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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.

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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.
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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.

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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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