Online Learning

U Penn Offers Online Master's in CS at One-Third the Cost of an On-Campus Degree

online Master of Computer and Information Technology on Coursera

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science is launching its first fully online master's degree. Delivered on Coursera, the online Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) costs a total of $26,300, about a third of the cost of its on-campus equivalent.

The program is open to students with no previous background in computer science, and designed to provide a foundation for a variety of technical careers, from software development to product management, according to a news announcement.

"Computer science is now as fundamental to our future as math, reading or writing. And 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," said Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, in a statement. "Our vision is for a high-impact program that is more accessible and more affordable for more students."

The curriculum comprises 10 courses: six core courses and four electives, covering a blend of computer science theory and more practical project-based learning, all demanding "the same level of academic rigor and excellence for which the University of Pennsylvania is known," the announcement said. Students work collaboratively on real-world computing problems, using a variety of programming languages, data analytics tools and computing environments. Assignments are assessed through Coursera's combination of auto, peer and human grading done by on-campus faculty and teaching assistants. In addition, live video office hours allow students to interact with the same faculty who teach on campus.

Graduates of MCIT Online receive the same degree as the on-campus program, and as alumni of U Penn, they have access to career services, networking opportunities and other resources.

"This degree 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," said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera CEO, in a statement. "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."

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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