Praising its quality and location, voters in a national survey named the University of Montana’s School of Journalism as one of the nation’s best – eighth best, to be exact.

The rankings, compiled by the Radio Television Digital News Association, came as welcome news to the storied program, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in September 2014.

“Journalism students can get a big-city experience in a beautiful place,” said Larry Abramson, journalism dean. “They can study with great faculty in a state-of-the-art facility, yet pay an affordable price. We have everything the competition has, except for the traffic.”

The rankings placed the program within the nation’s top 10, just ahead of the universities of Southern California and Florida (who tied for 10th) and the University of Maryland, which took the nine spot.

Topping the list was the University of Missouri, Northwestern University and Columbia University.

“The secret is out,” Abramson said.

Respondents to the survey praised the UM program for its “mix of people, cultures, the great West, history and beautiful scenery.” Another called the program “the best under-the-radar school in the entire country” and lauded its national faculty.

The program was founded by Arthur Stone in 1914 and remains the one of the nation’s oldest programs. It was the nation’s third accredited program and has gained an illustrious list of alumni over the decades.

More than 1,300 people participated in the survey, with nearly 43 percent working in the news profession. Another 28 percent identified as students, 19 percent as non-news professionals and 10.5 percent as educators.