Exploring MicroMasters Programs

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Are you spooked by the stratospheric costs of pursuing a master’s degree in the United States? With tuition fees and other costs reaching $100,000 on the one hand, and the risk of a low return on investment on the other hand, a master’s degree may not be worth your time, effort, and investment! (This isn’t to say that it applies to everybody; the trick is in deciding whether a master’s degree in your field is, indeed, worth it.)

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Fortunately, there’s a set of higher education programs that combine the best of both worlds! Welcome to the world of MicroMasters programs! These programs are designed to act as a bridge, in a manner of speaking, between a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, and these are shorter in duration and cheaper in tuition while still providing topnotch education for career advancement. 

Are you intrigued by their possibilities and opportunities? Well, keep reading, for you will find that the MicroMasters programs aren’t as micro – short and small in significance – as you may initially thought!

Let’s explore what MicroMasters programs are all about! Use these quick links for easier navigation:

A Brief History

The MicroMasters program was created by Sanjay Sarma at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with Erdin Beshimov. MIT offered it as a pilot program within its top-ranked supply chain management (SCM) graduate degree program, with the first cohort honored in June 2017 in an online ceremony. For its inaugural MicroMasters SCM, more than 1,100 students completed the five-course program; MIT still offers said program today, and it’s among the most popular on the edX platform. 

The MicroMasters program we know today was launched in September 2016 with 19 programs offered in collaboration with 14 universities, including MIT and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Every MicroMasters program was – and still is today – sponsored by both industry partners, such as Fidelity, Walmart, Bloomberg, Microsoft, and G.E., and the partner universities. 

The MicroMasters programs have evolved to become more inclusive, affordable, and acceptable across numerous colleges, universities, and industries through the years. In 2018, for example, MIT accepted 40 students into its blended 5-month SCM program; it was previously a 10-month program. In the same year, top-rated universities started offering online, blended, and full residential MicroMasters programs at more affordable prices. 

As of February 2021, the edX official website features 63 MicroMasters programs from universities in the United States and abroad. These include MIT, University of California – San Diego, and the University of Maryland in the U.S. and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), University of British Columbia, and the University of Queensland. 

An Introduction to MicroMasters Programs

MicroMasters programs consist of a series of graduate-level courses offered through the edX platform by accredited universities. Students typically earn graduate-level credentials to prepare for a master’s degree and develop specific standalone skills necessary for career advancement. These programs are also designed to address employers’ needs for employees with advanced educational credentials equivalent to 25% to 50% of a master’s degree. 

Indeed, the idea of MicroMasters programs came from the confluence of the MOOC model’s evolution, the changing nature of work and workplace, and the significant shortage of skills in highly specialized fields. Professionals who finish MicroMasters programs are well-equipped with job-specific knowledge and skills, which employers look for in prospective employees. 

Programs Are Offered Only on edX

Emphasis must first be made that MicroMasters programs are only offered through the edX platform. The term “MicroMasters” is a trademarked term owned by edX Inc., and, as such, proper attribution must be made when it’s used in any form and platform. 

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Note: Coursera offers MasterTrack programs, a series of online graduate-level courses that provides intensive education in a specific field while allowing learners to earn credits toward a master’s degree. Like MicroMasters programs, these are also equivalent to one semester in a master’s degree program. Coursera and edX are independent of each other, and, thus, credits earned in one platform may not be credited in the other platform. 

EdX Inc. is a non-profit organization founded by Harvard University and MIT and an online e-learning platform that offers interactive courses in a wide range of subjects. These subjects include engineering, computer science, business, and data analysis offered for free or for a fee depending on the learner’s goals. Most of these courses consist of video lectures and reading materials and graded quizzes, exams, and assignments. 

By removing the barriers inherent in traditional forms of education, such as cost, access, and location, edX is transforming the way we see higher education! Learners enrolled in the MicroMasters programs benefit from stackable learning experiences, the opportunity to explore new interests, and the possibilities for career advancement. Most, if not all, learners are in the programs to become better versions of themselves, from gaining valuable field-specific knowledge and skills to developing their soft skills. 

As it says on the website, “edX is where you go to learn!” Indeed, you will learn because every course in the MicroMasters programs is led by expert instructors who have topnotch academic credentials, work experiences, and industry accolades. 

Every MicroMasters program, by the way, includes a brief introduction of the instructors, including their academic credentials, published papers, and subjects taught. Such transparency goes a long way in establishing credibility and trust among interested learners and making the instructors more familiar, a good thing in online education.  

Individuals To Most Likely Benefit from the Programs 

Not everybody will benefit from a MicroMasters program! But it can be said that the following cohorts will most likely find edX’s MicroMasters programs to their advantage: 

  • Young professionals who want to gain an edge in employment through specialized knowledge and skills 
  • Working adults who want to acquire industry-specific knowledge and skills for career advancement, whether in the same field or preparation for a career change 
  • Individuals who want to determine whether a full master’s program is the right fit for them by getting their feet wet first, so to speak, through a shorter MicroMasters program
  • Career professionals who want valid and verified certificates – and more affordable, to boot – to boost their professional portfolios, academic credentials, or resumes 

Before you enroll in a MicroMasters program, you must also consider its advantages and disadvantages concerning your unique circumstances in life, including your work status, budget, and lifestyle. You may benefit from a MicroMasters in Statistics and Data Science, for instance, if your career goals include becoming a data scientist, a data engineer, or a business intelligence analyst; you have $1,350 for the tuition fee, and you’re willing to spend 10-14 hours per week for one year and two months on intensive studies.  

Keep in mind that there’s no limit to the number and types of MicroMasters programs you can enroll in and earn a verified certificate from! You can look at these certificates as stackable credentials that, when designed well, provides a clear pathway toward your professional goals. You also don’t need to stop with your employment. But instead, you’re adding value to your work by learning up-to-date, relevant, and effective skills. 

Employers also consider verified certificates from MicroMasters programs as evidence of an individual’s commitment to lifelong learning and increased work productivity and value. Their recognition that 21st-century workplaces require upskilling and remixing skills is partly credited for increasing acceptance of MicroMasters verified certificates. 

An Overview of the Programs’ Essential Elements

Like any graduate program in an accredited college or university, the MicroMasters programs have their own set of rules and regulations governing admissions, duration and cost, and structure, among others. Let’s take a look at these aspects so that you may have a better idea of a MicroMasters program’s suitability in your life.   

Number and Types of Programs 

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As previously mentioned, there are currently 63 programs on the edX website covering a wide range of topics. These range from Accounting, Global Business Leadership, Management, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Quantum Technology, Humanities and Soft Skills, and Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy. edX offers its readers the opportunity to be alerted about new MicroMasters programs, an excellent way to be updated considering that new ones are being offered and old ones have already been discontinued (e.g., the UX Research and Design MicroMasters Program of the University of Michigan). 

Eligibility and Admission Requirements 

There are no one-size-fits-all eligibility and admission requirements for all edX MicroMasters programs, so nearly everybody with a bachelor’s degree can apply for admission. However, some programs have prerequisites for admission, including a graduate-level understanding of the topic and work experience. 

Even these prerequisites aren’t iron-clad in the sense that these are considered as learner suggested guidelines, not as strictly enforced rules. Interested individuals are well-advised to heed these guidelines to benefit from the courses instead of struggling to catch up with the advanced lessons. Nonetheless, everybody is welcome to participate in the courses, learn from the instructors and their fellow students, and try their best! 

Let’s take as an example Purdue University’s Quantum Technology: Computing program. Learners are encouraged to review their basic undergraduate math and physics courses discussed in science or engineering degrees; these skills are a sufficient foundation for successful learning. The program itself introduces the engineering, math, and physics elements of quantum computing. 

There are also geographical restrictions that edX implements in keeping with its license. Learners from Cuba, Iran, and the Crimea in Ukraine cannot enroll in its courses and programs due to sanctions. 

Comparison with In-person Curriculum

The quality of instruction between online and in-person curriculum depends on the university offering the MicroMasters program. But edX’s MicroMasters programs are of the same quality of instruction, including academic rigor as their on-campus counterparts.

Why? One proof is that the certificates provided to learners who completed their respective MicroMasters programs don’t contain the word “online”! The online and on-campus education are identical and, thus, there’s no need for differentiation based on location. 

But there’s a significant difference between the online MicroMasters programs and their on-campus counterparts: The former has no enrollment cap (i.e., unlimited number of students). However, this is true for all edX programs and courses, so it isn’t a big deal. 

This is because the MicroMasters programs are designed for delivery at scale to thousands of learners! Such a large scale is possible through over 50 assessment and learning tools, which instructors use to engage with learners, communicate with them on various concerns, and test their knowledge. 

Pace, Structure, and Schedule 

Every program has its structure and schedule, which are shown on every MicroMasters program page. Be sure to check these elements, as these will impact your schedule, too, especially when it comes to the difference between instructor-paced and self-paced courses. 

On the one hand, instructor-paced programs follow the instructors’ pace, so there’s less room for setting your own pace. The classes have a fixed schedule, which learners are encouraged to attend 100% and specific due dates for assignments, tests, and quizzes. Learners receive their course materials at set dates and submit completed requirements within a specific time. 

On the other hand, self-paced programs don’t have a fixed schedule, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have suggested deadlines. Most have suggested deadlines that help learners plan their study time accordingly (i.e., less cramming, more learning). Learners get all their course materials as soon as the program begins and must submit completed requirements on or before the end of the program. 

The number of assignments, tests, and quizzes varies between programs, too. Some programs may only have a single final exam, while some may have numerous exams, tests, and quizzes. 

The minimum passing score also varies between courses. Each MicroMasters program also provides information in this regard, so there’s no guessing game involved. For Purdue University’s Quantum Technology: Detectors and Networking program, its students, must have an average grade of B or higher for all five courses to pass. For RIT’s Cybersecurity program, learners must achieve a grade of 80% or higher in four courses to pass. 

Most of the MicroMasters programs are in English since most of the universities are from English-speaking countries. But there are a few programs taught in other languages. Examples include Spanish for the Universitat Politècnica de València (Polytechnic University of Valencia); the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (National University of Córdoba); and the Tecnológico de Monterrey, as well as French for HEC Montréal. These foreign language MicroMasters programs have English subtitles for their video lectures.  

Many of these programs are available as 100% online, blended and on-campus programs, and the information is also provided on the respective program page. The great thing about the 100% online format is that learners and instructors can engage in course discussions, coordinate with team members and connect through digital means. This fosters a strong sense of community and camaraderie that would otherwise be absent in digital interactions. 

Free Demonstration Course Offered 

Yet another excellent feature of edX MicroMasters programs is that everybody can try them for free! Learners can then test out the programs and decide to make an upgrade to the verified track. 

Furthermore, EdX offers interested individuals a fun demonstration course that learners new to the platform can try before deciding. This is a walk-through type of session that even people new to online learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs) can easily master.  

Free and Paid Tracks to Choose From 

Learners can choose from two tracks when choosing from edX’s MicroMasters programs.  

  • The audio track, or the free track, provides free access to all course materials except for their graded assignments. You can access the free course content for the number of weeks or months listed on the program page, say, eight months for RIT’s Project Management program. But there’s a restriction, too – the time limit begins either at the stated start date or your enrolment date, whichever occurred second. Afterward, access will be denied.  

You may learn what other learners on the verified track learned in the audit track, but you will not earn a verified certificate even after completion of the course. 

  • The paid track’s verified track provides full access to every course material, including video lectures and graded assignments. Learners have full access until the course’s end date; even after the end date, you can still access the material, but submitting graded assignments or earning a certificate isn’t allowed anymore. 

Upon completing your chosen program, which means submitting completed requirements on or before the deadlines and earning the minimum passing grade, you will receive a verified certificate. You may add the verified certificate to your resume, both on paper and online, like LinkedIn. You may also stack it toward a full master’s degree program or a professional certificate, whichever is appropriate. 

When choosing between the two tracks, remember: 

  • You may choose to upgrade to the verified track if your audit track access has expired, but the course is still open for enrollment in the verified track. This is done through the edX Dashboard. 
  • You may enroll in the future once a closed course becomes available again; this is typically true when a learner cannot pay the tuition fee, or the upgrade option isn’t available. Take note that most edX courses are offered on a repeated basis and, thus, you still have the opportunity to enroll in the next round. 
  • You can take the graded assignments, which are compulsory requirements for earning verified certificates, once you have paid to switch to the verified track on or before the deadline for upgrades. (Check the upgrade deadlines shown on every course banner.) 

Learners on the verified track can still access their archived course materials and content even after the end of the course for as long as these exist on the platform. The edX courses can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices, meaning that these can be watched on mobile devices, laptops, and desktops (i.e., for online and offline viewing). 

Cost of Enrollment 

Every MicroMasters program has its specific fee displayed on its program page. The fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000 and above, but be sure to check out the program page since discounts are also available. (All fees are in U.S. dollars.)

The fee itself is a one-time payment. You may purchase courses one at a time or individually, but you can also purchase all program courses as a bundle. According to the edX website, learners can save as much as 10% overall on fees through courses’ bundling. 

edX accepts the following modes of payment for the verified track: (Bank transfers and other payment methods are not currently accepted.)

  • Credit/debit card from Discover, American Express, Mastercard and Visa 
  • PayPal 

The payment process is easy, too. Either enroll in the verified track or click the “Upgrade to Verified” button, enter the required information, and pay the fees.  

edX has a 14-day refund policy. If you don’t want to continue taking the course or program within 14 days after making a verified purchase, you will immediately get a full refund.  

Financial Assistance Offered 

Many of the MicroMasters programs may be out of reach, money-wise, for interested individuals. Fortunately, most of the courses and programs offered are eligible for financial assistance! The reduction in fees can be up to 90% of the total fee, and the financial aid can be availed up to five times every year. 

The application process for financial assistance is straightforward, too. 

  • Enroll in one course as an audit learner. Keep in mind that you must apply for financial assistance for every course in the program to complete each course one by one. edX doesn’t allow a single financial assistance application for an entire program as a bundle. The financial assistance coupons only work on single course upgrades.
  • Complete the application for financial assistance. Choose your desired course from the Course dropdown; if you don’t see your desired course in it, it’s likely not eligible for financial assistance. Select and confirm your annual household income range, which will influence your application’s approval. 

You must write three essay responses before you can submit your application. The responses must be at least 1,250 characters or about 200-300 words. Click the submit button to finish the process on your end. 

  • Wait for the decision. The application team reviews every application in 2-4 days, so it isn’t a long wait. When your application is approved, you get coupon code for a 90% discount sent to your email. You can apply the coupon code on your payment form to avail of the discounted rate. In case of non-approval, you will get an email to this effect and without a coupon code. 

Since financial assistance can only be considered and approved on a per-course basis, its transfer to another course isn’t allowed. 

Duration of Programs 

The duration for each MicroMasters program and courses also varies. Most programs take about one to one-and-a-half years to complete, while courses take between six and 12 months. Most programs also require four to eight hours per week. The duration in weeks, months, and years are always shown on the program page, particularly on the screen’s right-hand side and below the course description. 

Take note that since each course has an end date, learners on a verified track who want to earn a verified certificate must meet the minimum passing score by that date. 

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Percentage of Completion Toward a Full Master’s Degree 

On average, completing a MicroMasters program represents between 25% and 50% of a full master’s degree. Let’s say that you’ve earned a MicroMasters program verified certificate. You will then apply to an online or on-campus master’s degree program considered a “credit pathway” for the particular MicroMasters program. 

Once you’re accepted into a full master’s degree program, you can apply your MicroMasters program certificate – or its credits, if you will – toward the degree. This way, you will enjoy a significant reduction in time and cost commitment to the graduate program. 

Take, for example, Georgia TechX’s Analytics MicroMasters program, with its three courses serving as foundational courses for the university’s full Online Master of Science in Analytics (OMS Analytics) degree. If you completed the entire MicroMasters program, you will not only have an edge in the application process for the full master’s degree program, but you can also apply for the credits from the former. 

Georgia Tech allows students to apply up to three courses (nine hours) from its Georgia TechX program as advanced standing credit. The nine hours represent a reduction from the 36 hours required to complete the full master’s degree program.  

Another example is RITx’s Design Thinking MicroMasters program, where learners who earned its verified certificate can apply its credits to RIT’s School of Individualized Study for graduate-level certification programs. Nine credits can be applied to its 33-credit Professional Studies master’s degree, among other options. 

The university determines the number of credits transferred from the edX MicroMasters program to a full master’s degree program. In many cases, the credits can only be transferred from a particular university’s edX program to its corresponding traditional master’s degree program. 

But there are exceptions to the rule! Learners who earn the MIT Supply Chain Management program’s verified certificate are eligible to apply to MIT and other institutions in and out of the United States. The MicroMasters certificate will be counted toward a full master’s degree in MIT’s SCALE Network, including its Blended Masters in Applied Science or Engineering in Supply Chain Management program, as well as at the MIT Zaragoza Logistics Center in Spain and the MIT Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation Accelerated Master’s of Supply Chain Management. 

The verified certificate will also be accepted at the Arizona State University (USA) – Master of Science in Supply Chain Management; Covenant University (Nigeria) – Master of Business Administration; and Curtin University (Australia) – Master of Commerce (Supply Chain Management), and Master of Supply Chain Managemen, among many others. 

For learners who are only interested in skills development for professional advancement purposes, the verified certificate as proof of completing a MicroMasters program is typically sufficient. Many employers appreciate the importance of verified certifications in terms of the added value their employees bring to the table, and a master’s degree may be unnecessary at this point.  

Admission to Full Master’s Programs 

We must emphasize that completing a MicroMasters program, even with flying colors, isn’t a guarantee of admission into the university’s corresponding full master’s degree program. Yes, it may give you an edge, but you must comply with the university’s admissions requirements. These may include unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, and TOEFL, if applicable, which should be submitted by a certain date. 

Where does the edge come in? If you complete a MicroMasters program, it acts as a signal or proof to the admissions committee of your commitment to learning and learning well. It’s also a demonstration of your ability to tackle the rigorous curriculum in a master’s degree program and, thus, succeed in it – and the admissions committee will likely take note of it. 

Keep in mind, too, that the admission requirements for online, blended, and on-campus master’s degree programs differ from their edX MicroMasters counterparts. For example, letters of recommendation aren’t usually required in the latter but a must in the former, as is true for transcripts of records, TOEFL, and minimum GPA. 

In most instances, however, GRE or MAT scores aren’t required for admission into MicroMasters and full master’s degree programs. But there are instances when a MicroMasters verified certificate can be accepted as a substitute for GRE or MAT scores. 

The bottom line: Always read the policies on admissions! You won’t know the rigor being admitted into the master’s degree program entails even with your MicroMasters verified certification until you understand them. 

Programs for Individuals and Businesses Offered 

edX also has plans for businesses, which are customized plans designed to provide upskilling training to employees. Due to the customized nature of these plans, the website doesn’t indicate pricing structures. According to the website, the plans have worked well for large corporations like Hilton, Goldman Sachs, and Mercedes-Benz. 

Businesses can choose between subscriptions and multiple courses depending on their specific needs and wants in upskilling training. edX guarantees unlimited access to more than 700 self-paced courses, which can be accessed via a native platform or directly from your LMS. 

For LMS Integrations, these are made possible through integration with SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone, EdCast, and Degreed, among others, or through direct integration with the edX API. For bulk purchases, edX allows businesses to choose either direct enrollment or individual-use enrolment codes. 

Just as with the individual MicroMasters programs, employers have a wide variety of studies to choose from. These include computer science (programming languages, data structures, and web and mobile design), business and management (economics, finance, and digital strategy), and data analytics (big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning). There are also professional skills programs, including inclusive leadership, soft skills, and other business proficiencies.  

Steps in Opening an edX Account

So, are you ready to start your edX MicroMasters journey? You must open a personal edX account, and it’s easy-peasy, too, thanks to the clean, user-friendly, and intuitive design and layout of the edX platform. 

Here are the simple registration steps: 

  • Open your preferred browser, such as Google Chrome, type in edx.org, and click on the official website. 
  • Click the “Create an Account” button. 
  • Add the required information, including your full name, email, password, and country of residence 
  • Click the “Create Account” button. 

You can now sign in and explore the courses and programs on the edX site with your account. You can go directly to the MicroMasters program home page by: 

  • Clicking on the “Programs & Degrees” tab at the top of the page. 
  • Clicking on the “MicroMasters” link. 
  • Browsing the MicroMasters programs (scroll halfway down the page for the programs) 
  • Clicking on a MicroMasters program will redirect you to its program page, where more details are displayed. 

The information includes but isn’t limited to the skills students will learn, the program’s duration, number of courses, student-led or instructor-led, and fees (both original and discounted fees are displayed). Every program page also features a program overview portion where information about the program’s courses, certificate and credit pathways, and the job outlook is detailed. Basic information about the instructors and a FAQs section is also included on the page.  

Upon enrollment in a course or program, you can access the course materials at your dashboard on the edX site. The course name should be above the start date, and it’s a piece of information that should guide your study periods. 

You can begin by clicking on the “View Course” button, which will redirect to the Course page. Then, you click on the “Start Course” button located in the upper right or scroll down where a course outline is displayed. You can then start reading the course lessons. 

Tip: If you don’t see the “View Course” button, it means that the course hasn’t started yet. 

What Are Their Pros and Cons?

From the abovementioned discussion, we can conclude the following pros and cons of the edX MicroMasters programs. 

Pros: 

  • Come with a cheaper cost and shorter duration than a full master’s degree program yet still provides the same academic rigor 
  • Prepare students for the challenge of a full master’s degree program 
  • Allow for the transfer of advanced standing credits 
  • Provide learners with high-value, job-specific knowledge and skills essential for career advancement 
  • Give their holders an edge in applying for jobs or promotions, as well as in applying into a full master’s degree program, thanks to the widespread acceptability of the programs  
  • Offer a free and for-a-fee version 
  • Partner with prestigious universities in and out of the United States as well as with well-known business organizations 
  • Offer a wide variety of subjects from business to technology, even soft skills training 
  • Allow learning at your own pace for self-paced courses
  • Offer financial aid for most programs 
  • Allow learners to balance work, life, and studies 

Cons: 

  • It isn’t suitable for people who learn best with a face-to-face classroom setup 
  • It isn’t suitable for individuals who don’t possess the commitment to a rigorous academic curriculum 

Best MicroMasters Programs for Your Consideration

MIT – Supply Chain Management 

MITx’s Supply Chain Management program was the inaugural MicroMasters program that set the ball rolling! Here, students learn to use core methodologies to analyze supply chain modeling, use fundamental models in making trade-off decisions, and design and implement supply chain, information, and financial networks. 

The program consists of five graduate-level courses, such as Supply Chain Analytics, Supply Chain Fundamentals and Supply Chain Technology and Systems, and a Supply Chain Comprehensive Exam. Students must take the exam to earn the MicroMasters credentials, and said exam lasts for 3-5 hours.  

Since it’s an instructor-led program, students must submit assignments and exams on specific deadlines. The program itself lasts for one year and five months with a time commitment of 8-12 hours per week. The current discounted price is $1,524.60, while its original price was $1,694 for the entire program. 

Successful program completers can look forward to exciting job opportunities like supply chain analysts, logistics managers, and purchasing managers.  

Georgia Institute of Technology – Analytics: Essential Tools and Methods

Georgia TechX’s MicroMasters program consists of three graduate-level courses: Introduction to Analytics Modeling, Computing for Data Analysis, and Data Analytics for Business. Learners get the knowledge and skills in using SQL, R, and Python, among other essential analytics tools, and create a data analysis pipeline and apply their skills in business settings. 

With the instructor leading the courses, the program can be completed in one year with a time commitment of 9-11 hours per week. The entire program costs $2,475, and it’s well worth the price considering the transferability of credits. As previously mentioned, up to nine credit hours or three courses can be applied as advanced standing credit toward Georgia Tech’s OMS Analytics program. 

Your job opportunities include data analysts, business analysts, and operations research analysts if you complete the program. You may also decide to pursue the consultant path.  

University of California, Berkeley – Marketing Analytics

With UC BerkeleyX’s Marketing Analytics program, learners become skilled at analytics-based marketing strategies, price and promotion analytics, and competitive trends analysis. These specific skills are valuable in driving return on investments, budgeting for campaigns, and applying appropriate analytics tools in solving real-world issues. Take note that audited students can avail of these courses for free, but verified students have an edge – they have full access to R’s practical applications, an analytics tool used as the standard for data analysis. 

The self-paced program consists of four graduate-level courses: Marketing Measurement Strategy, Price and Promotion Analytics, Competitive Analysis and Market Segmentation, and Products, Distribution, and Sales. The entire program lasts for four months with a time commitment of 5-7 hours per week, and there’s a discount on its fees, too. 

Successful program completers can also apply their advanced standing credits toward the UC Berkeley Extension’s Marketing certificate program and RIT’s Master of Science in Professional Studies ad Curtin University’s Master of Marketing program. 

New York University – Integrated Digital Media

NYUx’s Integrated Digital Media program consists of three graduate-level courses – Creative Coding, Theories of Media and Technology, Media Law – and a capstone project. In the latter, learners are required to draw upon their lessons and create a portfolio-ready work, a must for passing the program and earning a verified certificate. 

Learners develop their conceptual thinking skills, use digital media tools and technologies in the ever-changing world, and integrate these technologies to create an effective technological ecosystem. As an instructor-led program, they must also submit assignments and exams on or before specified dates. 

The entire program lasts for one year, and learners are expected to commit 8-10 hours per week to their studies. The program price is now discounted at $896.40 from its $996 original price. 

The credit hours earned in this program represent 30% of the required coursework at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Master’s in Integrated Digital Media program. Successful completers are prepared for careers in graphic design, product design, software development, and website development. 

University of California, San Diego – Algorithms and Data Structures

In U.C. San DiegoX’s Algorithms and Data Structures, learners will be able to understand and apply algorithmic techniques, create efficient programs designed to handle massive datasets, and formulate computational problems. Along this line, the program has eight graduate-level courses, including Algorithmic Design and Techniques, Data Structures Fundamentals, and Graph Algorithms. Learners can also enroll in the Algorithms and Data Structures Capstone course, a four-week course, wherein they must build software designed to unravel a biological challenge. 

This is a self-paced program with a nine-month duration and a time commitment of 8-10 hours per week. At a discounted price of $1,080 for the full program experience, it’s indeed a bargain! 

Furthermore, learners who earn their respective verified certificates can also use their advanced credits when applying to RIT’s School of Individualized Study (SOIS) Master of Science in Professional Studies. The MicroMasters credits represent 25% of the required course work. 

RIT – Project Management

The RITx’s Project Management program is among the most popular in the edX platform for goods reasons! Not only is it among the first MicroMasters programs, but it’s also known for its academic rigor and employment value. With four graduate-level courses spread over eight months, it’s also among the most affordable – it’s $1,212.30 at a discounted rate as of this writing. 

Learners train in the tools, techniques, and technologies vital in successful project management and learn how to balance time, scope, and cost; apply best practices in project management; and become leaders in their fields. These skills are learned through Project Management Life Cycle, Best Practices for Project Management Success, and International Project Management. 

Students can also enroll in the Project Management MicroMasters Capstone Exam to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the field. This course lasts for a week with 4-5 hours in time commitment. 

Purdue University – Quantum Technology: Detectors and Networking

PurdueX’s Quantum Technology: Detectors and Networking program consists of five graduate-level courses: Applied Quantum Computing, Quantum Networking, and Quantum Detectors and Sensors. Learners can then learn the creation and integration of quantum detectors, quantum networking, and quantum computations. Upon completing the program, they can become experts in R.F. engineering, quantum programming, and quantum system engineering. 

With the program’s instructor-led format, learners can complete the entire program within nine months with 6-9 hours of time commitment each week. It’s currently available for a reduced price of $4,725 from its original price of $5,250. 

The earned credits from completing all courses with a B grade or higher can be applied to Purdue University’s online Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, also offered on edX. 

Arizona State University – Global Business Leadership and Management

The three graduate-level courses offered in ASUx’s Global Leadership and Management program are Global Leadership and Personal Development, Communicating and Negotiating in a Dynamic Global World, and Leading Digital and Data Decision Making. These courses are designed to enable the learners to develop their effective communication strategies, analytical tools, and mindset in becoming successful in global business. 

Designed for a six-month run, this is an instructor-led program with several assignments and exams. If you’re looking for a preparatory course for an MBA program, then this may well be your best choice, thanks also to its affordable $897 fee. The 30 credits earned from program completion can be transferred to the 30-credit ASU Master of Applied Leadership & Management degree. 

MIT – Finance

Another excellent MITx program is its Finance MicroMasters program. An instructor-led program spread over one year and three months of classes. There are five graduate-level courses, such as Foundations of Modern Finance I and II and Financial Accounting, which are designed to enable students to have a comprehensive understanding of modern finance. These include capital budgeting, corporate finance, and financial securities, to name a few.  

The good news is that it’s now at a discounted price of $2,025, so even learners with limited means can enroll in the entire program. Successful completers may apply for their earned advanced credits – up to 42 academic units – when accepted into the MIT Sloan Master of Finance Program; this means the summer term in residence can be waived. Other universities that accept these credits are the American University of the Middle East (AUM), RIT, the University of San Francisco, the School of Business at Royal Roads University (Canada), and Universidad EAN (Colombia). 

Purdue University – Nanoscience and Technology

PurdueX’s Nanoscience and Technology program introduces learners to the essential physics behind nanoscale transistors, the design of high-performance nanoelectronics, and the modeling of fiber optics and photonic nanostructures. The six-course, the instructor-led program includes courses on Semiconductor Fundamentals, Nanophotonic Modeling, and Fundamentals of Current Flow. 

Learners pay the discounted fee of $4,050 for the full program experience, which lasts for eight months. Credits earned here can be applied toward PurdueX’s Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree.  

Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Are MicroMasters recognized?

Yes, of course, these are recognized by colleges, universities, and industries! These MicroMasters programs are, after all, offered by accredited universities known for their world-class quality of instruction, contribution to research and development, and notable alumni. 

  1. Are MicroMasters worth it?

Yes, absolutely! According to edX’s 2020 Impact Report, 87% of successful completers of MicroMasters programs reported positive career outcomes. This isn’t surprising as a MicroMasters verified certificate on your resume indicates your commitment to learning, high-value knowledge and skills, and potential for contributing to the company’s growth. 

  1. How do you list MicroMasters on a resume?

You can list down the MicroMasters on your resume in the same way you would with your bachelor’s degree, training certificates, and other higher education achievements. But you may also want to keep these tips in mind so that your MOOCs stand out and catch the attention of prospective employers or clients. 

  • Make a separate section for MOOCs instead of listing MOOCs under the Education part of your resume. Use the term “Professional Development” since it signifies an interest in continuing professional development.  
  • Ensure that the MOOCs listed are relevant to the position you’re applying for or appropriate to your career goals. If you have several MOOCs, think long and hard whether to list them all or choose the ones that will put you in the best possible light. 
  • List the MOOCs that you have passed and completed. Otherwise, you can leave uncompleted MOOCs, including MicroMasters, out of your resume. Be prepared to answer questions about your MicroMasters experience – what you learned, how you applied the lessons, and how it contributed to your development. 
  • Specify the instructor and institution’s name so that prospective employers can verify the information, if necessary. The inclusion is also essential to establish the MicroMasters program’s legitimacy through transparency. 
  • Specify your job-related skills and showcase your work to demonstrate your potential value to the company. You can provide links to your actual portfolio or work and provide links to your badges, too. 

A good example of listing a MicroMasters verified certificate: 

  • UMGC and USMx MicroMasters in Accounting and Financial Management – University of Maryland Global Campus on edX (2019) – developed competency in managing financial operations, evaluating alternative investments, and strategic management decision-making.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor