Microsoft extends uni Masters program

Looking to expand its academic support for software developers, Microsoft has introduced a new .NET-based postgraduate course within its IT Masters education program.

Called the Masters of Systems Development, the new course will be structured around Microsoft’s .NET Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) qualification and offered through Charles Sturt University and online education provider IT Masters. The MCSD certification was launched by Microsoft earlier this year.

The IT Masters education program, which was launched in December 2002, is a joint initiative between Microsoft, Charles Sturt University and IT Masters. Currently, the group offers a masters level course in Networking and System Administration.

The new .NET course, which will be effective from July 2003, will centre on a two-year program involving a combination of 12 Microsoft and Charles Sturt subjects. Core topics include object modelling, IT management issues, and developing Web applications and XML Web services. Elective subjects range from database management to network security.

On completion, students will be awarded the MCSD certification, as well as a masters degree from Charles Sturt University.

Microsoft Australia technical manager, Derek Kerr, said the decision to launch the latest .NET masters level was prompted by strong interest from the development community.

“It was a logical step as many people want to gain expertise in .NET development and wanted an academic qualification to prove it,” he said. “We have a demand for developers who want to be trained and recognised at a higher level than what the Microsoft Certified Program (MCP) offers today.”

Kerr said the .NET masters program was built on a blended learning process, with students having the choice of online, classroom or self-study materials. Online course modules were provided through IT Masters’ e-learning partner KnowledgeNet, while face-to-face classes were available via Microsoft’s Certified Training and Education centres.

Those wanting to enrol in the course should have a university degree in any discipline, as well as at least two years experience in development. Applicants without a degree may also be considered for the program, provided they had at least four years experience in development, Kerr said.

Although standard fees for each course are $1650 per subject, total costs of the masters program will depend on the mode of study. Students can apply for financial assistance through the Postgraduate Education Loans Scheme (PELS) or Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).

Microsoft also announced it is also opening up a selection of its Australian-based IT Masters certification programs to international students.

Overseas students will be able to access the course programs online, while exams will be conducted at selected university centres in the student’s home country. Charles Sturt would announce these partner universities shortly, Kerr said. Prices for overseas students would be about $26,000 for the full course.

More information on the masters education program is available on the IT Masters Web site: www.itmasters.com.au.

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