Illinois Tech and Coursera Announce Four Groundbreaking, Industry-Aligned Online Degrees

Illinois Tech and Coursera join forces to offer four new completely online, affordable, and in-demand degrees with performance-based admissions, combining industry credentials with robust academic qualifications


Illinois Tech and Coursera

CHICAGO—April 13, 2023—Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), a nationally ranked private university with a 90 percent employment rate for graduates within six months of graduation, has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, to offer four new industry-aligned degree programs with performance-based admissions, incorporating industry credentials into academic qualifications with courses mapped to industry standards and  by offering course credit for industry certifications. These groundbreaking programs are designed to remove barriers to access and to provide a pathway to a high-quality education for students from all backgrounds. The first cohorts are set to begin in August 2023.

Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi emphasizes the significance of this partnership, stating, “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. 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.”

Marni Baker Stein, Coursera’s chief content officer, adds, “Today's learners need to enter the workforce fully prepared with the skills and credentials that the industry demands. 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.

Illinois Tech’s new completely online degrees 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. In that same New York Times rankings research, Illinois Tech also ranked #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 degrees, 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 way to graduation. Courses in the information technology degrees 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 degrees offered through Coursera provide the robust foundations and exposure to cutting-edge research and hands-on experience led by experts in the field. 

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive job market, employers are progressively seeking entry-level candidates with practical skills and hands-on experience from day one. At the same time, prospective university students and their parents are deciding their educational pathway based on employability and future earnings. Recent research from the New York Times and Morning Consult found that likely earnings after graduation is one of the most important factors in the college decision-making process for college-bound students. Illinois Tech’s own data shows the importance of career readiness to today’s students—among those who chose to enroll at Illinois Tech last semester amid a 25 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment, “preparation for career and job opportunities” was selected as the most influential factor by nearly half (48 percent) of respondents in a recent survey. 

“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 Illinois Tech Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenneth T. Christensen. “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.”

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

Media contacts

Petra Kelly
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Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773-771-1064 

Kevin Dollear
Communications Manager
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773-860-5712