University News

WIU Earns U.S.News & World Report​​ ​Best Online Program Ranking

January 9, 2018

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has again been recognized by the U.S.News & World Report for offering some of the best online​ degree ​programs. Western is ranked 60th out of 347 ranked colleges and universities from across the U.S. in "Best Online Programs: Bachelor's" category and is one of two Illinois public universities in the top 75.

WIU offers 463 online classes (320 undergraduate; 143 graduate) and seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including the longstanding BGS, which offers students the option of obtaining their degree entirely via distance learning opportunities, or through a combination of on-campus and distance learning classes.

The newest fully online major, anthropology, began in Fall 2017. Students enrolled in the major will have the ability to take traditional face-to-face classes on the Macomb campus, online classes or a combination of the two to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. This online addition to WIU's academic schedule makes it the first anthropology program in the state, and one of only a few in the nation, to offer the major online.

"We are continually investigating ways to offer distance learning courses to meet students' needs, and we will continue to enhance our online offerings. The percent of Western's online and hybrid course offerings increased from 8.5 percent last year, to 10 percent of total course offerings this year," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "One of our goals through the University's Strategic Plan and the President's Executive Institute is to provide students around the world with the outstanding educational opportunities available at WIU through innovative means."

The BGS program, originally called the Board of Governor's degree and later the Board of Trustees degree program, was established to serve individuals who were unable to attend a traditional college program due to family, work or community obligations. The program allows the student to design his/her program to meet individual educational goals, and students are eligible for academic credit for college-level learning that was done in a non-collegiate setting, such as the military or on-the-job training. In addition, students can tailor the online BGS degree by choosing up to three of 24 fully online minors.

Other online degree programs at WIU include the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion program, Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Protection Service (FESHE recognized), Master of Arts in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Master of Science - Instructional Design and Technology, Master's of Business Administration, which is also included in the 2018 U.S.News and World Report Best Online MBA Programs list, and the Master of Science in Education - Elementary Education.

In addition to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Protection Service or BGS degree from Western, firefighters have the opportunity to obtain a certificate in fire administration and management and a certificate in fire prevention technology.

For more information, visit or contact School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach Executive Director Jeff Hancks at (309) 298-1929 or

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