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UA Little Rock graduate programs listed among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been recognized as having some of the best online programs in computer information technology in the country. U.S. News & World Report ranked UA Little Rock 19th in its 2020 list of the “Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs.”

“Our university continuously seeks innovative and resourceful strategies to help students and faculty achieve academic success,” said Dr. David Montague, director of online learning and faculty mentoring. “This significant accomplishment in these prestigious academic rankings demonstrates commitment to academic excellence, optimal functionality, accessibility, innovation, universal inclusion, and user-friendly education.”

This category ranked online master’s degree programs in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, information systems, and information technology. For UA Little Rock, this ranking includes the online Master of Science in information quality and Master of Science in information science programs.

The online master’s degree in information quality is a 33-hour program that can be completed in as little as 18 months. The program is designed to prepare students for industry and government careers as well as advanced doctoral studies. Developed with support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Information Quality Program, the curriculum balances information quality theory with industry best practices using state-of-the-art technology.

“The Information Quality Graduate Program was launched in 2006, and it’s the only graduate program in the U.S. devoted to the study of data governance and data quality management issues,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, chair of the Department of Information Science, which houses both programs. “The program is attracting a lot of attention from the chief data officers community due to the strong synergy between this program’s curriculum and the need for chief data officers to ensure their organization has trusted data that is available when needed.”

The online master’s degree in information science is a 33-hour program designed to familiarize individuals with the advanced knowledge, skills, and technologies for working with large amounts of complex data. Students learn how to compete in an industry with an ever-present demand for new innovations in data science and analytics, advanced information systems design and development, and emerging information technologies. Both degrees serve as a stepping stone for other advanced graduate degrees, such as UA Little Rock’s Ph.D. in computer and information science. 

U.S. News ranked programs based on engagement, faculty credentials and training, expert opinion, services and technology, and student excellence. Programs ranked high on the list demonstrated quality online instruction that promotes participation in courses, accessible and responsive instructors with strong academic credentials, diverse online learning technologies, and strong student accomplishments.

Pierce said that the success of the online programs is driven by several factors, including the use of innovative online technologies to deliver a live classroom webcast from video classrooms in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, skilled instructors, and support from UA Little Rock

“We are very picky about who teaches in our program,” Pierce said. “For our technical classes, we use faculty who are extremely knowledgeable in their field of expertise. For our more techno-professional classes, we recruit experts from the community to ensure our students are getting real-world instruction, such as Dr. Eric Nelson from Acxiom, Dr. Jennifer Davis, chief privacy officer for the state of Arkansas, and Dr. Timothy Holthoff, chief technology officer at Arkansas Court Information Systems. This would not be possible without the support of UA Little Rock administration in helping us to find the dollars and resources to improve our teaching facilities and to hire top talent to teach in our programs.”