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UCLA to roll out online master’s degrees

UCLA has announced it will develop an online platform and launch a suite of online degrees starting next year targeting students around the world.

Photo: flickr/Ignacio Andrade.

"We’ve seen a real opening up of the international space to online around the world"

UCLA Global Online is expected to enrol its first intake of students in 2018 and will offer degrees and certificates at the master’s level with entry requirements that mirror the existing requirements for the university.

Despite the university’s global brand, Wayne Smutz, founding dean of UCLA Global Online, said the university has yet to conquer the online learning market.

“One of our challenges will be how do we make that work internationally”

“We have a lot of research activities around the globe that we do that make us international,” he told The PIE News. “Our brand is very strong internationally but we don’t really deliver education internationally.”

He pointed out that while other prestigious universities in the US deliver MOOCs and online short courses, universities of that calibre are not fully-fledged in the online learning market for full degrees.

“In the last year, we’ve seen a real opening up of the international space to online around the world,” he said.

“And while it’s not completely open there are hints that that door is starting to crack and I think that makes the timing right to become more internationally-oriented.”

The platform will incorporate programming from UCLA’s traditional academic curriculum alongside practical education through the university’s continuing education arm, UCLA extension, which Smutz also heads up.

“We have those two different kinds of content that we’re going to provide,” he said.

“My view is we want to give people choice, because that’s what the internet allows you to do. We want to provide them with lots of choice within a single platform.”

The practical application of the curriculum also gives students the ability to expand their professional networks, said Smutz.

“One of our challenges will be how do we make that work internationally, and we’re thinking about that,” he commented.

The platform aims reach 10,000-15,000 students in the space of five years, and the subjects offered are expected to reflect the biggest industries in Los Angeles.

“We want to be able to use Los Angeles and its prestige in many different areas to attract people to what we have to offer,” he said, nodding to the importance of entertainment, business and engineering industries to the city.

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