Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science
|Georgia Tech College of Computing|
Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science is a master of science degree offered by the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. The program is offered in partnership with Udacity and AT&T and delivered through the massive open online course format. The course has received attention for offering a full master's degree program for under $7,000 that gives students from all over the world the opportunity to enroll in a top 10-ranked computer science program. The program has been recognized by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association and Fast Company for excellence and innovation.
The College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology launched its online Master of Science in Computer Science degree in January 2014. The program was conceived by John P. Imlay Jr., Dean of Computing Zvi Galil, and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun. It was offered in partnership with Udacity and AT&T and delivered through the massive open online course format, and was designed to provide a low-cost, high-quality alternative to traditional master's degree programs by delivering instructional content and academic support via the massive open online course format. Charles Isbell, a senior associate dean at the College of Computing, helped lead the effort.
As of Spring 2019, the program has 8,664 enrolled students located in 114 countries. It admits all applicants deemed to possess a reasonable chance of success—about two-thirds of applicants to date—which is significantly higher than the university’s on-campus graduate admissions rate. From its creation in 2014 until the spring semester of 2019, the program has graduated more than 1,700 students and now graduates more than 1,000 students each year. The program has received over 25,000 applications in that time. The program has received significant media attention since its announcement in May 2013, including a front-page story in The New York Times and a segment on the PBS NewsHour series "Rethinking Education."
Curriculum and culture
A study entitled “Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education,” by John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Associate Professor Joshua Goodman, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology Associate Professor Julia Melkers, and Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Amanda Pallais, explored the structure and industry impact of the online master's program and concluded that it supplies the need of “a vast untapped market for highly affordable degrees from prestigious colleges.”
Due to the online format of the program, social media has played a significant role in the development of robust student communities on social media, including a student-led community on Google+ with about 9,600 members. The program also utilizes an artificial intelligence teaching assistant called “Jill” Watson, built using IBM’s Watson platform. Jill is able to answer questions posed in natural language and assists students enrolled in the program's Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence course, led by Professor Ashok Goel.
Recognition and impact
Former President Barack Obama publicly praised Georgia Tech's online master's program on two occasions, as providing a model to both address the STEM worker shortage and control the costs of higher education. The program was the recipient of University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s Outstanding Program Award in the credit category. OMSCS was also cited as the reason Georgia Tech was named to Fast Company’s 2017 list of Most Innovative Companies in the World—the third university so named and the first for work in the education sector.
The program has proved to be a model for other online degrees. Georgia Tech itself has launched two: an online master’s in Analytics and one in Cybersecurity. Other universities have followed suit, creating more than 40 online degrees by the spring of 2019. For example, in March 2018, Coursera announced six new, MOOC-based degree programs in collaboration with the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, the University of London, and Imperial College London.
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