• Image: Bryce Vickmark and Christine Daniloff/MIT

    Full Screen

Online courses + time on campus = a new path to an MIT master’s degree

Pilot program reimagines admissions process, introduces “MicroMaster’s.”

Press Contact

Kimberly Allen
Email: allenkc@mit.edu
Phone: 617-253-2702
MIT News Office

Media Resources

1 images for download

Access Media

Media can only be downloaded from the desktop version of this website.

MIT announced today a pilot program allowing learners worldwide to take a semester’s worth of courses in its top-ranked, one-year Supply Chain Management (SCM) master’s program completely online, then complete an MIT master’s degree by spending a single semester on campus.

MIT also announced a new academic credential for the digital age: the “MicroMaster’s,” which can be earned through MITx by students who pass a comprehensive examination upon the successful completion of the same semester’s worth of online SCM courses. Classes begin on Feb. 10, 2016.

The announcement was made today by MIT President L. Rafael Reif in an email to the MIT community. The pilot will be led by Professor Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s dean of digital learning, and by Professor Yossi Sheffi and Dr. Chris Caplice, who run the SCM program and its online offerings.

“The new combination of online courses and one residential semester will open the SCM program to many more learners,” says Sheffi, who is the Elisha Gray II Professor of Engineering. “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.”

“I am delighted by the potential today's announcement presents to reach so many who share our passion for learning and bring them closer — whether digitally, physically, or both — to MIT,” Reif wrote.

Inverted admissions

The pilot will feature a new way of structuring admissions to a professional master’s program at MIT. Learners worldwide with access to edX can take any of the first semester’s worth of courses online. Those who do well in each course, and then score well on a subsequent comprehensive proctored examination, can earn an MITx MicroMaster’s, and their performance will significantly enhance their chances of being accepted to the full master’s program, which they can then complete in a single semester on campus.

“Inverted admission has the potential to disrupt traditional modes of access to higher education,” says Sarma, who is the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. “We’re democratizing access to a master’s program for learners worldwide.”

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.

For students who apply to the full master’s program and are admitted to spend a semester on campus, the MicroMaster’s will count toward a semester’s worth of MIT credit. MIT will seek to partner with companies and other organizations to offer financial support to students in need who are admitted to the SCM master’s program via the MicroMaster’s path.

“Decades ago,” Sarma says, “MIT reached students worldwide through faculty-authored textbooks. More recently, the availability of MIT course materials and lectures through OpenCourseWare and interactive courses from MITx broadened access to the Institute. Inverted admissions is the natural next step in MIT’s engagement with learners worldwide.”

Building on a strong program

MIT’s master’s program in Supply Chain Management is already global in its outlook: Its 36 to 40 students each year generally come to Cambridge from more than a dozen nations on five continents. In reputational rankings, SCM is generally regarded as the No. 1 offering in supply-chain management and logistics in the U.S.

MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, which Sheffi also leads, has already developed and launched international programs in Colombia, Spain, and Malaysia, each offering local master’s degrees but working in concert with SCM.

The traditional SCM program — which MIT will continue to offer — is a 10-month master’s degree program designed for early-career professionals who want to return to school for advanced training in supply-chain management. It draws applicants with careers in finance, information technology, management, marketing, and sales, among other fields. Students in the program generally have three to eight years of professional experience, with an average age of 30.

Latest step in the evolution of learning

The pilot program with inverted admissions is the latest step in MIT’s expansion of online learning. In December 2011, MIT announced the launch of MITx, which offers a portfolio of MIT courses through an online, interactive learning platform. In 2012, MIT partnered with Harvard University to launch edX, which offers online learning from many universities.

“The new MicroMaster’s is an important modular credential for the digital age, and promises to serve as academic currency in a continuous, lifelong-learning world,” says Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. “It also affords an evolutionary path for universities in the face of mounting costs, and a way to leverage technology to blend online and on-campus learning pathways.”

The pilot program also builds upon the 16 recommendations made last year by the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education, which Reif convened in 2013 to envision the MIT of 2020 and beyond. When Reif released that panel’s final report, on Aug. 4, 2014, he wrote to the MIT community that the occasion “marks the beginning of an exciting new period of educational experimentation at MIT.” The report, he added, presented a framework for the Institute to reinvent education for learners at MIT and beyond.

“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.”

FAQs can be found here.

Topics: online learning, President L. Rafael Reif, Massive open online courses (MOOCs), Graduate, postdoctoral, History of MIT, MIT presidency, OpenCourseWare, Technology and society, Classes and programs, Supply chains, EdX, MITx


Oh, no.

Please add more courses from engineering and sciences discipline to such similar arrangement. I will be looking forward to such programs to join. I am from a Science/Engineering background and not interested in Supply chain.


May I take information or links about fee and payments.


How does the subsequent comprehensive proctored examination work ?


No admissions requirements and free?
Why pay $55,000 tuition?

I don't think this should be called a Micro Masters.
It devalues all real MIT master of science degrees. Alumni should be ticked off.

I think you should get a Certificate of Completion.
It no way approximates being on the MIT campus from the start.

There is an intensive 9 month program called M.Eng. at MIT, for recent
engineering graduates who are going to go into professional practice.
This requires intensive effort in 4 classes per semester, seminar,
projects and an M.Eng. thesis under the supervision of a faculty or research staff
member. You can take any graduate course if it fits in your electives.

That's what MIT is about. Serendipidity and being on campus.

This degree is not even the quality of the M.Eng.
And the M.Eng. isn't called a Master of Science.

Create another school called OpenMIT. Then print out certificates.
Like the Open University in the UK.
This is outrageous.

Can you be more explicit and tell the curriculum for this path ? What are the other courses to be taught on edX ? How different or how closed are they compared to those on http://scm.mit.edu/program/cor... ?
Let's say, I succeed well in all courses on edX and in the proctored exam, am I qualified to spend a semester in Cambridge or what are the other requirements I need to have ?
I think you should be more transparent and explain all possible scenarios as it can be a huge investments for people like me all along the journey.
Thank you,

Hi, please send information for fees

Isn't this like the University of Phoenix?

I would love you enable this possibility for some IT masters and not only for the SCM master.

When can I apply?

How can I apply or where can I get the subsiption to this program?

Is there any other course provided other than supply chain management?

Some universities (in Canada and in France for instance and even Harvard) have a department of continuing education that grants degrees and students who got these Diplomas or Certificates become alumni of the University.
Will graduate from the micro-master program be accredited as MIT alumni?

Does the current SC2X offered on edX count or I will have to wait until February next year when they starts roll out new micro-master series?

I know many would like to see a similar micromaster for Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Data Science, etc. along with pre-reqs for those with non-CS backgrounds, but with significant industry experience in building technology products. Make it happen MIT, please!

Awesome! what a great way to teach the world & make a new filter, kinda like "Pre-TSA" screening.
Looking forward to recibe more information, I already suscribed.
Regards from Chile!

Back to the top