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– UCF Graduate Programs Soar in Latest U.S. News Rankings with Strong Research and Community Impact

UCF is a prominent urban research institution recognized for empowering students to unlock their potential and driving innovation within the local community and state. Guided by distinguished faculty members with unparalleled industry expertise, UCF’s postgraduate programs consistently receive prestigious national accolades for achieving these objectives and more.

Over 9,000 students choose to enroll in UCF’s graduate programs to progress in their careers or embark on new professional journeys. Many of these students not only excel during their time on campus but also after graduation, particularly in programs that are highly ranked nationwide.

The 2024 edition of the U.S. News & World Report has highlighted UCF’s exceptional faculty and graduate programs in its latest list of Best Graduate Schools. UCF’s emergency management program holds the top spot nationally, with four other programs securing positions in the top 25. Additionally, nine graduate programs have been recognized in the top 50 nationally, encompassing fields such as public affairs, education, and health. Rankings for the engineering and medicine categories by U.S. News are forthcoming.

President Alexander N. Cartwright emphasizes, “UCF’s esteemed faculty members excel in equipping our graduate students with the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive as innovative leaders and visionaries. The rankings from U.S. News underscore the fact that our students graduate well-prepared to unleash their potential across various sectors, including individual, business, and government realms that are crucial for Florida’s growth and essential to our economy, well-being, and overall quality of life.”

The UCF Emergency Management Research Initiative team is depicted in action, collecting vital high-water mark data post-Hurricane Ian.

UCF Graduates Influence Emergency Responses Nationwide

UCF boasts a strong track record in emergency management, with its program steadily climbing the ranks for seven consecutive years. Through the homeland security program and the expertise of its faculty researchers, students are equipped to navigate complex manmade and natural disasters, drawing insights from past incidents to enhance their readiness and response capabilities for the future.

Alumni of the program often assume pivotal roles in directing and executing emergency responses not only in Florida but also across the nation, including cities like Boston and Washington, D.C. Their efforts contribute significantly to saving lives, aiding communities in disaster preparedness, and implementing lessons learned from exceptional faculty members who actively contribute to [].

Claire Connolly Knox, a professor in UCF’s School of Public Administration, affirms, “Our students are prepared to support communities and organizations in every facet of emergency management, spanning preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery phases.”

The rankings showcase UCF’s excellence in various areas, including but not limited to:

  • 12th position in Education for Student Counseling and Personnel Services
  • 15th position in Public Affairs for Nonprofit Management, marking a three-spot increase from the previous year
  • 21st position in Public Affairs for Public Management and Leadership, climbing five spots from the previous year
  • 27th position in Public Affairs for Public Finance and Budgeting
  • 32nd position in Education for Curriculum and Instruction
  • 41st position in Health for Physical Therapy
  • 42nd position in Best Education Schools, advancing four spots from the previous year
  • 47th position in Public Affairs
  • 59th position in Nursing for Doctor of Nursing Practice

These commendable rankings underscore the dedication of UCF’s faculty members, who bring a wealth of experience from academia, industry, and research to the classroom. They also reflect the university’s commitment to nurturing students’ potential within a collaborative culture focused on devising solutions that benefit society at large.

Graduates from UCF’s nonprofit management program have made significant contributions to communities in Florida and beyond. For instance, Eric Camarillo ‘16 ‘19MNM, a program alum, founded the faith-based nonprofit organization SALT Outreach Inc. over a decade ago in Central Florida. The organization offers various services to the homeless, including mobile shower trailers, laundry facilities, clothing, haircuts, mail services, and assistance with employment. SALT has expanded to employ over 30 staff members who aid hundreds of individuals daily.

Doug Goodman, a professor and school director, expresses, “Throughout the School of Public Administration, our faculty, staff, and advisory boards have diligently worked to provide students in Central Florida, nationwide, and globally with a top-tier, innovative education.”

UCF’s rise in rankings has garnered acclaim from various quarters:

  • In February, U.S. News & World Report acknowledged UCF’s online bachelor’s programs, ranking the university tied at No. 7 nationally. Out of the 14 UCF national rankings by U.S. News, six online programs secured positions in the top 10, two in the top 15, and three in the top 50. UCF has maintained a position in the top 20 for Best Online Programs for seven consecutive years.
  • In March, The Princeton Review and PC Gamer recognized UCF among the best globally. The graduate Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy clinched the top spot worldwide for the fourth time in five years. Moreover, the undergraduate game design program, Games and Interactive Media (GaIM) at UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media, achieved its highest ranking to date, reaching No. 5 globally.
  • Sports Business Journal crowned Orlando as the premier city for sports business events, hosting renowned entities like the NBA, Orlando City, Orlando Pride Soccer, prominent tennis tournaments, college football bowl games, the NFL Pro Bowl, U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With its entry into the Big 12 Conference in 2023, UCF has witnessed unprecedented success as the youngest Power Four program in the nation. UCF’s strong sports programs have also supplied talented graduates to major sports brands nationwide.