UNO graduate programs nationally ranked


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Cassie Wade

Attending college is a big investment for students, not only financially but emotionally as well. A college diploma has the power to open more doors when it comes to helping students reach their career goals.

While a bachelor’s degree is enough for some students, others choose to continue their education by enrolling in a graduate school program and working towards a master’s degree. This requires even more time, energy and money.

With numerous nationally ranked graduate school programs avail-able, students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha can be sure their investment in graduate school will go a long way.

According to a recent U.S. News and World Report, UNO has one of the best graduate level public affairs programs available in the nation.

These programs, which are housed in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) building, include a top-25 ranked Public Administration program, which places the program in the nation’s top 10 percent.

According to Ethel Williams, the director of the UNO school of Public Administration, a number of the program’s concentrations received further recognition, including Public Finance and Budgeting, ranked 6th, and Nonprofit Management, ranked 12th. City Management and Urban Policy were ranked 15th, and Public Management Administration at 19th.

“We’re recognized by the quality work we do, by the strength of our program, by our courses and by the reputation of our faculty,” Williams said. “We really are viewed by those in our discipline as being really strong in the field.”

Williams said accolades such as the U.S. News and World Report rankings attract students by “lending credibility and visibility” to UNO.

“We’re in the middle of the country, we don’t have beaches or mountains… so if you’re going to come to Nebraska you’re going to come for something,” Williams said. “Even those internal for the state are looking for who’s going to give them a quality education for a good cost as well. So when you see those rankings, you recognize we will.”

This statement has been proven true by students like Emily Yoshimoto, who is currently pursuing a master’s in Public Administration after studying art history, women’s studies and studio art at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota.

Yoshimoto decided to come back to school and complete a master’s in public administration after spending a year working in the AmeriCorps. When it came time to pick a university, Yoshimoto decided UNO was the perfect fit for her.

“UNO is affordable, and the MPA (master’s in public administration) program is well-respected and academically rigorous,” Yoshimoto said. “Classes are offered in the evening or online, making it easier to work while going to school.”

Several other UNO graduate programs received rankings from U.S. News and World Report, including the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at No. 91, placing it in the top half of the nation, and the College of Business Administration’s part-time program, which came in at 93rd.

These rankings follow the precedent set by UNO’s online bachelor’s of general studies degree and the School of Criminology and Crimi-nal Justice’s online program, which were ranked 17th and 18th, respectively, in a U.S. News and World Report article published earlier this year.

While these accolades are impressive, the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of Graduate Studies, Deborah Smith-Howell said it’s important not to emphasize these rankings too much because the programs can be judged in many ways and not all programs are judged.

“When you look at graduate education, you’re looking at it by program,” Smith-Howell said. “It’s great that the ones that are looked at do so well, but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t really good too.”

Other UNO programs, including the College of Business Administration and the political science program have received accolades from lesser known sources this year as well.

“One of the things we’re really proud of … is the quality and scope of graduate education here at UNO,” Smith-Howell said. “We have seven outstanding PhD programs and over 35 master’s programs in all of our colleges, and if you really look across the whole range of them, that’s what’s really impressive.”