The certificate programs are shorter and are meant to be a compliment to a student’s degree. Degree programs are longer and require more commitment as students earn another Master’s Degree. In addition, Online Graduate Certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid, whereas online degrees are eligible. You can learn more about policies specific to Online Graduate Certificates and Engineering Online Programs via the Penn Engineering Online Student Handbook.
MSE-DS just started so outcomes are not available just yet, but we have a career services center that will assist you in your job search.
Admission to MSE-DS Online is very competitive. We look for applicants who are likely to succeed in, benefit from, and contribute to the program. For tips on how to strengthen your application, read our Admissions Advice articles.
No, only the method of instruction is different. For the courses offered, the content is the same and taught by the same world class, renowned professors that teach in the on-campus program.
Please refer to the MSE-DS Online admissions page for complete details.
In addition to the online application, you’ll need to submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a resume, along with TOEFL scores if you’re an international applicant or a non-U.S. citizen/permanent resident. For details, see MSE-DS Admissions page.
No, the MSE-DS program does not require a thesis
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.
MSE-DS Online is a degree centered on computer science. The curriculum is computationally focused and includes courses such as artificial intelligence, big data systems, data science for health, deep learning, natural language processing, internet and web systems, machine learning, etc. For the courses that are offered, the content is the same between on-campus and online, only the medium of instruction is different.
Yes. However, students can never triple-count a course and only a maximum of four course units can be brought into MSE-DS for the Dual Degree. With this, you would still be completing six course units for the MSE-DS degree.
Current Penn Engineering students may begin the Graduate Certificate application process in the final term of their degree program.
The first step is to accept our offer and pay the deposit. After enrollment, please email the MSE-DS Online student affairs team to inquire about the deferral request instructions.
The deadline to request a deferral is the last day before classes begin for your first graduate semester. If approved, you can defer for up to two fall/spring semesters (one academic year) at a time.
Currently, only Penn Engineering degree program alumni are eligible to apply for the Online Graduate Certificates.
The rigorous online courses at Penn Engineering Online offer the Ivy League quality of our in-person programs with the accessibility of learning from anywhere. You’ll join study groups, Slack channels, and online discussion forums that enrich your collaborative learning environment, an essential pillar of excellence in the online experience at Penn Engineering.
No, the program is 100 percent online. That said, one of our optional Open Elective courses, DATO 5990 Practicum, includes a one-week on-campus intensive component.
Yes, current students may begin an application in the last term of their program and must graduate before becoming a Dual Degree student.
Please reach out to the Student Affairs Team for advising assistance.
Since MSE-DS Online is a new program, it has been submitted to the state agency for consideration and is pending approval.
MSE-DS Online is a degree centered on computer science. The curriculum is computationally focused and includes courses such as artificial intelligence, big data systems, data science for health, deep learning, natural language processing, internet and web systems, machine learning, etc. These courses will primarily correspond with two of the on-campus elective tracks: Data-centric programming and Data Analysis/Artificial Intelligence. For the courses that are offered, the content is the same between on-campus and online.
If you don’t have a degree in computer science, or have minimal prior computer science training, consider our online Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT Online). If you have a computer science minor, an undergraduate degree in computer science or in a highly quantitative field (e.g., statistics, math, physics, etc.) with significant exposure to computer science, consider our online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science.
MCIT Online is for those who are trying to quickly pivot into the field of computer science, while MSE-DS Online helps those who already have a solid foundation in computer science to become data engineers.
See also: Which Penn Engineering Online degree is right for me?
Online students are strongly encouraged but not required to have health insurance. Online students are not eligible for Penn’s student health insurance plan(s).
Students awarded the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship for a Penn Engineering Online degree may elect to attend on a full or part-time basis.
Scholarship applications will need to be completed by the Early Application Deadline of the Penn Engineering Online degree program for which you are applying. Any application that is incomplete at the early deadline will not be eligible for scholarship consideration. Applications can only be submitted at the time of application to the program. Please refer to our scholarship page for more information.
For privacy reasons, scholarship recipients and amounts awarded will be kept confidential.
MCIT Online welcomes applicants from all backgrounds. Admittance to MCIT Online is competitive. However, no background in computer science is required, the only qualification to apply is a bachelor’s degree in any field. While cohort sizes are limited, if you have a strong interest in computing and have an aptitude for quantitative subjects (particularly in math!), then you are qualified to apply to MCIT Online!
Letters of recommendation should be written according to the following guidelines:
Letters should reference the MCIT Online program and cannot be reused from a different program.
Letters should be written by individuals who have evaluated the applicant and can write objectively about their aptitudes and capabilities in an academic or work setting. Please note- recommenders should not be friends or family members.
You can answer the questionnaire by interpreting the questions through an industry lens. For example, instead of “How many students do you supervise?”, you can answer as if the question was, “How many employees do you supervise?”, etc. You can also leave the questionnaire section blank.
All letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline. Late letters of recommendation will not be considered and may disqualify the applicant from the admissions process. Please be mindful of the application deadlines!
Yes, Penn Engineering Online degree students will be invited to campus to participate in Penn’s Commencement ceremonies in May. Attendance is optional.
Our exams will be online and proctored through a service called Honorlock. Students will be monitored via webcam.
Part-time status for Penn Engineering Online degree students 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.
Yes. For details, see the Penn Engineering Online Student Handbook.
No. However, this is available with our on-campus programs.
Currently this is not an option for MCIT Online students.
The first step is to accept our offer and pay the deposit. After enrollment, you will receive additional information about selecting your start term. You will be able to submit your specific reason for the deferral and the term that you are planning on attending.
The deadline to request a deferral is the last day before classes begin for your first graduate semester. If approved, you can defer for up to two semesters (one academic year) at a time, and for a total of four semesters (two academic years).
Applicants who are admitted and decide to join a Penn Engineering Online degree program will need to submit a non-refundable $300 USD enrollment deposit, which will be applied towards tuition.
Yes! Penn Engineering Online degree programs are tuition remission eligible for Penn employees. You can learn more at the Penn Benefits website.
MCIT Online is designed for people without a background in computer science. That being said, we need to see evidence of your quantitative abilities in your application. For example, we will take note of grades that you received in math, science, and engineering courses. If you have not taken courses in these areas, or if you received low grades in the past, there are other ways that you can demonstrate your quantitative abilities. The GRE or GMAT is one option, or you can earn online certificates in STEM, Computing, Data Science, or Math courses, as well as taking additional college level math courses to show your quantitative ability.
Penn Engineering offers the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship for Online students which provides financial support to online Master’s students in order to further the University’s interest in attracting an academically talented and diverse student body. Visit here to learn more.
In addition, we encourage you to explore external scholarships/fellowships.
Tuition and fees are based on the number of courses you are taking per semester. For details about costs, see our Tuition & Financing page.
Internships are not a part of our online degree curricula, but our career services team can help prepare you for a successful internship search.
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.
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.
Please note that 15 hours per week per course is only an estimated average. 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.
No, students are not allowed to transfer between Penn Engineering Online and an on-campus degree program.
As a Penn Engineering Online degree 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.
No, MCIT Online students are not required to write a thesis.
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.
The MCIT Online curriculum includes Python, Java (including data structures), C and C++.
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.
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.
A Penn Engineering Online degree program requires the successful completion of ten courses. Students have access to a Student Success Advising Team that can help them plan their course schedule and overall degree plan. Students can easily switch between part-time and full-time registration each semester based on how many courses they take. Enrollment in the summer semester is optional. We encourage all students to meet with a member of our Student Success Advising Team to discuss the course load and route to degree completion that best fits their needs. Depending on how many classes you take each semester, you can complete the program in 16 to 40 months.
Yes! Penn Engineering Online degrees are 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.
Penn Engineering Online degree programs are 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.
Yes, the University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
No, they are different credentials but graduates have very similar outcomes.
The Master of Information and Computer Technology (MCIT) 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 a traditional MS in CS degree program.
MCIT graduates’ career outcomes are extremely comparable to those of Penn’s MS in CS degree in terms of the type of companies, starting salary, and other compensation. See Penn’s most recent Career Services reports for details.
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.
Graduates of MCIT go on to rewarding careers in aerospace, consulting, education, finance, healthcare, and technology, to name a few. For details, see our Outcomes page.
No, the program is specifically designed for students with minimal or no prior computer science experience.
MCIT Online 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. In this case, we recommend exploring our online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science degree program which requires a bachelor’s in computer science as a prerequisite.
Email our colleagues at the Student Registration and Financial Services office or call them at 215-898-6636.
We bill the VA each semester based on the number of credits you’re registered for. We cannot bill the VA for the entire program all at once.
Yes. MCIT Online students are eligible for VA education benefits.
In addition to the standard requirements for admission, you’ll need to provide English-language transcripts from every institution where you’ve earned course credit. If English is not your native language, you’ll also need to submit official TOEFL scores. See the MCIT Admissions page for details.
No, our program is 100 percent online.
No, we cannot sponsor visas for students because these programs and courses are based entirely online.
Yes, but you’ll have to wait for the next admissions cycle. To reapply, you’ll need to submit the standard application materials along with answering an additional essay question.
You can check the status of your application through the applicant portal. If your application is complete, the app status will read “Under Review.” If your application is missing required materials, you can view the missing materials listed in the checklist.
Yes, Penn Engineering Online offers a variety of open non-credit courses that are available to all learners! Only students admitted to Penn Engineering Online degree programs can enroll in or audit the courses in those programs.
Your letters should focus specifically on your qualifications for MCIT Online or MSE-DS Online, so we encourage you not to reuse letters from a different program. If you’re reapplying, your recommenders may resubmit the previously written letters with your new application.
No, letters of recommendation must be submitted online through the application portal.
Your references can leave a section blank or approach the questions through a broad lens. For example, your recommender can respond to “How many students do you supervise?” by writing about your role in supervising employees.
To make changes to your recommenders, log in to the application portal and follow the link to the recommenders page of your application. You can then edit the recommender’s information or exclude the recommender and add a new one by clicking the “edit” button.
You can see the status of your letters of recommendation by reviewing your application checklist. You can even send your recommender a reminder by following the link to the recommenders page of your application and clicking “edit.”
Yes. All required documents, including a minimum of two letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the application deadline.
Yes, while we only require two letters, we recommend asking three people to write such letters in case one of the letters does not arrive before the deadline. The more evidence you can provide that you will succeed, the better.
No, you do not need to submit official transcripts in order to apply; unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Note that all transcripts must be translated to English.
Every for-credit course that you have taken needs to be represented on a transcript that includes all of the following: course name, credits received, and grade. If you submit a transcript that includes transfer credits without the listed grades earned, such as T for Transfer, you will also need to submit the transcript from the original institution that contains the actual grades received.
If you have an international transcript, we strongly recommend using a NACES service (e.g., Certifile, WES) to submit your transcripts as this will greatly assist the admissions team with the evaluation of your documents.
If admitted, you will be required to provide official transcripts of all previous academic work to verify the information provided in your uploaded application documents. Official documents must be translated to English, if applicable. Offers of admission and matriculation into the program are not binding until academic records are verified. If there are discrepancies between the self-reported academic work and official records, your offer of admission may be withdrawn or you may be removed from the program. Details regarding the process for submitting official transcripts will be sent to admitted students.
Letters of recommendation should be written according to the following guidelines:
For additional instructions and guidelines, please review Application Instructions: How to Navigate Letters of Recommendation on our website.
As part of the online application, you’ll provide contact information for your references. The system will then send each reference a unique link to the application portal, where they will upload their letter. Letters submitted by your recommenders will be automatically attached to your application even after you have submitted it. Please note that at least two recommendations must be received by the deadline in order for your application to be considered.
Your letters of recommendation should be written by people who have evaluated you and can write objectively about your aptitudes and capabilities in an academic or work setting – for example, current or former advisors, instructors or supervisors.
The title or position of the recommender is not as important as his/her ability to comment knowledgeably and specifically about you. If you do not have an academic reference or direct supervisor, consider clients (if you own a business), military personnel or community leaders.
Admission to MCIT Online is very competitive. We look for applicants who are likely to succeed in, benefit from, and contribute to the program. For tips on how to strengthen your application, read “5 Tips to Strengthen Your MCIT Online Application from the Program Director.”
If you receive an offer of admission, you must submit your official transcripts before matriculation. We must receive an official, final transcript from each institution where you earned course credit. If your graduation date is not included on your transcript, you will also need to submit a graduation verification certificate. If you are admitted, we will contact you with instructions on how to submit your official transcripts.
Official documents must be translated to English, if applicable. Offers of admission and matriculation into the program are not binding until academic records are verified. If there are discrepancies between the self-reported academic work and official records, your offer of admission may be withdrawn or you may be removed from the program.
Please contact the Penn Engineering Online Admissions team at email@example.com.
No! We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. However, please note that an application is not considered complete and ready for review until at least two letters of recommendation have been submitted.
In addition to the online application, you’ll need to submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a resume, along with TOEFL scores if you’re an international applicant or a non-U.S. citizen/permanent resident. For details, see the MCIT Online Admissions page.
Yes, those who are eligible may apply for the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship for Penn Engineering Online Students at the time of the Early Application Deadline.
Applicants who apply before the early deadline have a slight advantage in admissions. There is also the benefit of receiving a decision earlier.
After being accepted to the program you may transfer up to two courses, subject to faculty approval. Please see the Penn Engineering Online Student Handbook for further details.
No, the GRE is optional. But there are a few scenarios in which we strongly recommend taking the GRE:
No, there are not any prerequisite courses. At a minimum, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school or university. In addition, ideal candidates will have a strong mathematical or otherwise quantitative aptitude.
If your undergraduate degree is not in a quantitative subject, or if you did not take or do well in many quantitative courses, we recommend taking a for-credit math course (e.g., algebra or calculus) or the GRE. If you don’t have experience with online learning, we recommend taking one of our introductory CS courses, such as Computational Thinking for Problem Solving or Introduction to Python & Java.
Online degree students who are enrolled at least half-time (at least two courses) will be eligible to apply for federal student loans. International students’ eligibility may vary depending upon their international status.
Two federal funding options specifically allocated for graduate students are the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan and Grad PLUS loan.
Please be mindful of the FAFSA deadlines in relation to the application deadlines.
All international applicants, non-US Citizens, and non-US Permanent Resident applicants for whom English is not the native language must submit official scores for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 100 is required and scores are valid for two years. We must receive your official TOEFL score directly from ETS by the application deadline.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will not be accepted in place of the TOEFL.
This requirement can be waived if the candidate has completed a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree where the medium of instruction at the institution is English. The degree must be completed before matriculation into the MCIT Online program. For applicants that meet this qualification, the TOEFL requirement will automatically be waived upon submission of the application. Waived TOEFL requirements will show a grey checkmark on the applicant checklist.