More colleges turn to ‘stackable’ degrees as entries to graduate programs

Posted on April 13th, 2016

With the rising cost of graduate education and a greater demand from students for cheaper and more convenient ways of learning, more post-secondary institutions are looking into “stackable degrees.” Stackable degrees can be thought of as “Lego blocks of college education, letting students start with a MOOC, then add a few more MOOCs to get an online certificate, then add yet more courses to get a traditional master’s degree.” For example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently announced that students could enrol in an online master’s degree in data science, offered in conjunction with MOOC provider Coursera. The cost of the full program is $19,200—significantly less than an on-campus master’s program. A similar program was piloted several months ago at MIT, where students could earn a “micro-master’s degree” in supply chain management in conjunction with edX. EdX CEO Anant Agarwal states that edX has partnerships with other universities that will announce similar programs in the fall.