The “We Are” sculpture on Curtin Road on the Penn State campus on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.
The “We Are” sculpture on Curtin Road on the Penn State campus on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

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Penn State World Campus continues to provide some of the country’s best online programs, including the nation’s top program in psychology (bachelor’s), based on recent rankings from U.S. News and World.

U.S. News and World, which bills itself as the “global authority in education rankings,” released the latest edition for its Best Online Programs rankings on Tuesday, again giving Penn State World Campus consistently high marks. Although the university dropped slightly in several program rankings, it remained in the top 10 in six of the eight main categories — the most top-10 placements of any institution.

It ranked highest in psychology (bachelor’s) and engineering for veterans (master’s), where it placed first in both respective categories. This also marked the first year that U.S. News and World created an online category for psychology.

“We are honored to be recognized in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for offering some of the most high-quality online degree programs in the country,” Renata Engel, who oversees Penn State World Campus, said in a written statement. “The combination of Penn State faculty who are scholars or experts in their fields, contemporary curriculum that is engaging, and staff that are committed to comprehensive support services create learning environments across the broad range of disciplines that support students to pursue and realize their educational goals.”

The methodology of the rankings varied by category. But, in bachelor’s programs, for instance, the overall ranking was weighed between engagement (35%), student services and technologies (25%), faculty credentials and training (20%), and expert opinion (20%). Each of those then had as many as five sub-categories, such as calculating the percentage of faculty who have a master’s or higher under “faculty credentials.”

Penn State World Campus fared especially well when it came to catering to veterans, where programs were rewarded for “their success in enrolling military veterans and active service members and making federal financial benefits accessible for them.” The World Campus ranked among the top 5 for veterans in five programs: engineering (master’s) at No. 1, non-MBA business (master’s) at No. 3, education (master’s) at No. 3, MBA at No. 5 and information technology (master’s) at No. 5.

Overall, among the main categories, the university saw its biggest jump in engineering (master’s), where it ranked fourth — two spots ahead of its No. 6 ranking last year. Its biggest fall involved two-spot drops among several programs: bachelor’s (overall), from No. 8 to No. 10; non-MBA business (master’s), from No. 8 to No. 10; and information technology, from No. 6 to No. 8.

Still, more than 1,600 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees programs were evaluated in this year’s edition. Rankings also included only programs that were designed to be online, not programs that are temporarily online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a closer look at how Penn State World Campus fared:

Bachelor’s (Overall): T-10

Bachelor’s (For Veterans): T-7

Bachelor’s (Psychology): 1

Bachelor’s (Business): Unranked

Business: Master’s (non-MBA): 10

Business: Master’s (non-MBA for Veterans): 3

MBA (Overall): T-7

MBA (For Veterans): 5

MBA (Business Analytics): T-9

MBA (Finance): T-19

MBA (General Management): T-9

MBA (Marketing): T-8

Information Technology: Master’s (Overall): T-8

Information Technology: Master’s (For Veterans): 5

Engineering: Master’s (Overall): 4

Engineering: Master’s (For Veterans): 1

Engineering: Master’s (Civil): Unranked

Engineering: Master’s (Electrical): 11

Engineering: Master’s (Industrial): T-3

Engineering: Master’s (Management): T-3

Engineering: Master’s (Mechanical): T-13

Education: Master’s (Overall): T-7

Education: Master’s (For Veterans): 3

Education: Master’s (Curriculum/Instruction): T-10

Education: Master’s (Educational Admin/Supervision): 5

Education: Master’s (Educational/Instructional Media Design): 8

Education: Master’s (Special Education): T-12

Nursing: Master’s (Overall): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (For Veterans): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (Admin/Leadership): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (Education): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (Practitioner: Family): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (Practitioner: Psychiatric Mental Health): Unranked

Nursing: Master’s (Practitioner: Pediatrics): Unranked

Criminal Justice: Master’s (Overall): Unranked

Criminal Justice: Master’s (For Veterans): Unranked

For more information on methodology and the full rankings, visit

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Josh Moyer earned his B.A. in journalism from Penn State and his M.S. from Columbia. He’s been involved in sports and news writing for nearly 20 years. He counts the best athlete he’s ever seen as Tecmo Super Bowl’s Bo Jackson.