Working at the forefront of innovation in data science naturally holds an appeal for many aspiring professionals. With potentially limitless possibilities for driving business value and alleviating societal ills, artificial intelligence is among the most exciting data professions today.
As a relatively new academic discipline, however, it is still finding its place in the curriculums of traditional institutions. You can find courses on machine and deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, neural networks, and other AI-related topics in many Computer Science and Engineering degrees. But if you’re looking for a ‘pure’ Artificial Intelligence program that focuses solely on the theory and potential applications behind Big Data models, you’ll find they aren’t nearly as popular.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best AI degrees with a particular focus on stand-alone qualifications. You’ll discover that even though traditional master’s courses are still prevalent, other more extensive or flexible degrees are also gaining popularity. That should come as no surprise considering that data science MS degrees are still the preferred qualification of potential employers. Though as the skills gap continues to widen, more and more companies place a larger emphasis on the practical abilities of candidates rather than their educational background.
Table of Contents:
- BS in Artificial Intelligence from Carnegie Mellon
- Professional Certificate Program in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence from MIT
- Online Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program from the University of Stanford
- MAS in Artificial Intelligence from Illinois Tech
- MS in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Michigan
- PG Program in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Texas at Austin
- The Online AI Executive Certificate from Columbia Engineering
- MS in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Southern California
I. BS in Artificial Intelligence from Carnegie Mellon
Carnegie Mellon University are pioneers in artificial intelligence and have been leading innovation and education in the field for years. Since 2018 they have also offered the first bachelor’s degree in AI.
The BSAI program focuses on teaching students how to turn large and complex data (such as vision, language, and sentiment) into actionable insights. You can expect to complete coursework in computer science, math, statistics, computational modeling, machine learning, and symbolic computation. If you’re interested in AI’s capabilities to change the world for the better, you can also explore courses in this direction.
This is an interdisciplinary program that involves teaching and research from various faculties and institutes but is primarily based in the Department of Computer Science.
Besides Carnegie Mellon’s degree there are still only a handful of dedicated artificial intelligence bachelor’s out there, but many data science undergraduate degrees feature AI as a concentration, or minor.
II. Professional Certificate Program in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence from MIT
MIT’s role in the rise of AI and the changes it brought to the world of work is internationally renowned. The goal of their program is to prepare working professionals and businesses for the AI-driven future.
Upon completion of this certificate program, you will have an understanding of all the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence such as natural language processing, predictive analytics, deep learning, and the most advanced algorithms in use today. You can also expect to tackle problems in math, statistics, data analysis, computer science, and programming.
Chiefly rooted in the expertise of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), this program also includes teaching and research from a range of other departments and institutes.
III. Online Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program from the University of Stanford
Ranked third in the world, Stanford is one of the few top-tier universities to offer fully online degrees. Their graduate program is intended for working professionals with a solid technical background who want to take their AI skills to the next level.
You will have the opportunity to explore cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and techniques such as robotics, deep and reinforcement learning, vision, data mining, and natural language processing.
This program is offered through the Stanford School of Engineering online and taught by leaders in AI development and renowned researchers such as Andrew Ng and Christopher Manning.
IV. MAS in Artificial Intelligence from Illinois Tech
Illinois Tech has created a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence aimed at both recent graduates and working professionals who want to explore the wide applications of AI for business, industry, and government.
In this program, you will study machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, probabilistic reasoning, and data analytics. The hands-on projects you complete will be related to analyzing financial data, medical images, and social media.
The department of Computer Science at Illinois Tech operates the MAS in Artificial Intelligence on its own.
V. MS in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Michigan
Offering a range of flexible learning options (evening, part-time, online/hybrid study), the MS in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Michigan is a great option for anyone who wants to combine work and studies.
This comprehensive program features 4 concentration areas: computer vision, intelligent interaction, machine learning, and knowledge management and reasoning. Aside from these foundational modules you can pick from a wide range of elective courses to specialize your AI toolkit or develop more advanced skills.
While this MS is offered by the College of Engineering & Computer Science, you can still take classes from almost all other colleges (departments) within the University of Michigan.
VI. PG Program in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Texas at Austin
This is a 6-month, fully online course designed and taught by faculty from one of the leading technology institutes in the world.
You will study modules on supervised, unsupervised, and ensemble learning, model selection and tuning, as well as computer vision, natural language processing, and neural networks. You will also master a range of programming tools such as Python, Numpy, and Tensor Flow. The program offers mentorship from professional engineers working at some of the world’s largest companies and dedicated career support.
Upon completion of this course, you will gain a postgraduate certificate from the University of Texas at Austin, though the course is entirely operated through the e-learning provider Great Learning.
VII. The Online AI Executive Certificate from Columbia Engineering
Made up of 6 online courses taught in real-time, one self-paced bridge course, and an in-person immersion, this Ivy League course takes between 9-18 months to complete.
You will learn about the latest ML algorithms, neural networks and deep learning, NLP, computer vision, robotics, data security and privacy policies. Columbia has developed a bespoke digital campus that even features a mobile app where you can access all your live classes and coursework. The in-person immersion takes place over the course of three days in New York City and features networking events and workshops.
Columbia’s world-renowned School of Engineering is behind the program. It is important to note, however, that it does not bring any credits, nor is it considered an official degree by the university.
VIII. MS in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Southern California
As a sub-degree of the Computer Science master’s at USC, this program is unique in its blending of disciplines.
You can expect to study topics such as machine learning, statistics, computer vision, natural language processing, and robotics and participate in both one-on-one tutorials and group electives.
The MS in Artificial Intelligence is an in-person course operated by the School of Engineering.
Best Degrees in AI: Next Steps
The programs on this list provide a good overview of efforts undertaken by traditional institutions to modernize their curriculums and respond to challenges in industry and society stemming from the rise of AI. While the skills, networking, and mentorship opportunities they provide are certainly useful, none of these degrees constitutes a shortcut to landing a job in the field. Moreover, as we discuss in our take on the MITx Data Science Program and its alternatives these courses are often very costly, have stringent entry requirements, and take a long time to complete.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive curriculum led by renowned industry experts, combined with flexible, on-demand learning, and you don’t have thousands of dollars or years to invest in your education — the 365 Data Science program offers a viable alternative for building machine learning and artificial intelligence skills from the ground up. Explore our wide range of A-Z courses by signing up for a free account below.