MicroMasters Programs from edX

The MicroMasters program is an online education initiative originally launched by edX in 2015. The idea behind the it was to provide learners with an affordable and flexible way to gain advanced knowledge and skills in a specific area of study.

The program is designed to provide learners with high-quality, graduate-level coursework in a specific field of study, while also serving as a pathway to obtaining a full master’s degree.

The online format is flexible and the cost is considerably less than a traditional degree program. Courses can be audited for free or, for a fee, participants can have their work verified in order to receive an official credential and potential transfer credit.

Origin of MicroMasters

The MicroMasters program was first introduced as a partnership between edX and a small of universities which including MIT and the University of California, Berkeley. The initial MicroMasters were in topics such as computer science, data science, business management, and education. The MicroMasters program has since expanded to include a wide range of universities and institutions from around the world. The diverse range of topics includes artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, global business, and sustainable energy among others.

Length of Program

The programs typically consist of four to six graduate-level courses that are delivered entirely online through edX. Upon completion of a MicroMasters program, learners can earn a MicroMasters credential, which can be used as a standalone credential or as a pathway to earning a full master’s degree.

Reception – Learners

The MicroMasters program has been well-received by learners around the world, with thousands of learners completing MicroMasters programs each year.

According to a 2019 edX survey of MicroMasters learners, 87% of respondents reported that they received a career-related benefit from completing a MicroMasters program. This benefit could take many forms, such as a salary increase, a promotion, or a new job opportunity.

Reception – Employers

The program has also garnered attention from employers, who recognize the value of the skills and knowledge gained through the program. In fact, a number of companies have partnered with edX to offer MicroMasters programs to their employees.

For example, IBM has partnered with edX to offer a number of MicroMasters programs to their employees, and has stated that completing a MicroMasters program can help employees advance their careers within the company.

Other companies that have expressed support for the MicroMasters program include GE, Walmart, and Mastercard.

Career Trajectories

The MicroMasters program has become a popular and effective way for learners to gain advanced knowledge and skills in a specific area of study, and to advance their careers in a variety of industries.

Here are four areas where we see a particular opportunity to benefit from the MicroMasters offerings.

Information Technology

Many MicroMasters programs in areas such as computer science, cybersecurity, and data science can provide learners with valuable skills and knowledge that are highly sought after in the IT industry. Completing a MicroMasters program in one of these areas can help job candidates stand out from others with a more general IT background.

Business Management

MicroMasters programs in areas such as global business, marketing, and supply chain management can provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in leadership roles within the business world. Completing a MicroMasters program in one of these areas can help job candidates demonstrate their expertise and commitment to their field.


For those pursuing a career in education, completing a MicroMasters program in areas such as instructional design or educational leadership can provide a valuable boost to their resume. These programs can demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development, and can help job candidates stand out in a competitive field.

Sustainable Energy

As demand for renewable energy continues to grow, completing a MicroMasters program in sustainable energy can provide job candidates with a competitive advantage in the job market. These programs can provide learners with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in roles related to renewable energy development, management, and policy.

Verified Certificates vs Auditing

Learners can typically audit the courses for free or pay a fee to obtain a verified certificate.

A verified certificate is issued by edX upon completion of a MicroMasters program and provides evidence that the learner has successfully completed the program and acquired the associated skills and knowledge. Having a verified certificate can help to demonstrate to potential employers that the job candidate (that’s you!) has completed a rigorous and comprehensive course of study.

While the verified certificate may provide additional validation of a job candidate’s skills and knowledge, employers are often most interested in the actual skills and knowledge gained through the MicroMasters program. Generally speaking the courses can be accessed for free with the potential to upgrade to a certificate later.

If you are considering further education and are interested in obtaining advanced standing or transfer credit, the verified certificate becomes much more important. It may even save you money on your postgraduate degree.

MicroMasters to Master’s

According to edX, 1 in 5 students who completed a MicroMasters have gone on to enroll in a full master’s degree program. A survey reported in the Journal of Education and Practice found that 60% of respondents had considered pursuing a full master’s degree program after completing the MicroMasters program.

This suggests that completing a MicroMasters program may be a helpful pathway for learners who are interested in pursuing further education. Learners can earn credits towards a full master’s degree program.


Overall the edX MicroMasters have been well-received by students and employers for career development. We offer information on a range of MicroMasters programs which may be of interest to you and relate them back to your degree and desired career path.