more than 73,000 students were enrolled at the university in one of the more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs available through ASU Online. This is up from more than 60,000 in 2019.

The online programs at ASU hold the same accreditation as the university’s traditional programs. ASU Online students learn the same curriculum and earn the same degree as on-campus students — which means the same rigor of coursework and quality of content, designed with the hands-on guidance and functionality to empower online learners to succeed. The same nationally and internationally recognized faculty who teach on campus teach ASU Online’s courses, and they are engaged in scholarship and the production of new knowledge in their field’s research.

ASU also utilizes more than 200 tools and technologies to not only make learning engaging, but also to allow faculty to ensure online courses meet the same academic standards and learning outcomes of their campus-based courses.

“The primary elements of ASU Online's success are the top-notch ASU faculty, its student support and its integration of technology into the learning environment,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle. “Meeting our learners where they are includes offering consistently excellent programs in the online space — when the rigorous academic quality of our online programs are combined with best-in-class technology and a suite of student success services unmatched in online education, ASU's programs have simply come to be recognized among the best.”

ASU also ranked among the best in the nation for a number of online graduate degree programs. 

The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranked in the top 15 overall for best online master’s education programs. Three online education master’s degree programs at ASU were also ranked first in the country: curriculum and instruction, educational administration and supervision, and educational/instructional media design, while the special education program ranked third.

For the Best Online Graduate Programs in Business, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU third overall for non-MBA business programs. The W. P. Carey School of Business also ranked top 10 overall for its online MBA program and received top three rankings under four areas of study: marketing and general management were both ranked first with finance and business analytics coming in second. 

Additional 2021 online graduate program rankings for ASU were: 

Engineering: The online master’s degree in engineering placed top 10, while the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering also received top 10 rankings for the following specialties:

  • Second — electrical engineering.
  • Fifth — civil engineering.
  • Sixth — management.

Criminal justice: ASU’s online master’s degree in criminal justice in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions was ranked seventh.

U.S. News & World Report provides several higher education rankings throughout the year, most recently rating ASU as the most innovative university in the country for the sixth year in a row.

“Through ASU Online, we are committed to ensuring that anyone who is motivated to pursue their degree has the opportunity to do so, and ASU continues to prove that we can expand access to higher education through our online program offerings," said Phil Regier, university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at ASU. “We are pleased that ASU continues to be recognized for its academic excellence within our undergraduate and graduate online degree programs.”

The 2021 Best Online Programs rankings also ranked ASU among the best for veterans looking to pursue their degree through an online program. The university was ranked fourth in the nation for bachelor’s degree programs for veterans, as well as in the top 10 for graduate programs for veterans in criminal justice, education, engineering and business MBA.

More on the 2021 U.S. News & World Report online rankings

Top photo by ASU

More Science and technology


Close-up photo of equipment emitting a bright neon-green light.

Mapping a new field

A child reaches for a cookie on a hot tray, despite their parent’s warning, and experiences the sensation of a burn. That “burn” is a result of a pressure gradient caused by the sudden and intense…

Palo Verde Blooms

ASU professors explore benefits of sharing 'hidden' identities in the classroom

Every person has characteristics, beliefs, values and affiliations that they identify with. These identities can define and distinguish people from one another while also shaping communities and…

Palo Verde Blooms

2 ASU juniors awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in STEM research

The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement has announced that Arizona State University juniors Leslie Bustamante Hernandez and Timothy Chase have been awarded the Goldwater…