Overrated?: Does a crypto study really have to cost 12,000 euros?

In the summer of 2018, BTC-ECHO editor David Scheider is looking for a master’s degree in crypto and blockchain. He finds the only known project in Europe to date at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. A wide range of basics through to concrete use cases awaits him there. The disadvantage: it should cost 12,960 euros.

Today I face the same question as David did in 2018: Which blockchain master would I like to do and where can I do it? Is it really necessary to spend so much money and study in Cyprus, or is that also possible in this country? So much in advance: It is not a “must” to put almost 13,000 euros on the table for a master’s degree. This can be both more expensive and cheaper; it can be both intensive and extensive as well as short and crisp.

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Crypto studies mostly in English

Nevertheless, after the research it is clear to me that there are so far only a few courses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) that focus only on distributed ledger technology and its use cases.

Furthermore, almost all courses on the subject are offered in English. At the same time, however, many universities around the world already offer individual seminars on the subject to give students the opportunity to come into contact with the technology of the future – both in bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In addition, there are programmes, certificates and courses that you can attend even if you are not enrolled, some of which are free of charge and some of which can be attended for a certain fee.

Cryptography, AI and management to join in

For example, there is the university in Mittweida, a small town in Saxony with around 15,000 inhabitants. The senior professor Dr.-Ing. Ittner tells BTC-ECHO that the master’s program “Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technologies” would guarantee that crypto students not only sit in ivory towers and think about theoretical concepts, but also come into contact with companies and practice.

After the basics, which require an interest in programming and the technical basics of the technology, students can choose between two branches. On the one hand, the technical orientation, which includes areas such as cryptography and AI. On the other hand, a less technical orientation, which is then more about founding, management and legal aspects.

Ittner emphasizes: “Blockchain technology is not rocket science, anyone who is interested in the topic of the future can learn it.” This statement is also underlined by the tuition fee and the requirements. The semester in Mittweida currently costs around 95 euros. There are no admission restrictions.

Master for crypto business people in Frankfurt

The situation is different with the FSFM and the master’s program “Blockchain and Digital Assets”. On the one hand, it is assumed that you have already worked in a crypto-related area for a year before starting, and on the other hand, this training costs around 33,000 euros in total.

Philipp Sandner from the FSFM explains: “The Frankfurt School is a private university and does not receive any funding for teaching from the state.” Therefore, the university must “set a price for their education”. In return, however, the FSFM promises “up-to-date training and support for students that other universities often cannot achieve,” as Sandner emphasizes.

The focus is on the economy and applicability of the blockchain

The course focuses on the economic importance and applicability of blockchain technology. With the design of the range of courses in block courses and seminars, the university would like to offer people who are already working in particular the opportunity to continue their education in the field of digital assets.

For this reason, only 60 ECTS points (uniform credit points in European universities) are achieved in the course in the form of courses. Students achieve the remaining 60 ECTS through practical experience and the thesis. Sandner comments: “It’s a master’s program for people who have worked for a number of years. That’s the focus.” The success of the course cannot be measured at this point in time, as it will not be introduced at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management until November 2022.

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Blockchain focus in the Economics Master

Even if the University of Basel does not offer a specific Blockchain Master, it is worth considering the two courses “International and Monetary Economics” and “Business and Technology”. Because both illustrate the possibility of aligning an actually economic education with the technology.

The Master in Business and Technology (MBT) is “a specialized program (…) and is aimed at students who want to deal with issues and challenges in the areas of marketing, HR, strategy, organization and accounting as well as general management. This takes into account technical progress and the digital transformation of business models,” says the Dean of Studies, Prof. Dr. Pascal Gantenbein. When enrolling, however, you should note that achieving a certain number of points in the GMAT or GRE test, which costs around 200 euros, is standard for business studies abroad.

Top 20 will be admitted

The admission requirement for both courses is that you belong to the top twenty percent of these internationally standardized aptitude tests. In addition, the three-semester course costs 850 Swiss francs (about 820 euros).

Four lectures and two crypto seminars in the field of Smart Contracts, DeFi, FinTechs and digital currencies will be offered in Basel. There are already opportunities for bachelor students of the Faculty of Economics to immerse themselves in the basics of blockchain technology.

The university offers the major lectures of both levels free of charge on its open access platform “Open Crypto Lectures” and on the YouTube channel of the same name. Prof. Dr. Fabian Schär, Managing Director of the Center for Innovative Finance, says: “Videos, slides, exercises and much more are openly available. We want to make the knowledge accessible to the public. (…) In the first year, over 2,000 people from all over the world registered on the platform.”

It can also be shorter

But it doesn’t always have to be an entire crypto degree. Universities such as the Technical University (TU) Munich, the University of Bayreuth, the TU Chemnitz, the TU Berlin or the Berlin University of Applied Sciences offer lectures, courses and seminars in the blockchain area, for which not quite as much money and time have to be invested.


This article first appeared in the February issue of BTC-ECHO Magazine.

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