I've read an article about a Chemist who completed another bachelor's degree in Philosophy by finishing free MOOC courses. His new "degree' may not be academically accredited in any Graduate School of Philosophy. But is it still worth mentioning in your curriculum vitae/resume as a new "degree"?

  • I would note that this was asked three years ago, here; I'm not sure if the answer hasn't changed a small (very small) amount since 2012 though, particularly as several MOOCs move closer to a kind of accreditation. – Joe Apr 12 '15 at 5:02
  • I don't disagree (hence why I linked :), though the addition of 'degree' makes it slightly different to me (given the answer on the other question largely related to single courses) - wasn't sure if different enough. – Joe Apr 12 '15 at 17:46

I (a professional in the field of computer programming) would treat a MOOC "degree" as equivalent to "Continuing Education", but not equivalent to a degree or other accredited education. If it is:

  1. Relevant to the position/grant applied for or the paper being submitted
  2. Substantial; not an introductory course, but sufficient work to suggest meaningful learning
  3. Recent; in the last few years at least
  4. The only education/experience you have in that area

Then I would consider putting it on a resume, but not directly along with education. I would put it in a separate section, after the education, something like:

Additional Relevant Endeavors

  • Completed certificate in Machine Learning, [MOOC], [Date]; explored different methods related to Machine Learning, such as k-means clustering, Neural Networks, and applied logistic regression, using Matlab and R.

That provides enough information to give the reader an idea of what you did (so they don't have to look up the class) and an idea of why you put it on there (let's say, you're applying for a grant using Neural Network Algorithms to find a cure for cancer). You include it to show you have some concept of Neural Networks, which is not otherwise shown by your experience or education.

I would generally not include MOOC certificates, though, unless it was truly important to the application (ie, filled a significant and relevant hole in your education and experience). Certainly in professional circles this isn't going to buy you much, and I suspect in academic circles it will buy you less.

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