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U.S. News Ranks Emporia State Online Graduate Programs Among Top Kansas Schools

Bianca Hoose knew she needed a master’s degree to maintain her New York teaching license. With a baby at home and a full-time job as an elementary school physical education teacher, Hoose of Cambridge, New York, knew an online course would be the ideal option.

A fellow teacher pointed Hoose to Emporia State’s fully online master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation program, the first such program in the world when it was launched in 1996.

“He said I could complete the program in a short amount of time if I did the work,” Hoose recalled of the conversation with her co-worker. “And it’s not as expensive as other colleges.”

In December 2016, after 18 months of course work, Hoose earned her MS in HPER from Emporia State. She and her husband, Donald, celebrated two weeks after graduation when Oliver was born on Dec. 31, joining their older son Daniel, who turns 2 this month.

“I can keep my New York state license and help support my family more,” Hoose said of her new graduate degree. “Next academic year, I will see a pay increase.”

Hoose is exactly the kind of student for which Emporia State has designed its online graduate programs, according to Dr. Jerry Spotswood, dean of the ESU Graduate School.

“We are able to use technology to reach students around the world who want to advance their careers in a way that fits into their busy lives,” Spotswood said. “These same students benefit from the quality education Emporia State has been delivering for more than 150 years.”

Today, ESU’s online graduate programs picked up more accolades from U.S. News & World Report.

In rankings of online programs released today, Emporia State ranked No. 1 among Kansas public and private colleges and universities for both online graduate education and online non-MBA business programs, and No. 4 for online MBA programs.

Nationally, Emporia State ranked No. 40 of 278 schools for its graduate education programs, No. 80 of 141 for non-MBA business programs, and No. 115 of 255 for MBA programs.

Emporia State offers 11 graduate education programs online — business education through the School of Business; curriculum and instruction; early childhood unified; educational administration; health, physical education and recreation; instructional design and technology; special education; teaching; teaching English as a second language and instructional specialist through The Teachers College; and library science through the School of Library and Information Management.

The School of Business also offers a master’s degree in accountancy and the MBA program. The MBA program, which moved to a fully online program in spring 2014, includes courses in management, marketing, accounting, finance, information systems and strategy.

Tina Miller of Emporia began classes in Emporia State’s online MBA program in January 2016 while working full-time. She took off the fall 2016 semester to settle into a new job as a professional sales associate for Alcon, which requires her to travel all over Kansas.

“The nice thing about the online program is the instructors are very understanding that most of their students are working professionals,” Miller said. “The instructors will tell us what the work is and when it needs to be done then let us work it into our schedules.”

For Miller, study time is evenings and weekends.

“Early on, I dedicated every Sunday to my homework.”

Miller said the program also has stretched skills with technology. In one course, she worked on weekly PowerPoint presentations with one student living on the East coast and one in Australia, which required the group to be creative with communication tools given the time differences.

“I had never before had to make a presentation online like that,” Miller said. That course required the group to prepare the PowerPoint and rotate which student presented it each week.

“I was presenting and had to record it,” Miller said. “Emporia State’s Information Technology was so helpful.

“ESU had everything I needed. I just called IT, and they told me where to find it.”

The School of Business’s master of accountancy or MAcc, which was launched in spring 2014, prepares students for careers in professional accounting in the areas of government, management and public accounting. It also prepares them for the 150-hour requirement to sit for the certified public accounting exam in Kansas and other states. The School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Like Miller, Alex Larson of Dodge City is working full-time while pursuing his master of accountancy degree. That was not his original plan, however. As his final semester at Emporia State progressed — he graduated in December 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in information systems — Larson interviewed for internships.

“I was looking for an accounting internship for the spring 2016 semester, then planned to return to Emporia and working on the MAcc degree,” Larson said.

When a full-time job offer came, however, he had the opportunity to launch his career while working toward his goal of becoming a CPA.

“As an associate at Lindburg & Vogel Pierce Faris, I was doing a lot of traveling for clients’ year-end audits,” Larson said. “With good wireless, studying in motel rooms is easy.”

For more information about online degree programs at Emporia State, go to

For more information about the rankings, go to