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Today’s Top Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence

Author: Brenda Barron

Editor: Mark Earnest

Artificial Intelligence is a rapidly advancing field, so now would be the best time to earn your master’s degree in AI while also mastering machine learning, data analysis, and natural language processing.

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A human hand extends a finger to touch the fingertip of a robotic hand against a digital background, symbolizing the connection between humans and technology. The image features glowing elements, graphs, and futuristic icons, conveying innovation and artificial intelligence.

Future Artificial Intelligence experts, your journey starts here. Whether you’re a seasoned programmer looking to make a career out of this fast-advancing field, or just someone deeply interested in AI, consider pursuing an online masters in artificial intelligence.

You’re passionate about the potential of AI to transform industries and drive innovation. You’re eager to enhance your skills, delve into cutting-edge research, and become a leader in this rapidly evolving field.

If that sounds like you, now’s the best time to start. Among the fastest-growing jobs in today’s climate are data scientists, statisticians, software developers, and computer and information research scientists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Any of these roles could use AI as a major part of their skill sets.

You likely have questions about earning a master’s in AI online. How do you make sure you’re getting the best education? How much will it cost? How does scheduling work in an online program?

This guide was designed to answer these questions and introduce you to some of the top online schools for earning a master’s degree in AI.

School Spotlight: Looking Into AI Master’s Programs

There are hundreds of schools out there that offer computer science and AI master’s programs, but we’ve narrowed those down to the ones that provide the highest quality education. We also looked at faculty expertise, curriculum depth, student support, and industry reputation when choosing these schools to spotlight.

These programs cover a wide array of essential AI concepts, from foundational courses in machine learning and neural networks to advanced topics like natural language processing and computer vision.

The University of Texas at Austin

This is a widely acclaimed research university with a solid computer sciences department. Recently, UT Austin unveiled its master’s degree program in artificial intelligence, a 100% online course you can take from the comfort of home.

You’ll gain access to UT Austin’s expert faculty as part of this 30-credit program, consisting of 3 credit hours of required foundational courses and 27 hours of electives.

The asynchronous program is available in the fall and spring with an affordable masters in AI online program that will prep you for a career in AI, whether you want to specialize in this technology for healthcare, natural language processing, or machine learning.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Varies
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

Penn State World Campus

Logo of Penn State World Campus featuring a stylized blue lion head inside a shield, with the words "Penn State World Campus" in blue beside it.

Penn State World Campus has been delivering online education to students around the world since 1998, and its master of professional studies in artificial intelligence program is one of its high-quality offerings.

The courses are available 100% online, so you’re free to earn your degree from home and at your own pace. The 33 credits offered are broken down into 21 core courses, 3 credits for an integrative research topics course, and 9 credits of electives. This culminates in a final capstone course.

With this program, you’ll receive a well-rounded education and will be ready to apply your new knowledge of AI in real world situations. Deep learning, programming, statistics, and ethics are just some of the AI elements you’ll learn.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: Varies
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering

At Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, an acclaimed private research university, you can earn your online master’s degree in artificial intelligence. Admission requires prerequisite knowledge in various math and computer science courses including calculus, linear algebra, Java, and Python.

Upon admission, you’ll take 10 courses that add up to 30 credits and need to be completed in five years. Courses include data science, applied machine learning, deep learning, robotics, large language models, and data visualization. There are a wide variety of electives to tailor your education for a future career in AI.

Though you may be studying from home, you’ll still be given the chance to learn from the best in AI education. At this top-tier university, you’ll have an opportunity to network and connect with skilled instructors and faculty with direct AI experience.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Up to 5 years
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

What Classes Will I Take in an Online AI Master’s Program?

It’s natural to be curious about the curriculum of online master’s degree in artificial intelligence, as the variety of courses to earn a role in this ever-growing field include leading-edge tech such as machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, and computer vision. You often have the choice to mix and match electives depending on your specialty.

Ethics in AI

There are plenty of ethical entanglements when it comes to AI, and grappling with these issues deserves a topic of its own. These courses will equip you to thoughtfully approach issues of bias, privacy, safety, artificial life, human-computer interaction, and other ethical challenges affecting today’s culture – and especially the future.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to handle AI in an honorable and safe way, using it as a tool to advance rather than harm society.

Neural Networks

One of the core courses you’ll tackle involves neural networks, diving into the algorithms that enable computers to learn from data and then over time make advanced decisions and predictions.

You’ll gain hands-on experience working with neural networks, covering topics from basic perceptions to advanced deep learning models. You’ll then be equipped to design your own models to solve a diverse array of complicated problems.

Natural Language Processing

If you’re fascinated by recent natural and large language models like GPT-4 and PaLM, this course is the perfect introduction to it.

Machine translation, sentiment analysis, text classification, and information extraction are just a few of the topics you’ll touch on while learning about NLP. You may even write your own natural language model.

Understanding how AI can comprehend and generate human language with remarkable accuracy – and how to create your own similar programs – is a big step forward in your education.

What are Some Specializations in AI?

Some online master’s degrees in artificial intelligence offer specializations, allowing you to tailor your studies to specific areas of interest. Specialized degrees enhance your expertise and marketability in the field, as employers often seek out specialists. Here are a few common specializations in the field of AI.

Deep Learning

A specialization in deep learning focuses on advanced neural network architectures and their applications in the real world. This knowledge enables you to pursue careers in fields involving computer vision, natural language processing, and data science.

The master’s degree in data science offered by Northwestern School of Professional Study is one example of this specialization. This program teaches every aspect of deep learning and how it can be applied to data science.

Machine Learning

Earning a master’s degree in machine learning equips you with the tools and techniques to develop your own ML models. You’ll explore supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning algorithms, as well as topics like ensemble methods and dimensionality reduction.

By specializing in machine learning, you’re ready to pursue careers in data science, analytics, development, and engineering. Colorado State University Global offers a fine example of one such degree, with their online master program in AI and machine learning.

Robotics

Designing, programming, and building intelligent robots is no easy task, but it’s one that can offer a rewarding career. That’s why receiving master’s degree in robotics is a wise choice.

John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering provides an online master’s degree in robotics and autonomous systems, which teaches you all about how to ethically and skillfully create autonomous robots. This knowledge can be applied to a variety of industries from manufacturing to healthcare.

How Much Does an Online AI Master’s Degree Cost?

Earning an MS in AI is a big financial commitment, ranging from $10K up to $50K or more. We’ve outlined below the estimated costs of some top online master’s degree in artificial intelligence.

School Program No. of Credits Est. Resident Tuition
The University of Texas at Austin Master of Artificial Intelligence

30

$10,000

Penn State World Campus Master of Professional Studies in Artificial Intelligence

33

$34,848

John Hopkins – Whiting School of Engineering Master of Artificial Intelligence

30

$52,700

Tuition and Financial Aid for AI Master’s Students

With the expenses associated with being an AI master student, finding affordable computer science programs can be difficult. You may be eligible for financial aid ranging from scholarships to work-study programs.

Look through the resources for computer science graduates as well as those offered by your chosen institution. You may be able to earn scholarships to help finance your education.

What Can You Do with a Masters in AI?

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic right now, and careers are sure to boom in the coming years. Computer science, information technology, and similar fields that make heavy use of AI are some of the best places to take your education right now.

Designing cutting-edge AI solutions and leading groundbreaking research projects are just a few of the tasks ahead of you, and these jobs pay well.

Data Science

Data scientists analyze and extract insights from complex data sets. Data cleaning, modeling, and interpretation are some of your daily duties, while common fields for data scientists include finance, healthcare, and tech.

While a bachelor’s degree is often sufficient, a master in AI opens you up to advanced data science analysis jobs and further specialization.

Career Outlook: Data Scientist

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth (2022-32) Top Industry
$108,020 $184,090 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$108,020
90th Percentile
$184,090
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Information Security

AI is strongly interwoven in cybersecurity, and recent advancements in this field allow for even higher career aspirations. Information security analysts safeguard computer systems from cyberthreats.

While a master’s degree may not be required, it can provide specialized knowledge in AI-driven security solutions, pushing you into more leadership in cybersecurity leadership and research.

Career Outlook: Information Security Analyst

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth (2022-32) Top Industry
$120,360 $182,370 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$120,360
90th Percentile
$182,370
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Computer and Information Research Science

An online master’s degree in artificial intelligence equips students with the skills needed to conduct high-level research and become potential pioneers of new AI technology.

Researching advanced concepts, developing new algorithms, and designing innovative systems are just some of your goals as you work in academia and at industry research labs.

Career Outlook: Computer & Information Research Scientist

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth (2022-32) Top Industry
$145,080 $233,110 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$145,080
90th Percentile
$233,110
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Software Development

Software developers and engineers create a variety of applications, and AI is increasingly a key part of these systems.

While a master’s degree is not a requirement, specialized training can differentiate candidates and open doors to opportunities in AI-driven software development. Emerging fields like machine learning and neural networks are backed by software developers who have specialized in AI.

Career Outlook: Software Developer

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth (2022-32) Top Industry
$132,270 $208,620 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$132,270
90th Percentile
$208,620
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Information Security Engineering

Differentiated from information security analysts who focus on analyzing cybersecurity threats, information security engineers design security architecture.

Assessing vulnerabilities, developing security solutions, and handling breaches are some of your daily tasks. A master’s degree in AI allows a focus on AI-driven cybersecurity and handling of advanced security systems.

Career Outlook: Information Security Engineer

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth (2022-32) Top Industry
$104,920 $174,300 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$104,920
90th Percentile
$174,300
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Common Questions about AI Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence?

When applying for an online master’s degree in AI, you’ll generally need to meet certain admission requirements. These can vary, so check your desired programs for their guidelines.

  • Relevant degree – To apply for a master’s degree, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in a computer science or related field from an accredited institution.
  • Prerequisite courses – AI is an advanced field, and many universities expect you to know programming in particular languages and mathematics like calculus.
  • GPA – Many universities require a GPA of 3.0 or higher on your transcripts.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s degree in AI?

The duration of an online master’s degree in AI can vary, but typically these programs can be completed in 1-3 years of full-time study. Part-time study may extend the duration up to five years – for example, the master’s degree program in AI from John Hopkins University allows up to five years of study.

Is there a benefit to earning a master’s degree in AI online instead of in person?

The main benefit of earning a master’s degree online is the added flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with your career and other commitments.

Online programs often provide the same curriculum as on-campus studies, so you’re not missing out on much. Even networking and collaboration is possible through remote learning.

Do I need to learn coding or computer programming to study artificial intelligence?

Computer coding is absolutely essential to study artificial intelligence. Programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++ are commonly used in AI research and development. Most AI programs include coursework in programming to ensure students have the necessary skills for success.

Will I be accepted into an AI graduate program if I’m not a computer science (CS) undergrad?

While a CS undergraduate degree is often preferred for AI graduate programs, it’s not a strict requirement. Programs may consider applicants from academic backgrounds including mathematics, engineering, and physics. If you lack a CS undergrad, demonstrating proficiency in relevant skills can strengthen your application.