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University's online bachelor’s degree in applied communication program ranked first by online publication

Nonprofit Colleges Online listed Ohio University's online bachelor’s degree completion program in applied communication first in its “2015-16 Best Online Bachelor’s in Communication and Public Relations: Students Before Profits Award” rankings.

According to its website, the publication’s “Best Online Bachelor’s in Communication and Public Relations Award” recognizes online programs from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities offering online or hybrid programs of study leading to a bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, or related fields and ranked the programs mainly according to their affordability, amongst other factors.

The “Students Before Profits Award” was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.

Brittany Peterson, coordinator of E-Learning development and assistant professor in the Scripps College of Communication’s School of Communication Studies, said the online major launched in fall 2014.

"We were thrilled to receive the news that our online degree completion program in applied communication was ranked number one by Nonprofit Colleges Online," Peterson said. "Our program is unique in that we offer students the opportunity to take courses across all five schools within the Scripps College of Communication. Notably, our online students take rigorous courses designed and taught by the same faculty who work with our on-campus students. Students are able to tailor their course selections to best meet their individual needs."

Peterson said the program has challenged her to explore new and innovative ways of teaching and learning alongside the students invested in completing their bachelor's degrees online.

"We have been pleased with the success and notoriety it has had thus far," Peterson said. "We are honored by this award, and we look forward to the ways in which this national recognition will help us grow the program in the years to come."

Athabasca (Canada) University's bachelor of professional arts in communication studies ranked second and Indiana University East's bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in communication degrees were third on the list.  

Nonprofit Colleges Online, which describes itself as the number one destination on the Internet for information about nonprofit online universities and colleges, explained the rankings:

"Though this ranking is primarily concerned with the affordability of the programs, many programs here have consistently been ranked among the top of their kind by other national publications and we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online bachelor’s in communications programs available.

Degree completion programs in this ranking have been noted as such and tuition rates are calculated based on the national average tuition cost of 60 credits completed at two-year institutions with the assumption that the majority of students enrolling in completion programs will earn the credits required at local community colleges before transferring into the online program.

This national average (as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics) is $6,644. This figure was added to the cost per credit multiplied by the remaining required credits of each completion program to determine a reasonable estimate for total cost of the degree and placement within our ranking."

Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth said he is really excited because the program is only a year and a half old.

"The fact that we were ranked number one from this media outlet shows that we designed the program well and that the program is reflective of the quality that we have as an academic unit," Titsworth said. "It is also reflective of the fact that we tried to design a program that is very appropriate for the student population that we are trying to reach.

"This ranking speaks to the fact that it is an affordable program but also one that has high quality associated with it. The ranking is something that we can use when trying to promote the program and when trying to attract students. This is obviously going to elevate the attention of the program to students who are trying to find this type of educational opportunity."

This is the Ohio University write up on the Nonprofit Colleges Online website:


Ohio University is a public research university located in Athens, Ohio. Founded in 1804, it is the ninth oldest public university in the United States. The University continues to be recognized for its quality of academics in major national publications such as Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Business Week, Forbes, and the Princeton Review. The University has almost 30 colleges or departments, which house more than 250 areas of study at the certificate, associate, undergraduate and graduate level.

Program Overview

The Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University offers an online Bachelor in Applied Communication degree completion program designed for students who already possess an associate’s degree. The program offers intensive communication study in visual, written and oral mediums including courses in journalism, media production, web and print design, communication studies and telecommunication systems and focuses on both the practical application and theoretical foundation of communication strategies.

Accreditation: Ohio University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Six-Year Graduation Rate: 63.6%

In-State: $21,044, Out-of-State: $21,224

* The tuition rates listed are based on cost per credit and individual programs may have additional fees.

According to the Nonprofit Colleges Online website, "communications degrees are versatile and can lead to employment in a wide variety of careers: journalism, advertising, public relations, internal relations, politics, law, and the possibilities are nearly endless. Effective written and verbal communication skills are increasingly found as the most in-demand skills in the widest range of careers available."

The website also states that “these degree programs will prove to be useful for both individuals who have a particular communication oriented career path in mind, and those who simply want to increase their marketability for entry into any number of careers.”

To read more about the award, visit http://www.nonprofitcollegesonline.com/rankings/best-online-bachelors-in-communication-and-public-relations/.