The University of Missouri’s online programs were nationally ranked in three categories by U.S. News & World Report in their annual Best Online Programs list.

Best online graduate education programs

The College of Education’s online master’s degrees were ranked higher than any other institution in Missouri. Tying for 36th, the offerings climbed 25 positions since last year’s rankings.

U.S. News ranked schools with online graduate programs in education in five general categories: student engagement with faculty and classmates; student services and technology; admission selectivity; faculty credentials and training; and peer reputation.

“Our online students often share stories about the quality of the content and teaching in these programs,” College of Education Dean Kathryn Chval said. “Our priorities on student engagement, excellent student services, quality courses, how long it takes students to degree completion and graduation rates have contributed to student success.”

Since 1997, when the MU College of Education offered its first online course, faculty and staff have grown the online programs to offer a range of options, including positive coaching, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), technology in schools, early childhood special education and positive psychology.

Best online bachelor’s programs

U.S. News also ranked Mizzou’s online bachelor programs in the top 40 percent of all undergraduate online programs. MU offers 10 online bachelor’s programs ranging from business administration to hospitality management and health sciences.

Best online nursing programs

The Sinclair School of Nursing was recognized by U.S. News as one of the top 100 online graduate nursing programs in the country. Online master’s options include nurse educator and leadership in nursing and health-care systems.

More online options

Mizzou’s inventory of online programs is robust and continues to grow in offerings and enrollments. Distance student enrollment has grown 31 percent over the past five academic years.

“When people find out there are so many online degree programs at Mizzou, that are all developed by the same faculty who teach on campus, they immediately know they will be earning a degree that means something,” said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and eLearning. “We have online students in every corner of Missouri and across the nation. It’s our mission to increase access to Mizzou. With 100-plus online programs and counting, we’re doing just that.”

A recent survey showed that 90.4 percent of Mizzou graduates have found successful career outcomes. Mizzou’s outcomes rate is significantly higher than the average for a variety of peer groups, which reported the following rates for FY15 (the latest national data available):

  • Association of American Universities (AAU) public institutions, 75.6 percent
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), 74.4 percent
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC) institutions, 75.5 percent

Mizzou offers the second most online programs in both the SEC and among public AAU institutions.

To start the process of earning your #OnlineStripes, choose the degree or certificate that meets your needs.

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This weekend, Dec. 15–17, the University of Missouri and the entire Mizzou community celebrates a new class of graduates and the new levels of personal and academic achievement they have reached.

Among them are nearly 200 graduates who are receiving degrees that they have earned online.

Kathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of EducationKathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of Education

Kathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of Education, reminds the graduates and their supporters, “These degrees are not just awarded. You earned them.”

Chval’s remarks are part of MU’s online commencement celebration of the class of 2017. The online commencement site also includes a guestbook and a stream of best wishes for online graduates from users on social media.

The site is a tribute to the perseverance of the new graduates. “Some of you have experienced incredible hurdles through this journey,” Chval says. “You have amazed us with your intelligence, leadership, resilience, and persistence. Please remember this sense of pride as you enter the next phase of your life.”

Nearly 200 Tigers from more than a dozen MU schools and colleges have earned their degrees or certificates online this semester.  

Among them, 121 are receiving master’s degrees; nine, educational specialist degrees; 12, doctorates; and 41, bachelor’s degrees.

Members of Mizzou’s online class of ’17 live throughout the United States and as far away as Sweden. They range in age from 21 to 64.

Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler shares Chval’s praise of the new graduates and encourages them to thank all the people who supported them throughout their programs.

“We’re extremely proud of this graduating class,” Siegenthaler said. “We’re also tipping our hats to the graduates’ families and friends who lent their support. No one goes through MU alone.”

Siegenthaler also thanks the MU instructors, staff members and others who have helped the graduates find ways to balance course work with the demands of their careers and families.

“Helping online students succeed is what we’re all about at Mizzou Online,” she said. “We feel very fortunate that we get to celebrate so many achievements year after year.”

Are you earning your #OnlineStripes this weekend? Go to online.missouri.edu/commencement to congratulate your classmates. Graduates’ friends and families can leave messages in the online guest book.

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The University of Missouri is opening a new online pathway to help address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Missouri.  

MU has developed an accelerated curriculum that allows two-year RNs to earn bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in nursing online in three to four years. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2020, America will need an additional 1.2 million registered nurses to meet the country’s health care demands.

Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MUJudith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU

“We need more nurses and the educators to prepare them,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU. “Nursing schools around the country lack the faculty to keep up with the demand for degrees as it is, and that is only going to grow for the foreseeable future,” she said. 

The shortage of nurses and instructors is due, in part, to age. Registered nurses and nursing faculty both have an average age of 50. As nurse educators retire, nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants because they lack instructors. 

“Our goal is to grow our own faculty – not just for Mizzou, but for all nursing programs in Missouri,” Miller said. 

The program is supported by a grant from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The grant also provides scholarships for full-time and part-time students in the first year of the new program.  

“This scholarship, which is only available to students who start in 2018, is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to share their experience and love of nursing in the classroom,” said Gina Oliver, faculty member in the School of Nursing. 

Scholarship recipients will have to agree to teach in nursing programs for three years after graduation. 

“The shortage of nurses in Missouri is at an all-time high,” said Heidi Lucas, director of the Missouri Nurses Association. “But to graduate more nurses, our colleges and universities have to have more capacity. When programs like this produce nurse educators, nursing programs can hire more instructors. In turn, the state can educate more future nurses.” 

On the job market faster

Mizzou’s new online RN-MSN curriculum removes four undergraduate-level courses typically required of students and instead includes six graduate-level courses covering similar topics. In addition, credit for two courses will apply to both undergraduate and graduate course work. 

Applicants will be admitted to the existing online BSN program and will apply to MU Graduate Studies in the last semester of their undergraduate course work. Those with minimum grade point averages of 3.0 will be admitted to the master’s program. Nurses will have earned their BSN and MS in three to four years.

MU is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 semester that begins in June. Application deadline for both the program and the scholarship is April 1, 2018.

Are you an RN interested in becoming a nurse educator? Learn more about the accelerated online nurse educator track.

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A master’s degree in accounting is typically required for accountants who want to become certified public accountants (CPAs).

Now, working professionals who are ready to move up a level or advance to a leadership role in their accounting careers can earn their master of accountancy degree (MAcc) entirely online with the University of Missouri.

The School of Accountancy in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business is accepting applications for its online master of accountancy degree (MAcc). Classes begin in August 2018.

The online MAcc program is ideal for you if you want to advance your career through graduate study, or if you studied accounting as an undergrad and want the prestige and brand recognition associated with MU’s nationally ranked program.

Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.

The online program is an expansion of the popular campus-based accountancy program, says Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.

“The course work and rigor of the online MAcc is consistent with that of the campus-based program. Our online instructors are drawn from the same faculty, so they bring the same high-quality instruction to students on their computers as they bring to the students in their classrooms,” she says.

The School of Accountancy has a strong record of student success. “Being #MizzouMade has its privileges,” says Vairam Arunachalam, director of the MU School of Accountancy and PwC/Joseph A. Silvoso Distinguished Professor of Accountancy. “Students are increasing their employability in a high-demand field. Our graduates have a nationally commended pass-rate on the CPA exam, and their placement rate for full-time employment is greater than 95 percent.”

The Mizzou accounting program is unique among Missouri schools in its emphasis on professional development and career services, says Ajay Vinzé, Dean of the College of Business.

“Because of our world class professional development opportunities and career services, our students are launching and advancing impressive careers,” Vinzé says.

The School of Accountancy also has strong ties to the accounting industry. The school’s advisory board represents all of the so-called Big 4 accounting firms as well as regional and local firms.

Students with full-time jobs can take one class each semester and finish the MU program in about three years.

As with all online graduate programs at MU, students in the new online MAcc will pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.

Do you want to become a CPA? Learn how you can move up a level in your accounting career by earning a master’s degree in accountancy online.

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A master’s degree in economics is one of the most highly sought-after degrees, thanks to high employer demand and high earning potential.

Now college graduates, mid-career professionals and others can pursue their master’s degree in economics online through a new program from the University of Missouri.

“People can take the program at their own pace,” says Vitor Trindade, an associate professor of economics at MU. “They can pursue their careers and the program at the same time.” 

The new online program is an adaption of MU’s existing residential program, which The Financial Engineer and College Choice have both ranked as one of the very best in the country.

The program is the first of its kind in the region. No campus visits are required. Students can pursue their degrees, even as they continue to work full time.

“The program is 100-percent online,” Trindade says. “Students don't have to come to campus.”

Trindade says MU’s online economics degree stands out in terms of affordability and quality. Unlike other graduate degrees in economics, Mizzou’s program only charges students in-state tuition, regardless of where they live and work.

Successful graduates

Graduates of the online study option will enjoy success similar to alumni of the on-campus program. “We've had people that have become data analysts in banks, in foundations and in health care companies,” Trindade says. “We've had a person who became a financial analyst for the Kansas City Chiefs. One person went to work for the Korean National Assembly.”

One such successful graduate is Sean McCrary, who earned his master’s in economics in 2013 and went to work at the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. McCrary is now pursuing his doctorate in economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I have used the economic insights and programming skills I learned at Mizzou in my roles as a research associate at the Federal Reserve and now as a PhD student,” McCrary says.

“As either a stepping stone towards a PhD program, or as a means to make your application stand out to potential employers, the MA program provides the skills needed to advance your career,” McCrary says.

Student experience

MU’s online master’s in economics delivers a big-picture understanding of the global market. Students learn to analyze large data sets, especially those related to international trade and finance, economic development and the public sectors.

The program provides students with opportunity to conduct research under real conditions. “It's a very hands-on program,” Trindade says. “Students take a data set and analyze it to get real-world conclusions.”

MU’s Department of Economics is a vibrant, collaborative environment where students feel comfortable knocking on professors’ doors. “People talk about research a lot,” Trindade says. “Contrary to what people might think, professors love to interact with their students.”

Apply today

The online master’s program is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 semester. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. GRE scores are not required.

Successful completion of the program requires 30 credit hours. Students can take one or two classes each semester, including summers, and finish their degree in two years.

“The schedule is flexible,” Trindade says. “If you want to get a head start and do it really fast, you have that prerogative.”

Whether you’re a fresh graduate of a bachelor’s degree program or a mid-career professional, the key factor to success in economics is an appetite for learning. 

“Be really curious,” Trindade says. “Ask a lot of questions.”

If you have questions about Mizzou’s online master’s degree in economics, visit online.missouri.edu/econ-ma.

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Travis and Sara Inman


Sara Inman came back to school for professional advancement and her husband, Travis, pursued graduate education in order to change careers completely. Mizzou made available the access they needed at just the right time in their lives.

“Travis and Sara represent the growing number of nontraditional students who obtain an initial degree, join the workforce, and later return to higher education to pursue a different career,” said MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright Nov. 15 in a speech marking his first 100 days with Mizzou.

Sara and Travis are examples of success in the University’s land-grant mission of providing access to a world-class education. Sara, a health care professional at the Missouri Orthopedics Institute, is pursuing an online master’s in health administration (MHA). Travis, a former Missouri state trooper, is working toward a dual master’s degree in veterinary medicine and public health (DVM/MPH).

Career ambitions

Sara comes from a small town in southwest Missouri. Her high school class had just 26 students. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks and has worked in health care for 10 years.

Online study is helping her reach her lifelong goal of obtaining a master’s degree. “I never imagined I would make it this far with higher education. But I thought, ‘Why not?’ I can keep going,” Sara said.

Travis was a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper. Like many mid-career adults, he had changing career ambitions. He came to Mizzou to fulfill his dream of becoming a veterinarian.

To better serve nontraditional students like the Inmans, Mizzou has been making online degree programs and other customized learning experiences available for 20-plus years.

“MU’s innovative educators know that many students need to come back to pursue professional and graduate credentials in the context of their life circumstances and at a pace convenient for them,” Cartwright said.

Awareness of adult learners’ needs is important. “There can be a lot of anxiety for nontraditional students,” Travis said. “But I’m here to say Mizzou offers a lot of support for us.”

Online study is part of that support. “It gave me the flexibility to continue my full-time job,” Sara said. “We also have a 4-year-old daughter, so I was able to go to school and still take care of her at the same time.”

Online options

Whether on campus or online, working professionals like Travis and Sara reach their full potential with MU. Stories like theirs “illustrate the fact that there are many pathways our students take to achieve their personal goals,” Cartwright said. “Like life, those pathways are not linear.”

Sara’s degree program, the online executive MHA, helps health care professionals integrate their clinical competencies with managerial skills. The program prepares students like Sara prepare for leadership positions in health care.

Travis is pursuing his dual degree on campus. However, starting in fall 2018, Mizzou grad students will be able to enroll in a new, 100-percent online master’s program in veterinary public health. Applications are being accepted now and the classes begin August.

MU is helping couples like Travis and Sara become #MizzouMade right when they need it. If you’re a mid-career professional and you want to take your career higher or in a new direction, see what MU’s 100+ online degrees and certificates can do for you.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of accountants and auditors will grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

The market for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is in the doldrums, however, shedding 23,500 jobs in the same period.

The good news is, working professionals can level up their education and leverage their experience into higher-paying, in-demand jobs in accounting.

Median pay for accountants and auditors was $68,150 in 2016; here in Missouri, the average annual wage for these professions as $70,530.

The BLS points out that, while most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, the certified public accountant (CPA) credential can improve job prospects.

To become a CPA in the United States, you must pass the Uniform CPA Examination. In most states, you also must complete 150 credit hours of college course work to be a licensed CPA.

Vairam ArunachalamVairam Arunachalam, director of the MU School of Accountancy and PricewaterhouseCoopers/Joseph A. Silvoso Distinguished Professor of Accountancy.

CPA candidates typically fulfill this requirement with a bachelor’s degree – 120 credit hours of undergraduate study – and a 30-credit-hour master’s degree

Employer demand for CPAs is very strong. At the University of Missouri, 95 percent graduates of the master of accountancy program find full-time jobs in accounting upon graduation.

Working professionals who want to advance their careers might be wary of going back to school. How do you balance the demands of graduate study with a full-time job? Luckily, online study is increasingly an option.

Beginning in August 2018, career professionals can earn their master of accountancy (MAcc) from MU entirely online.

“Making our degree available online gives students and working professionals the chance to be part of a nationally ranked program and broadens their access to an extensive network of faculty and accounting industry peers,” says Vairam Arunachalam, director of the MU School of Accountancy and PricewaterhouseCoopers/Joseph A. Silvoso Distinguished Professor of Accountancy.      

“This high demand presents the perfect opportunity for students,” Arunachalam says. “They can pursue graduate education knowing their skills will be needed.”

Students with full-time jobs can take one class each semester and finish the MU program in about three years.

As with all online graduate programs at MU, students in the new online MAcc will pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.

The program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2018 semester. If want to become a certified public accountant (CPA), or if you’re ready to move up a level or advance to a leadership role in your accounting career, this may be the degree for you.

Visit online.missouri.edu/MAcc-launch.

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From left: School of Journalism Dean Earnest Perry, Kim Siegenthaler and Stephen Ball.


A leading national organization for online education has recognized the University of Missouri for innovation and excellence.

Representatives from MU received two awards Oct. 19 at the 2017 UPCEA Central Region Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

UPCEA is the premier association for continuing, professional and online education. Its members include leading public and private colleges and universities in North America.  

“Online and distance education provide integral access and innovative education solutions to adult and non-traditional learners, who make up more than 80 percent of today’s students,” said UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen. “I congratulate the University of Missouri on its achievements, and I’m glad that MU’s leadership in this area is being recognized by these UPCEA Central Region awards.”

UPCEA honored Stephen Ball, an associate professor in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Much of Ball’s teaching occurs outside the traditional classroom as part of his outreach work as a state fitness specialist with MU Extension. In the last year, 695 students have taken Ball’s online course, Introduction to Exercise and Fitness.

“I am flattered to be named this year's recipient and represent MU. I know there were many other worthy applicants,” Ball said. “Not only does the award recognize the importance of teaching excellence but it acknowledges that varied audiences and modes of instruction exist.”

The Missouri School of Journalism earned the Innovative Program Award (Credit) for its interactive media online master’s degree. Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Journalism Earnest Perry thanked UPCEA and the MU faculty and staff who brought the interactive media program to fruition four years ago.

“Since the program launched in 2013, the school has continued to look for ways to innovate, improve and inspire our students. The online delivery has allowed us to reach students from all over the U.S. at various stages in their careers,” Perry said. “The school will continue to help students stay at the forefront of interactive media.”

Mizzou Online Assistant Director Terrie Nagel also attended the conference. “These peer-reviewed awards, given for excellence in online programs and teaching, demonstrate MU’s position as a leader in distance education,” she said. “We are proud of MU’s achievements in attaining such prestigious and highly competitive distinctions,” Nagel said.

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Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing dismal about economics. In fact, economics may be the best degree to pursue if you want to understand how the world works.

“Economics is a good combination of two appealing traits,” says Vitor Trindade, an associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri. “It has a very good job market, and it’s a substantial science focused on very interesting, real-world issues.”   

Studying economics pays off in the job market. The Brookings Institute reports that the career prospects and lifetime earnings of economics majors are rivaled only by majors in the other STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and finance.

Median pay for economists in 2014 was $101,050, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also estimates the job market for economists will grow 6 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Despite these strong numbers, however, some employers have difficulty finding an economist when they need one.

Loyd Wilson is the director of administration in the Missouri Public Service Commission. “Part of our mission … is to support economic development. Big-picture thinking is essential for the job. The challenge for us, when hiring, is to find candidates with the kind of perspective you gain from graduate study in economics,” Wilson says.

Economics or business?

Business and economics are both very worthwhile academic pursuits with good prospects. Before you choose one over the other, consider what your career motivations are.

“If you want to be a manager in a firm or if you want to manage investments, you might choose business,” Trindade says. “Economics starts at a more fundamental level of understanding of society.”

An economist has two roles, Trindade explains: scientist and policy maker. “As scientists, we are trying to understand how the world works. As policy makers, we're trying to inform various levels of government about policies that can make the world a better place.”

Economics is a good field to study even if you’re in the middle of your career. A background in economics is not a prerequisite for graduate study in the field.

“Our master’s in economics is suitable for students with backgrounds in engineering, statistics or mathematics,” Trindade says, “or even an ambitious student with some other background.”

The Department of Economics in the MU College of Arts and Sciences is now offering a master’s degree in economics completely online. No GRE or campus visits required. Learn more about Mizzou’s online master’s in economics.

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The University of Missouri’s commitment to distance learners has been reinforced by three more awards for MU’s achievements in online education.

Each year, the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning (ADEIL) presents a number of awards recognizing excellence in various aspects of distance education and independent learning. MU has garnered three out of four of this year’s awards.

College-Level Course Award

Department of Religious Studies instructor Kate Kelley received the outstanding new college-level credit course award for Religion in Science Fiction (REL_ST 3451W).

Learners in the course engage with literary and filmic science fiction while building a writing portfolio. The course lets students explore the type of science fiction that captures their interest, boosting their intrinsic motivation to dive into the material, write and learn.

Kelley developed and teaches the class. Other contributors to the course are Jerod Quinn, instructional designer; Kay Nullmeyer, instructional developer; and Brad Mitchell, multimedia producer.

Excellence in Support Service Award

Mizzou Online instructional designer Julie Shults received the Excellence in Support Service Award for her outstanding contribution in course development. Shults works in partnership with instructors to develop and revise courses and internships that are pedagogically sound and help students succeed. 

Research Award

Mizzou Online Assistant Director for Research Terrie Nagel earned the ADEIL Research Award for her study, “Academic Achievement and Persistence in Online Self-Paced Courses.”

For her research, Nagel analyzed 11,829 records of students who took self-paced online courses at MU during the 2014–15 academic year.

Nagel ran dozens of multilevel models to understand how students’ gender, academic level, enrollment time and completion time related to their academic achievement and persistence.

The study previously earned Nagel the Winemiller Excellence Award from the Trulaske College of Business at MU.

The ADEIL awards were presented at the 2017 World Conference on Online Learning: Teaching in a Digital Age, Oct. 17-19 in Toronto.

“Terrie, Julie and Kate make all of us at Mizzou Online extremely proud,” said Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler. “These achievements reflect the commitment to the success of Mizzou’s distance students that our entire staff shares.”

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