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For individuals who like being on the cutting edge of technology, artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving field with opportunities for innovation and growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 23% increase in jobs for AI professionals through 2031, and the field’s median annual salary is $131,490.

The first step towards a career in AI is usually a bachelor’s or master’s degree in AI or a related field. This article features’s list of the best in-person artificial intelligence degree programs of 2023, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Because of AI’s complex nature, this list includes a variety of majors, like computer science, data science, and engineering, which can lead to AI careers.

Beyond program recommendations, this article also covers how to choose an AI degree program, what to expect from an AI degree program, and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

What Can I Expect from an Artificial Intelligence Degree Program?

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to computer software that enables machines to mimic human cognitive functions, including decision-making and language translation, and uses real-time data to adjust responses and performance.

AI is also a catch-all term for the technology’s many specialized sub-fields, such as machine learning, data science, natural language processing, and more.

Because of the breadth of the field, students can opt for a general AI degree program that covers concepts and skills in computer science, math, statistics, among others, or a more specialized degree focusing on a particular component of AI. For example, students who wish to mine, analyze, and visualize data may want to explore a data science degree program. Students should note that specialized degree programs are more widely available at the master’s and doctoral levels.

AI degree programs may require prior coursework or experience, particularly at the graduate level. Students should review eligibility requirements carefully before applying to a program. For those starting their AI education journey, when choosing a bachelor’s degree program, it’s worth considering if you’ll pursue a master’s degree. Some schools offer dual degree programs that allow students to begin earning graduate credit while still working on their bachelor’s.

Best 50 Accredited Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs

Best Artificial Intelligence Degrees badge

UW Professional & Continuing Education

Carnegie Mellon University

UGA Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Purdue University

Indiana University Bloomington

Oregon State University

Harvard Extension School

Cornell University

University of Michigan - Dearborn

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Rochester

University of Maryland

Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

Arizona State University

NC State University

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Texas A&M University Engineering

Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business

New Mexico State University

Colorado State University

Bellevue College

Northeastern University

University of Pittsburgh

University of West Florida

University of Cincinnati

University of Arizona

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Boston University

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How we rank programs

This list features some of the best artificial intelligence undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the U.S. All are offered at nonprofit, accredited institutions, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each degree program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and student resources. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared our picks to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Courses Will I Take in an Artificial Intelligence Degree?

While the specific courses you take will vary by program, AI is an interdisciplinary field that typically combines coursework in computer science, programming, mathematics, data science, and more.

Computer science

Students will take introductory or advanced courses covering computer science concepts based on their degree level. These courses include logic, proofs, sets, functions, relations, sequences, summations, number representations, counting, and algorithm analysis.


Within an AI degree program, classes will cover the basic principles of AI. Topics may include introducing heuristic methods, problem representation and search methods, classic AI techniques, and reviewing the controversial issues of the AI paradigm of cognition as computation.

Machine learning

As an essential subfield of AI, machine learning is a critical part of AI education. Courses in machine learning typically cover the design and function of systems that learn from data and improve with experience. You will discover various methods in machine learning classes, such as supervised learning and predictive modeling. Some techniques include decision trees, rule induction, nearest neighbors, Bayesian methods, neural networks, support vector machines, and model ensembles.


Given the massive implications AI can have on almost every facet of human life, it’s not surprising that most AI degree programs include some coursework dealing with the ethical components of the technology. Most courses are designed to increase students’ understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities in national, international, and cross-cultural environments and help students develop a general ethical framework for handling those responsibilities.

What Can I Do With an Artificial Intelligence Degree?

Career outlook

The career outlook is strong thanks to rapid developments in AI and the interest in finding new ways to expand and apply the technology. The BLS categorizes AI professionals as computer and information research scientists and predicts that employment in this field will grow 21% by 2031, resulting in over 7,000 new jobs. BLS predicts even more growth for related fields, like data science, with an estimated 40,500 new positions by 2031.

Career paths

AI offers students multiple career paths in a variety of industries. Potential jobs include:

  • Machine learning engineers teach AI models to process data
  • Software engineers develop and maintain software for AI applications
  • Data scientists collect and analyze data to extract meaning from it
  • Business intelligence analysts use business data and AI programs to predict future business trends
  • Robotics engineers create machines that use AI to perform tasks

Students can also consider an AI career path based on industry, with opportunities in healthcare, banking and finance, transportation and automotive, business, and more.

Students who hold bachelor’s degrees typically start in entry-level jobs. To qualify for advanced or leadership roles, students may need a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum level of experience.

Associate software engineer

Earning Potential: $90,950 – $123,050 per year

Education: Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate of Science degree from an accredited course of study in Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or other technical degrees

This position will involve creating software for world-class, next-generation disruptive systems and technologies. The selected candidate will work with the Disruptive Computing & Networks (DC&N) product team focused on the concept, requirements, architecture, design, and development of a future system. Qualifications include two or more years of experience designing and developing software for a real-time or non-real-time system, experience with entire software development lifecycles, and automating software builds, unit tests, integration tests, deployment, and installations using a DevOps toolchain (for example, GitLab, Jenkins, Nexus, Artifactory).

Conversational AI/NLP Engineer

Earning Potential:  $130,000 per year

Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, computational linguistics, or related field

The Conversational AI/NLP Engineer will work on a multi-disciplinary team of content developers, artists, software engineers, and QA specialists to develop educational and training products that utilize conversational AI simulations with avatars. This individual will lead the development and integration of new NLP capabilities into Alelo’s eLearning platform and use them to create new conversational learning experiences.

Data scientist, product analytics

Earning Potential:  $134,000-$194,000 per year

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Statistics, a relevant technical field, or equivalent practical experience.

This position will work with large and complex data sets to solve a wide array of challenging problems using different analytical and statistical approaches and apply technical expertise to quantitative analysis, experimentation, data mining, and the presentation of data to develop strategies for Meta’s products.

Read more about How to Become an Artificial Intelligence Engineer.

How to Choose the Artificial Intelligence Degree That’s Right for You

Step 1: Choose your area of study

Getting clarity on your future goals and what you want from an AI degree program is an essential first step in choosing the right program. The criteria for your search will vary based on your objectives, whether it’s to obtain job training, assess opportunities in a specific industry, or plan for graduate studies.

Now is also an excellent time to reflect on what you need from a degree program regarding schedule and structure. Will you enroll full-time or part-time? Can you attend daytime classes, or do you need evening or weekend classes? Can you commit to an entirely in-person program, or will hybrid courses suit you better?

Step 2: Research schools and programs

With the parameters you set in step one, you can begin in-depth research of AI degree programs.

When exploring schools, be sure to confirm that the programs you’re considering are offered by accredited institutions. U.S. schools have regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation more widely accepted. Accreditation is essential for students who plan to transfer between schools or pursue an advanced degree, as regionally accredited schools only accept credits and degrees from other institutions with regional accreditation.

Some programs may also have accreditation through ABET, a nonprofit agency that accredits computing programs, among other engineering and tech-related degrees. This accreditation confirms that the program meets quality standards for education in areas like computer science and data science.

As you review your options, the following questions can help you identify if a school is the right fit:

  • What does the curriculum include, and how does it align with your interests and career goals?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their AI areas of expertise?
  • Does the program have internship or experiential learning components
  • What is the culture of the AI department and overall institution like?
  • What academic, career, and health support services are available?
  • What are the available funding options, including scholarships, grants, and discounts?

You can find answers to most of these questions by visiting the school’s website or contacting the school’s admissions office. Other ways to explore colleges and programs include social media, attending virtual or in-person open houses, and connecting with current students and faculty.

Step 3: Prepare for applications and tests

When reviewing schools, be mindful of their application requirements and deadlines. Keeping track of this information via a spreadsheet or document can be helpful if you’re considering multiple schools.

Application processes vary by school, but generally speaking, an application for an AI degree program will include the following:

  • Application
  • Official transcripts (high school transcripts for first-time freshmen, college transcripts for transfer and graduate students)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT for first-time freshmen, GRE for graduate students)

It’s worth noting that schools are increasingly moving toward test-optional or test-blind procedures for standardized tests. Before taking these exams, verify if any schools you apply to require them.

Some programs, especially graduate-level programs, may have specific requirements for GPA, undergraduate major, coursework, or professional experience. Verify that you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for a program before applying.

Step 4: Select your program

Based on your parameters and eligibility, you should be able to choose the program or programs you want to apply to. There’s no magic number of applications to submit. Some students focus on one or two schools, especially if they have a specific concentration in mind, while others cast a broader net to improve their chances of admission.

Students should be mindful of application deadlines, particularly for competitive programs. Some schools offer multiple start terms, while others only accept new students once a year. Missing deadlines can result in delays in starting your AI education.

Step 5: Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

During the research process, you’ll also want to learn about the school’s tuition, room and board costs, and other fees for on-campus students, as well as financial aid opportunities. Speak to a financial aid counselor at the school to determine what scholarships, grants, discounts, and work opportunities the institution offers.

Most schools use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for financial aid, including federal student loans. Students and their families should plan to complete the FAFSA before enrolling to help get a full picture of how much assistance they’ll be receiving.

Students employed during their program should find out if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits, which can offset the cost of a degree. Many tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, and Oracle, offer tuition assistance to students studying relevant subjects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs

What are the admissions requirements for an AI degree program?

Admission requirements vary depending on the school, program, and degree level. Students should always confirm admissions procedures and requirements with the school before starting an application.

In general, associate and bachelor’s degree programs may have fewer eligibility requirements, although they might have thresholds for GPA or requirements for specific high school coursework. An advanced AI degree program will likely seek candidates with a specific undergraduate degree or coursework and some professional work experience.

Programs usually look for the following qualities in AI majors:

  • Strong math skills, particularly in areas of linear algebra, probability, and statistics
  • Familiarity with computer programming
  • Basic understanding of algorithms and frameworks
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Time management and organization skills
  • Interest in collaboration
  • Communication skills

What is the average cost of an AI degree program?

According to DataUSA, the median annual tuition for AI degree programs is $10,037 for in-state students at public universities and $55,651 for private universities. These costs don’t note whether these programs are bachelor’s or master’s degrees, which can impact the cost of the degree.

Two factors in the cost of an AI degree are whether the student is attending a public or private university and, if it’s public, whether the student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition.

Overall, tuition at public universities tends to be lower, particularly for state residents. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in the 2020-21 academic year, average tuition and fees for four-year undergraduate degrees was $9,375 for in-state students at public universities. Meanwhile, private school tuition for the same year averaged $32,825 at private schools. Non-resident public university students paid an average of $27,091 for tuition and fees.

Students should always speak to a financial aid counselor to understand what they will owe and what their financial aid options are before enrolling.

How long does it take to complete an AI degree?

The completion time mainly depends on the degree a student is earning and their enrollment status. Bachelor’s degrees, which require a minimum of 120 credits, typically take four years to complete. Master’s degrees, ranging from 30-60 credits, can take anywhere from one to three years of full-time study. However, these standards are based on full-time enrollment (usually 30 credits per academic year for a bachelor’s and 12 credits for a master’s). Part-time enrollment usually means students will take longer to complete their degree.

How difficult is a degree in AI?

Difficulty depends on a few factors, including an individual student’s abilities, interests, experiences, and the degree they’re pursuing. Undergraduate programs focus on foundational concepts and skills needed for AI, often with opportunities for practical application in experiential learning settings. As advanced degrees, master’s and doctoral programs are inherently more challenging, as they introduce more complex concepts and task students with solving new problems with research components.

However, students with strong math, computer science, and analytical skills and a passion for AI and its applications will likely meet the degree’s challenges with enthusiasm and determination.

Is a degree in AI worth it?

Earning an AI degree has many benefits for students who put the time and effort into their education.

From a career outlook standpoint, an AI degree prepares students for several in-demand, high-earning jobs, including artificial intelligence engineers, computer and information research scientists, and data scientists.

While specific requirements vary, most employers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions and a master’s for advanced roles. An AI degree demonstrates to potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job’s tasks. Students in AI programs also get access to hands-on learning opportunities through labs, research projects, and internships.

Another benefit is networking. Connecting with classmates, instructors, and other members of the AI community will help students find employment, mentors, and other professional development opportunities.

Which degree is best for AI?

The best AI degree is the one that gives students the knowledge and tools they need for the job opportunities and experience they want.

Students starting out may benefit from a general degree in AI or computer science that covers the core concepts and skills needed for the field.

Those interested in a specific area of AI, such as machine learning, autonomous systems, or statistics, may prefer to seek degree programs focusing on those topics.

Review job postings for AI-related positions to determine what skills and experience employers seek. Check the program curriculum to ensure it will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to compete in the job market.

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