edX and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) have come together to create a universal online credit pathway where all MicroMasters® programs on edX can be applied towards the Master of Science in Professional Studies at RIT. This innovative model increases access to education by creating more choice and flexibility for learners when it comes to earning a master’s degree online, unlocking experiences they didn’t know were possible. This pathway also demonstrates the value of a MicroMasters program certificate to higher education institutions when evaluating degree candidates and signals that the learner is prepared to complete masters-level work. 

RIT’s MS degree in Professional Studies is designed for students that want to create an individualized plan of study tailored to their personal and professional goals. The degree offers students the opportunity to draw on more than 24 areas of study from RIT to create an interdisciplinary curriculum tailored to their goals. The RIT admissions team found that many learners who completed MicroMasters programs on edX were interested in applying their MicroMasters program certificate toward credit for this unique degree. This led RIT and edX to set up a formal universal credit pathway that allows any MicroMasters program learner to complete a Master’s degree program fully online or on-campus. Each MicroMasters program will be eligible for up to 9 credits toward the MS degree in Professional Studies at RIT.

“When we launched MicroMasters programs in 2016, we transformed the way that people think about earning an advanced degree by breaking the Master’s degree into modular pieces for the first time,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and Founder. “Now, with RIT’s collaboration, we are once again making it simpler and more accessible for learners to get a master’s degree that combines a variety of skill sets and disciplines, and positions them for success in the job market.”

Kathrine Ehrlich-Scheffer a Director of Women in Engineering from Hilton, NY, initially took the MicroMasters program in Project Management. She ultimately decided that she wanted to earn a full master’s degree, and found her way to the RIT Master of Science Professional Studies. RIT accepted 9 credits for the MicroMasters program certificate completion toward the degree. She customized her plan of study to include Project Management, Analytics and Research, and Group and Leader development. As a result of her capstone in this degree, she has refreshed and redesigned the Women in Engineering department to meet the needs of a new generation of engineering students. 

“At RIT, we believe accessible, affordable, and high-quality education can change lives, shape the future, and improve the world,” said James C. Hall, Dean, University Studies Division, Executive Director and Professor of the School of Individualized Study at RIT. “We are thrilled to provide this pathway to a high-value graduate degree more readily available for all who seek and need it.”

Professor Krishna Rajagopal, MIT’s Dean for Digital Learning, recalled that “RIT was the first university to work with MIT on offering pathways into degree programs for MicroMasters recipients. Our relationship has been one of mutual sharing of best practices and strategies to provide accessible and affordable education on the edX platform. We work closely together to ensure learners have a smooth transition to RIT, and empower them with the opportunity to use their MITx MicroMasters program certificates toward a master’s degree in Professional Studies at RIT.”

Explore edX’s 63 MicroMasters programs and learn more about the RIT degree pathway.

(This article was originally appeared on https://press.edx.org/edx-rit-universal-online-credit-pathway)

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