A Quick Guide to MicroMasters Programs

If you’re thinking about continuing your education and going after a Master’s, it may be worth your time (and money) to consider a MicroMasters Program instead. Here’s everything you need to know about these programs, how you can find them, and other must-know details.

What is a MicroMasters Program?

A MicroMasters program is a program that allows a student to earn a certificate at the graduate-level. They help individuals develop professional skills and advance knowledge in the given field. However, these programs are only available online. It was originally started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


6 Things You Need to Know about MicroMasters Programs?

There are a few different things you’ll need to know about these programs to decide if it’s the best course of action for you. We’ve put together some frequently asked questions to start with.

1. How Long is a MicroMasters Program?

A MicroMasters Program takes about six to twelve months depending on the area of study and type of program you choose. Compare that to Master’s degrees which can take 2 years on average and up to 6 years to complete!

2. How Much Does the Program Cost?

As with length, the cost of a MicroMasters depends on the program you choose and they can vary widely! On average, they can be between $600 and $1,500, but there are courses as cheap as $320 and as expensive as $4,725.

3. What Are The Different Types of MicroMasters Programs?

You can opt for a self-paced or instructor led program. Self-paced will require you to attend classes on your own and there are no deadlines for work, except for the deadline for completion of courses. Instructor led programs have exams, assignments, and other deadlines.

4. What Areas of Study Are Available?

There are quite a few options when it comes to MicroMasters, and more classes are being added every year. Some examples include cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, international hospitality management, supply chain management, and big data.

5. Is It the Same as a Master’s Degree?

A master’s and a MicroMasters are both graduate-level, but completion of a MicroMasters program will not earn you a graduate degree. Students will instead receive an official certificate.

6. Is a MicroMasters Recognized?

Yes! A MicroMasters Program is recognized by schools and employers as they are offered through certified colleges.

5 Benefits of a MicroMasters

There are a number of benefits of MicroMasters programs, including

1. They Can Advance Your Career

Since MicroMasters are recognized by employers, including top companies, they can prove extremely beneficial for your career. The courses can help you develop your understanding of a niche and open the doors to new opportunities.

2. They Are Time and Cost-Effective

Especially compared to a Master’s degree program, MicroMasters programs are both time and cost effective. At most, a MicroMasters will take a year to complete, compared to a Master’s that generally takes 2 years.

And a Master’s degree can cost between $30,000 and $40,000. A MicroMaster’s costs less than $5,000. As a result, completion rates of MicroMasters programs are high!

3. Classes Are Accessible and Flexible

Since these programs are all online, you can attend your classes and do your assignments from anywhere in the world. No attending courses on campus required! And self-paced options mean you can study on your own schedule. This definitely brings plenty of flexibility to your education.

4. Credits May Be Available for Transfer Towards a Master’s Degree

Some schools are even recognizing MicroMaster’s programs as credits towards a graduate program! This may allow you to save some money (and time) on your master’s as you could receive up to 25% of the credits required. This can vary from school to school, however, so you will want to check what’s accepted by your college.

5. You Can Try Before You Buy

Some programs, such as the options through EdX, allow you to try the coursework before you buy. You can see if the courses work for you before ever putting a dollar down.

What Are the Downsides of MicroMasters?

However, there are also downsides of MicroMasters programs that you should consider – these will vary from person to person, though! You may find there are no downsides for you.

Self-Paced Options May Lead to Procrastination

While self-paced MicroMasters Programs allow you to work on your coursework when it’s convenient for you, this method may not be the best option if you are prone to procrastination. Some students find they don’t do any of the work until the deadline is approaching and then are unable to finish.

Software Might Have to Be Downloaded

Depending on your intended area of study, you may be required to download software applications to complete your coursework. If you’re using a public computer, such as at a library, you could be unable to download the necessary applications.

Areas of Study Are Limited

Although there are more and more MicroMasters programs every year, options can still be limited for students. If you don’t see your area of expertise or a program that interests you, you may have to wait for it to be developed if you have your heart set on this type of program.

Reliable Internet is a Must-Have

Since all courses are online, you must have reliable internet. It cutting out during an exam could mean you fail the test. And if your internet is regularly down, you could have trouble completing the coursework.

Examples of MicroMasters Programs

MicroMasters Programs can be found on individual colleges’ websites as well as EdX. These are just a few examples that you can see on the EdX website!


The Entrepreneurship program through Indian Institution of Management – Bangalore (IIMB) covers a number of necessary topics in its 4 courses including marketing management, accounting and finance, people management, and more. Self-paced, the program takes 8 months to complete if you spend 2 – 4 hours per week on it.

Big Data

The University of Adelaide offers a MicroMasters Program on Big Data. Classes include Programming for Data Science, Computational Thinking and Big Data, Big Data Fundamentals, Big Data Analytics, and Big Data Capstone Project. Self-paced, the coursework takes a year to complete at 7 – 9 hours per week.

Project Management

For those interested in advancing their career in project management, there is a program available through Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Students will learn about project management life cycles, best practices, leadership, legal practices, and more. The MicroMasters Program takes 8 months to complete and takes 8 – 12 hours per week.

Supply Chain Management

Available at MIT, the Supply Chain Management MicroMasters Program teaches students about core methodologies, fundamental models, supply chain networks and their design, interaction of networks, and end to end supply chain management over six classes. Instructor-led, those interested should expect to spend 8 – 12 hours per week on coursework over 18 months.

Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries

For those interested in writing, there is the Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries from the University of Cambridge. 8 classes over 9 months and led by an instructor cover finding your voice, screenplay writing, business success, digital platforms, and more. Students spend 8 to 10 hours per week on classwork, assignments, and exams.

MicroMasters Programs are a great way to continue your education and advance your career while saving time and money. If you’re considering one of the offerings, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons for your goals, needs, and wants. And every year there are more and more schools getting in on the program – even if you don’t see an option you’re interested in just yet, you never know what’s going to pop up next year!

Do you want to learn more about graduate majors? Our free College Major search tool allows you to sort majors by undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, certificate, and more! You can find further information about majors, the best colleges for those programs, and more!

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