FBD’s Ranking Methodology

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Find Best Degrees (FBD) rankings assist prospective students in making informed decisions as they pursue their higher education degrees. FBD rankings determine the best colleges, universities, and programs based on the following criteria:

  • Cost: the average cost of a master’s program.
  • Reputation & Availability: the program’s popularity and availability across multiple master’s colleges.
  • Learning Options: the option to learn online, on campus, or through a hybrid model that combines the two.
  • Curriculum & Coursework: the flexibility and option to select courses, electives, and concentrations and to take synchronous or asynchronous classes.
  • The Length of the Program: the time required to complete the master’s program.
  • The University’s Statistics: the university’s student acceptance, retention, and graduation rates.
  • Return on Investment: the possibility of recouping the money spent on a master’s degree.
  • The Potential of Employment: the availability of jobs after graduation and good job prospects.

How We Evaluate Our Core Criteria

FBD rankings use data from universities, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). FBD also ranks institutions using the 20-component chart below to rank universities and programs:

1The Cost of Tuition
The cost per credit and other fees contribute to the overall program cost.
2The Flexibility of the Program
The ability for students to tailor their studies to their interests and goals.
3Availability of Financial Aid & Scholarships
The availability and ease of access to various types of financial aid and assistance.
4Reputation of the College & Programs
The institution’s reputation, standing, and recognition of its academic offerings.
5College and/or Program Accreditation
The college’s accreditation status and the availability of programmatic accreditation
6Selection of Programs
The choice of programs available across various disciplines for students to consider.
7Specialization Options for Graduate Studies
The option to specialize and study niche areas within a subject or program.
8Variable Curriculum & Coursework
The flexibility to select courses and electives and to double major.
9Expert Professors & Faculty
The teaching staff’s quality, qualifications, and experience.
10Length of Program & Durations
The time required to complete a program, whether full-time or part-time.
11Availability of Accelerated Programs
The option for students to choose fast-track or accelerated programs to graduate sooner.
12Programs Without GRE or GMAT Requirements
The option for students to enroll in a program without taking the GRE or GMAT.
13Number of Intakes in a Year
The availability of more than the typical spring and fall entry points into a program.
14Synchronous & Asynchronous Learning Options
The ability to take classes synchronously in a cohort or asynchronously at the student’s own pace.
15Availability of Online, On-Campus, and Hybrid Programs
The availability of various program delivery modes that provide affordability and convenience.
16Availability of Extracurricular & Co-Curricular Activities
The availability of extra and co-curricular activities for a more well-rounded education.
17Availability of Resources
The availability of all tangible infrastructure, such as labs, libraries, research centers, etc.
18Student Support Services
The availability of student services that make life easier both on and off campus.
19Student-Teacher Ratio
A low student-to-faculty ratio that allows for more personalized learning and teaching.
20Respectable Important Statistic & Rates
The institution’s Acceptance, Retention, and Graduation rates.

How Our Degree Programs Are Ranked

FBD examines the degree program and considers how the program’s school ranks. The following are the main criteria used by FBD to evaluate and rank online programs from bachelor’s to doctorate programs:

  • Accreditation
  • Total average cost of the program
  • How long it takes to complete the program
  • In-person, online, and hybrid learning options
  • Program difficulty levels
  • Breadth and depth of the program
  • Course assignments, capstone, thesis requirements, and additional requirements
  • Availability of scholarships & financial aid in relation to the program
  • Available choices of core, elective, and concentration/specializations courses
  • Program prerequisites and requirements
  • Access and need for research, laboratory work, and internships
  • Awards and recognitions and research citations around the university’s reputation
  • Industry recognition and reputation
  • Graduation rate
  • Student-faculty ratio
  • Other criteria, such as student diversity and alumnus, considered (if available)