Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): UC becomes the first Chilean university to launch online master’s programs on Coursera

Three new online master’s programs were recently approved by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, which will begin their applications on March 8, thus becoming the first institution of higher education in Chile and also one of the first in Latin America. to offer fully online graduate degrees on Coursera .

Through this online educational platform , the online master ‘s degrees in “Data Science”, “Business Analytics” and “Applied Investments and Finance” will be offered . Coursera currently has more than 97 million registered students worldwide, allowing UC to offer its programs to a very diverse audience. It will also make it possible to internationalize and extend its academic offer to students from other countries. Currently, it is estimated that approximately 70% of the students of the online courses taught by the university through Coursera come precisely from abroad.

“Based on these online postgraduate courses, we can transcend borders, go beyond Santiago de Chile, and reach people throughout Latin America and Spain, which gives our university an international projection,” highlights the UC Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ferdinand Purcell . It is a very important step for a university that has led in recent years at the Latin American level in the international ranking of QS universities and that currently has more than 100 master’s degrees, but until now they were rather confined to Chile.

“From these online postgraduate courses we can transcend borders, go beyond Santiago de Chile, and reach people throughout Latin America and Spain, which gives our university an international projection” – Fernando Purcell, UC Academic Vice President .

“This is an unprecedented and very strategic projection for the UC, since we will be able to expose the quality of our academic proposal to a very broad and diverse public ”, says the Pro-Rector of Institutional Management, Patricio Donoso . This is how it is expected that each of the online master’s programs that will be taught will be attended by hundreds of students for each edition within four to five years, which can be contrasted with the 20 to 50 people who participate in each version. of face-to-face programs.

“This is an unprecedented and very strategic projection for UC, since we will be able to expose the quality of our academic proposal to a very broad and diverse audience” – Patricio Donoso, UC Pro-Rector for Institutional Management

Donoso emphasizes that it is a very necessary milestone that is part of a scenario in which other relevant universities in the world are also venturing with online postgraduate programs, for which the context poses “the challenge of innovating and venturing into this new modality to be competitive . “

From Coursera the new programs also stand out. “As higher education enters the next phase of digital transformation, we are honored to grow our partnership with UC by offering three new master’s degrees on Coursera,” said Betty Vandenbosch , Executive Vice President of Content and Credentials at Coursera. .

“Together, we are allowing students from anywhere in the world to obtain a degree, which is valued by the job market, and is offered by one of the best universities in Latin America” ​​- Betty Vandenbosch, Executive Vice President of Content and Credentials by Coursera

“ Together, we are allowing students from anywhere in the world to obtain a degree, which is valued by the labor market, and is offered by one of the best universities in Latin America. Universidad Católica has already reached more than a million students around the world on Coursera with its high-quality courses, and I am very excited to see how these new programs will change the lives of Spanish-speaking students around the world.” Betty Vandenbosch added.


UC has 35 courses and two specialized programs online through Coursera. (Photo credit: César Cortés)
Following the trend of other leading universities in the world such as Harvard, MIT, Imperial College London and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, the UC hopes that these programs will contribute to democratizing access to postgraduate studies .

One of the main advantages of these online programs, as highlighted by Luz Montero , director of Continuing Education at UC, is that “they allow greater flexibility , since people can study at any time of the day and at their own pace, which makes it easier for them to access to those who have people in their care, those who work during the day or those who live in another country”. She says that the project that has been worked on in an articulated manner with the Academic Vice President for three years, responds to the changes that are being considered worldwide in the field of education, with a digital transformation that has deepened during the pandemic. .

“Online programs allow greater flexibility, since people can study at any time of the day and at their own pace, which facilitates access for those who have people in their care, those who work during the day or those who live in another country. ” – Luz Montero, Director of Continuing Education UC

On the other hand, these are new teaching modalities that involve innovation in methodological terms, and contribute to the institution in terms of economic and environmental sustainability . “One of the expectations we have with this project is precisely to advance in teaching innovation, also ensuring academic quality, and complementing it with multiple resources that online education allows us, by incorporating an instructional design that considers audiovisual content, graphics, forms of different evaluation, among others”, highlights Vice Chancellor Purcell, who adds that this experience will probably not only set a precedent for other Chilean universities, but may also trigger innovations for the face-to-face educational proposal.

The new programs will open their applications on March 8, 2022:

Master in Data Science : Dictated by the Institute of Mathematical and Computational Engineering (IMC), interdisciplinary academic unit of the School of Engineering and the Faculty of Mathematics UC. Using state-of-the-art computational tools, this program is designed to train students in both the fundamentals and the application of data processing, modeling, and analysis. The curriculum will cover crucial topics like programming, software engineering , data visualization, and data ethics. Those who study the master’s degree will be prepared to work in the academic world or as data engineers, data scientists and data analysts in leading companies.
Master in Investments and Applied Finance : Taught by the School of Engineering and the UC School of Administration. This program will use the latest trends to provide a foundational education in finance and investment and its application to the business world. The curriculum will cover areas such as capital markets, financial analysis, corporate finance, and investment finance. Those who take this master’s degree will be able to hold executive positions in finance and investment.
Master in Business Analytics : Dictated by the School of Engineering and the School of Administration. This program focuses on the technical foundations of computer science, and data analysis and its application to business. The curriculum will cover topics such as digital business strategy, data analysis, machine learning, and analytical models. Students who complete this program will be prepared to make data-driven business decisions in management positions.
Trajectory and great potential
The Catholic University has significant experience in providing education programs through the Internet, such as the so-called MOOC (massive open online course). This is how it currently has 35 courses and two specialized online programs through Coursera . Added to this are more than 500 diploma courses and 800 courses that make up the UC’s continuing education offer.

At UC, the work that has been developed with Coursera stands out. The Provost of Institutional Management Patricio Donoso affirms that it is a very relevant platform not only because of its massive reach, but also because “Coursera has a lot of experience in analyzing the profile of students and also the areas of study that are currently most required by the market, that is, it has expert knowledge of possible demand, which makes it easier for us to design academic programs that are attractive to users of this powerful educational platform ”.

Precisely the themes of the master’s programs were defined based on the experience of the UC and Coursera in this field. Donoso comments that more details of the contents of the programs will be given soon through a dissemination campaign, as well as their prices, which according to him, will be very competitive with respect to other master’s degrees offered by other universities.

To develop the master’s programs, joint and integrated work has been carried out within the UC between the Directorate of Continuing Education, dependent on the Pro-Rectory of Institutional Management ; and the Academic Vice -Rectory ; as well as they have also actively participated in the elaboration of academic units, such as the faculties of Engineering , Mathematics , Economics and Administration , as well as dependent entities, such as the Institute of Mathematical and Computational Engineering.

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