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U.S. News ranks 9 WKU graduate programs among nation’s best

Nine Western Kentucky University have been ranked among the best in the country in U.S. News and World Report’s .

WKU graduate programs on the 2024 rankings include:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), No. 100, up from No. 113 last year.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), No. 101, up from No. 106.
  • Speech-Language Pathology Program, No. 136, up from No. 189.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), No. 137.
  • Master of Social Work (MSW), No. 142.
  • Master of Public Health (MPH), No. 172.
  • Public Affairs programs, No. 191.
  • WKU’s graduate programs in education as well as the online Master of Business Administration program also were included on the U.S. News list of best programs.

The 2024 rankings include six programs from the College of Health and Human Services as well as programs from Potter College of Arts & Letters, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the Gordon Ford College of Business.

“These rankings are well-deserved acknowledgment of WKU’s excellence in graduate education,” said Dr. Jenni Redifer, Interim Associate Provost for Research & Graduate Education. “I am grateful to our WKU community of educators, as well as to our partner organizations, who provide invaluable real-world experiences during students’ graduate studies. The span of these rankings across numerous disciplines is evidence of the positive impact of WKU’s graduate programs throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.”

College of Health and Human Services

“I am thrilled that six of our graduate programs in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) have been recognized this year by the U.S. News and World Report for their academic excellence,” said Dean Tania Basta. “Our CHHS mission to prepare health and human services professionals who will work to improve the quality of life in their communities and beyond, so this recognition is a testament to the dedication of our faculty and staff in preparing our students to meet the rapidly changing needs of the health and human services workforce both regionally and nationally.”

The Nursing Master of Science (MSN) graduate program at WKU was ranked No. 100 in the nation, up from No. 113 last year. The College of Health and Human Services offers a Master of Science in Nursing that builds upon the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and seeks to develop expertise in advanced nursing practice. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSNS) concentration is for individuals who wish to be certified as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. The innovative MSN-Master’s Entry Professional Nursing (MEPN) allows a student with a previous baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing to obtain an MSN degree and become eligible for licensure as a registered nurse.

WKU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was ranked No. 101, up from No. 106. The program is designed to prepare nurses who are already working in the field to become leaders in nursing practice and administration. The program has two tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Executive.

WKU’s Speech-Language Pathology Program was ranked No. 136, up from No. 189. The speech-language pathology program is accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. This program is designed to prepare speech-language pathologists to meet the needs of those presenting with communication delays, differences, and/or disorders in a range of settings including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, or schools.

WKU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) was ranked No. 137. The DPT Program is designed to prepare students to plan and administer treatment to help patients regain diminished physical function lost secondary to injury or disease, to promote soft tissue healing, and to relieve pain.

U.S. News ranked WKU’s Master of Social Work (MSW) No. 142. The program at WKU is available to working professionals as well as recent college graduates and prepares them for a career as social work practitioners in a variety of contexts, including individual, family, group, organizations, and community.

Also making the list was WKU’s Master of Public Health (MPH), which was ranked No. 172. The program is part of a field that seeks to protect and improve the health of families and communities through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention, and detection and control of infectious disease.

Potter College of Arts & Letters

U.S. News ranked WKU’s programs in Public Affairs at No. 191. The Potter College of Arts & Letters (PCAL) is home to WKU’s nationally recognized Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. The MPA program prepares graduate students for a variety of leadership positions in federal, non-profit, local, and state organizations.

The Potter College of Arts & Letters (PCAL) provides graduate programs in Organizational Communication (Master of Arts), Communicating in Healthcare (Graduate Certificate), Communicating in Organizations (Graduate Certificate), Creative Writing and English (Master of Fine Arts), History (Master of Arts), Music: Education, Conducting, or Pedagogy (Master of Fine Arts), Public Administration (Master of Public Administration), and Local Government Administration (Graduate Certificate). Each program offers robust degree offerings that prepare students for industry-level and/or graduate employment. Additionally, undergraduate students can elect to begin graduate studies earlier with the Joint Undergraduate Master’s Program (JUMP). JUMP provide students the opportunity to complete a graduate degree while completing their undergraduate degree.

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Also included on the U.S. News list of best programs is WKU’s education graduate program. The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is home to WKU’s nationally recognized clinical preparation programs which focus on the community’s future teachers, counselors, psychologists, and leaders. Graduate degrees, including those at the master’s and doctoral level, are offered in Advanced Teacher Education, Counseling and Student Affairs, Educational Leadership, Gifted Education and Talent Development, Instructional Design, Literacy Education, Organizational Leadership, Psychology, Special Education, and Teacher Education.

Gordon Ford College of Business

WKU’s online Master of Business Administration also is listed among the best graduate programs. The Gordon Ford College of Business offers a diverse range of graduate degrees and certificates tailored to provide students with the essential skills needed to thrive in today’s ever-evolving business landscape. From Accountancy & Data Analysis (MADA), Economics, Cybersecurity, to Master of Business Administration (MBA), the GFCB’s flexible programs empower students to explore specialized fields, acquire invaluable expertise and credentials, and pursue their passions.

Ogden College of Science & Engineering

The Ogden College of Science & Engineering offers graduate programs that prepare students to be the critical thinkers, knowledgeable experts, and confident leaders needed to flourish in any workplace or in an array of doctoral programs. OCSE offers Master of Science degrees in Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Geoscience, Mathematics, Homeland Security Sciences, Psychology, Computer Science, and Engineering Management as well as a Master of Arts in Mathematics aimed at math educators. WKU’s Biology Department offers a nationally top-ranked online MS in Biology. These degree programs are complemented by graduate certificates in Biology, Scientific Data Analytics, Lean Sigma, and a unique certificate in Emergency Management and Disaster Science.

For more about WKU graduate programs, visit the WKU Graduate School at

Contact: Jace Lux, (270) 745-4295


prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in , which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.