I'm an undergraduate computer science major with a specialization in networks and communication looking at a masters in molecular genetics. In addition to a GRE biochemistry and molecular biology subject test score, I'm interested in MOOCs to enhance my resume.


3 Answers 3


There are several issues with MOOCs, all of which make them a poor substitute for actual classes for admissions.

  • Poor penetration. There is more widespread knowledge of them than a couple years ago, but they are still fairly unknown. Chances are high at at least someone reading your application won't know about or understand them.
  • No grades. Few MOOCs offer anything more than a certificate of completion, and many don't even offer that. Even if they offered grades, verification of identity is a problem.
  • Wildly varying quality. College classes are generally of a certain quality/difficulty, and knowledge of the quality/difficulty levels for certain field-specific classes across schools is something that application committees will use to judge candidates against each other. MOOCs are much more of an unknown.

No, because many people still do not know what MOOCs are (though they have been in the press a lot). Those who know what they are may not be sure if they are effective.


It is difficult to say as it differs from university to university. But an MOOC course cannot act as a substitute to an actual course in a college because the depth of the subject is simply not enough in an MOOC. Hope this helps.

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