What is UNITE Distributed Learning? 


UNITE is not an academic program.

UNITE is an educational unit within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Minnesota through which students may enroll in CSE courses if they are unable to attend on-campus courses. Many CSE graduate students complete all degree coursework through UNITE. Additionally, students may combine UNITE-offered courses with on-campus courses toward a degree.

Earn a Master's Degrees at a Distance

Through UNITE, many students take the coursework to fulfill a Plan C (coursework only) graduate degrees from CSE in Computer Science (Master's of Computer Science and Master's of Science in Computer Science) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (Master's of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering) entirely at a distance.

Combine UNITE-Offered Courses with On-Campus Courses Toward Your Degree

In addition to Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, UNITE offers courses from the Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Students may combine courses taken through UNTIE with those taken on-campus toward their degree. 

Serving CSE Students Since 1971

Located in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering, UNITE began transmitting two-way microwave television broadcasts of credit and non-credit courses to partner companies in 1971. These companies receiving broadcasts were located primarily in the Twin Cities area, Rochester and western Wisconsin. The tower UNITE used to relay televised course sessions from the Twin Cities campus to students in Rochester sites was located in Hader, Minnesota.

In the 1990s, UNITE added streaming video to provide anytime, anyplace delivery of these offerings over the Internet to working professionals nationwide. In Fall 2006, UNITE added downloadable video and audio podcasts for students and ended television broadcasts at the end of that semester. UNITE transmitted our final television transmission to conclude finals week in Fall 2006.

Programs and Courses

UNITE carefully selects more than 100 selected on-campus CSE courses to offer each academic year, typically 55-70 CSE courses each Fall and Spring (and a handful each Summer).

Through UNITE, students may:

  • Complete the coursework for a master’s degree in about five years by taking one to two classes per semester in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science;
  • Combine UNITE courses with on-campus courses toward a degree;
  • Complete coursework associated with a Ph.D. degree in select programs;
  • Register for classes as a non-degree student at the University of Minnesota for transfer, either to another institution or into a University of Minnesota program (students may transfer up to 12 credits into CSE graduate programs);
  • Audit courses on a non-credit basis;
  • View non-credit seminars and a wide selection of short courses as well as weekly colloquiums and guest lectures on a variety of topics;

Students enjoy the same benefits as those physically present in the on-campus classroom, while gaining instruction about new technologies and advances in their fields from internationally recognized faculty. All degrees, credits, transcripts and other records are identical to those earned through attending classes on-campus.

Each year approximately 35 students complete their graduate degree through UNITE in Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.