Online Master’s Program Admits 400

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More than 400 applicants will be admitted to the first cohort of the College of Computing’s massive online offering of its Master of Science in Computer Science, according to the college’s Office of Academic Administration. The program is set to begin on Jan. 15.

Some 2,361 individuals applied to the program during a three-week application period in October. That number exceeds the total number of fall 2013 applicants (1,806) to all of the college’s on-campus MS programs and is a 74 percent increase over the applications received for the on-campus MS CS program.

Another interesting statistic is that 85 percent of applications were from U.S. citizens or residents — almost exactly the inverse of the U.S./international ratio among applicants to the on-campus program.

“We thought we might get 1,000 applications, perhaps 1,500 if we were lucky,” said College of Computing Dean Zvi Galil. “The fact that we almost doubled the number of MS CS applications shows that this program is addressing a real gap in computing education, not to mention a tremendous need on the part of students.”

Of the roughly 1,950 students not admitted for spring 2014, several hundred may be offered deferred admission in subsequent terms. Prior to the application period, the college had planned to enroll about 150 students in each of the five courses to be offered next spring. Given that many students will take more than one course, the approximately 400 spring admissions keep the college right on target.

The new program (informally dubbed OMS CS, for online MS in Computer Science) is being launched jointly by the College of Computing and Georgia Tech Professional Education, with significant contributions from nearly every academic support unit on campus.

“Since we first conceived of OMS CS as a model to deliver an elite computing education to a specific population of students, nothing we’ve seen in the marketplace has proven us wrong,” said Provost Rafael L. Bras. “We continue to be thankful to our collaborators, Udacity and AT&T, and I’m excited to see how the first OMS CS students perform.”

OMS CS course materials will be delivered over a platform managed by the online education provider Udacity, which also will collaborate in hiring the individuals engaged in student support roles. AT&T provided an unrestricted gift of $2 million to help get OMS CS off the ground.

Soon, the program will offer additional credential tracks for students who are not interested in or do not qualify for the degree program, and many of the current applicants denied admission to the degree program will specifically be directed to these noncredit options.

“We’re thrilled to add this program to Georgia Tech Professional Education’s portfolio of educational offerings for nontraditional students such as working professionals, active military, and others who need alternative models to continue their education,” said Professional Education Dean Nelson Baker. “It’s been a tremendously cooperative effort to launch this program in a very short timeframe, and both Dean Galil and I are very appreciative of the tireless efforts of many Institute staff and faculty who have made it possible.”



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