POTSDAM - Clarkson University master's degree students can get a top-notch education - without ever stepping foot in a classroom.
Clarkson was one of 14 universities nationwide named to U.S. & World's first-ever honor roll list for top online graduate business degree programs.
"The quality of our faculty is one of the big differences between Clarkson's online MBA and many other programs," School of Business Dean Timothy F. Sugrue said in a statement. "Our best full-time faculty are teaching our online courses. The quality of our professors differentiates us from the strictly online universities that don't have actual faculty active in scholarly research."
U.S. News & World agreed, ranking Clarkson number two in the nation for faculty credentials and training. The university also cracked the top five for student engagement and accreditation, while placing 23rd in admissions selectivity and 24th for student services and technology.
The online program is designed for students who want a master's degree in business but cannot attend school full-time or part-time because of their travel schedules, Mr. Sugrue said.
"By leveraging information technology with online programs, we enhance the effect of our faculty and provide an experience equal to being on campus in the classroom," he said in the statement.
For over 25 years U.S. News has ranked traditional universities - and placed Clarkson 119th in 2011.
But with enrollment in virtual classes on the rise, the group began looking at which schools offer students the best education over the web.
In 2010, there were over 6 million online students, more than double what there were four years ago, according to U.S. News.
At Clarkson, 20 students are currently enrolled in the program. The 42-hour credit program is designed to be completed part-time over the span of two years, according to the university website, but students are allowed up to five years to earn their degree.
Once completed, a graduate's diploma reads the same as those who choose a traditional classroom approach. The two-year route runs students about $46,000 according to the website.
Marist College in Poughkeepsie was the only other university in New York state to make the honor roll for online graduate business programs.