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UK Education Online Programs Ranked Among Top in Nation

Two University of Kentucky College of Education master’s degree programs are among the top 20 in the nation, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings.

UK’s special education online master’s program is 14th, and the teacher leadership online master’s (listed by the magazine as “educational administration and supervision”) is 17th. The college is 60th in the nation for its overall online program ranking.

“These rankings help readers find online programs known for offering the same level of academic standards as quality brick-and-mortar programs,” said UK College of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig. “Their criteria also takes into account whether programs have done a good job of adapting traditional courses to meet the unique needs of distance learners.”

Among the college’s fully online offerings are master’s degrees in:

Instructional Systems Design
Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education
Special Education
• Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (Counselor Education), consistently ranked in top 10 Rehabilitation Counseling Programs in US News Best Health Schools rankings, which is released separately
Teacher Leadership
Principal Preparation
Research Methods in Education

This was the first year the magazine used sub-categories to recognize programs within each ranked college. Called “specialty rankings,” they are based entirely on responses to a survey sent to peer institutions. For each specialty, respondents were asked to volunteer up to 15 institutions they believed to be strong.

More about UK’s ranked specialty programs:

Special Education (14th)

The Masters of Science in Special Education (Advanced Preparation Teacher Leader Program in Special Education) is a 30-hour master’s that can be completed on a part-time basis over the course of five semesters (2.5 calendar years). Students taking the online version of the program attend courses virtually and can interact with professors and classmates in real-time. All classes take place in the evenings to allow teachers to complete their work day prior to attending class.
Coursework focuses on teacher leadership in special education with three options for specialization within the program. It is housed within the UK College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education.

Teachers who complete the special education teacher leader master’s degree will be recommended to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for a Rank 2 certification.

Teacher Leadership (17th)

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Teacher Leadership is a 30-hour master’s that can be completed on a part-time basis in about 20 months. It is also offered as an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. Three graduate certificates are embedded within the program, giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in:

• Instructional Coaching
• Leadership for Deeper Learning
• School Technology Leadership

The program prepares teachers to become leaders. Graduates frequently assume formal roles in schools such as department chair, grade-level team leader, or technology coordinator. They also take on informal roles such as instructional model or peer mentor within their schools.

Kentucky-certified teachers can earn teacher leadership endorsement and rank change (as approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board). The teacher leadership program is housed in the UK College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership Studies.