University News

Distance Learning Earns U.S.News Rankings

January 7, 2015

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MACOMB, IL -- For the fourth consecutive year, Western Illinois University's distance learning program has been recognized by U.S.News 2015 Best Online Program rankings.

Western is ranked 63rd out of 214 colleges from across the U.S. in "Best Online Programs: Bachelor's" category and is one of four Illinois public universities in the top 100. The University offers 337 online classes (245 undergraduate; 92 graduate), and seven degree programs, including the longstanding Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS), which offers students the option of obtaining their degree entirely via distance learning opportunities, or a combination of on-campus and distance learning classes.

"As we continue to expand our distance learning and online opportunities at Western Illinois University, we are pleased that U.S.News has recognized our efforts," said Richard Carter, executive director of the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach. "It is our mission to provide students from across the world access to outstanding educational programs."

According to Carter, 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 to the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, firefighters earning a BGS degree from Western have the opportunity to obtain a certificate in fire administration and management and a certificate in fire prevention technology. Western's General Studies program is one of seven bachelor's degree programs in the U.S. endorsed by the National Fire Academy (NFA). Other online degree programs include Master's of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion program, Master of Science - Instructional Design and Technology and Master of Science in Education - Elementary Education.

For more information on distance learning at Western, visit or contact Carter at (309) 298-1929 or

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