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CU Boulder’s MOOC-Based Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Has No Formal Application Process

The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) became the fifth US university to announce a MOOC-based online degree, joining Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, Arizona State University, and the University of Michigan.

In February, CU announced that their Board of Regents has approved an online Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. The degree is slated to launch in Fall 2018. Two-thirds of the degree content will be made available in the initial launch, with the remaining third coming later.

CU has not yet announced which platform will deliver this degree, whether Coursera, edX, FutureLearn or a self-hosted platform. The CU system has so far launched over 90 MOOCs on Coursera. The new degree program builds on the success of these courses, which have come from 4 of CU’s campuses and have reached 1.9 million learners from 192 countries. Michael Lightner, vice president of academic affairs, points out that MOOCs have provided an immense benefit to CU’s reputation. The cost to put ads in 192 countries would be prohibitive, but MOOCs provide a cost-effective channel to reach students around the globe.

For this particular Master’s degree, CU Boulder is planning to launch around 100 credits worth of courses. To earn a Master’s degree, students need to earn around 30 credits. Students can also earn a Graduate Certificate which is worth 10 credits. The cost of the degree will be around $20k, approximately half of the cost of the equivalent on-campus degree.  The courses will have a “non-credit option” for $79. It’s not clear if the course materials will be available for free to audit.

Interestingly, students will not need to submit a formal application process to enter this degree program, nor do they need to possess an undergraduate degree.  Rather, students prove their eligibility for the program by completing a semester’s worth of courses and earning at least a B average.

The pace at which MOOC-based degrees are being launched has really picked up this year.  Coursera just announced six new degrees including a Bachelors degree.  FutureLearn announced two new partners who will offer online degrees through its platform, Murdoch University and Open University. We can expect more such announcements through the rest of the year.

You can learn more about this University of Colorado’s MOOC efforts and their new MOOC-based Master’s degree in this podcast episode put out by CU. Below is a pricing chart of the all the MOOC-based degrees announced so far.