Education, Everywhere and for Everyone: Illinois Tech to Partner with Coursera for Industry-Aligned Online Programs


Illinois Tech and Coursera

In pursuit of providing a pathway to a high-quality education that aligns with industry, Illinois Institute of Technology has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, to offer four new degree programs that feature performance-based admissions, incorporating industry credentials into academic qualifications with courses mapped to industry standards and by offering course credit for industry certifications. 

The first cohort of students are set to begin in August 2023.

“By joining forces with Coursera, we are breaking down barriers to higher education and offering individuals worldwide the opportunity to access Illinois Tech’s renowned, industry-relevant programs,” Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi says. “Fueled by Illinois Tech’s founding mission to advance technology and innovation for all, this extraordinary new partnership will provide unique work-relevant degrees at tremendous scale and will empower students everywhere to pursue rewarding careers and transform their lives.”

These groundbreaking programs are designed to remove barriers to access for students from all backgrounds.

“Today's learners need to enter the workforce fully prepared with the skills and credentials that the industry demands,“ says Marni Baker Stein, chief content officer at Coursera. “Our partnership with Illinois Tech, an institution renowned for their hands-on, innovative approach to education, aligns perfectly with our vision to offer programs that map to industry needs.”

Illinois Tech’s four new online degree programs on Coursera will be run by Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business and its College of Computing: 

  • Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)—A tech M.B.A. from Stuart School of Business prepares students for managerial roles in technology-driven organizations and industries. In addition to core courses in finance, marketing, and digital transformation, students can also choose from a variety of electives in artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, and more.
  • Master of Data Science—Combines high-level mathematics, statistics, and computer science to analyze data, with a curriculum featuring industry partner content for real-world experience.
  • Master of Information Technology—A dynamic and adaptable program that helps professionals master the latest IT trends, applications, and management strategies, with entrance courses for learners without a bachelor’s degree and course credit for prior learning and industry credentials.
  • Bachelor of Information Technology—A bachelor completion program designed for students with an associate’s degree that allows them to receive course credit for 61 credit hours of prior study, fast-tracking their way to graduation and preparing graduates for careers in IT or cloud computing.

The new degree programs, which are completely online, use performance-based admissions and are affordable and open to anyone worldwide, expanding access to Illinois Tech's unique experience-based, practical problem-solving approach that has been proven to lead to student success. More than 90 percent of Illinois Tech’s 2022 graduates obtained full-time employment or continued their education through graduate studies. Illinois Tech ranks #1 in Illinois and #35 in the nation for high earnings and economic mobility in a college rankings tool created by the New York Times that allows users to prioritize different factors. According to that same New York Times rankings research, Illinois Tech ranks #4 in the United States, #1 in the Midwest, and #1 in Illinois for high earnings combined with racial and economic diversity. 

With these new degree programs with Coursera, Illinois Tech builds on its existing practice of providing students with the opportunity to acquire essential industry certifications and credentials as they study and offers course credit to those who already hold core industry credentials, fast-tracking their path to graduation. Courses in the information technology degree programs are mapped to industry standards to ensure that graduates are job-ready on day one, and in Illinois Tech’s technology-focused M.B.A., students will have the opportunity to meld technology and business with IBM certifications in artificial intelligence, among other industry-tailored electives. 

Demand skyrocketed for industry credentials, even prior to the pandemic. A 2019 study by Burning Glass Technologies found that job postings requiring industry certifications had increased by 34 percent between 2014 and 2019. Students are taking note: 90 percent of students say that earning an entry-level professional certificate will help them stand out to employers and secure jobs when they graduate, according to a 2023 Coursera study surveying nearly 5,000 students and employers across 11 countries. Coursera also found that employers both recognize and value industry micro-credentials: they are on average 72 percent more likely to hire a candidate who has earned one.

Illinois Tech’s partnership with Coursera recognizes that academic qualifications and industry credentials work hand in hand. Industry credentials allow employers to validate the skills that students learn in their degrees, and academic qualifications such as Illinois Tech’s new degree programs offered through Coursera provide the robust foundations and exposure to cutting-edge research and hands-on experience led by experts in the field. 

“As a nationally ranked university with expertise in tech-driven fields, Illinois Tech is among the leaders in the state and the nation in providing students from diverse backgrounds with a world-class education that changes their lives,” says Kenneth T. Christensen, Illinois Tech interim provost senior vice president for academic affairs. “This partnership with Coursera further positions Illinois Tech as both an opportunity engine and university of the future—one that offers a powerful, relevant, digital education anytime, anywhere. We are proud to offer an accessible education that enables learners throughout the world to shape the future of technology.”