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What Is a MicroMaster's? Should I Study One in 2020?

In the higher education world of nanodegrees and short courses, online programmes and blended degrees, it’s not surprising students can get confused. But what happens if we add MicroMaster’s degrees to that mix?

It gets even more confusing, which is why we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain what a MicroMaster’s is and how you can use it to take your professional or academic life to the next level.

Let’s dive right in!

What is a MicroMaster’s?

A MicroMaster’s is a set of online courses that help students develop their professional skills and academic knowledge. MicroMaster’s degrees are offered by certified universities and colleges; after completing the courses, students will receive an official certificate.

Most people take a MicroMaster’s programme for one of the following reasons:

  • To advance their professional career
  • To shorten the length of a future Master’s degree for which they plan to apply
  • To try a Master’s discipline and decide if they want to go for a full degree

MicroMasters are only available online, and the curriculum and workload are equivalent to one regular Master’s semester.

Types of MicroMaster’s degrees

You will find two types of MicroMasters out there:

  • Self-paced MicroMasters
  • Instructor-led MicroMasters

During self-paced MicroMasters, you study in your own rhythm. There are no deadlines, but you still need to complete the courses in the period agreed initially.

For instructor-led MicroMasters, assignments and exams have deadlines, and you need to meet them.

Popular disciplines for MicroMasters

EdX is the most popular online platform through which universities offer MicroMaster’s courses. Initially, there were around 20 programmes available; but due to their success and growing popularity, you can now choose from over 60 MicroMaster’s degrees on EdX.

Students are free to select from a wide range of academic disciplines. These are only a few examples:

  • MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence
  • MicroMasters in Data Science
  • MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management
  • MicroMasters in Energy Engineering
  • MicroMasters in Accounting
  • MicroMasters in Business Analytics
  • MicroMasters in Sustainable Development

Other online platforms offer MicroMasters under different names:

How long does it take to finish a MicroMaster’s?

You can earn a MicroMaster’s degree in 6 to 12 months. This depends on your chosen discipline and the type of MicroMaster’s (self-paced vs instructor-led). MicroMasters are much shorter than traditional on-campus Masters, which can take anywhere between 2 and 6 academic years to finish.

How much does a MicroMaster’s cost?

MicroMaster’s programmes available on EdX cost between 320 and 4,725 USD. Prices include the full programme experience and the official certificate you receive at the end.

The best part? You don’t need to pay from the start. Simply choose a MicroMaster’s programme and try it out. If it meets your expectations, you can then pay to enjoy the full benefits.

Why should you study a MicroMaster’s?

MicroMasters aren’t for everybody. But here are a few reasons to apply for one if you’re already thinking about it:

  • Advance your career: MicroMaster’s courses are offered by certified universities and colleges. The certificate you earn can be used for both academic and professional purposes. Top companies and organisations that recognised this type of degree include IBM, Adobe, Volvo, Ford, Bloomberg, General Electric (GE), etc.
  • Accelerate your Master’s degree: You can use the MicroMaster’s certificate to reduce the length of your Master’s degree. A MicroMaster’s is usually the equivalent of 25% of the credits for a full-time Master’s. This can vary from one university to another. Don’t take it for granted, though. If you plan to make use of this feature, always check with EdX or the university if it applies in your case and under what conditions.
  • Try before you buy: It’s the second time we mention this, but it’s important. On EdX, you can try a MicroMaster’s before buying it. Have you seen any other university or degree that allows you to do that? We don’t think so.
  • Carefree online education: Maybe it’s not exactly carefree — that is, not without responsibilities — but an online MicroMaster’s is short and allows you to study whenever you want, wherever you want. Sure, instructor-led MicroMasters still have deadlines, but you can forget about wasting time going to classes or hurrying from your workplace to the university.

Is a MicroMaster’s worth it?

Yes, MicroMasters are definitely worth it. They offer great flexibility, come with official certifications and support from international corporations, and you can even try them without paying anything. What more could you want?

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