MIT Launches Its First Blended Master's Degree Course, along with a New Credential Called "MITx Micro-Master's"

Welcome to the “try before you buy” model in higher education. In other words, you first try the course through a low-cost series of edX MOOCs and then apply.

MIT has decided to disrupt itself, according to its president Rafael Reif, and stay in the vanguard of innovation (“I’d rather we disrupt ourselves than be disrupted by somebody else”, he recently said).

The first pilot of this blended model will be launched in February 2016. It will be related to the one year Supply Chain Management (SCM) program, which allows to earn a Master’s of Engineering in Logistics degree.

Learners who complete the open series of SCM edX MOOCs –see the introductory video above– will receive a new credential called an MITx MicroMaster’s and will have chances of being accepted to the full master’s program, spending a single semester on campus and paying half of the $65,000 tuition.  If they are admitted, their MicroMaster’s will count toward a semester’s worth of MIT credit.

This residential program enrolls 36 to 40 students every year. This blended experiment can triple the annual output of master’s degrees in that field. It seems that MIT won’t lose money –on the contrary.

And, if the pilot goes well, MIT will expand this model to other programs.

MIT’s idea comes as universities and digital entrepreneurs are racing to integrate MOOCs into higher education.

  • Earlier this year, edX and Arizona State University launched Global Freshman Academy: students enroll in MOOCs, complete them and pay the university to receive credit.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created its iMBA program. Students complete much of their curriculum before deciding whether or not to apply to the university’s College of Business and pursue the full MBA degree.
  • George Tech is already underway with its own MOOC-powered degree program.


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