Program Information

Will there be a graduation ceremony?

Yes, MCIT Online students will be invited to campus to participate in Penn’s Commencement ceremonies in May. Attendance is optional.

What will the proctored exams look like?

Our exams will be online and proctored through a service called Honorlock. Students will be monitored via webcam.

What is the definition of part-time vs full-time?

Part-time status for MCIT Online is defined as taking 1-2 courses in a semester. Full-time status is defined as taking 3-4 courses per semester. It is easy to switch back and forth between part-time and full-time status. View sample schedules for full-time and part-time status.

Can MCIT Online students continue through the CIS/MSE dual degree?

Currently this is not an option for MCIT Online students.

Can I do an internship as an online student?

Internships are not a part of the MCIT Online curriculum, but our career services team can help prepare you for a successful internship search.

As an online student, can I work as a TA or a research assistant?

Yes! To apply for a teaching assistantship review current openings

If you’re interested in being a research assistant, we encourage you to reach out to a faculty member who’s working in a field of interest. These positions are typically not posted publicly.

How much time will I need to spend on the program each week?

It depends on the course topic, your background, your learning style, and the particular assignments in a given week. In general, you can expect each course to require 15-18 hours per week. Some courses will take less time, while for others you might need to spend 25 hours on a particularly challenging programming assignment. 

Every student in this program will have a different level of familiarity with the content in the MCIT Online core courses. Therefore, the 15 hours per week per course that our students have reported, are only an average estimate. In reality, these courses could take a little less or a lot more time than estimated based on your prior education or work experience. Not only that, one course can vary week to week: one course could take 10 hours one week and way more in the next!

A good thought exercise before the semester starts is to map out the extra time you typically have in your week and whether you can dedicate 15 hours of that time to your class. What if it was more than 15? Think critically about what would happen if you have a challenging assignment that took you 20-25 hours to complete. Be aware that some of our students spend this much time every week for one course

Can I transfer between the MCIT Online and the on-campus program?

No, students are not allowed to transfer between the on-campus and online MCIT programs.

What services are available to online students?

As an MCIT Online student, you’re a full member of the Penn community with broad access to everything from virtual career advising to online libraries and learning resources. For details, see our Student Services page.

Does MCIT Online require a thesis?

No, MCIT Online students are not required to write a thesis.

Does this degree qualify me for a PhD?

It’s possible to go on to a PhD program, but you would likely need to supplement your studies with research to be prepared for a PhD program.

What programming languages will I learn?

The MCIT Online curriculum includes Python, Java (including data structures), C and C++.

You will also learn fundamental concepts that allow you to quickly learn many other languages – including Rust, Go, JavaScript, etc. – even though they are not explicitly taught in our curriculum.

Are online electives different from on-campus options?

Specific course options may vary, but MCIT Online electives are comparable to the on-campus version. Course topics reflect the most popular areas of interest. 

I'm not yet interested in a full degree. Can I take a few courses?

Yes! We’ve partnered with Coursera to offer a wide range of affordable online open courses, from Aerial Robotics to Computational Thinking for Problem Solving. We also offer open course series that lead to credentials in programming, software development, and robotics.

How long is the program?

The MCIT Online program requires the successful completion of ten courses. The program was designed for working professionals, so a part-time schedule allows students to take 1-3 courses at a time. Depending on how many classes you take each semester, you can complete the program in 16 to 40 months.

Can I keep working while earning the degree?

Yes! MCIT Online is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of working professionals, and you can choose to take 1-3 courses at a time. There are no required synchronous (real-time) sessions, but students should dedicate time each week to watch lectures, complete assignments and participate in office hours or group sessions with professors, TAs, and fellow students.

Where is the MCIT Online degree recognized?

The online Master of Computer and Information Technology program is offered by the University of Pennsylvania, which is authorized to confer degrees and certificates conferring academic credit under applicable laws of the United States. If you live in another country, we encourage you to investigate your jurisdiction’s treatment of foreign online programs to ensure that the program will meet your objectives.

Is your program accredited?

Yes, the University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Is the MCIT the same as a master’s degree in computer science?

The MCIT is not a master of science degree, but it covers comparable material. Our curriculum begins with a strong CS foundation and goes on to graduate-level electives that are exactly the same as those taken by students in traditional CS master’s programs.

 Our graduates’ career outcome results are comparable to those of Penn’s traditional master’s in CS in terms of the types of companies, starting salary, and other compensation. See Penn’s most recent Career Services reports for details.

Does an MCIT Online degree carry the same weight as an on-campus degree?

Yes! You’ll enjoy the high-quality instructors that Penn Engineering’s on-campus program is known for, and you’ll graduate with the same degree and same diploma.

What career options will I have with this degree?

Graduates of MCIT go on to rewarding careers in aerospace, consulting, education, finance, healthcare, and technology, to name a few. For details, see Alumni Outcomes.

Do I need to be proficient in a particular programming language?

No, the program is specifically designed for students with minimal or no prior computer science experience.

I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Is this program right for me?

MCIT is intended for students with little or no recent CS experience. If you would be able to test out of more than two of our core courses, you are probably overqualified.

Can I transfer courses from another university?

After being accepted to the program you may transfer up to two courses, subject to faculty approval. Please see the Penn Engineering Graduate Student Handbook for further details.