Updates for the MSE-DS Online degree Coming Soon
The online Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) degree is a first-of-its-kind graduate-level degree program in Computer Science tailored for non-Computer Science majors. Hosted on Coursera, this program brings online the long-running, established on-campus MCIT degree that empowers students without computer science backgrounds to succeed in computing and technology fields. MCIT students come from diverse academic backgrounds ranging from literature and history to chemistry and medicine.
This program fosters a rich and inclusive community for students, who have access to core services from across the University to support their well-being and future career goals. Exposure to real-world projects throughout the program will prepare students to use their skills to positively impact society. MCIT graduates will be uniquely positioned to fill technical jobs in industries such as education, healthcare, social work, government and urban development, as well as in the core software development industry.
We greatly value our diverse community of students, instructors and staff. We will cultivate a strong, inclusive community that is respectful and supportive. One of the main tools that we use to share interesting events and community discussions is the Slack workspace. This is a platform for us to share opportunities with each other such as online seminars, interesting articles, job opportunities, etc. The MCIT Online Student Affairs team will help to coordinate local meet-ups as well, when possible!
Penn Engineering is the birthplace of the modern computer. It was here that the ENIAC, the world’s first electronic, large-scale, general-purpose digital computer, was developed in 1946. Since this auspicious beginning more than seven decades ago, the field of computer science at Penn has been marked by exciting innovations. Today, the Computer and Information Science department is home to nine research centers and institutes and more than 50 world-class faculty engaging in teaching and interdisciplinary research across many traditional and cutting-edge fields including intelligent systems and artificial intelligence, information systems and data science, hardware and software systems, computer networks, and theory of computation. Faculty and students work together and across sectors to develop new ideas and new solutions to challenges rapidly emerging in the field. Now, more than ever, breakthroughs in computer and information science are changing our world, and computer scientists have an amazing opportunity to lead that change.
Increasing diversity, expanding financial aid, and offering free online classes to the public are three of the many ways Penn nurtures an inclusive learning environment.
Penn’s culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration generates discoveries and applies them to pressing social needs.
Faculty and students leverage Penn’s distinctive intellectual resources to promote progress and prosperity in our local, national, and global communities.
Learn more at: https://president.upenn.edu/penn-compact
MCIT Online students must complete six core courses and four electives. It is recommended that students take the core courses in sequential order. That said, students do not need special permission to take courses out of sequence so long as prerequisites and corequisites are followed. Note that new students must take CIT 591 in their first semester, and students must pass and complete four of the core courses before registering for electives.
(Course descriptions can be found on the MCIT Online Academics Page)
-CIT 591 Introduction to Software Development
-CIT 592 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
-CIT 593 Introduction to Computer Systems
-CIT 594 Data Structures & Software Design
-CIT 595 Computer Systems Programming
-CIT 596 Algorithms & Computation
Important notes regarding core courses:
MCIT Online students must also complete four graduate-level electives. A full list of electives can be found on the MCIT Online Academics Page.
MCIT Online students should follow the MCIT Online Program Calendar schedule rather than the University calendar.
You may have taken online courses on websites such as Coursera or edX as a MOOC learner. Although MCIT Online is hosted on Coursera, your experience as an admitted Penn student will be different from other online courses that you may have taken in the past. In this section, we will cover what you can expect during a typical MCIT Online course.
Your online course material will be organized into modules, which are groups of lessons forming a larger unit of learning. Each module typically corresponds to one week in the course. Most or all of the lecture videos will be available as soon as the course opens; however, the assignments will become available based on their due dates. You are free to work ahead by watching videos, but please note that the course staff will prioritize the current week content by responding within 24 hours while future week’s content and assessments may take longer to respond to. Course staff will not be available to answer questions regarding future modules until the corresponding assessments have been unlocked.
In order to stay on track, it is important to be mindful of any deadlines throughout the week. There are some tools built into our program to assist you with this. Every time you log into your MCIT Degree Home Page on Coursera, you will be able to see a list of upcoming due dates. To find the full list of due dates within a course, click on the Grades page. You’ll also receive automated reminders about assignments that are incomplete when deadlines are approaching.
Keep in mind that there may be times when a portion of an assignment is due earlier in the week in order to provide you with early feedback, and you may need to complete a reading or watch a video before you can do that assignment. It’s critical that you stay on top of deadlines and find strategies for managing your time so you don’t fall behind. Leave yourself enough time to gain confidence with what you’re learning!
Our courses are made up of lecture materials that your instructors created to teach you key concepts. You’ll also be learning from videos or other resources, including guest lectures, valuable websites, or other relevant materials your faculty has curated to help you learn. You will be able to stream or download course materials and videos for offline viewing. However, note that downloaded material from MCIT Online courses may not be distributed.
In addition to readings and recorded lectures, you will also have regular assignments and graded activities throughout your courses that will ask you to synthesize what you are learning and put it into practice. This may include quizzes, assignments, individual and group projects, coding assignments, topics to debate, and optional synchronous recitations. Of course, each course is influenced by the personality and the style of the instructor who is leading it, so you will notice some differences across courses.
The course instructor has full discretion with regards to assignment and course grading policies. Please see the individual course syllabi for details.
No course may be retaken to improve a grade of “C-” unless the content is different. However, students may complete additional work, with the instructor’s permission, to improve this grade. Graduation may not be postponed for grade improvement if all other graduation criteria are met.
Upon completion of the course, please note that the grade posted in Coursera is not the final grade for the course. Your final grade will be published in Penn InTouch.
|The GPA scale for Penn Engineering is as follows:|
Extensions on coursework, beyond what the late policy mentions, are only granted if the student is experiencing extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for them to complete their work on time. Types of extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to:
Extension requests that are typically NOT approved are:
Students will submit extension requests through a Google Form. The links will be available in each of the courses’ resources.
Extensions must be requested at least 48 hours ahead of when they are due to be considered for approval.
Please see the individual course syllabi for specific course details regarding extensions.
Instructors and teaching assistants will be active participants in the course along with you and will be responding to your questions and providing feedback on the work you complete.
Instructors will offer live sessions on a regular basis via Zoom. Instructors will also send out video updates throughout the semester with feedback on how the course is going.
TAs will be available to answer questions in the Discussion Forum of each course. You can expect a response from the course staff within 24 hours, unless your question is answered by a fellow student. TAs will also offer private office hour sessions via Zoom each week.
TAs will also offer optional recitations on a regular basis. In these sessions, TAs will demonstrate sample problems, provide supplemental materials and answer questions in real time. The links for these sessions will be posted on the Live Events page for each course. The sessions will be recorded and posted for those who can’t attend.
Finally, if you have a private question for anyone on the course staff, you can always contact the MCIT Online program team and it will be forwarded to the appropriate person.
MCIT Online provides various levels of support including TA office hours, recitations, program advising and peer mentoring. However, MCIT Online does not have a formal tutoring program. Students are welcome to connect with other resources as needed.
Please note that students are not permitted to reach out to MCIT Online TAs for private tutoring.
Students may take 1-4 courses each semester. The number of courses you take each semester defines whether you are part-time or full-time.
In your first semester, we strongly encourage you to take no more than two courses. This is a rigorous program, often requiring our students to dedicate an average of 15 hours per week or more to each course. If you are new to the online learning environment or have full-time commitments outside of the program, allowing yourself to take one or two courses rather than a full-time load can give you the time and space to adjust to the program. If you are considering your options for your first semester and would like to course plan with an advisor, feel free to reach out to the program staff.
Full-time status is defined as taking three or more courses per semester.
Part-time status students may take one or two courses each semester. Note: In order to be considered for federal financial aid, a student must be enrolled at least “half-time” which is two or more courses per semester for MCIT Online students.
Students must register for at least one course unit during the fall and spring semesters in order to remain continuously enrolled in their programs. If you choose not to enroll in any courses for a fall or spring semester, please follow our Leave of Absence (LOA) policy. (There is no need to apply for a LOA over the summer).
All students are required to be continuously registered while in graduate school, except under the following exceptional circumstances:
Students who do not register each semester will be dropped from Engineering and the University.
Penn InTouch (PIT) is your portal for all things related to course scheduling and registration. This is where you’ll be able to search for your courses, read their descriptions, and add and drop the courses during the course selection period.
To start registering for courses:
You can find the deadline to add a course or drop a course on the MCIT Online Program Calendar.
Penn Engineering policy states that you are allowed to waive up to two courses and/or transfer up to two courses. A small number of students choose to waive out of a core course by taking and passing a waiver exam. Students who waive courses must still take 10 Penn courses total. Students may also transfer up to two courses (with faculty approval) which will fulfill one or two of the program requirements. Students who do not pass the waiver exam are not permitted to retake it.
Note: MCIT Online students must take a minimum of four out of the six core courses at Penn.
For inquiries about waiving or transferring credit, contact the MCIT Online program team.
Independent studies are not available for MCIT Online students matriculating in Spring 2021 and beyond. Requests from students who matriculated before this date will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
All students are welcome to apply for volunteer or paid research assistant positions at Penn.
Your PennKey name and password gives you access to a Penn email account, and many other essential online services. See the PennKey website for details on obtaining a PennKey and password. New students receive the instructions for setting up their PennKey upon enrollment.
All MCIT Online students must enroll in Two-Step Verification. Two-Step is a second layer of log-in protection.
Create your SEAS account and use it to set up your University of Pennsylvania email address. (You must wait 72hours after you have activated your PennKey.)
Activate Google@SEAS for your SEAS account by setting its password. This will give you access to Gmail and cloud services.
You will receive instructions on how to set up your Coursera account as well as access to the program onboarding course after you submit your Enrollment Form and Deposit.
While this course will be a resource on Coursera that you will refer to throughout your course of study, Penn InTouch is the University of Pennsylvania portal for academic, financial and profile information, including:
Billing always follows course registration. Be sure to review the billing schedule for when bills are generated, as well as check your Penn Pay for your bill due date. Electronic bills or e-bills are sent from the University’s Student Registration and Financial Services (SRFS) Office to a student’s official email address on file and can be accessed through Penn InTouch. Please note that you will receive a notification when a bill has been generated but you will not receive a reminder when the bill is due.
Changes in registration after the second week of classes necessitate manual tuition adjustments. If you notice a mistake with your bill, please contact the MCIT Online program staff.
Ideally, a student’s bill should reflect all charges and all financial aid credits for the semester in question. Frequently, University and departmental financial aid awards are credited after the date of initial billing. When this happens, the bill reflects a higher debt than the student anticipated. The student’s first step is to check with their department to make sure the financial aid was credited. Students utilizing tuition benefits with questions should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Students supported from outside the University should check directly with their sponsors.
The University will withhold diplomas at graduation when financial questions are unresolved. It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their outstanding balance and to resolve any problems that might arise.
Tuition and fees for MCIT Online are based on course units. Students will complete a total of 10 course units during the program, paying each semester based on the number of registered courses. Students may also be required to purchase textbooks or supplies for a few of the courses in the program. Tuition and fees are posted as a guide and will be adjusted on a yearly basis.
Enrollment Deposit: The $300 deposit you paid when you submitted your enrollment form is non-refundable. A $300 credit will be applied to your account after the add/drop deadline has passed. This $300 credit will be applied to the tuition bill for the next semester that you register for courses.
Online students who are enrolled at least half-time* will be eligible to apply for federal student loans. International students’ eligibility may vary depending upon their international status.
*For MCIT Online students, “half-time” is defined as taking at least two courses in a term.
You can pay your student bill through four methods of payment:
Please see the Student Financial Services website for more information on how to pay your bill.
You can always find the current billing schedule on the SRFS website.
Payment plans are available for the fall and spring semesters.
The Penn Engineering Graduate Handbook contains policies for all students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Below are relevant policies that have been adapted when necessary for our online students.
Master’s students should maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7 at the end of every semester, and must be completing the appropriate courses in accordance with their degree program, as agreed upon with their assigned academic advisor.
Students not making satisfactory academic progress may receive a warning or be placed on probation. In the absence of improvement in the subsequent semester, students on warning or probation may be dropped from their program.
There is a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to increase registration max above 4 courses for master’s students.
More information on academic credit can be found here.
Adding/Dropping a Course
You may add courses up until the course selection deadline listed on the MCIT Online Program Calendar.
You may drop a course without financial obligation up until this same add/drop date. Tuition will automatically be refunded for the course if the course is dropped before the add/drop date. In the fall and spring terms, students may not drop a course if it is the only course for which they are registered. In this case, they would need to request a Leave of Absence as well.
Withdrawing from a Course
After the add/drop deadline has passed in a term, a student may withdraw from a course with permission from the program director. If permission is granted, a “W” will appear on the student’s transcript for the course, but please note that no tuition refund will be issued.
Students can request a course withdrawal by emailing the MCIT Online course staff. Withdrawal requests will not be considered after the posted withdrawal deadline.
Auditing a Course
Graduate students who wish to enroll in a course without letter grade, must register as an auditor. Auditors pay the regular tuition charges, but receive no credit for the course. Assignments and exams are not required if properly registered and the instructor is notified. Audited courses cannot count towards the degree. Once the course is completed, a grade of “AUD” will appear on the transcript. MCIT Online students are only permitted to audit MCIT Online courses. Note that students may not take audited courses again later for a letter grade.
Maximum enrollment for MCIT Online is 4 courses. A petition and satisfactory GPA (3.0 minimum) is required for more than 4 CU’s after completion of one semester.
Any student who has a disability and wishes to self-identify with the Office of Student Disabilities Services (SDS) at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center, should complete the Self-Identification Form. Submission of this form is the first step in the Self-Identification Process. Any student requesting accommodations will also need to submit documentation of the disability and schedule an in person meeting as part of the collaborative process in determining eligibility for accommodations. Further questions should be directed to SDS.
In general, a Graduate student with a grievance should first discuss the matter with the immediate supervisor of the individual involved. In case of conflicts of interest, then the next non-conflicted level should be engaged. For academic matters the normal hierarchy is (as applicable):
At any point the student may wish to circumvent steps a-f and contact the Ombudsman.
If a graduate student has a grievance concerning a non-academic matter, the suggested procedural steps should be discussion with (as applicable):
a) Graduate Program Director;
b) Graduate Group Chair;
c) Department Chair;
d) Associate Dean;
At any point the student may wish to circumvent steps a-d and contact the Ombudsman.
Further information about University grievance procedures policy can be found here.
Students may request a Leave of Absence for up to two years, after which time, students must reapply for admission. Time spent in the military service and time spent on medical leave do not count under the time limit. Reinstatement is dependent upon departmental and SEAS approval. While on LOA and not registering for courses, students may still utilize the library by requesting and paying a special service fee.
When students are ready to return after a leave of absence, they must contact the MCIT Online program team. The request must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days prior to the start of the semester the student wishes to return.
If a student is requesting a medical leave, they must inform program staff in writing. Medical documentation will be required at the onset of a medical leave and when a student wishes to return to coursework.
Every member of the University community is responsible for upholding the highest standards of honesty at all times. Students, as members of the community, are also responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the following Code of Academic Integrity.
The student will not knowingly use any dishonest method to gain an unfair advantage over other students in academic pursuits, especially through misrepresenting the originality of one’s work (plagiarism), particularly through failing to footnote the contributions of another, except as permitted by the instructor.
Example: copying another person’s paper, article, or computer work and submitting it for an assignment, cloning someone else’s ideas without attribution, failing to use quotation marks where appropriate, etc.
If a student is unsure whether their action(s) constitute a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, then it is that student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor to clarify any ambiguities.
The University disciplinary process at Penn may involve the following stages:
The University Code of Academic Integrity and Charter of the Student Disciplinary System can be found here.
Students are permitted to transfer two (2) courses from another university graduate program. Students should submit a request to MCIT Online Program Staff. Only courses with grades of B are higher will be considered. Courses counted towards an undergraduate degree will not be considered for graduate credit unless in an approved submatriculation program. Transfer credit must be taken prior to matriculation. Courses are held to a time limit of five years.
Penn Engineering policy states that you are allowed to waive up to two courses and/or transfer up to two courses. MCIT Online students may choose to waive out of CIT 591, 592 or 593 by taking and passing a waiver exam. Students who waive courses must still take 10 Penn courses total.
Note: MCIT Online students must take a minimum of four out of the six core courses at Penn.
Withdrawal from the University may be granted by first contacting the MCIT Online program team. Reinstatement is dependent upon departmental and SEAS approval.
Should a student withdraw from the program with any outstanding Incomplete grades, those grades will be converted to an “F.”
It is very important to note the application deadlines for graduation:
Commencement is held once a year in May. The University and the School of Engineering invite students who graduate in May to attend commencement the year they graduate. Students who graduate in August or December may attend the May ceremony directly following or preceding their graduation. Please order cap and gown from the Penn Bookstore online by early May if you wish to participate in the May graduation ceremony. MCIT Online students will be invited to campus to participate in Penn’s Commencement ceremonies in May. Attendance is optional.
Master’s students applying for graduation must first contact the MCIT Online program team for instructions.
Diplomas will be mailed approximately eight to ten weeks following the official degree conferral date by the Office of the Secretary. Diplomas are issued three times a year: May, August, and December and are mailed in July (May graduates), October (August graduates) and February (December graduates).
The University will withhold diplomas at graduation when financial questions are unresolved. It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their outstanding balance and to resolve any problems that might arise.
Information on what happens to email accounts post graduation is found here.
Upon graduation, you will have access to various resources as a Penn alum. However, the items in the list below will be available as soon you matriculate.
The Pennbook contains policies that apply to all students at the University of Pennsylvania. You can refer to this resource throughout your time as a Penn student for important information on topics such as academic integrity, sexual harassment policy, and more.
In addition to the resources listed above, please familiarize yourself with the following policies as they relate to your time as a student in MCIT Online.
You can find information about the University of Pennsylvania’s accreditation on the Provost’s website as follows: https://provost.upenn.edu/accreditation
The online Master of Computer and Information Technology program is offered by the University of Pennsylvania, an institution of higher education authorized to confer degrees and certificates conferring academic credit under applicable laws of the United States. Students who are interested in participating in the program from countries other than the United States are advised that each jurisdiction may have its own laws and regulations governing online educational programs, and some jurisdictions may not recognize course credit or an online degree awarded by the University as satisfying local requirements for professional licensure, employment qualification, or other purposes. Before enrolling in this program, prospective students should investigate their jurisdiction’s treatment of foreign online programs to ensure that participation in this program will meet their objectives.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science has its own Student Code of Ethics as well.
The mission of the Engineering School’s Code of Ethics (“Code”) is to promote the growth of ethically responsible students and future professionals in engineering and other fields through adherence to the highest standards of academic integrity and overall ethical conduct, to develop a sense of individual responsibility on the part of each member of the Penn Engineering community to participate actively in maintaining such standards, to foster an environment of honor and trust within the Penn Engineering community, and to engender respect for the ethical standards of the engineering graduate. Fulfilling this mission is a collective responsibility of the members of the Penn Engineering community. Striving for adherence to high standards of ethics will enhance the quality of the Penn Engineering experience, will enrich the image of Penn Engineering and strengthen the equity associated with the Penn Engineering degree, and will reinforce the societal norms of moral responsibility.
As a member of the Penn Engineering community, the Penn Engineering student will maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity. The student will strive for these standards in their representations, academic pursuits, and respect for the property and individual rights of others; will uphold the specific principles described in the Code; and will actively support the Code. Standing in the Penn Engineering community will be subject to adherence to these basic principles of ethics.
The Penn Engineering student is expected to read and understand the following professional codes of ethics:
The Code will be administered and maintained by the Research and Academic Services (RAS) office, in consultation with the Penn Engineering Undergraduate and Graduate Affairs Committees, and in close collaboration with the University’s Office of Student Conduct. If a student fails to adhere to the Code, the student may be referred to the University’s Office of Student Conduct for adjudication.
The Penn Engineering student is expected to represent themselves honestly in all oral or written statements. The student will not knowingly misrepresent any material fact to other students, faculty, staff, prospective employer, or anyone else while representing themselves as a member of the Penn Engineering community, especially through, but not limited to:
B. Academic Pursuits
The Penn Engineering student is expected to represent their academic product honestly and fairly. The student will not knowingly use any dishonest method to gain an unfair advantage over other students in academic pursuits, especially through, but not limited to:
The Penn Engineering student is expected to respect the materials, data, and property of other members of the Penn Engineering community. The student will not misuse or misappropriate the materials, data, or other property of another, especially through, but not limited to:
D. Individual Rights
The Penn Engineering student is expected to respect the individual rights of others. Specifically, Penn Engineering students will observe the University of Pennsylvania policies against harassment and discrimination. Any complaint of a violation of these policies brought to the attention of the Office of Research and Academic Services will be referred to the appropriate body of original jurisdiction within the University.
Cohort– A cohort is a group of students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree together.
Course Unit– A course unit (CU) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A CU (or a fraction of a CU) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One CU is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.
Instructor/ Professor– You Instructor is a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania who is an expert in their field. They will be the primary leader of your course.
PennCard- A University ID card showing your photo and ID number. PennCard is an accepted form of photo ID at PennKey Administration Stations.
PennKey- An individual’s username and the associated password in the PennKey Authentication System. You must register your PennKey before you can access any services that use PennKey authentication.
Penn ID- A unique eight-digit number issued to Penn and UPHS affiliates. University offices frequently require a Penn ID for identification in situations where they formerly required an individual’s Social Security Number. PennCard users will find their Penn ID printed on their PennCard — it is the 8-digit sequence of numbers on the card. See also PennKey.
Semester– There are three semesters for Penn Engineering Online students lasting about 14 weeks each: fall, spring and summer. The summer semester is optional. The academic calendar can be found here.
Teaching Assistant “TA”– Teaching Assistants are fellow students who have been hired to assist your professor. They will be available for office hours, grading assignments and giving student feedback.
You can find additional terms here.
Policies and procedures are subject to change throughout the year at the discretion of the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The policies and procedures in this handbook are intended to provide guidelines for academic planning and to help students make informed decisions throughout their graduate degree(s) at Penn. Faculty advisors, academic advisors, program staff, and the graduate advisors in the Research and Academic Services (RAS) Office in Engineering are available to provide clarity and further information if needed.