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35+ Legit Master’s Degrees You Can Now Earn Completely Online

Laurie Pickard

Starting several years ago, massive open online course (MOOC) providers began releasing online degree programs, in partnership with universities. This trend started out slowly, but has been gaining momentum.

The first MOOC-based degree, the Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) from Georgia Tech and Udacity, was announced back in 2013. It took two years for the next one (the iMBA from the University of Illinois and Coursera) to be announced in 2015. By early 2017 at least 9 master’s degrees were available through MOOC platforms.Then last year, things really took off. Now, at the beginning of 2019, there are no fewer than 36 degrees you can complete online, through a MOOC platform. Several others have been announced but are not yet open for enrollment.

MOOC-based degrees offer a number of advantages, including lower cost as compared to other online and on-campus degrees, flexibility, and pay as you go pricing. (Class Central’s Dhawal Shah summarized the differences between MOOC-based degrees and other kinds of online degrees in an article for EdSurge last year.)

Another benefit for both prospective students and learners with no intention of enrolling in the full degree program is that many courses which are part of the degree are free to take. That means you can preview a part of the content before committing to anything. (A full list of MOOCs that are part of degree programs and other for-credit offerings can be found on Class Central here.)

It is also worth noting that all of these degrees are fully accredited and recognized. In some cases, the final degree doesn’t in any way indicate that the credential was earned online.

Below, we’ve listed all 36 of the MOOC-based degrees that are currently available.

Computer Science and Engineering Master’s Degrees
Business and Management Master’s Degrees
Data Science and Analytics Master’s Degrees
Cyber Security, IT Management, and Technology Management Master’s Degrees
Public Health, Healthcare, and Public Sector Management Master’s Degrees
Bachelor’s Degrees

Looking at these degrees in aggregate, here are a few summary statistics:

  • The most common subjects for MOOC-based degrees are computer science, IT, data science, engineering, business, and combinations thereof (e.g. IT management, cyber security). A few programs focused on healthcare, public health, and public administration and management have begun cropping up.
  • Most institutions offering online degrees are from the US, UK, and Australia, with one notable exception in France (HEC Paris).
  • Among MOOC platforms, FutureLearn leads the pack with 15 degree programs, including one bachelor’s degree. Coursera is close behind with 13 degree programs, also including one bachelor’s. EdX currently offers 7 master’s degrees, with one announced but not currently accepting applications, and several more in the works. Udacity continues to offer one legacy degree program, the OMSCS from Georgia Tech, which was the first MOOC-based degree ever to be offered.
  • Oftentimes, MOOC-based degrees are cheaper than both on-campus and online alternatives. (Both the OMSCS from Georgia Tech and the iMBA are good examples of the cost savings.) However, most MOOC-based degrees still run between $10,000 and $22,000, and some cost more than that. The most expensive MOOC-based master’s degree is the Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan on Coursera. Students who are not resident in Michigan can expect to pay more than $44,000 during two years of study.
  • Especially those degrees from US-based institutions tend to come from prestigious and highly ranked universities, including one Ivy League degree (Computer and Information Technology from the University of Pennsylvania).
  • Most MOOC-based degrees are master’s degrees. However, there are now two MOOC-based bachelor’s degrees, one in Computer Science from University of London and a Bachelor of Arts from Australia’s Newcastle University.
  • 17 universities account for all of the degrees on this list. Of those, 8 are American universities, 5 are Australian, 3 are British, and 1 is French. Coventry University in the UK offers the most degrees (between 8 and 12, depending on how you count). After that, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers the second most degrees, with 4 master’s degree programs. Most other universities offer only one or two degrees.
  • Enrolling in a MOOC-based degree program isn’t as simple as registering for a MOOC. Each degree has its own application process (and deadlines), as well as minimum requirements, such as holding a bachelor’s degree; having completed certain kinds of coursework; or submitting standardized test scores like the GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL. Many of these degree programs also have requirements regarding country of citizenship or residency. All of these requirements notwithstanding, the admissions process for MOOC-based degrees may still be quicker and easier than for other similar degree programs.
  • All the online degree programs on this list offer ways to try-before-you-buy (or try-before-you-apply). These are labeled differently on the different platforms (e.g. taster courses on FutureLearn, Specializations on Coursera), but all essentially consist of MOOC coursework you can complete for free or at low cost before enrolling in a degree program.
  • Some MOOC-based degree programs can be completed as quickly or more quickly than on-campus degrees, in as little as one year. Others are designed to be completed part time and may take up to 5 years to finish. One of the two bachelor’s degrees on the list, the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London on Coursera, might take up to six years to complete. The good news is that students who take that long to finish the degree will end up spending less than $3,500 per year.

Computer Science and Engineering Master’s Degrees

Announced with much fanfare in 2013, Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) through Udacity was the first degree you could earn on a MOOC platform. The entire degree was supposed to cost less than $7,000. The tuition fee has since then increased from $402 per three-credit hour to $510, but it is still one of the most cost effective (and most popular) master’s degrees in computer science on the market. Enrollment for spring semester 2019 is nearly 9,000 students, making the OMSCS one of the largest computer science degree programs in the world. So far, more than 2,000 students have graduated. Going forward, another 1,000 are expected to graduate each year.

For several years, the OMSCS was the only degree of its kind on the market. However, there are now four MOOC-based masters degrees in computer science. Launched in 2018, the Master of Computer and Information Technology from the University of Pennsylvania’s and Coursera is the first MOOC-based degree to be offered by an Ivy League university. Two other degrees on this list are offered by the #5 and #10 graduate schools for computer science according to U.S. News & World Report (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and University of Texas, Austin, respectively).

Another first-of-its-kind degree, the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, was announced in 2018.


Zvi Galil, Dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, speaking to OMSCS students at an event organized by Udacity at SXSW EDU in 2016.

Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS), Georgia Tech via Udacity

Total Cost: $8,000
Duration: 24-60 months

Master of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera

Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 12-36 months

Master’s Degree in Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin via edX

Total Cost: $10,000
Duration: 18-36 months

Master of Computer and Information Technology, University of Pennsylvania via Coursera

Total Cost: $26,300
Duration: 20-40 months

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder via Coursera

Total Cost: $20,000
Duration: 24 months

Master of Computer Science, Arizona State University via Coursera

Total Cost: $15,000
Duration: 18-36 months

Business and Management Master’s Degrees

Business degrees abound on the MOOC platforms. The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign launched the first MOOC-based MBA in 2015 on Coursera. The iMBA costs around $21,000 and according to students is highly interactive, with live global classrooms, team projects, and personal contact with top professors. The University of Illinois’s second degree program, a master’s in accounting (the iMSA) is similarly priced and is even more prestigious; the on-campus program is #3 on US News & World Report’s ranking of graduate programs in accounting.

Another business offering on Coursera, the MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, comes from HEC Paris, one of Europe’s highest ranked business schools. Coventry University offers 5 different version of its MOOC-based MBA program on the FutureLearn platform, with focus areas including healthcare, artificial intelligence, cyber security management, and sustainable tourism.

iMBA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera

Total Cost: $21,384
Duration: 24-36 months

iMSA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera

Total Cost: $22,050 – $27,170
Duration: 18-36 months

MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, HEC Paris via Coursera

Total Cost: $22,600 (20,000 EUR)
Duration: 18 months

MBA (various areas of focus), Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $20,511 (15,900 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months, part time only

Master’s Degree in Accounting, Indiana University via edX

Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 15-36 months

Master’s Degree in Marketing, Curtin University via edX

Total Cost: $18,926
Duration: 18-36 months

Global Master of Business Administration, Macquarie University via Coursera

Total Cost: $23,430 ($33,000 AUD)
Duration: 12-18 months

Master’s Degree in Leadership: Service Innovation, University of Queensland via edX

Total Cost: $17,914
Duration: 24 months

MSc Business and Organisational Psychology, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Construction Management with BIM, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $19,415 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Construction Project and Cost Management, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $19,415 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

Data Science and Analytics Master’s Degrees

Building on the success of its OMSCS program, Georgia Tech has released a second, similar program, this time on the edX platform. The Online Masters of Science In Analytics (OMS Analytics) can be completed for less than $10,000. Three of Georgia Tech’s OMS Analytics foundational courses form the Analytics: Essential Tools and Methods MicroMasters credential program on edX. It consists of three free online courses: Introduction to Analytics Modeling, Computing for Data Analysis, and Data Analytics in Business.

Costing more than double the price of the OMS Analytics, the University of Illinois’s Master of Computer Science in Data Science is nonetheless a cost effective way to earn a degree from a top-5 computer science school (as compared to on-campus study).  According to its information page, the program builds expertise in four core areas of computer science: data visualization, machine learning, data mining and cloud computing, in addition to building valuable skill sets in statistics and information science with courses taught in collaboration with the University’s Statistics Department and iSchool (ranked #1 among Library and Information Studies Schools.) Like other MOOC-based degrees from the University of Illinois, this one is made up of Coursera Specializations that are accessible by anyone. Two of these Specializations, those on Data Visualization and Cloud Computing, are already available.

Online Master of Science in Analytics, Georgia Tech via edX

Total Cost: $9,900
Duration: 12-36 months

Master of Computer Science in Data Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera

Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 12-36 months

Master of Applied Data Science, University of Michigan via Coursera

Total Cost: $31,688 – $42,262
Duration: 12 months minimum

Cyber Security and IT Management Master’s Degrees

Universities in the US, the UK, and Australia are offering MOOC-based master’s degrees in cyber security and management of information technology.

Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity, Georgia Tech via edX

Total Cost: $9,920
Duration: 24-36 months

Master of Cyber Security, Deakin University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $18,659 ($26,280 AUD)
Duration: 24 months

MSc Cyber Security, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $19,425 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months (part time only)

Master’s Degree in IT Management, Indiana University via edX

Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 15-36 months

Public Health, Healthcare, and Public Sector Management Master’s Degrees

Like most courses on MOOC platforms, most degree programs are in the areas of computer science, data science, business, and related fields. However, several MOOC universities and MOOC platforms offer degrees that fall outside of these subjects, mostly in public health and public management related fields. One university that has moved aggressively into online degrees, Coventry University in the UK, even offers a nursing degree you can earn online.

Master of Public Health, University of Michigan via Coursera

Total Cost: $44,520 (may be lower for Michigan residents)
Duration: 20-22 months

Global Master of Public Health, Imperial College London via Coursera

Total Cost: $25,000 (lower for UK residents)
Duration: 24 months

Master of Development and Humanitarian Action, Deakin University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $8,158 ($11,490 AUD)
Duration: 12 months (full time)

MSc Nursing, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $16,125 (12,500 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Disaster Management and Resilience, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Emergency Management and Resilience, Coventry University via FutureLearn

Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

Bachelor’s Degrees

The advent of MOOC-based bachelor’s degrees is so recent that only two of them currently exist, and the coursework for these degrees isn’t yet fully developed. The University of London offers a Bachelor of Science Computer Science through the Coursera platform at a total cost of less than $20,000. The Bachelor of Arts from Australia’s University of Newcastle on FutureLearn is more like an on-campus BA program, in that students can choose from a number of majors and minors (though from a more limited catalog than what is offered on campus). Currently, the majors that are available online include English & Writing; Film, Media & Cultural Studies; French Studies; Global Indigenous Studies; History; Japanese Studies; Psychology Studies; and Sociology & Anthropology. The program is still being developed, so more majors will be rolled out progressively, as will advanced coursework. The whole degree is composed of 24 FutureLearn Programs. Each of these costs $3,220, though fees for Australian students may be less.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, University of London via Coursera

Total Cost: $13,014 – $19,520 (10,088 – 15,132 GBP)
Duration: 36-72 months

Bachelor of Arts (Multiple Subjects), University of Newcastle via FutureLearn

Total Cost: est. $77,280 (24 Programs x $3,220/Program)
Duration: 36 months or more

    Comments 35

    1. Avatar

      Timmi

      At these prices, we may as well just go to the local university, and have the benefits of sitting in for classes, better interaction with the teacher and fellow students.

      No matter how much you try to mimic this and add interactive tools to online courses, it will never equal being present in the same space at the same time.

      What’s more, some of these are in countries where education is free for residents.

      Surprisingly disappointing.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

        Today good online by best universities is much better than inclass courses . Being present in a classroom is nothing as long as teacher s bad school is bad . So take a course from Harvard free. I would pay $ 500 for it . Go to http://www.classcentral.com/universities to see 800 top universities of the world plus 8.000 online courses . Sure some courses are not very good . So you select the bests .

        Reply
      • Avatar

        Iown You

        >>>and have the benefits of sitting in for classes, better interaction with the teacher and fellow students.<<>>No matter how much you try to mimic this and add interactive tools to online courses, it will never equal being present in the same space at the same time.<<<

        Advanced web cameras and web technology have made that thinking obsolete. I just attended a course last month for fun where I could see the instructor and the instructor could see all of us in a visual seating window. Felt no different from being in physical classroom except that I knew my ass was sitting on my seat at home and not the one in the seat 3,000 miles away.

        Reply
        • Avatar

          Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

          Bravo. Excellent comment.

          Reply
      • Avatar

        AP

        well, you can get taught in an actual class and the teacher completely mislead the subject wrong, teaching you only failure not success.

        Reply
      • Avatar

        Walid

        I fully agree

        Reply
      • Avatar

        Evan

        Um, actually there is a couple places in the world where you can find local university which will be fully legit for EU or Americas.

        Reply
    2. Avatar

      Apollo Tyana

      UIUC should be requested out of coursera, its a treason to charge $27,000 for a gimmicky Masters degree offered through MOOCs. Putting it another way this is not MOOCs. Its an online degree that UIUC is trying to sell leveraging MOOCs resources.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

        Apollo
        I said that 8 months ago . UIUC is just sucking people . It is a state university. Administrators enjoy all those extra money . Yes it is treason to charge $ 27.000 almost same as on campus price .
        I said above cost is almost nill if school is smart enough to get 1.000 or so enrollment per semester which can be done very easily if you drop the price. look up Georgia Tech . They charge for a whole CS master degree online $ 7.000 . Where is $ 27.000 . If people do not react sure these will go on . But you see you reacted after 8 months . I said that 8 months ago and have been saying it for the last 15 years . Stop it . DOE should do something about it . Senators should do something about it . Look up Europe . Even whole education is free . Something is wrong in USA.

        Reply
      • Avatar

        Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

        Just go to http://www.mguniversity2017.org
        Take courses from Harvard, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Uni of Chicago , take only one course from these , finish them get your certificate , almost free ( there are some ID verification fee by some university ) Then get your master degrees from mguniversity.
        MBA, Economics, Computer Science master degrees .
        There is no university in the world that you can get 10 courses from the top top of the world 10 universities . And almost free. Shame with UIUC . charging $ 27.000 from a state university even not a top university .

        Reply
      • Avatar

        Ben Jackson

        Very true. It cant be a MOOC course and again pay for it. These are actually online courses disguised as a MOOCs. An online masters in most European universities cost around $20,000 to 30,000.

        Reply
    3. Avatar

      Dustin

      This is directed towards all of the ignorant people (especially these entitled foreigners) spewing anti capitalist rhetoric (e.g. it’s all about money and greed and blah blah blah…). The very reason why this is occurring is because of government involvement in the “free market”.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

        Dustin
        Whom do you speak . ? What is ” This ” , who are ” entitled foreigners ” ?
        Sorry, sorry, sorry , There is no comment to you .

        Reply
        • Avatar

          Dustin

          It’s not just foreigners. It’s also many Americans who have been indoctrinated with these dangerous Marxist ideas. I just find it ironic that people are complaining about the cost of education and then blaming this on the wrong institutions. It’s not the universities who are at fault.

          Reply
          • Avatar

            Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

            Dustin
            First of all I know very well capitalism, wild capitalism, socialism .I have been in almost 50 countries in the world and did business with most .
            I was a wild capitalist when I was young 30-40 years old . Then at 60 I became just capitalist for the sake of competition and hard work . I believe in justice in life. I see sociolism tries to establish justice but no avail . Who is at fault. Every body . Universities, government , namely just ignorant people . Just see I have been educated in the USA by top schools 50 years ago and I became the top technologist in the world now . JUST USE TECHNOLOGY WHENEVER YOU HAVE PROBLEM . 1.- Education,
            2.- Retail sales ( e-commerce will kill all those department stores , e-commerce will deliver goods from producers to consumers directly and prices will go down 25 % )
            Logistics will benefit .
            3.- There will not be any money around . All transactions will be made by mobil phones today tomorrow more simpler devices . Even the smallest amount .
            4. IRS will collect better taxes since every transaction under the control of IRS. Who bought what at what price they will know .
            And many more .
            Today teachers are very close to losing their jobs if they do not train themselves well .
            I just say
            Do not sit on a BA degree for whole life it is just worthless .
            So Universities+DOE+ president + media+just whole people should believe in education technology . I blame all .

            Reply
          • Avatar

            Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

            Dustin
            See my solution
            http://www.mguniversity2017.org
            Top quality education for 18 million Americans plus 8 billion people of the world
            All free or at very low cost
            Sure it is not perfect. But more expert people can make it perfect .

            Reply
    4. Avatar

      Mani Raj

      Advan-kt accepts 12 MOOC for Diploma; 24 MOOC for bachelor degree and 36 for master degree. A project is must. visit http://www.advan-kt.com

      Reply
    5. Avatar

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      This is a far better enterprise than what the Clinton’s did with fake universities and large amounts of debt.

      MOOC is at least a departure from those so called ‘prestige universities’ that were nothing more than elitist institutions churning out more elites who bankrupted the banks. Remember the GFC of 2008? Ivy league disaster.

      Thank God for Bernie Madoff. Some good often comes out of every bad. He milked the foundations that ran these Ivy Leagues and elitist factories and as a result they have had to return to eating KFC instead of caviar looking down on the rest of us who thirsted for knowledge.

      Now they take in every Tom Dick and Harry. My daughter and I are every Tom Dick and Harry. We are proud to have succeeded in studying subjects we could not study previously (Maths and statistics). Neither of us had the background or the teachers with sufficient spirit willing to teach.

      I now hold 3 degrees and 4 diplomas. 2 of my degrees were with regular universities in Australia and in England where I actually attended lectures and tutorials and did assignments on pen and paper.

      Learning is such fun today. I met a student from Niger who stowed away on a ship to come to Australia, then sought asylum did a MOOC and now works as a programmer for a local bank.

      One day these barriers of money will come down. We won’t be shooting at each then hopefully. The cashless university is around the corner. They need to pay off the debts from indulging in Madoff’s fantasies.

      Reply
    6. Avatar

      Daeng Kulle'

      This is very Interesting but i agreed with Timmi , This is True => At these prices, we may as well just go to the local university, and have the benefits of sitting in for classes, better interaction with the teacher and fellow students. No matter how much you try to mimic this and add interactive tools to online courses, it will never equal being present in the same space at the same time.

      For example School of Business NOBEL Makassar the first Bussiness school In Makassar Indonesia with cheaper FEE

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Li

        And if you are abroad or full time working? No, distance education is cool.

        Reply
    7. Avatar

      Betsy Curlin

      You can study for free in many countries, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as long as you can speak the language well enough to attend classes.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        lilo

        How and what can you study for free? I don’t think you can become a medical doctor for free for instance, so, what else?

        Reply
        • Avatar

          Ale

          In my country, if you know the language (Greece, Greek) and if you are good in order to succeed in admission exams, you study medicine (or whatever discipline) completely for free, you will not spend a dime. Courses and also books are completely free. You’re welcome.

          Reply
    8. Avatar

      Chaz

      Online, no tuition degrees at University of the People (you pay per exam). https://www.uopeople.edu/programs/

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Frank Uzo

        Thanks very much for the information. You have made life easier for a lot of us. Hope to know more from you with time
        Regards
        Frank

        Reply
        • Avatar

          Joe

          There are charges that are not initially indicated to research before you decide

          Reply
    9. Avatar

      PATRICK CLEARY

      Quite expensive these courses! Goi to UDEMY and STACK SKILLS and GEEKDAD for courses that are the same that cost average 12 – 25USD because there are no overheads and FAT CAT directors to be paid. Also GOOGLE GARAGE give you FREE fundamentals on the road to tech.

      Reply
    10. Avatar

      Melaku Birhanu

      I want to learn Data Science and Analytics Master’s Degrees, but i need further information how can i learn?

      Reply
    11. Avatar

      Ben Jackson

      I found it very surprising. Just being smart and acting differently.

      Reply
    12. Avatar

      garuba ojo fredericks

      good job class central

      Reply

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