A master's-level computer science degree, delivered via MOOCs

Massive open online courses will soon deliver an advanced comp-sci degree at a very, very low price, courtesy of Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

The disruption of the economics of higher education is providing new opportunities to refresh and expand IT skills at little or no cost. It couldn't come at a better time for professionals worried about falling behind, or for organizations scrambling to find skills for a deeper move into the digital realm.

Keyboard Photo by Joe McKendrick
Image: Joe McKendrick/ZDNet

The Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Computing, has said that it will be offering the first Online Master of Science degree in computer science (OMS CS) that can be earned completely through the massive open online course (MOOC) format. The degree will be provided via the Udacity MOOC platform, with support from AT&T.

Students enrolled in the program will pay a fraction of the cost of traditional on-campus master's programs; total tuition for the program is initially expected to be below $7,000.

OMS CS courses will be available free of charge on the Udacity site, but only those students granted admission to Georgia Tech will receive credit. Georgia Tech and Udacity also will develop a separate credential for those students who successfully complete courses but do not qualify for full graduate standing.

A pilot program is scheduled to begin late this year. Initial enrolment will be limited to a few hundred students recruited from AT&T and Georgia Tech corporate affiliates, but will expand gradually over the next three years, according to Georgia Tech.

AT&T is providing financial support to help address the nation's growing shortage of qualified workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

Udacity now offers a range of tuition-free IT and computer science MOOCs, including computer science 101, Java programming, software testing, and artificial intelligence.

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