MicroMasters vs Professional Certificates: Which is Better? | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

MicroMasters vs Professional Certificates: Which is Better?


Are you looking to take your career to the next level? Searching for a professional development programme but not sure what kind to pursue? In this EDUopinions article, we will discuss MicroMasters and Professional Certificates to help you understand which programme type better suits your needs.

MicroMasters: What to Know

What are the MicroMasters?

MicroMasters are packages of graduate-level courses offered by universities around the world via the EdX platform. The subjects range widely, from supply chain analytics to screenplay writing and from business communications to photovoltaic energy conversion. Thanks to EdX’s 160 university partnerships, students can attend online courses offered by some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

Most of the MicroMasters programmes charge tuition, typically ranging from €800 to €2000, but considering that the credits from a MicroMasters can count toward a full master’s degree, it’s not a bad investment. In terms of duration, MicroMasters can last anywhere between 8 and 18 months, typically involving around 10 hours per week. Compared to other graduate-level programmes, MicroMasters are known for being manageable alongside a job and for quickly advancing your professional skillset.

Who should You do a MicroMasters?

Why is studying abroad important for business?

MicroMasters are well-suited for professionals who are looking to advance their careers, either pursuing higher-level positions or branching out into a new sector. Because MicroMasters are so accessible, young and experienced professionals alike can benefit from them. In particular, MicroMasters may be a good idea if you have recently finished your undergraduate degree and want to pursue work experience before completing a full master’s degree programme. This way, you can build up credits, further your knowledge in a field of interest and gain professional experience!

Do you need a bachelors to get a MicroMasters?

Study non-degree courses

MicroMasters have no entry requirements, making them one of the most accessible forms of graduate-level education. Certain programmes may have specific prerequisites which can be found in the course description. For example, the MicroMasters in Statistics and Data Science offered by MIT recommends students have a university-level knowledge of calculus as well as a familiarity with Python programming. These prerequisites are not mandatory nor do they require any special documentation. Instead, they are there to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

What jobs can you get with a MicroMasters?


Given the wide range of subjects offered as MicroMasters programmes, the types of jobs you can get with this type of education are countless! That said, MicroMasters have specific career benefits detailed in each course description. For instance, according to the EdX website, the MicroMasters in business leadership offered by the University of Queensland in Australia can help propel you to management positions in a variety of sectors. In particular, those interested in business courses will find a plethora of relevant MicroMasters courses available through EdX.

Professional Certificates: What to Know

What are professional certificates?

Professional certificates are similar to MicroMasters in that they are designed to enhance certain professional skills but differ on a few points. This type, of course, is usually more narrowly focused on a few skills rather than developing a deep knowledge of a career field like a MicroMasters. Both universities and industry leaders offer professional certificates, meaning your course on business technology may be taught by professionals at IBM or Microsoft.

Another important difference to mention is that professional certificate programmes are typically ineligible for credit towards a full master’s degree. This series of courses are shorter and require fewer weekly hours compared to a MicroMasters. As well, the cost of a professional certificate can vary widely, from €75 to €1200, but is typically much less than that of a MicroMasters programme.

Who should complete a professional certificate programme?

Professional certificate programmes are well suited for those who are looking to make a change in their career, be it earning a higher-level position, breaking into a new sector or stepping up their performance in an existing position. Because the professional certificate programmes are shorter and more focused on the acquisition of certain skills, they can be highly valuable to those trying to achieve a career goal such as a promotion, being hired by the company of your dreams or surpassing what you set out to do in your current position.

How long do the professional certificates last?

Technically, professional certificates are valid indefinitely. That said, it is important to stay in contact with your course provider, as they may require proof identity (like providing a scan of your passport) every 3 – 5 years in order to continue providing a verified confirmation of your qualification.

What jobs can you get with a professional certificate?

Like with the MicroMasters programmes, the types of jobs you can get with a professional certificate are countless. While professional certificates are less comprehensive in their curriculum, they are a valuable asset to a professional profile. If you have your eye on a certain position, it can be a good idea to look into what specific skills that role requires and pursue a professional certificate in that/those areas. This not only demonstrates competency but an impressive level of commitment.

MicroMasters vs Professional Certificates: What’s the difference?

Compared to MicroMasters, the main difference to take into consideration regarding professional certificates is that they take less time and are usually focused on a more narrow set of skills. MicroMasters provide a more in-depth level of knowledge in a field but also require more hours and more intuition.

In the end, MicroMasters and professional certificates both offer attractive benefits and can truly launch your career to the next level. If you have questions about which type of programme best fits your needs, feel free to reach out to EDUopinions for free, personalised help from one of our expert advisors!

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You may also like these articles on What Are Non-Degree Programmes? and What Are MicroMasters and Which Universities Offer them?

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Written by
Drew Harper is a recent graduate of University College London, where he studied history, politics and economics. As a content creator at EDUopinions, he is passionate about broadening access to international learning opportunities for students around the world.

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