MIT unveils ‘MicroMaster’s,’ allowing students to get half their degree from MOOCs



The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will begin allowing students to earn half of a master’s degree through online courses, then cap it off with a single semester on the campus. The university’s president, L. Rafael Reif, announced the pilot program on Wednesday.

Under the program, any online student who completes the first semester’s worth of courses in MIT’s supply-chain-management master’s program, earning good grades and passing a “comprehensive proctored examination,” will have a leg up in gaining admission to complete the program in a single semester on the campus.

According to MIT, the new program also sets the stage for “a new academic credential for the digital age” — the “MicroMaster’s,” which refers to the first half of the master’s program, completed online.

MIT is not the only institution to experiment with unbundling a degree into separate, smaller credentials.

“Inverted admission has the potential to disrupt traditional modes of access to higher education,” said MIT’s dean of digital learning, Sanjay Sarma, in a news release. “We’re democratizing access to a master’s program for learners worldwide.”