Esta maestría en MIT no requiere de título universitario

A pioneering master's degree program at MIT is about to change the way graduate students are admitted and how much they pay.

Right now, MIT selects most graduate students pretty much the same way other universities do: Students usually have to have a college degree. They have to take standardized tests, like the GRE. They must send letters of recommendation and submit their earlier grades.

Esther Duflo thinks MIT can find a better way.

"The GRE is not very informative, because no one who comes to MIT doesn't have a near-perfect GRE anyways," Duflo says.

Letters of recommendation, Duflo adds, are only useful if they come from people and universities that MIT faculty are familiar with. "So, in practice, if you come from the University of the Middle of Nowhere, we have no way to judge the quality of your application, and therefore that creates a lot of barriers."

Duflo is a co-founder of MIT's Poverty Action Lab. It measures the effectiveness of programs aimed at helping the poor, and it does so by borrowing a method used in medicine: randomized control trials.

The Poverty Action Lab, officially known as the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL, is testing more than 800 programs around the world. And now it's part of a bold experiment by MIT: to allow students to take rigorous courses online for credit, and if they perform well on exams, to apply for a master's degree program on campus.

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