Georgia Tech, AT&T and Udacity Partner for Online Degree


Georgia Tech is rolling out the first online Master’s degree in Computer Science with the help of Udacity and AT&T.

The course, which is modeled after a MOOC, will become available in January, writes Natalie Kitroeff for Bloomberg Buisnessweek. While it is functionally no different from the massive open online courses like the ones Udacity offers, it will be different in two ways. First, in order to receive credit for the program one must pay $6,600 tuition. Second, graduates of the course will obtain a Master of Science degree that is exactly the same as the graduates who sit in the classrooms of Georgia Tech. They will not need to list “online” next to the MS on their resume.

While it makes sense for Georgia Tech to come out with the degree, many are wondering what Udacity, who supplied the platform, and AT&T, who donated $2 million dollars to start the program, are getting out of the partnership.

[Udacity’s founder, Sebastian] Thrun’s bet is that the next business opportunity in the world of education is not college. It’s everything that comes after. “Universities are the only provider in the world that provide services that stop when the service is accomplished”… As people change jobs and roles, they need new and better tools, Thrum said. “We are much more job-related,” he said of Udacity, “than trying to fix college.”

AT&T, on the other hand, gets two major benefits from this move. By investing in quality technology programs they widen their pool of qualified applicants with advanced technical skills. The donation also nets the company some positive PR.

Students also have the option to pick and choose specific courses they wish to take from the program. By doing this they are able to take only the classes they want, cut costs and receive a certificate of achievement tailored to their specific level of completion, according to the Udacity website.

While admission to Georgia Tech is not required to be admitted into the program, candidates are required to meet certain standards if they wish to obtain the Master’s degree, according to Georgia Tech’s website.

Successful applicants will first be conditionally admitted into the degree program and must pass their first two OMS CS foundational courses with a grade of B or better to be fully admitted. Students do not need to take these foundational courses before registering for elective courses, however students must take at least one foundational course per semester in which they are enrolled until they are fully admitted to Georgia Tech.

For students who don’t fulfill all the qualification or want to have the flexibility to take specific courses, there is a variety to choose from including  Machine Learning: Supervised Learning, Machine Learning: Reinforcement Learning, Machine Learning: Unsupervised Learning, Computer Networking, Software Development Life Cycles, and Artificial Intelligence for Robotics.