Georgia Tech Will Offer Affordable Master in Computer Science

Georgia Tech Will Offer Affordable Master in Computer Science

Georgia Tech has offered online learning for 30 years and now with its massive open online courses (MOOC) is a leader on a national level of offering affordable, quality, university level education. MOOC is not new. Even Harvard offers courses online and for free. Obtaining online degrees is not new. Many universities offer online degrees, but at the same high price as courses taught on-campus. Offering MOOC leading to a degree with the same prestige as one earned on campus at an affordable price is what is groundbreaking. This degree is not being offered by some shady or shoddy organization that barely qualifies to call itself an institute of higher learning. This is Georgia Tech, ranked 7th for best classroom experience according to the Princeton Review, and 10th for best Master’s in computer science program according to U.S. News and World Reports. Georgia Tech’s competitors may find themselves struggling to keep up and more importantly, to justify the increasing prices they charge for tuition.

Group of students researching on a laptop computer

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have quickly become one of the most significant catalysts of innovation in higher education. As parents know all too well, America urgently needs new ideas about how to make higher education accessible and affordable. This new collaboration between Georgia Tech, AT&T, and Udacity, and the application of the MOOC concept to advanced-degree programs, will further the national debate—pushing from conversations about technology to new models of instruction and new linkages between higher education and employers.”

AT&T decided to lend support ($2 million) to the program because creating an affordable online computer science degree will help the United States’ shortage of qualified workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

Zvi Galil, John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech explains, “The OMS CS will set a new agenda for higher education—real, rigorous, and marketable graduate education in computer science will now be available to tens, even hundreds of thousands of additional students around the world. Computing is the catalytic field of the 21st century. Now we could potentially double the number of trained computing professionals worldwide in as little as a decade.”

Georgia Tech will begin with a pilot program, made possible by AT&T’s generous gift, in the fall of 2014. They will test the program with a few hundred students taken largely from AT&T’s employees and corporate affiliates of Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech expects enrollment to gradually expand over three years. The program will ultimately include students from around the world. The pilot program will allow the inevitable kinks to be worked out of the system – hardware, staffing, and policies. Issues likely to need addressing are ones such as how to handle cheating, how to staff teaching assistants, and how to handle increased bandwidth demand. reports that “currently, Georgia Tech receives about 1,400 applications for its computer science Master’s program and accepts less than 15 percent. Galil insists that more than half of the applicants, however, could actually handle the work. He says there is no reason why the online program, by its third year, shouldn’t be able to admit all the applicants who meet the minimum standards. Many applicants are from overseas. With the new MOOC-style program, hurdles such as obtaining student visas melt away.”