Guide to a Master's in Artificial Intelligence


Updated October 6, 2023

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Artificial Intelligence (AI), the ability of machines to make human-like decisions, is an expanding industry. The World Economic Forum predicts 97 million new AI-related jobs globally by 2025. Those interested in technologies with the potential to disrupt industries can pursue a master's degree in AI.

A master's in AI degree focuses on the coding skills, design, and ethics required to build AI programs. Students can apply their knowledge to almost any industry, as experts expect AI to play a role in chatbots, self-driving cars, voice prompts, and more. The following page serves as an overview to master's in AI programs and discusses the related costs, benefits, and career opportunities.

Why Get a Master's in Artificial Intelligence?

Scientists and technical experts have been discussing the possibility of AI since the 1950s. During this time, Alan Turing proposed the Turing test, a method of testing a machine's intelligence relative to a human. AI has evolved over the past 70 years from an initial idea to a burgeoning sector.

According to NewVantage, 91% of well-known businesses are investing in AI, transcending sector or industry boundaries. Corporations have available AI career choices spanning from data scientist to robotics specialist.

Those interested in AI need technical and personal skills to excel in related roles. Potential employees should have an interest in technology, coding skills, critical thinking, and an understanding of how AI works.

A graduate of an artificial intelligence master's program can potentially stand out to employers as being an expert in the field. AI master's programs train students for about 1-2 years, while coding bootcamps may only be a few weeks or months long. Those interested in a technological degree should consider AI due to its growing use, investments, and ability to transfer into multiple technical roles.

  • Diverse options: Students can choose various degree concentrations, electives, and prospective careers, ensuring their education and job that best suits their interests. Graduates' options may grow as the industry matures and develops.
  • Ability to make a difference: Employees in the AI space can have a hands-on job where they contribute to research, modeling, or coding. Workers in this space can potentially see their work in real-life.
  • Networking: Attendees can meet like-minded individuals while studying at an AI program. Networking with the right people can open doors to internships, careers, or associations.

Popular Online Programs

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

What To Expect From Master's in AI Programs

Institutions with AI programs aim to teach students technical skills and an understanding of how AI works. Graduates can pursue AI jobs or employ AI related tools and techniques in other fields. Programs hope that students will learn to identify use cases for AI and how to integrate it with existing workers.

Master degree programs have varying tuition, courses, and graduation requirements. A master's in AI, similar in length to other master's degrees, takes 1-2 years to finish. Students will complete 30-50 credits, depending on the program and concentration. AI related concentrations include machine learning and computer vision. Master's programs may require capstone projects or a thesis, with some offering a choice between the two.

Admission Requirements

AI master's programs have various admission requirements. Often, students need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. Universities may also have specific prerequisite courses such as Java, Python, or calculus. Prospective attendees should send official transcripts to their future institution.

Applicants may need to provide letters of recommendation, essays, or GRE scores. Essay topics can span from personal AI interest to related industry experience. Not all institutions have a minimum GRE score, while others recommend a minimum of 80th percentile for the quantitative category.

Degree and Specialization Options

AI degree options have exploded alongside the field's growing interest and development. Individuals can choose from online, in-person, or hybrid programs.

A student's program choice should reflect their learning style and personality. Online students have additional flexibility and the ability to take asynchronous classes. In-class attendees can network with students and rely less on self-motivation.

Degree options for AI also include the ability to choose concentrations, such as computer vision, machine learning, and intelligence interaction. Individuals interested in an AI career can learn about the different subfields and pursue a concentration that best aligns with their future goals.

Popular Master's in AI Courses

Master's in AI programs often divide classes between core courses and electives. Programs tend to require introductory classes, due to AI's complexity. While each master's program offers unique artificial intelligence course options for students, below lists some of the most popular classes.

  • Introduction to AI: A course that covers the basics of AI and gives an overview into the field and technology. Course topics may include neural networks and statistical techniques.
  • Machine learning: Machine learning allows computers to learn without explicit instructions. Courses aim to teach machine learning fundamentals, model training, and classifications.
  • Ethics in AI: AI's decision-making has the potential to have life-altering impacts. Students will learn about the ethical responsibility of programmers and the global perspective on AI.
  • Deep learning: Deep learning enables computers to process complex information in a similar form to the human brain. Classes cover deep learning models and how it can be applied to different sectors.

How Much Will a Master's in Artificial Intelligence Cost?

Institutions charge anywhere between $10,000-$100,000 for a master's in AI program. A specific program's cost depends on factors such as the university's reputation, where a student comes from, and the type of school.

Universities offer two types of tuition rates, in-state and out-of-state, the latter more expensive. Public and private institutions also charge different rates; public schools are often comparatively affordable. Applicants can compare tuition prices and financial aid to reduce costs.

Students' financial aid choices include scholarships, loans, grants, and more. Individuals interested in learning more about financial aid can follow our links below.

Jobs for Master's in Artificial Intelligence Students

Any industry that has large amounts of data can benefit from AI assisted data processing and analysis. Trained AI professionals can pursue a career in industries such as technology, finance, and manufacturing.

AI specialists can pursue jobs from data scientist to software engineer. Professionals can increase their marketability by pursuing further education, such as a Ph.D. in AI.

Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze sets of data and find meaningful solutions or patterns. The data may come from within the organization or be scraped from the web. Professionals can utilize AI machine learning to assist with data sorting and predictions. People present their findings or business recommendations to the appropriate stakeholders.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Median Annual Salary: $100,910
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +36%

Software Developers

Software developers work with customers to design and model applications. Some developers use their coding background to create, maintain, and update relevant software. AI professionals can use their expertise in a software development role. AI software developers focus on integrating AI features into software.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Median Annual Salary: $109,020
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +25%

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers leverage big data and algorithms to have programs make recommendations and predict future events. Engineers consistently work on their algorithms to improve outputs and accuracy. Professionals also need to identify bugs and report progress to management.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Average Annual Salary: $113,890
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): Not available

Business Intelligence Developer

Business intelligence professionals transform internal and external data into simplified databases. Databases can include dashboards, data visualization tools, and data querying. Business intelligence developers often manage the data instead of creating reports. Those pursuing this career should have an understanding of SQL, databases, and data mining.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Average Annual Salary: $85,380
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): Not available

Popular Online Programs

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

Choosing an AI Graduate Program

Prospective attendees must consider multiple factors when picking an AI graduate program. Individual preference determines the positive or negative impact of each factor. The list below highlights some of the key differences to consider between different artificial intelligence master's programs.

  • Cost/financial aid- Learners should compare costs between programs as the range can differ greatly.
  • Student/teacher ratio- A lower student/teacher ratio reflects a higher amount of teachers per student. Students may have additional one-on-one time with faculty and smaller classes.
  • Available specializations/concentrations- Not every AI program offers the same concentrations. Students can research their ideal career path and find a matching concentration.
  • Prestige/reputation- Some institutions have a more well-renowned reputation than others. Prospective attendees should research the reputation and ranking of potential institutions and programs.
  • Earning potential- Graduates from prestigious programs have a potentially higher earnings potential. Programs may list average graduate salaries.
  • Accreditation- An accredited institution or program means that a threshold for educational standards is met. Accreditation can be checked for free online.

Should You Get Your Master's Degree Online?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 60.1% of postsecondary students attended at least one course online. Artificial intelligence master's programs may be particularly well-suited to online learning due to their focus on coding and computers. Enrolled students can potentially learn and test AI principles simultaneously.

However, not everybody may prefer online learning. Potential online students should consider the trade-off between the additional freedom and flexibility with the lack of face-to-face learning and student interactions.

Explore other artificial intelligence education paths:

Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science

Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science

Master's Degrees in Computer Science

Master's Degrees in Computer Science

Master's Degrees in Machine Learning

Master's Degrees in Machine Learning

Doctoral Degrees in Artificial Intelligence

Doctoral Degrees in Artificial Intelligence

Popular Online Programs

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

FAQ About a Master's in Artificial Intelligence

What can you do with a master's in artificial intelligence?

Graduates of an artificial intelligence master's program can pursue a variety of careers from software developer to machine learning engineer. AI related jobs are expected to continue growing in the future.

Does a master's in artificial intelligence require coding?

Generally, a master's program in AI requires coding. Students will need to learn about AI, how it works, and how to use it in their career.

Is a master's in AI or data science better?

An individual's preference and career goals best determine if a master's in AI or data science is right for them. However, individuals who obtain a master's in AI can pursue a role in data science.

Is a master's in AI worth it?

An artificial intelligence master's tuition cost and expected salary can be used as variables to determine if a master's in AI is worth it. Program tuition starts at $10,000 while the earnings potential for graduates has the potential to exceed $100,000.


Last reviewed June 14, 2023.

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