Online Computer Science Master’s at Georgia Tech Graduates First Cohort


The first student-cohort from the online Master's program in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology have graduated. The highly popular Master's has about 1,300 new applicants every term and for the present semester, 2,789 students are enrolled. Georgia Tech introduced its popular online program in 2013 with AT&T funding.

About 8 in 10 enrolled students are working and living in the US. The online program is significantly more popular than its offline version; only 312 students are enrolled in the campus-based program compared to almost 2,800 online. The course is about to show its first profit in the spring of 2016 Charles Isbell, Jr. says, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Out of 380 students enrolled in the first online cohort, 253 students are still enrolled six semesters following enrollment. The seemingly small degree completion rate is not something the school interprets as a failure because many students work full-time, EdSurge says, or take no interest in earning any credit.

The inexpensive online master's degree costs about $7,000 compared to $38,000 for the on-campus program. As data show, online learners are taking fewer classes than their on-campus classmates with an average of 1.4 courses per semester for the online cohort.

Considering that many students are working part-time or full-time can justify the lower-than-estimated by the university degree attainment rate:

"They're making progress at a more leisurely pace than we expected," Charles Isbell Jr, senior associate dean at the College of Computing says.

To graduate, students need a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.

Georgia Tech is among the first institutions along with Arizona State University and MIT to provide credit for their digital programs. In terms of demographics, students enrolled in the online computer science master's degree are principally white males with very few black, Latino and female students.

Although for the time being the course is not strictly a MOOC, Isbell is optimistic that by 2020 enrollment could as much as triple. As he reassures that the Georgia Tech Master's is both sustainable and scalable.

The Online Master of Science in Computer Science program is offered in collaboration with Udacity and AT&T, and it's one of the nine master's degree Georgia Technology has on offer.

From January 2016, the university will accept student applications year-round for the Master's program. Admission requirements include a four-year Bachelor's from an accredited institution and a satisfactory TOEFL score for all international applicants.

The majority of the Computer Science courses for this program cost $510 per 3-credit block while enrollment fees per term are $301. Just like campus students, all students enrolled in the online Master's qualify for financial aid.

The online program covers a wide range of topics and courses including Ed Tech, Health Informatics, Machine Learning, Introductory and Advanced courses on Operating Systems, High-Performance Computer Architecture, Artificial Intelligence for Robotics, and Software Architecture and Design, among others.

The program has been widely covered in the media in view of it being one of the first low-cost postgraduate programs, and President Barack Obama has applauded the course and Georgia Tech on multiple occasions.

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