Diversity & Inclusion

Penn Engineering launches its first online-only master’s program on Coursera

At $26,300, the two-year computer science program costs about a third of its on-campus counterpart. The program looks to be an on-ramp into tech for professionals without previous technical skills.

The University of Pennsylvania. (University of Pennsylvania by f11photo via Shutterstock)

In partnership with Mountain View, Calif.-based Coursera, makers of an online learning platform, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering just launched its first fully-online master’s program.

The two-year program called MCIT Online is the online equivalent of the School’s existing Master of Computer and Information Technology, which looks to provide an on-ramp into tech for professionals without a technical background.

“Computer Science is now as fundamental to our future as math, reading or writing,” said Penn Engineering dean Vijay Kumar. “While we can’t predict the future, we can help people prepare for it by making a strong grounding in these fundamentals as easy to acquire as possible. Our vision is for a high-impact program that is more accessible and more affordable for more students.”

(Boon Thau Loo, Penn’s Engineering’s Associate Dean of Master’s and Professional Programs, played a key role in getting the program together. He also has ties to tech community as founder of StartUp PHL–backed big data company Termaxia.)

At $26,300, the online program costs about a third of the existing on-campus program. Some 1,000 professionals have graduated from the on-campus MCIT program and gone on to join companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said, in an emailed statement, that the online program represents the democratization of computer science.

“It brings a world-class, Ivy League degree within reach of people of all backgrounds, from anywhere in the world,” Maggioncalda said. “MCIT Online is a game-changer for people who want to earn a Master of Computer Science but don’t have a tech background or can’t attend an on-campus program.”

The first cohort of the ten-course program will begin in January 2019.

Companies: University of Pennsylvania

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