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The top 20 programs for studying artificial intelligence

Learn about the top undergraduate and graduate school programs for students or professionals interested in studying the emerging field of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in technology jobs. "Jobs on the Rise," a 2021 report produced by LinkedIn, identified AI practitioner as one of the 15 fastest-growing career opportunities, experiencing a 32% increase in jobs between 2019 and 2020.

Although careers in AI were on the increase before the COVID-19 pandemic, it accelerated AI adoption. The healthcare industry most obviously benefited from AI by implementing it to scale and improve telemedicine, advance treatment and vaccine research, and predict and track virus spread. But other businesses, such as banks and retail, also delved into AI to improve services, and information-based businesses deployed it to enhance remote work and digitize processes.

That means professionals skilled in AI, along with machine learning and related applications, such as expert systems, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and machine vision, enjoy a wide range of new career possibilities. Educational institutions are developing more programs to prepare the future workforce in these areas. Some offer explicit degrees in AI, while others focus more on traditional computer science disciplines with a specialty or research program in AI.

Explore the undergraduate and graduate options below, listed alphabetically, for some of the most prestigious programs available to kick off a career in AI.

1. California Institute of Technology

The engineering and applied science division at Caltech offers a variety of degree programs and research projects, including autonomous systems and technologies, quantum information and matter, advanced networking and the Rigorous Systems Research Group. Through their autonomous systems and technologies focus, students have the opportunity to concentrate on advanced drone research, autonomous explorers or robots in medicine.

Available degree programs:

  • B.A. in applied and computational mathematics
  • B.A. in computer science
  • B.A. in information and data sciences
  • Minor in control and dynamical systems
  • Minor in computer science
  • Minor in information and data sciences
  • Ph.D. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics

2. Carnegie Mellon University

The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University offers a world-renowned program in AI, becoming the first to offer a bachelor's degree in the technology in 2018. Carnegie Mellon's AI degree programs are cross-disciplinary, combining computer science, human-computer interaction, software research, language technologies, machine learning and robotics.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in artificial intelligence
  • M.S. in artificial intelligence and innovation

3. Columbia University

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University offers both undergraduate degrees and master's degrees in AI and related fields, as well as four graduate-level courses. Concentrations include AI, machine learning, robotics, computer animation, NLP and speech, and vision and robotics.

Available degree programs:

  • ColumbiaX MicroMasters program in artificial intelligence
  • B.S. in computer science
  • B.S. in computer engineering
  • B.A. in computer science and mathematics
  • B.A. in information science
  • Minor in computer science
  • M.S. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in computer science
Components of artificial intelligence
Studying AI involves learning about many related technologies.

4. Cornell University

Cornell University is home to one of the first computer science departments in the United States. Established in 1965, the department offers 12 main areas of research, including graphics, programming languages, robotics, scientific computing and AI. In addition to these specializations, the university offers AI-related research groups that include computational sustainability, machine learning, NLP, computational linguistics, information retrieval, robotics and vision.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • B.A. in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • Master of Engineering in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • M.S. in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • Ph.D. in computer science with artificial intelligence research

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

The College of Computing at Georgia Tech offers a variety of interdisciplinary degrees and research programs, including the Center for Research into Novel Computing Hierarchies, Institute for People and Technology, Algorithms and Randomness Center, and Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, specifically, is home to some of the most cutting-edge research areas, including control, AI and cognition, interaction and perception.

Available degree programs:

  • M.S. in human-computer interaction
  • M.S. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in human-centered computing
  • Ph.D. in robotics
  • Ph.D. in machine learning

6. Harvard University

Harvard University's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, established in 2007, offers programs in computer science and AI, as well as subsets of computational linguistics, machine learning, multiagent systems and robotics. In 2015, Harvard's Kennedy School created the AI Initiative, a think tank focused on research and shaping global policy related to AI. Harvard is unique in its dedication of resources to understanding the impact of AI as it develops.

Available degree programs:

  • B.A. in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • Combined B.A./M.S. in computer science with artificial intelligence research
  • M.S. in computer science
  • M.S. in computational science and engineering
  • M.S. in data science
  • Ph.D. in computer science with artificial intelligence research

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT, one of the most prestigious technology-based institutions, was founded in 1861. The Laboratory for Computer Science opened in 1963 -- and, in 2013, merged with the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to for form the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory -- and today offers over 50 research groups and hundreds of corresponding projects that fall under three main categories: AI, systems and theory. In addition to its degree program, MIT also offers the course "Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy," an online collaborative program that teaches students how to utilize AI applications.

Available degree program:

  • B.S. in computer science with artificial intelligence research

8. Stanford University

Stanford University offers both a computer science degree program and a graduate certificate in AI from one of the world's preeminent teaching and research institutions. The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has been researching the field of AI since 1962. Some of the school's electives include "Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques," "Decision Making Under Uncertainty," "Computational Logic," "Introduction to Robotics" and "Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning."

Available degree programs:

  • Graduate certificate in artificial intelligence
  • B.S. in computer science

9. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley has extensive offerings in the field of AI research. The Artificial Intelligence Research Lab offers a variety of research projects and routinely hosts seminars and courses in computational imagining and robotic manipulation and interaction. The Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab includes the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society People and Robots Initiative, Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering, and Robot Learning Lab.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science
  • B.A. in computer science
  • Combined B.S./M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science

10. University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA's Samueli School of Engineering, founded in 1945, includes seven departments: bioengineering; chemical and biomolecular engineering; civil and environmental engineering; computer science; electrical and computer engineering; materials science and engineering; and mechanical and aerospace engineering. Research opportunities include domain-specific computing; scalable analytics; autonomous intelligent networked systems; and systematic, measurable, actionable, resilient and technology-driven (SMART) health.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science
  • M.S. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in computer science or electrical and computer engineering

11. University of Georgia

The AI program at the University of Georgia was formally established in 1995 and is part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Its cognitive science degree program offers four concentrations: AI foundations, philosophical foundations, psychological foundations, and language and culture. Within the AI program, there are 11 additional concentrations, including genetic algorithms, cognitive modeling, microelectronics, logic programming and robotics.

Available degree programs:

  • B.A. in cognitive science
  • B.A. in artificial intelligence
  • M.S. in artificial intelligence

12. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois' department of computer science can be found in the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The university's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory was founded in 1991 at the Chicago campus with a focus on real-world application of AI methodologies. Current lab projects include data mining for manufacturing and design processes, as well as automating the evolution of linguistic competence in artificial agents.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science
  • B.S. in mathematics and computer science
  • B.S. in statistics and computer science
  • Master of Computer Science
  • Ph.D. in computer science

13. University of Maryland

The computer science department at the University of Maryland is affiliated with 17 major areas of study, including programming languages, augmented and virtual reality, human-computer interaction, computer vision and AI. In addition to its degree programs, the college offers research opportunities in the fields of automation research, computational linguistics and information processing, and human-computer interaction.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science
  • Combined B.S./M.S. in computer science
  • M.S. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in computer science

14. University of Michigan

The computer science and engineering program at the University of Michigan originated in 1957 and is now home to the prestigious Robotics Institute. The institute is home to more than 20 full-time faculty, research studies, and AI-related seminars. In addition to its degree programs, the college offers several AI specialty labs on the topics of assistive technology, constraint-based reasoning, human computation, and multiagent and economic systems.

Available degree programs:

  • M.S. in robotics
  • Ph.D. in robotics

15. University of Pennsylvania

The computer science department at the University of Pennsylvania began as part of its engineering department, founded in 1850. In 1979, the College of Engineering and Applied Science became the current School of Engineering and Applied Science, the current home of the computer science program. AI labs include general robotics, automation, Penn Research in Machine Learning and the Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Imaging Lab.

Available degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science specialized degree program in computer and cognitive science, artificial intelligence
  • Master of Science in Engineering in robotics with a specialization in artificial intelligence and machine learning

16. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is known for having one of the oldest computer science departments, founded in 1966. Degree focuses include data visualization and imaging, algorithms, intelligent systems, AI, and biomedical informatics. Research groups include NLP and information retrieval, AI and law, and machine learning and decision-making.

Available degree programs:

  • M.S. in intelligent systems
  • Ph.D. in intelligent systems

17. University of Southern California

The Institute for Creative Technologies at USC has a reputation as a leader in the area of AI. The program meshes the department of computer science with the Center for Body Computing and Keck Medicine. Together, they have made advancements in both healthcare and AI, offering medical patients the chance to receive advanced medical treatment without physically visiting the facility.

Available degree program:

  • M.S. in computer science (artificial intelligence)

18. University of Texas

As one of the largest educational institutions in America, the University of Texas offers more than 100 undergraduate and 170 graduate degree programs. Computer science degrees can include a concentration in machine learning and AI and be paired with research groups, including the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Machine Learning Research Group, Data Mining Lab, Neural Networks Research Group, and Virtual Reality Lab.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science
  • B.A. in computer science
  • B.S. Turing Scholars in computer science
  • B.S. teaching in computer science
  • Integrated B.S./M.S. in computer science

19. University of Washington

The University of Washington offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science and engineering, with varying focuses and research groups in data science, neuroscience and AI.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science
  • B.S. in computer engineering
  • M.S. in computer science
  • Ph.D. in computer science and engineering

20. Yale University

Yale's department of computer science was originally founded on the cutting-edge theories of computation, AI, numerical analysis and systems. Today, it focuses on foundational concepts, as well as interdisciplinary studies, offering joint majors in cooperation with the departments of electrical engineering, economics, mathematics and psychology. AI-related research areas include robotics, NLP, machine learning and computer vision, as well as AI, ethics and society.

Available degree programs:

  • B.S. in computer science with an artificial intelligence research focus
  • B.A. in computer science with an artificial intelligence research focus
  • M.S. in computer science with an artificial intelligence research focus
  • Ph.D. in computer science with an artificial intelligence research focus

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