communication Program

The only online Ivy League master’s degree in Computer Science designed for students without a Computer Science background.

The online Master of Computer and Information Technology degree (MCIT Online) is an online masters degree in Computer Science tailored for non-Computer Science majors. Offered by the University of Pennsylvania, this new program brings the long-running, established on-campus MCIT degree online. The MCIT Online program empowers students without computer science backgrounds to succeed in computing and technology fields. MCIT Online students come from diverse academic backgrounds ranging from business and history to chemistry and medicine.

Computer science might not be in your past, but it will be in your future. Technology has an immense impact on our lives, and is creating fields and positions that didn’t exist five years ago. Equipped with a competitive computer science degree, MCIT Online graduates will be uniquely positioned to fill roles in finance, healthcare, education, and government, as well as in the core software development industry. Exposure to real-world projects throughout the program will prepare students to utilize skills that positively impact society.

This program fosters a rich and inclusive community for students, granting access to core university services that support their well-being and future career goals. This support, combined with a strong alumni network and career services, prepares students to succeed even if they are new to the tech industry. Upon completion of the degree, on-campus MCIT alumni have gone on to earn jobs with competitive salaries at leading technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Bloomberg.

What makes this degree unique?

  • Ivy League Quality It’s a first-of-its-kind program that offers an Ivy League master’s degree in Computer Science designed for non-CS majors.
  • Built Around Your Schedule The coursework is 100 percent online. You’ll benefit from the same high-quality instruction as on-campus students and graduate with the same degree. The diploma does not indicate whether the degree was earned online or on-campus.
  • Accessible Pricing At $26,300 for tuition and fees, the cost of the MCIT Online degree is significantly less than on-campus alternatives and most online master’s degrees in Computer Science.
  • Faculty Access You’ll get access to world-renowned instructors through discussion forums and live office hours.
  • Try before you apply Penn Engineering offers an online Computational Thinking for Problem Solving course on Coursera to help you decide whether the program is the right fit before you apply.
  • Real-world, project-based learning Core courses and electives blend computer science theory and applied, project-based learning. You’ll have the chance to use real-world tools and environments such as TensorFlow and Amazon Cloud.

Deadlines

Applications for the Fall 2020 cohort open on January 2nd

The early application deadline is March 1st.

The final deadline to apply is May 1st.

Requirements

Who should apply

MCIT Online is for motivated students with little or no background in Computer Science who want to launch a rewarding career in the computing industry or use computer science to innovate in their current field.

In order to succeed in this rigorous and accelerated program, students should have both a passion for learning computer science and the ability to dedicate significant time and effort to their studies. While there is no specific undergraduate GPA requirement, successful applicants typically have a GPA above 3.0.

Take this quiz from Penn Engineering to see how this degree would fit into your life.

Note: This quiz will in no way factor into your application — this is purely to inform your choice to pursue an online degree and to assess your ability to thrive in an accelerated online program. This blog post further describes ways to be successful when studying computer science online.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must have a 3 or 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited School or University prior to intended matriculation date.

Application Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school or university
  • A personal statement
    • The personal statement should be a 500-1000 word essay that answers the questions below. Please provide detailed and specific examples from academia, industry or research when possible.
      • What makes you interested in the MCIT Online program?
      • How will you benefit from the program?
      • Why will you succeed in the program?
      • How will you contribute to the MCIT Online community?
      • Please describe your career goals and how the MCIT Online curriculum will help to achieve them.
      • Given that the program is designed for people without a CS background, if you feel that your resume could be perceived as overqualified, please explain why MCIT Online is right for you.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts (translated to English if necessary)
    • From every university or college attended where course credit was earned, including transfer credit transcripts
    • Must include courses taken, credit hours and grades earned
  • Official transcripts will be required following an offer of admission.
  • Your resume
    • Your resume should be in English and 1-2 pages in length (5 pages is the maximum).
    • Penn is interested in your functional job skills, breadth and depth of experience, demonstrated leadership, and any experiences with online learning. Penn is more concerned with what you have learned in your positions than they are with the length of time you’ve been in the workplace.
  • TOEFL scores for international applicants and non-U.S. citizens/permanent resident applicants if English is not your native language. More details can be found on the MCIT Online website.
  • GRE scores are optional. If submitted by the application deadline, official exam results will be taken into consideration in the evaluation process and can have a favorable impact. The test must have been taken within 5 years of application submission.

Tuition & Fees

Total Tuition = $25,000 USD ($2,500 per course unit) Online Services Fees = $1,300 USD ($130 per course unit)

Students will also be required to purchase textbooks for a few of the courses in the program. Admitted applicants interested in joining the program will need to submit a $300 USD enrollment deposit. Tuition varies depending upon the number of courses a student enrolls in each semester, please see table below for details.

Number of Courses Cost
1 Course $2,630 ($2,500 Tuition + $130 Fee)
2 Courses $5,260 ($5,000 Tuition + $260 Fee)
3 Courses $7,890 ($7,500 Tuition + $390 Fee)
4 Courses $10,520 ($10,000 Tuition + $520 Fee)

Students will be billed only for the courses they take each semester. If a student needs to take a term off, they won’t be charged during that term. The core courses must be taken in sequential order. Students may not waive or replace more than two core courses.

For a sample tuition payment schedule, see the “Program Length” section on the Academics page.

Students may have the opportunity to seek tuition reimbursement from their employer. Connect with your manager or HR department to see what’s available to you as an employee.

Technology Requirements

  • MCIT Online is an online degree program and it is your responsibility to have and maintain internet access that permits you to receive and transmit information freely for the duration of the program. Penn is not responsible for any inability to access the program due to disruptions in your internet service, whether caused by technical problems, governmental or other third party actions.
  • Coursera’s Technical Requirements
  • Internal or external webcam
  • ProctorU Technical Requirements

Student Loans

Online students who are enrolled at least half-time will be eligible to apply for federal student loans. For the purposes of financial aid, half-time is at least two courses in a semester. International students’ eligibility may vary depending upon their international status.

Please be mindful of the FAFSA deadlines in relation to the application deadlines. You can find more information here.

Student Loan Options for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents

Students have access to non-need-based loan funding to cover expenses associated with their degree. Please note that a student’s total financial aid (scholarships, fellowships, and all education loans) cannot exceed the financial aid budget for the academic year.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program is available to all U.S. Citizens and permanent residents who meet basic federal requirements (i.e. student has never defaulted on a federal loan, is not currently involved in filing bankruptcy, registered for Selective Service etc). Students can choose to borrow either Federal Direct Graduate PLUS or private student loan funds to supplement the Unsubsidized Loan annual maximum of $20,500. Students should research loan lenders to determine which option is best for their individual situation.

To apply for federal student loans, complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at FAFSA.gov.

Read more about Federal Direct Loans at the Department of Education website.

Your total financial aid (scholarships, fellowships, and all education loans) cannot exceed the estimated expenses plus tuition and fees.

Degree Requirements

The MCIT Online degree program requires the completion of 10 fully online computer science courses made up of six core courses and four electives. There are no required real-time sessions.

6 Core Courses

  • Introduction to Software Development (CIT 591) This course is an introduction to fundamental concepts of programming and computer science, including principles of modern object-oriented programming languages: abstraction, types, polymorphism, encapsulation, inheritance, and interfaces. This course also focuses on best practices and aspects of software development such as software design, software testing, pair programming, version control, and using IDEs.
  • Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (CIT 592) This course introduces students to math concepts that form the backbone of the majority of computer science. Topics covered include sets, functions, permutations and combinations, discrete probability, expectation, mathematical induction, and graph theory. The course goal of is to ensure students are comfortable with the math required for most CIS electives.
  • Introduction to Computer Systems (CIT 593) This course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts of computer systems and computer architecture. Students learn C programming language and an instruction set (machine language) as basis for understanding how computers represent data, process information, and execute programs.
  • Data Structures & Software Design (CIT 594) This course focuses on data structures, software design, and advanced Java; starting with an introduction to data structures and basics of algorithm analysis. Important data structures covered include arrays, lists, stacks, queues, trees, hash maps, and graphs. The course also focuses on software design and advanced Java topics such as software architectures, design patterns, and concurrency.
  • Computer Systems Programming (CIT 595) This course is a continuation of CIT 593 and introduces students to fundamental concepts in computing systems. Divided into two parts, the first half of the course introduces important concepts in modern operating systems: processes, scheduling, caching, and virtual memory. The second half of the course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts in the design and implementation of networked systems, their protocols, and applications. The course will use the C program language, and will develop your knowledge on C system calls, and libraries for process/thread creation and manipulation, synchronization, and network communication.
  • Algorithms & Computation (CIT 596) This course focuses primarily on the design and analysis of algorithms. It begins with sorting and searching algorithms, then investigates graph algorithms. General algorithm design patterns like dynamic programming and greedy algorithms are then introduced. A section of this course is also devoted to understanding NP-Completeness.

The core courses must be taken in sequential order. Students may waive or transfer up to two required MCIT Online computer science courses.

4 Electives

MCIT Online students must complete four graduate-level electives. The electives will be broadly in the areas of machine learning, data science, and computing systems.

Starting in January 2020, MCIT Online plans to launch two new electives every semester for the foreseeable future. The electives planned for Spring 2020 are CIS 549 Wireless Communications for Mobile Networks with Dr. Bongho Kim, and CIS 581 Computer Vision & Computational Photography with Dr. Jianbo Shi. Further electives in 2020 include Mathematical Foundations in Machine Learning, Software Analysis, Statistics for Data Science (an Applied Machine Learning course), and Databases.

Enrollment Options

Courses are offered year-round (spring, summer, fall) and the program generally follows the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar. The summer semester is optional. View a few sample course plans here.

Students may enroll in the MCIT Online program on a part-time or full-time basis. Students are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete the MCIT Online degree program.

When you graduate, you’ll be able to:

  • Combine mathematical foundations and engineering principles to develop solutions to real-world computing problems
  • Design, construct and maintain high-quality software as part of a collaborative development team
  • Assess the appropriate use of modern techniques, skills and tools in creating a technology solution
  • Apply algorithmic thinking and computer science theory to the modeling and analysis of software systems

Try a course

Wondering if the MCIT Online is right for you?

Get familiar with online learning by taking Penn Engineering’s stand-alone course, Computational Thinking for Problem Solving, and assess your ability to think like a computer scientist. The course is open for enrollment and costs $49.

Wondering if an online program is right for you?

Take this quiz from Penn Engineering to help decide if now is the right time for you to pursue this degree. Note: This quiz will in no way factor into your application — this is purely to assess your ability to thrive in an online degree program and to help you prepare for success in MCIT Online. This blog post helps explain more about the expectations of the degree.

Program Length

Sample Schedule MCIT Online Sample 2 Year Plan Tuition + Fees MCIT Online Sample 3.5 Year Plan Tuition + Fees
Fall CIT 591 – Intro to Software Development + CIT 592 – Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science $5,260 CIT 591 – Intro to Software Development $2,630
Spring CIT 593 – Intro to Computer Systems + CIT 594 – Data Structures & Software Design $5,260 CIT 592 – Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science $2,630
Summer CIT 595 – Computer Systems Programming $2,630 CIT 593 – Intro to Computer Systems $2,630
Fall CIT 596 – Algorithms & Computation + Elective $5,260 CIT 594 – Data Structures & Software Design $2,630
Spring Elective+ Elective $5,260 CIT 595 – Computer Systems Programming $2,630
Summer Elective $2,630 CIT 596 – Algorithms & Computation $2,630
Fall Elective $2,630
Spring Elective $2,630
Summer Elective $2,630
Fall Elective $2,630

Online Degree Experience

  • Courses are offered year-round (spring, summer, fall) and the program generally follows the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar. All courses are approximately 15 weeks in length.
  • 24/7 access to video lectures from world class faculty
  • Weekly opportunities for live interaction with faculty and teaching staff
  • Assessments that blend Computer Science theory and applied, project-based learning using real-world tools and environments
  • Diverse, supportive, inclusive community of students and alumni

Student Experience

The MCIT Online program is fully developed by the University of Pennsylvania and courses are taught by the same faculty that teach on-campus. Courses are offered year-round (spring, summer, and fall). The program generally follows the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar. All courses are approximately 15 weeks in length.

The University of Pennsylvania leverages Coursera’s online education platform to deliver the program curriculum, allowing students to benefit from features such as interactive video transcription, in-course note taking, and seamless learning across multiple devices.

Courses consist of modules that can be completed during commutes or other short periods of spare time. Courses include supplementary readings, video lectures, assignments, and discussion forums that help spark connections with your peers.

Watch On-Campus Student Stories

The online Master of Computer and Information Technology degree (MCIT Online) is a rigorous graduate-level program designed for students who have limited previous experience in computer science. They have the opportunity to embark on a highly successful career in computing and technology, often in coveted interdisciplinary roles or technical software development positions.

On-campus alumni have gone on to work in various roles at large companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, as well as at entrepreneurial start-ups and smaller-sized companies across the world.

Students in MCIT Online will learn the same content, and earn the same degree as on-campus MCIT students. Explore the stories of MCIT graduates:

Career Outcomes

MCIT Online graduates will be uniquely positioned to fill computer science jobs in industries such as finance, healthcare, education, and government, as well as in the core software development industry. Upon completion of the on-campus program, MCIT alumni have gone on to earn jobs with competitive salaries at technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Bloomberg.

Alumni Network

As an MCIT Online graduate, you’ll join the Penn Engineering alumni network – a community of over 28,000 business leaders, innovators and researchers across the globe. As a member of the alumni network, you will enjoy access to Penn’s Alumni Directory, the Engineering Alumni Society, the Penn Global Club Network, and Penn alumni events and communications.

Learn more about Penn Alumni

Career Services

Penn will provide a range of services to support online students in achieving their career goals from webinars, access to job boards, online subscriptions and networking events to targeted support from career advisors and mentors as students progress towards graduation. Click here to view the MCIT Online Career Services page.

To learn more about tips for breaking into the tech industry, watch a webinar with Penn’s Associate Director of Professional Development and Networking.

About University of Pennsylvania

About University of Pennsylvania

“The noblest question in the world is: What good may I do in it?” – Ben Franklin, Founder of the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, research-intensive university located in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Penn traces its origin to 1740 and continues to pursue the principles of its founder, Benjamin Franklin: invention, outreach, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the pragmatic unity of theory and practice. Penn’s educational offerings balance the arts and sciences with the professions.

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  • $25,000 (tuition) + $1,300 (online services fees)
  • 16-40 months
  • 10 courses
  • Completely online

About the Program

Admissions

The online Master of Computer and Information Technology degree (MCIT Online) is a rigorous graduate-level program that offers talented students with no prior experience in computer science an opportunity to embark on a highly successful career in technology. The program accepts applications for fall and spring semesters.

Academics

The accelerated MCIT Online curriculum is designed for students to build the strong foundation needed to pursue the graduate-level electives taken by students in traditional computer science Masters programs.

Careers

Computer science and technology have the power to reshape your career and your life. Graduates of the on-campus MCIT program have gone on to pursue careers in diverse industries including finance, healthcare, education, and government, as well as in the core software development industry.

Student Experience

MCIT Online is about more than just the curriculum. Students in this program will have access to core services across the university to support their well-being and future career goals. Although MCIT Online students do not study on Penn’s campus, they are considered members of the Penn community.

About University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, research-intensive university located in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Penn traces its origin to 1740 and continues to pursue the principles of its founder, Benjamin Franklin: invention, outreach, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the pragmatic unity of theory and practice. Penn’s educational offerings balance the arts and sciences with the professions.

Get Familiar with Penn Engineering Online Learning

Try Penn Engineering’s stand-alone online course, Computational Thinking for Problem Solving, and assess your ability to think like a computer scientist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes – there is a Letters of Recommendation section on the

No, but there is a Computational Thinking for Problem Solving course to help you decide whether the program is the right fit before you apply.

Here is a link to Penn’s Clery Act and Crime Reporting information.

Yes! There is a Computational Thinking for Problem Solving course to help you decide whether the program is the right fit before you apply.

Try before you Apply

Penn Engineering offers an online Computational Thinking for Problem Solving course on Coursera to help you decide whether the program is the right fit before you apply.