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Thirteen universities adopt MicroMasters and launch 18 new programs via edX

MITx expands reach of MicroMasters in supply chain management with new paths to a master’s degree.
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Online learners that obtain the <i>MITx</i> MicroMasters credential in supply chain management now have a faster path to a master’s degree at MIT and also at Curtin University and the University of Queensland.
Online learners that obtain the <i>MITx</i> MicroMasters credential in supply chain management now have a faster path to a master’s degree at MIT and also at Curtin University and the University of Queensland.
Chris Caplice (second from left), director of the <i>MITx</i> MicroMasters in supply chain management and his team participate in an online meeting with <i>MITx</i> learners using MIT’s “unhangout” platform.
Chris Caplice (second from left), director of the <i>MITx</i> MicroMasters in supply chain management and his team participate in an online meeting with <i>MITx</i> learners using MIT’s “unhangout” platform.

In October 2015, MIT launched the MITx MicroMasters credential, which enables online learners to take a semester’s worth of master’s-level courses on the edX platform, then complete a master’s degree in a single full semester on campus at MIT. The first MicroMasters in supply chain management (SCM) has seen incredible success: Over 127,000 students have enrolled in at least one course — including representation from 189 countries — and more than 7,000 have signed up for verified ID certificates in at least one course.

Just one year later, edX is now partnering with several other universities to bring the MicroMasters model to even more learners across the globe. EdX, the leading nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT, aims to bridge the knowledge gap between higher education and the workplace by offering 18 new programs from 13 universities in rapidly growing fields, ranging from artificial intelligence to project management to supply chain management. MIT is also engaging with numerous other schools to create new paths to master's credit for the MITx MicroMasters in SCM.

“We are proud to be a pioneer for higher education’s next step in engaging learners worldwide,” says Sanjay Sarma, vice president for open learning at MIT. “Not all high-potential master’s candidates can afford to spend a year or more on campus, so it’s important to provide multiple pathways to a degree. MicroMasters gives learners the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities through a series of online courses, earn a valuable credential and, if they excel, complete their master’s with an additional semester’s residence.”

Online graduate-level foundations

Similar to MITx MicroMasters, edX’s modular programs offer a credential with a pathway to credit, helping students pursue an accelerated master’s degree, advance in one’s career, or break into a new field.

It’s these pursuits that make the MITx MicroMasters in SCM so popular — and so rigorous. The program provides online learners an advanced, professional, graduate-level foundation in a field experiencing a real talent shortage. Through in-depth, hands-on learning across five courses and a final capstone exam, students take graduate-level courses comparable to a semester’s worth of coursework at MIT’s top-ranked SCM master’s program — all while gaining critical expertise in the systems that connect businesses and people around the world.

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The MITx MicroMasters in supply chain management is a first-of-its-kind credential with a pathway to credit with value to academic institutions and employers.

“Supply chain management is the backbone of the global economy,” explains Chris Caplice, executive director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. “The need for professionals who can design, manage, and operate these complex global supply chains continues to grow. This is why we created the online courses that comprise the MicroMasters credential in supply chain management.”

The next course in the MicroMasters series, CTL.SC0x (Supply Chain Analytics), starts Nov. 2. The eight-week course begins with an overview of probability and decision analysis — to ensure students understand how uncertainty can be modeled — and then moves into basic statistics, regression, and optimization modeling. By the end of the course, students will master and apply the core methodologies used in supply chain analysis and modeling.

New collaborations

Now, the University of Queensland and Curtin University will offer paths to credit for the MITx MicroMasters in SCM. Students who enroll and complete the MicroMasters will obtain a chance for an accelerated master's degree at these institutions. It’s an exciting opportunity for learners as well as the universities.

“Introducing supply chain management to the UQ master of business gives our students new flexibility and a lower cost through MIT’s innovative online MicroMasters,” says Andrew Griffiths, executive dean and faculty of business, economics and law at the University of Queensland. “We are delighted to be working with MIT to provide another path to a University master’s degree for the global cohort of MITx supply chain management MicroMasters learners.” Curtin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry says, “The concept of MicroMasters reflects the type of option that will increasingly attract students to upgrade their skills. MIT’s MicroMasters in supply chain management has been an incredible success to date, and Curtin is delighted to be working with MIT to provide a pathway to global online learners.”

The broader reach of the MicroMasters in SCM is also valuable for companies looking to develop a smarter, more capable workforce.

“Supply chain management is changing from the more heuristic model, based on gut feeling, to a highly advanced model that relies on optimization methodology and analytics,” says Jes Bengtsson, supply planning manager at SABMiller Europe. “The hardest part of this change is making employees think differently about the many tools at their disposal. We recognized a need for broader training, and MicroMasters met this need because we could invest in educating employees on how supply chains work and how to think about them in an effective way.”

For many students, the MicroMasters program provides an opportunity to think differently on a personal level as well. “Discovering the MITx MicroMasters program was a life-changing experience,” says Mohamed Mabchour, who lives in Morocco. “I would have never dreamed of taking top-ranking SCM classes if not for edX! This credential will help me broaden my knowledge in SCM and get a credible certificate to advance my career, while also helping me to achieve my dream of applying for MIT's SCM master’s degree on campus. I believe MITx MicroMasters has given many people around the world, especially those in developing countries, a hope to fulfill the dream of continuing their education at a top-tier American institution.”

Interested individuals can see the full listing of other MicroMasters programs offered by edX.

Press Mentions

US News & World Report

In an article for U.S. News & World Report exploring MOOC-based credential options, Jordan Friedman highlights the MITx MicroMasters program in supply chain management. “Students who earn the MicroMasters can, if admitted, apply their credential to MIT's supply chain management master's program,” writes Friedman. 


Martha White of Money writes about MIT’s MicroMasters program, a pilot that provides students an opportunity to gain a master’s degree through online and on-campus courses. "Experts say this could be a breakthrough because MIT and the other schools rolling out similar graduate degree on-ramp programs have excellent academic reputations,” writes White. 

Bloomberg News

The MicroMasters model MIT launched as a pilot last year to provide students a new path to a master’s degree is being adopted by 13 universities, reports Peter Coy for Bloomberg. President L. Rafael Reif explained that the MicroMasters concept is "an important project for me. I believe in the model of empowering people."

Inside Higher Ed

Carl Straumshein writes for Inside Higher Ed that 13 universities are adopting the MicroMasters model pioneered by MIT that provides the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree through a combination of online and on-campus courses. “We believe that a MicroMasters will start a new trend in academia,” explains edX President Anant Agarwal. 

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