Published: April 2, 2019
Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering Professor Lucy Pao delivers a lecture for CU Boulder’s new MOOC-based master’s degree

Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering Professor Lucy Pao delivers a lecture for CU Boulder’s new MOOC-based master’s degree. Credit: Casey Cass

CU Boulder and Coursera, the leading online learning platform, announced today at the company’s annual conference in London a partnership to launch the world’s first globally scalable Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)-based electrical engineering master’s degree (MS-EE). 

The university’s Board of Regents approved the innovative degree in 2018. In addition, the partners are exploring a new, interdisciplinary master’s degree in data science.

With a total tuition of about $20,000, the MS-EE offers an affordable, high-quality education to students around the globe.
“Electrical engineering and data science are constantly evolving fields that drive many of today’s technology and business innovations,” said Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “These programs match the demands of the 21st-century workplace.”  
CU Boulder has partnered with Coursera on various non-credit online courses since 2013 in areas ranging from business to integrative physiology. The MS-EE, with a target launch date in 2020, marks CU Boulder’s first systematic foray into academic credit–not to mention graduate certificates and degrees–in partnership with Coursera, with additional components like a dedicated graduate advisor, subject expert course facilitators, and proctored exams.
The planned data science degree will bring faculty together from different schools and colleges across the university to deliver a uniquely interdisciplinary, applied learning experience.
“The CU Boulder degrees on Coursera will remove many of the traditional barriers to getting a high-quality master’s degree,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO. “By making MOOCs the foundation of the degree program, we are able to reach people who would have never been able to quit their jobs and move their families to take the same degree on campus.” 
Maggioncalda also noted that CU Boulder is being particularly innovative by introducing performance-based admissions. Students who do well in designated courses and exams will be able to enroll in the degrees regardless of their academic background.
“The MS-EE is just the tip of the iceberg, and the data science degree is a natural evolution of those efforts,” said William Kuskin, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives. “These programs lead us into the future of education. It is tremendously exciting to work on the cutting-edge of academic innovation to bring accessible, high-quality education to the globe.”