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 new 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. Upon completion of the degree, MCIT alumni have gone on to earn jobs with competitive salaries at technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Bloomberg.

The Program

Degree Requirements | Curriculum

Degree Requirements

The online MCIT degree program requires the completion of 10 courses made up of six core courses and four electives. All courses are fully online and there are no required real-time sessions.

6 Core Courses

  • CIT 591 Introduction to Software Development
    This course is an introduction to fundamental concepts of programming and computer science, including principles of modern object-oriented programming languages: abstraction, types, polymorphism, encapsulation, inheritance, and interfaces. This course also focuses on best practices and aspects of software development such as software design, software testing, pair programming, version control, and using IDEs.
  • CIT 592 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
    This course introduces students to math concepts that form the backbone of the majority of computer science. Topics covered include sets, functions, permutations and combinations, discrete probability, expectation, mathematical induction, and graph theory. The goal of the course is to ensure that students are comfortable enough with the math required for most of the CIS electives.
  • CIT 593 Introduction to Computer Systems
    This course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts of computer systems and computer architecture. Students learn the C programming language and an instruction set (machine language) as a basis for understanding how computers represent data, process information, and execute programs.
  • CIT 594 Data Structures & Software Design
    This course focuses on data structures, software design, and advanced Java. The course starts off with an introduction to data structures and basics of the analysis of algorithms. Important data structures covered include arrays, lists, stacks, queues, trees, hash maps, and graphs. The course also focuses on software design and advanced Java topics such as software architectures, design patterns, and concurrency.
  • CIT 595 Computer Systems Programming
    This course is a continuation of CIT 593 and introduces students to fundamental concepts in computing systems. The course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course introduces important concepts in modern operating systems: processes, scheduling, caching, and virtual memory. The second half of the course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts in the design and implementation of networked systems, their protocols, and applications. The course will use the C program language, and will develop your knowledge on C system calls, and libraries for process/thread creation and manipulation, synchronization, and network communication.
  • CIT 596 Algorithms & Computation
    This course focuses primarily on the design and analysis of algorithms. It begins with sorting and searching algorithms and then investigates graph algorithms. In order to study graph algorithms, general algorithm design patterns like dynamic programming and greedy algorithms are introduced. A section of this course is also devoted to understanding NP-Completeness.

The core courses must be taken in sequential order. Students may not waive or replace more than two required MCIT courses.

4 Electives

MCIT Online students must also complete four graduate-level electives.

Starting in January 2020, MCIT Online will launch two new electives every semester for the foreseeable future. The electives planned for 2020 will be: Software Engineering, IOT and Wireless Networks, Applied Machine Learning, Math for Machine Learning, Blockchain and Databases.

Enrollment Options

Courses are offered by semester and follow the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar. Fall and spring semesters are required whereas the summer semester is optional and condensed. View a few sample course plans here. 

Students may enroll in the MCIT Online program on a part-time or full-time basis. Students are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete the MCIT degree program.

Cumulative GPA

A minimum GPA of 2.7 for master's students must be maintained in order to be considered in good academic standing. If this minimum is not maintained, academic probation or dismissal from the program will be invoked. A 2.7 final GPA must be achieved to graduate in all situations.


Arvind Bhusnurmath
Arvind Bhusnurmath
Director, Master of Computer and Information Technology
Senior Lecturer
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Susan Davidson
Weiss Professor
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Tom Farmer
Tom Farmer
Senior Lecturer
Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Zack Ives
Zack Ives
Adani President's Distinguished Professor and Department Chair
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Sampath Kannan
Sampath Kannan
Co-Director, Online Master of Computer and Information Technology
Henry Salvatori Professor
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Boon Thau Loo
Associate Dean, Master's and Professional Programs School of Engineering and Applied Science Professor Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Chris Murphy
Co-Director, Online Master of Computer and Information Technology Associate Professor of Practice Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
Val Tannen
Professor Department of Computer and Information Science University of Pennsylvania

The Experience
  • Courses are offered year round (spring, summer, fall) and follow the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar
  • 24/7 access to video lectures from world class faculty
  • Weekly synchronous office hours with faculty
  • Assessments that blend Computer Science theory and applied, project-based learning using real-world tools and environments
  • Diverse, supportive, inclusive community of students and alumni
Technology Requirements

MCIT Online is an online degree program and it is your responsibility to have and maintain internet access that permits you to receive and transmit information freely for the duration of the program. Penn is not responsible for any inability to access the program due to disruptions in your internet service, whether caused by technical problems, governmental or other third party actions.



Who Should Apply and Eligibility

MCIT Online is for motivated students with little or no background in Computer Science who want to launch a rewarding career in the computing industry or use computer science to innovate in their current field.

In order to succeed in this rigorous and accelerated program, students should have both a passion for learning computer science and the ability to dedicate significant time and effort to their studies. Throughout our selective admissions process, we have found that successful applicants hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have a GPA above 3.0.

Take our Online Readiness Assessment quiz if you are wondering whether an online program is right for you.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must have obtained a 3 or 4-year bachelor's degree from an accredited School or University prior to intended matriculation date.
  • Current Penn students may apply, but must complete their on-campus degree programs before matriculating into MCIT Online. Current Penn students are advised to apply only after they are certain of their graduation date for their on-campus degree, and can confirm that they will graduate before the matriculation date of MCIT Online. See more information.
Application Requirements

Biographical information (part of the online application)

Your resume should be in English and 1-2 pages in length (5 pages is the maximum).

We are interested in your functional job skills, breadth and depth of experience, demonstrated leadership, and any experiences with online learning. We are more concerned with what you have learned in your positions than we are with the length of time you’ve been in the workplace.

Personal Statement
The personal statement should be a 500-1000 word essay that answers the questions below. Please provide detailed and specific examples from academia, industry or research when possible.

  • What makes you interested in the MCIT program?
  • How will you benefit from the program?
  • Why will you succeed in the program?
  • How will you contribute to the MCIT community?
  • Please describe your career goals and how MCIT Online will help to achieve them.
  • Given that the program is designed for people without a CS background, if you feel that your resume could be perceived as overqualified, please explain why MCIT Online is right for you.

Reapplicants - Please address this additional required question (250 words):

Please discuss any updates to your candidacy since you last applied (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). If after reading our online materials you think your application may have been perceived as overqualified, please explain why MCIT Online is right for you.

Two [2] official Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation should be written according to the following guidelines:

  • must be written in English
  • on official letterhead of the writer’s organization or institution
  • include the writer’s signature
  • range anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words

These may be from industry or academia. See more Letters of Recommendation FAQs.

Unofficial Transcripts

  • From every university or college attended where course credit was earned, including transfer credit transcripts
  • In English
  • Must include courses taken, credit hours and grades earned
  • Diplomas will not be accepted in lieu of transcripts
  • If the grading is on a scale other than 4.0, please include documentation indicating the scale
  • If graduated, the transcript should show completion of the degree. If the transcript does not list the degree earned, you must also send a certificate of graduation. *Please include this in the same pdf.

If admitted, you will be required to provide official transcripts of all previous academic work to verify the information provided in the uploaded documents. If there are discrepancies between the self-reported academic work and official records, your offer of admission will be withdrawn. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records are verified. Official transcripts must be received before the time of matriculation. Details regarding the process for submitting official transcripts will be sent to admitted students.

$80 non-refundable application fee
This payment must be submitted with the online application.

The GRE is optional for the MCIT Online program. Exam results that are submitted with the application will be taken into consideration in the evaluation process and can have a favorable impact.

  • If you want your GRE score to be considered in your application, we must receive your official GRE score by the application deadline. If we don't receive your official test scores by the deadline, GRE scores will not be taken into consideration.
  • The institution code for the GRE exam is 2888 and major code is 0402 (Computer Science).
  • Test must have been taken within 5 years of application submission.

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). The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will not be accepted in place of the TOEFL.

  • The institution code for the TOEFL exam is 2888. CS Major Code is 78.
  • We must receive your official TOEFL score by the application deadline.
  • Test must have been taken within 2 years of application submission.
  • A minimum score of 100 is recommended but it is not required.

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, by the time of matriculation. Applicants are required to submit documentation of the medium of instruction along with the waiver. Applicants will have the opportunity to apply for a waiver upon submission of their application.

Application Evaluation

Applications are evaluated holistically, as a complete portfolio. An application is considered complete when all of the following materials have been received by our office: unofficial transcripts, personal statement, resume/cv, letters of recommendation and official test scores (if applicable). Applications that are not complete by the early admissions deadline will not receive an admissions decision until the regular deadline.

Completed master’s applications will be promptly evaluated by our admissions committee once each application cycle has ended. Admittance is based on an estimate of the applicant's ability to successfully complete our graduate program and on the compatibility of student interests with our programs.

When an admissions decision is reached, the applicant will be notified directly through the online application system. Please note that admission decisions cannot be revealed over the telephone. It is the practice of the School of Engineering and Applied Science not to discuss application results with prospective students. We do not reconsider applications, due to the large volume of applicants.

Please also review these insights from our faculty program directors regarding eligibility and how to improve your application.

Costs and Financial Aid

Total Tuition = $25,000 USD ($2,500 per course unit)

Total Fees = $1,300 USD ($130 per course unit)

Applicants who are admitted and decide to join the program will need to submit a $300 USD enrollment deposit.  Tuition will vary depending upon how many courses a student enrolls in each semester, please see table below for details.

Number of Courses Cost
1 Course $2,630 ($2,500 Tuition + $130 Fee)
2 Courses $5,260 ($5,000 Tuition + $260 Fee)
3 Courses* $7,890 ($7,500 Tuition + $390 Fee)
4 Courses* $10,520 ($10,000 Tuition + $520 Fee)

*Full time will be available beginning Fall 2019

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. Also, domestic students who pay a bill during this calendar year are eligible for the 2019 Educational Tax Credit.

Please be mindful of the FAFSA deadlines in relation to the application deadlines. You can find more information here.


Policies and Resources

University Policies

The Penn Book is the comprehensive source for Penn's policies and procedures, including information on academics, resources, and student personal conduct and responsibility. As University of Pennsylvania students, MCIT Online students are expected to adhere to these policies. A few of the policies included in The Penn Book are highlighted below:

Program Policies

For a complete listing of policies, see the MCIT Online Graduate Student Handbook.

Faculty assign a letter grade to each student for each course, measuring performance against learning objectives. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.7 to remain in good standing. If you are concerned about your performance in a course, please reach out to the teaching staff right away. Any other questions can be directed to

MCIT Online courses follow the university’s semester start and end dates. Tuition will be automatically refunded for a dropped course only if the course is dropped during the first two weeks of the semester. There will not be any tuition refunds for courses dropped after the first two weeks of the semester.

No-show: Students who do not withdraw before the last day of the course, and who did not access the course site or complete any work throughout the course, will receive a grade of GR (or, “Not graded”) on their transcript. They will not receive academic credit and will be responsible for the full cost of the course.

Incomplete: The notation "I", for Incomplete, may be assigned to the student who has performed well academically all semester, but who, for extenuating reasons, is unable to complete all requirements of the course by the end of the term. The decision to assign the I grade rests with the course instructor. "GR" or "NR" notations indicate no grade was reported by the Instructor. The notation "I", "GR" or "NR" may remain on the student's record only until the end of the first month of the semester following the one in which it was given. If the student has not completed his or her work and if the instructor of the course has not submitted a grade by this time, the "I", "GR" or "NR" notation will be replaced by an "F" grade on the student's record. A student may not graduate with an uncleared "I", "GR" or "NR" on his/her record. Students wishing to extend the four-week period may submit a Petition for Action (approved by the instructor) to the Academic Programs Office for approval.

Students will receive support from Penn faculty and staff through Coursera’s discussion forum, Slack and Zoom video sessions. Instructors and TAs will hold weekly office hours via Zoom and TAs will monitor the discussion forum during established hours. The MCIT Online Student Affairs team will be available via email and Zoom to answer questions and refer students to on-campus resources.

Students in the MCIT Online program are considered to be University of Pennsylvania students—enrolled in at least one course for academic credit at a given time—within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Upon graduation, students are considered alumni of the University of Pennsylvania.

MCIT Online is about more than just the curriculum. Students in this program will have access to core services across the University to support their well-being and future career goals. Although MCIT Online students do not study on Penn’s campus, they are considered members of the Penn community. The online student services fee of $130 per course unit supports career services, the libraries, learning resources, and other services not directly associated with specific courses.

Students who have a concern about an academic matter related to the MCIT Online program should follow the grievance procedure outlined in the Penn Engineering Graduate Student Handbook.

The MCIT Online program is designed as a cohort experience. Continuous study is recommended. A student who wishes to take a leave of absence must submit Leave Of Absence Form. A leave of absence may de-activate the student's PennKey and PennCard. Contact the MCIT Online Student Affairs Team at for more information.

You may transfer up to two courses taken prior to matriculation at Penn, subject to faculty approval. Please see the Penn Engineering Graduate Handbook for further details.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or 215-898-6993 (Voice).

Spring 2020 application

Apply now!

Deadline: October 1, 2019, 11:59pm ET



The University of Pennsylvania’s special character is reflected in the diversity of the Penn community. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of its mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. We seek talented faculty, students and staff who will constitute a vibrant community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran status, interests, perspectives, and socioeconomic status. For more information, please see Penn’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy.