master's degree

EdX and Top Universities Launch MicroMasters, Accelerate Earning a Master’s Degree

It can feel hopeless to consider racking up more debt for a master’s degree after accumulating so much towards a bachelor’s. But for many in-demand professions, a master’s is inevitable and imperative for the climb to success.

Open-source learning nonprofit, EdX understands education’s role in career advancement. In partnership with 14 universities around the world, the company created an alternative and cost-effective route to gain up to half a master’s degree in specific fields.

MicroMasters offers online certifications in supply chain management, artificial intelligence, product management, user experience (UX), social work, business management and more. Certifications take three to six months to complete and can supply credits for transfer to an on-campus graduate program.

“This is an evolutionary, new kind of credential that is not only a great stand alone credential but also leads into accreditation model in universities,” said EdX CEO Anant Agarwal. “We believe this is a very important step forward for online education.”

MicroMasters was conceptualized with today’s workforce and educational environment in mind. Online programs are accessible for digital learners, at under $300 per course, and allow companies to invest in their employees through accredited training. Universities have more data to inform admissions decisions now that professionals can prove their abilities with the MicroMasters “inverted admissions” option.

Here’s a full list of the institutions providing MicroMasters programs around the world.

United States:

  • Columbia University (ColumbiaX) — Artificial Intelligence
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MITx) — Supply Chain Management
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RITx) — Project Management
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management, a unit of the Arizona State University — Knowledge Enterprise (ThunderbirdX); International Business Management
  • University of Michigan (MichiganX) — User Experience (UX) Research and Design; Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement; Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research

International:

  • Australian National University (ANUx) — Evidence-Based Management
  • Curtin University (CurtinX) — Human Rights
  • Galileo University (GalileoX) — e-Learning: crea actividades y contenidos para la enseñanza virtual (offered in Spanish); Professional Android Developer
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPolyUx) — International Hospitality Management
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMBx) — Business Management, Entrepreneurship
  • Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPValenciaX) — Liderazgo y trabajo en equipo en grupos de mejora continua (offered in Spanish)
  • Université catholique de Louvain (LouvainX) — Management (offered in French); International Law
  • The University of Queensland, Australia (UQx) — Leadership in Global Development
  • Wageningen University (WageningenX) — Biobased Sciences for Sustainability

Agarwal believes the future of edtech will become ubiquitous in classrooms, just as Uber and Airbnb revolutionized the transportation and hospitality industries.

“Any field that tech has touched, it quickly becomes universal,” he said. “More people will teach online courses to augment what they are doing on campus. In 10 to 20 years people will be combining campus credentials with online credentials.”

Partnering universities are considering additional MicroMasters programs over the next year. Meanwhile, Pearson learning centers and EdX co-founding partner Harvard intend to incorporate MicroMasters courses in the future, although there is no word on how soon they will be offered.

Jennifer Ortakales

Jennifer Ortakales

Jennifer is a Boston-based freelance journalist who has covered emerging fashion and New York Fashion Week for Papercut magazine. When she isn't talking people's ears off, she studies art history and reconstructs thrift clothes into her own designs.