Can You Get a Degree in Artificial Intelligence?


Updated May 20, 2024

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Earning an artificial intelligence degree can help you build skills relevant to the continued growth of AI in the workplace. Explore various AI degrees with our guide. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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A growing number of American colleges and universities offer bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in artificial intelligence (AI). Often considered a sub-discipline of computer science, this subject usually — not always — appears as a specialization instead of a major field.

In an artificial intelligence degree program, you can sharpen your mathematics and engineering knowledge while exploring new AI-specific technology, such as neural networks, robotics, and fuzzy logic.

After graduation, you can pursue a career designing, shaping, and launching smart tools that contribute to human flourishing. Use the guide below to discover more about which AI degree you should get and why.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence uses data and machine learning to mimic human thought. The technology has grown exponentially since its beginnings in the 20th century. Today, businesses use AI for personalized advertising, supply chain management, and cost optimization. Artificial intelligence also plays a role in fields like weather forecasting, patient monitoring, and educational research.

To work with artificial intelligence, people typically study computer science, statistics, or computer engineering. However, AI-specific degrees are growing more popular, covering topics like linear algebra, computer vision, and data mining.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Which Artifical Intelligence Degree Should You Get?

Future artificial intelligence professionals can pursue several degree paths for studying AI, including certificate programs, bachelor's degrees, and doctoral degrees. Each degree level can help students qualify for different careers.

Below, we explore various pathways for completing AI-related education.

Certificate Programs in AI

Artificial intelligence certificate programs help learners build AI skills without pursuing a full degree. AI certificate programs explore topics like using AI for business operations and natural language processing.

Some certificate programs use asynchronous learning modalities so students can complete work at their own pace and fit coursework into their busy schedules. Others, especially those available through colleges and universities, use traditional classroom structures and schedules. These programs may take a few weeks to a few months to complete.

Certificates differ from certifications. While certificates denote a person's education in the field, certifications are professional credentials that require training in specific skills and often include assessments, exams, and continuing education requirements.

Some employers seek candidates with specific certifications, such as Microsoft's Azure AI engineer associate credential, rather than an AI-related degree or certificate. However, certificate programs can lead to entry-level AI careers, such as junior engineers or researchers.

Associate Degrees in Artificial Intelligence

An artificial intelligence associate degree usually comprises 60-80 credits and takes enrollees two years of full-time study. These programs cover MySQL databases, machine learning, and computer vision. Other courses include general education requirements like composition, calculus, and communications.

An associate degree in AI can help learners segue into other degree levels. For instance, students can often transfer credits from their associate degree toward a bachelor's program to pursue more advanced education. Because these programs are newer, few schools currently offer online AI associate degrees.

These programs can help graduates qualify for entry-level careers in AI software or hardware engineering, project management, and data science.

Bachelor's in Artificial Intelligence Degrees

Although not as common as computer science degrees with AI concentrations, bachelor's degrees in artificial intelligence are growing more popular. These programs, which are sometimes available online, usually comprise 120 credits and take four years of full-time study.

Like an associate degree, an AI bachelor's degree combines general education with technical skills, such as data structures and algorithms, cognitive robotics, and deep learning. These programs also cover concepts like data analysis, AI products, and programming.

Employers seeking well-rounded candidates for AI-related positions frequently look for workers with bachelor's degrees in artificial intelligence, computer science, programming, or a related field. For example, data scientist, forensic computer analyst, computer systems analyst, and AI engineer positions usually require bachelor's degrees.

Master's in Artificial Intelligence Degrees

Professionals who want to pursue leadership roles that involve artificial intelligence can pursue a master's degree. Master's programs in artificial intelligence usually take 1-2 years of full-time study. Online degrees can offer flexibility for professionals who must integrate classes into their work schedules.

Artificial intelligence master's degrees focus on algorithm design, data science, and advanced machine learning. Although an educational credential of this level is not typically required for jobs in the field, it can signify workers' cutting-edge qualifications and help them stand out in the application process for advanced roles as lead engineers, algorithm developers, and AI research scientists.

Doctoral Degrees in Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence or machine learning doctoral programs emphasize research, writing, and analysis. These doctorates help graduates qualify for careers as professors and researchers.

Some schools provide online options for their Ph.D. programs. During their studies, on-campus and online learners work closely with faculty to conduct inquiry and research for their dissertations.

Examples of courses in an artificial intelligence doctoral program include advanced machine learning theory and methods, multi-robot systems, and computational linguistics.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Can You Learn AI at a Coding Bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps provide intensive training in computer science topics like programming, web development, and data science. Some coding bootcamps also explore artificial intelligence, covering deep learning, computer vision, and tools like Python and TensorFlow.

Unlike degrees, which take multiple years, coding bootcamps typically last a few weeks to a few months, though they still build skills necessary for technology jobs. Available online and in person, bootcamps provide live lectures and hands-on projects to facilitate skill development.

Because they usually incorporate career preparation and guidance, bootcamps can help learners transition into artificial intelligence careers. Some providers offer post-graduate job support and tuition refunds for students who do not find relevant work within a few months of graduating.

Do You Need a Degree in Artificial Intelligence to Learn AI?

Although earning an artificial intelligence degree can help learners build their AI career, they can also pursue other paths like:

  • Internships or Mentorships: Students work closely with professionals in the field to gain hands-on experience with artificial intelligence.
  • Computer Science Bootcamps: Bootcamps prepare students for work in various computer science subfields, including artificial intelligence. Coding bootcamps typically take only a few months to complete.
  • Self-Training: Learners can use online resources, like in-depth guides and YouTube videos, to augment their skills and qualify for AI-related jobs.
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): MOOCs are digital courses. These classes are usually free, but sometimes include optional paid resources, like mentorships or certificates. MOOCs vary in length and allow learners to set their own pace.

Internships, mentorships, self-training, and MOOCs are often free, while coding bootcamps and paid MOOCs can still be more affordable than traditional degrees. Self-sufficient learners can benefit from MOOCs, bootcamps, and self-training. However, internships and mentorships may work better for students who excel with the structure of one-on-one instruction.

Resources for AI Degree Students

Understanding Automation and AI

Understanding Automation and AI

Landing a Job in Artificial Intelligence

Landing a Job in Artificial Intelligence

Quick Guide to Top Coding Languages

Quick Guide to Top Coding Languages

Trends in Computer Science

Trends in Computer Science

More Questions About Artificial Intelligence Degrees

Is artificial intelligence a college major?

Yes, colleges and universities increasingly offer artificial intelligence as a bachelor's degree major. These programs typically include 120 credits and take four years of full-time study. They cover an array of data science, machine learning, and programming topics.

What degree should you get to work in AI?

Many AI-related jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. However, companies may fill entry-level roles like junior AI programmer or engineer with workers who completed a bootcamp, certificate, or associate degree in artificial intelligence. A master's degree may be required for advanced positions such as algorithm developer, AI advisor, or senior researcher.

How hard is an AI degree?

As with any program, earning an AI degree can pose challenges. Students with a computer science background may find an artificial intelligence degree less challenging than those without experience in the field.

Are artificial intelligence degrees worth it?

Businesses increasingly seek to weave artificial intelligence into their operations. An artificial intelligence degree can help build in-demand skills that qualify graduates for work in numerous industries that use AI, including healthcare and education.

Last reviewed June 26, 2023.

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