Online programs earn high marks from U.S. News & World Report


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the state’s top university for online bachelor’s programs for the fifth consecutive year.

That’s according to U.S. News & World Report, which released its 2021 Best Online Programs Rankings on Tuesday. UL Lafayette was No. 75 in the country in the online bachelor’s programs category, up from No. 106 last year.

Several of the University’s online graduate programs were also singled out, led by the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. It was ranked No. 23 in the country, higher than any program in Louisiana. In 2020, the program was No. 45.

Dr. Jaimie Hebert, UL Lafayette’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said the strong showing isn’t by chance.

“It underscores the University’s commitment to innovative online degree programs, particularly as more working adults look for an accessible way to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees,” Hebert said.

The University offers five undergraduate, seven graduate, and three graduate certificate online programs.

The Master of Science in Nursing program is designed for advanced practice registered nurses who want to become family nurse practitioners; they provide more comprehensive health care that includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, and prescribing medication. All coursework – except for clinical experiences – is delivered online.

Dr. Melinda Oberleitner, dean for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, said “a challenging curriculum, and faculty members dedicated to preparing students for success in the work force, have propelled the online master’s in nursing to its place among the top 12 percent of ranked programs in the country.”

“Our graduating classes routinely achieve a 100 percent passage rate on the national licensure exam to become FNPs,” Oberleitner explained.

The University’s online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Specialist program was ranked No. 72. U.S. News and World Report ranked the program No. 89 last year.

Dr. Toby Daspit, a professor and interim department head of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, coordinates the program. It remains the top-ranked program in Louisiana for the third consecutive year. 

The program prepares teachers who are employed full-time to become “teacher leaders,” he explained.

“It’s designed for full-time teachers who are interested in developing curricula, informing instructional techniques and influencing their fellow educators,” Daspit said.

The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration’s online MBA, at No. 135, also climbed. It was ranked No. 149 in 2020.

The online MBA complements the college’s traditional professional and executive MBA programs.

It emphasizes nine areas – entrepreneurship, finance, general business, global management, health care administration, hospitality management, human resources, project management, and sales leadership.

“The program’s strength – and relevance – is built on the appeal of our varied concentrations available to business professionals,” said P. Robert Viguerie Jr., the college’s associate dean who directs the MBA program.

Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the Graduate School, said adding online offerings and continuing to deliver quality instruction “remain our priority, particularly as the sudden global shift to remote work and study has made distance learning both commonplace and critical.”

U.S. News & World Report bases its report on a survey, taking in factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services, and technology and peer reputation.

Learn more about the University’s accredited online degree and certificate programs at

Photo caption: U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Online Programs Rankings again give high marks to UL Lafayette’s bachelor’s and graduate and online programs. Photo credit: Rachel Rafati / University of Louisiana at Lafayette