Online degree program earns No. 1 ranking

Western Carolina University’s online master’s degree program in project management has once again earned the  No. 1 national ranking in quality and affordability from the distance education information clearinghouse

WCU’s program is listed first among a group of top 34 “best buys.” The rankings are based on a review of 56 regionally accredited business schools that offer 96 different management and administration master’s degrees through distance education.

“WCU offers North Carolina residents a chance at a high-quality master’s degree in project management through distance learning for about one-quarter the cost of the national average. That’s an amazing educational value in these hard economic times,” said Vicky Phillips,’s founder. “The distance learning program at WCU is evidence that today’s online learner can experience both quality and affordability in one academic package.”

Western Carolina’s program earned an “A” in affordability for distance learning students in North Carolina, Phillips said. North Carolina residents who enroll in the program pay about $5,692 to complete it, while the review indicated that the average cost for obtaining the degree is $21,705.

WCU’s master’s degree program in project management also topped the distance education organization’s Best Buy list in 2008.

Accredited by the Project Management Institute in 1983, WCU’s program transitioned into a Web-based format in 1998, and the first group of students who earned their degrees fully online graduated in August 2000.

“This national recognition from one of the leading experts in the field of distance education provides independent validation that our MPM degree program offers both high quality and high value to our students,” said Vittal Anantatmula, director of the program, which is housed in WCU’s College of Business. “We are proud that our graduates leave the program with skill sets they can put to use right away in their careers, and without a massive amount of student loan debt.”

Students are required to complete 36 credit hours to earn the graduate degree in project management. The degree can be completed in two years of part-time study, and it is designed for project managers with a minimum of two years’ work experience.

“Many of our students often apply project management concepts, tools and techniques in their current projects in the workplace to improve project performance, and they realize the practical use of what they learn in the program,” Anantatmula said.

The accolades for WCU’s graduate program in project management come three months after gave the university’s online bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice a similar No. 1 ranking, also for the second time. The criminal justice program previously was ranked a No. 1 “Best Buy” by in 2007.

For more information about WCU’s master’s degree program in project management, call (828) 227-3990.