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FAQs on MIT’s new path to a master’s degree

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

This set of FAQs accompanies MIT’s Oct. 7, 2015, announcement regarding a pilot program offering a new path to a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management (SCM).

What is the news?

MIT is announcing a pilot program in its professional, one-year Supply Chain Management (SCM) master’s program in which learners can earn the full master’s degree by taking about half the course content online and half on campus. (The traditional one-year-on-campus program will continue to be offered.)

Also, MIT has created a new credential for online learners: the “MicroMaster’s,” which will be granted by MITx (MIT’s online learning initiative) to students who do exceptionally well in a given set of graduate-level online courses and do well in a subsequent exam. The credential will first be available to students who register for the SCM program’s online courses.

Is the MicroMaster’s credential a master’s degree?

No, it is a credential granted by MITx for outstanding performance in graduate-level online coursework. For many learners, it can be a step toward an MIT master’s degree.

When will the first MicroMaster’s course be offered?

February, 2016.

About the new path to a master’s degree:

Why is MIT offering this new path?  

MIT is committed to finding, recognizing, and attracting exceptional students from across the globe. This new path expands access to MIT and expands our core community members’ connections to peers from around the world.

Why do you say this program features “inverted admissions”?

In traditional master’s programs, students can’t begin courses unless they are admitted. With this pilot program, students can take a semester’s worth of courses online without having to apply for admission. If they do exceptionally well in these courses, they will be considered for admission to the SCM master’s program, should they choose to apply. And admitted students will be able to use their MicroMaster’s credential as course credit for a semester’s worth of the two-semester master’s program.

What do you hope to achieve with inverted admissions?
We will give students the chance to prove they can achieve excellence in a master’s program before they have to apply for admission. This will level the playing field: Students from lesser-known universities globally will be able to prove their mettle as prospective MIT residential students.

About the new MicroMaster’s credential:

How do you plan to determine who is eligible for a MicroMaster’s? 

We don’t. Anyone who successfully masters the material and receives a high passing grade on a demanding, proctored exam will earn the credential.

What will be the value of the MicroMaster’s? 
We expect that this new credential will be valued by companies, and will foster career advancement for its holders.

Is it your hope that the MicroMaster’s credential becomes a new unit of currency in higher education? 
Yes. If other universities wish to adopt this terminology for programs that are master’s-level, we will welcome that enthusiastically. 

Do you anticipate that other universities will consider the MicroMaster’s to be convertible to course credit in their existing master’s programs?

Yes. MIT is actively talking to other universities about that question.

More on the SCM master’s program:

Will MIT still offer the traditional, one-year-on-campus SCM master’s degree?


Will students entering MIT through this new pathway also be expected to complete the standard MIT Graduate Application?


When will the first group of students be admitted to work toward the SCM master’s degree on campus?  

We anticipate that the first students to obtain a master’s from MIT in this blended program will graduate from MIT in June 2018.

How many students do you anticipate admitting through this program?

We will likely run the program in cohorts of 30 to 40. We anticipate one cohort in the initial graduating class of 2018. As we will maintain our high standards for admissions, ultimately the number will depend on the number of qualified candidates.

About related efforts:

How will this affect edX? 

The online courses will be offered on the edX platform. EdX is willing and eager to support other universities, should they choose to adopt this concept and terminology.

Will MITx still offer free courses?


How will the online SCM coursework differ from the curriculum in the XSeries sequence in Supply Chain and Logistics Management that edX announced in fall 2013

The passing grade for the MicroMaster’s certificate will be higher than the passing grade for the XSeries certificate. We will offer a third course in the XSeries in the summer of 2016, so that students who have taken the first course and are in the process of taking the second course can complete the XSeries. After this, we will replace the XSeries with the MicroMaster’s.

Related questions:

Will there be another course beyond SCM coming soon?

Other MIT programs are interested in participating in accelerated master’s programs. MIT’s faculty governance will determine whether and how to proceed beyond the SCM pilot program.

Will MIT Professional Education and MIT Sloan Executive Education continue? 

MIT will continue to offer outstanding professional e ducation and solutions to companies, executives, and professionals.

Where can I learn more?

More information is available here.

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