USM and edX to Launch MicroMasters Programs, Which May Accelerate Path to Advanced Degrees


Non-Degree Programs in Bioinformatics, Cloud Computing, Instructional Design and Technology, and Software Testing and Verification, will be offered by national online education leader UMUC

Adelphi, Md. (Feb. 28, 2017) -- The University System of Maryland (USM) is partnering with edX, the online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT, to offer four new MicroMasters® Programs. These programs consist of non-credit master's-level courses, which can accelerate the pathway to an advanced degree and save students thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.

The non-degree programs in Bioinformatics, Cloud Computing, Instructional Design and Technology, and Software Testing and Verification will be offered by national online education leader University of Maryland University College (UMUC), a USM member institution.

MicroMasters® programs consist of three or four courses and are an important modular and flexible credential for the digital age, promising to serve as academic currency in a world in which lifelong learning is increasingly important. These programs also support an inverted admissions process, allowing learners everywhere to try master's-level coursework from UMUC before committing significant time and money toward applying for and enrolling in a full master's degree program.

(More information about the EdX national announcement today of its national partners, including USM, can be found here.)

Through UMUC's prior-learning assessment process, those who successfully complete a MicroMasters® program may be able to apply the non-credit courses toward the master's degree program in that subject area at UMUC. Academicians at the university estimate that 20 to 50 percent of a master's degree could be completed through these MicroMasters® programs.

"This next step in the USM partnership with edX reflects the system's emphasis on making our graduates marketable to future employers," said USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. "The MicroMasters® concept will ease the pathway toward graduate degree completion, another way USM is serving the needs of Maryland employers and students."

"The MicroMasters® programs align perfectly with our mission to provide a quality, accessible, and affordable pathway to an education," said UMUC President Javier Miyares. "Through these programs, we can offer working adults the opportunity to gain a credential at low cost, giving them a leg up with their employers and boosting their careers by speeding their progress toward an advanced degree."

"UMUC's offerings mark an exciting step toward furthering our shared mission to expand access to high-quality education," said Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX and professor at MIT. "The MicroMasters® programs on edX empower learners everywhere to improve their lives and advance their careers. Signaling the next level of innovation in learning, MicroMasters® programs are designed to meet the needs of both universities and employers by providing learners with the in-demand knowledge and skills needed for success in today's rapidly-evolving and tech-driven world."

In September 2016, edX and 14 international partners launched 19 MicroMasters® programs, offering courses in popular subjects such as artificial intelligence and user experience design.  The USM joins edX and top global university partners in expanding the initiative, offering learners everywhere access to high-quality, career-focused education. UMUC has launched the largest number of MicroMasters programs (4) on edX.

UMUC MicroMasters® programs will be launched in May on the edX platform and are open for enrollment beginning today.


About UMUC

A pioneer in distance education since 1947, University of Maryland University College is a world leader in innovative education models, with award-winning online programs in workforce-relevant areas such as cybersecurity, biotechnology, data analytics, and information technology. UMUC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission-to meet the learning needs of adult students whose responsibilities often include jobs, families, and military service. Today, UMUC is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high quality education that is accessible, affordable, and valued.

UMUC Contact: Bob Ludwig  (301) 985-7253 


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719