The D.I.Y. Degree

Current Video Intro for YouTube Channel, for the first series: The D.I.Y. Degree

Hello, this story today is both an introduction of myself, as well as an intro for my main project, the "Do it Yourself Degree." Now, I am not the first person to pursue this sort of endeavor. Oh, there has been so many, however I am the first to pursue building a personal brand around the creation, documentation and pursuit of a degree.

This being said, I love to learn from the people who preceded to me, and so I will be talking about their endeavors too!

The point of the degree is to go after a unique career, one of a synergy interaction. A synergy of three areas: Global Sustainability Development, Innovation/Project Management, and Social Entrepreneurship. Each have their own learning paths, as well as mutual overlap in knowledge base. The unity between all three is my Ikigai, (Ikigai is a Japanese term for "a reason for being." -Wikipedia).

What Is in My D.I.Y. Degree?

I created a list of over 400 courses from all over the internet, anywhere from MOOC's (Massive Open Online Courses), OpenCourseWare, YouTube Video Playlists, Module based, micro-credentials, etc.

I then separated them into “Semesters,” with about 40 courses each, which ended up being 10 main ones. At the end, I put a semester 11 with all the remainder courses, and organized them into subject matter, with some overlap for interleaving purposes.

They are as follows:

Semester 1: Business

Semester 2: Sustainability

Semester 3: Project Management

Semester 4: IT and Smart Cities

Semester 5: Global Business

Semester 6: I had many courses from Great Courses Plus website, so I made a semester just for that, along with some that just correlated well with the subject matter.

Semester 7: Math and Marketing, which will be interesting, as I've struggled with math a lot over the years.

Semester 8: Programming, because before all of this I considered finally learning how to program or script websites. I dabbled a bit before deciding to pursue an education, but not before collecting a plethora of free or cheap educational resources. Seriously I think I went to every coding site out there.

Semester 9: Entrepreneurship, which you would think would be earlier on because of my deep love for the stuff. I'm hoping this will motivate me to get through it!

Semester 10: Design and & Masterclasses, some courses from leaders in their industry.

Lastly the leftovers, which I am sure will keep growing.

I will probably keep this degree going most of my life, though I do have an end goal in mind in the 10th semester

Who Has Done This Before?

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

I may be the one who is pursuing a very large education pool, but others had a more specific goal in mind—which I honestly think is brilliant, for it would be better for me to be more focused. However, I have always stuck with a polymath route, and my north star is something of an unprecedented path, meaning I can't go after my ambition in the same way other people have.

Here are some people who have followed a similar path!

Scott Young

He might've kicked off all of this to be honest, not just for me personally, but he was also one of the first on the scene way back in around 2011/12. Mr. Haber, who we will talk about later, started around the same time as well though.

Scott wanted to see if he could go and get the same level of education from MIT, without ever being enrolled or going to class. So he did what the every person would do, and spent 10 hours a day for a year studying. Now there were breaks, and he had a way of paying for his living expenses externally; however, I wanted to note that I've done a 10 hour study day ONCE or TWICE, and it was brutal. This is coming from a person who enjoys it, so I wanted to hand it to him.

He created the MIT Challenge, collected a bunch of books, and at that time there were no MOOCS yet, so he only had OpenCourseWare.

More information:



Jay Cross

Not to be confused with the Jay Cross Futurist, although I'm sure our Jay is looking to the future too!

He had the idea before me to create a Do it Yourself Degree, created a brand, even got it on TV news at the time. To my knowledge, as the website is no longer up (I used the way back machine to see it), it was a consulting service for helping people do the same.

Think of all the things these people in the story today, and someone helped you do the same thing specially made for you. Here is to hearing more from Jay in the future!

Lawrie Miller

She focuses on taking or finishing a degree via Credit by Examination. So, for example, CLEP tests.

Basically speaking, depending on your level of knowledge and prior abilities, it will take various amounts of time to finish your degree. However even the longest paths are monumentally shorter than a traditional degree.

More information:


Jonathan Haber

He interacted a bit with Scott in the past, but his idea was to pursue a Bachelors degree completely via MOOCs. In his "One Year MOOC BA", he curated a list of philosophy courses as his major. He calls it the "Degree of Freedom!

Laurie Pickard

One of my favorites on here, simply because of the branding she has made around her journey. She followed a similar path as Jon where she picked a subject, which in her case was an MBA. Then curated a list from all different course platforms like EdX, Coursera, Etc.

She was able to build a brand, and write a book around the "No-Pay MBA" idea. As someone who is in her facebook group, I can definitely say she knows what she's talking about!

More information:


What Is a PolyInnovator?

A PolyInnovator is an Innovation Polymath, or a Polymath of Innovation. Anyway you look at it, there is a pretty strong theme, which is geared towards the future. It takes a business mindset, and combines it with a project managers' instincts and a sustainability background. You have a futurist right there.

This is my intention: to become someone who creates the future, a person who can guide the world into a new age. Sounds quite ambitious, I know, but I honestly cannot see myself doing anything less.

This north star of mine has been around since as long as I can remember. I literally was an entrepreneur when I was 10 selling temporary tattoos. I took up keyboarding in 7th grade simply because I knew that it would come in handy in the future. (I'm thinking as I TYPE this that it was a great notion!)

After that, I would have a pitch for when people asked me what do I want to do when I grow up. That would be "I will be a CEO of an international company driven towards innovate technology and ideology," which of course would be coming out of a teenagers mouth. Now, I guess you could say my elevator pitch or slogan is that "I will be a globally recognized Innovation polymath, driven to innovate technology and ideology." I kept the last bit there!

Any way you look at it, I hope that today could have inspired you, provided you with valuable links, or simply given you the opportunity to think about YOUR future differently.

Feel free to reach out to me on here, social, YouTube, or on my website!


Dustin Miller PolyInnovator
Dustin Miller PolyInnovator
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Dustin Miller PolyInnovator

I created a Modular Degree to pursue a higher education, autodidactic, ambition. Allowing me to create a synergy in 3 fields of innovation:

Global Sustainability Development

Innovation and Project Management

Social Entrepreneurship

See all posts by Dustin Miller PolyInnovator