October 25, 2022

With the endorsement of Mark Zuckerberg, the status of the metaverse as the future of the internet seems assured.

It has not taken the higher education sector long to jump on the bandwagon, with what is thought to be the first degree focusing on the development of digital worlds using virtual and augmented reality set to launch in 2022.

But it is not an institution in Silicon Valley, Cambridge or Shenzhen that is making the running – instead, it is the University of Nicosia (UNIC) in Cyprus, which will launch a master’s in metaverse systems in September.

Combining computer science, architecture, art, economics and sociology, the degree promises an interdisciplinary programme for future “creators, developers, architects, social scientists, financial professionals and policymakers”.

“The metaverse is made up of whole virtual societies with virtual economies and rights of governance, and we’re going to help people study them to prepare them to be active participants in the design,” said Antonis Polemitis, UNIC’s chief executive.

“The metaverse is going to reflect the whole of human society, in digital form.”

UNIC’s status as a technological pioneer is not as surprising as it might first sound. In 2013, the private institution was the first university in the world to offer a degree in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Other universities have followed suit, and since 2017 all UNIC diplomas have been published on the Bitcoin blockchain, allowing online…

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