MIT has opened up new pathways to online education and professional master’s degrees, with the introduction of a unique online credential called the MicroMaster’s credential and a new route to gaining an MIT master’s degree. And these revolutionary changes are being developed within a pilot program in MIT CTL’s number-one-ranked Supply Chain Management (SCM) program.
Students who excel in a semester’s worth of graduate-level classes online and who pass a comprehensive proctored exam can earn an MITx MicroMaster’s credential. Classes for this digital age qualification begin on February 10, 2016.
The MicroMaster’s will have no admissions requirements, and will be open to anyone. The coursework will be available for free. Learners can qualify for the MicroMaster’s by paying a modest fee for verified certificates and by passing a proctored exam.
MITx is MIT’s selection of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. MIT CTL’s online supply chain program, SCx, is part of MITx. The second installment in the SCx series, Supply Chain and Logistics Fundamentals, started on September 30th, 2015, and will run for 12 consecutive weeks (for more information on SC2x see the blog post MOOC Part Two Teaches Supply Chain Design.)
With a MicroMaster’s credential in hand, students interested in continuing their studies at MIT may apply to the full SCM master’s program (whose traditional, year-on-campus version will continue to be offered). Those who are admitted will receive course credit for the work they did online, and will come to MIT to complete the program, earning an MIT master’s degree after a semester on campus.
Professor Yossi Sheffi, Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, and head of the SCM master’s degree program, will lead the creation of course content and the nurturing of the two programs’ students.
“The new combination of online courses and one residential semester will open the SCM program to many more learners,” says Sheffi. “The 50-some corporate members of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, who are deeply involved with SCM students, enthusiastically embraced this effort, owing to the worldwide talent shortage in this field.”
In an email announcing the programs, MIT President Rafael Reif explained that the pilot’s new model for a master’s degree inverts the traditional admissions process: applicants will be able to demonstrate merit in a specific area of graduate-level study before applying to its master’s degree program. This innovative approach can democratize access to MIT.
“The rising cost of education, combined with the transformative potential of online teaching and learning technologies, presents a long-term challenge that no university can afford to ignore,” Reif wrote. “At MIT, we are choosing to meet this challenge directly by assessing the educational model that has served the Institute so well for so long. We are experimenting boldly with ideas to enhance the education we offer our own students and to lower the barriers to access for learners around the world.”