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You’re in luck if you’re considering an advanced degree in artificial intelligence (AI). The number of online master’s degrees for AI has been expanding steadily, with top schools like Stanford University, Colorado State University, and Johns Hopkins University now offering online degrees in this rapidly growing field.

This growth also means that there are a lot of programs to choose from, which can be overwhelming. To help you find the best program for your needs, reviewed dozens of online master’s in AI degree programs and created this list of the best online master’s degrees in AI for  2023. Because of AI’s complex nature, this list includes degrees in related areas, like machine learning, computer science, and data science, in addition to AI.

Additionally, this article includes answers to frequently asked questions about online AI master’s degrees, including cost, program duration, and admissions requirements. It guides how students can select the right AI master’s program.

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence Degree Program?

Students in an online master’s in AI degree program can expect to broaden and deepen their knowledge of AI concepts and skills. The curriculum will likely include advanced coursework in AI theories and practices, machine learning, data mining and analysis, programming, deep learning, and more.

Some of what students can expect from their degree program depends on their desired degree. The most common degrees in AI are Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

MS degrees are research-focused, with students completing a thesis as part of their curriculum requirements. Program duration varies, but usually, an MS takes 2-3 years to complete. Students who are considering pursuing doctoral study in AI should consider an MA.

An M.Eng. is considered a professional degree and focuses on developing practical and professional skills through project-based work and hands-on learning. These programs can typically be completed in 1-2 years of full-time study and culminate in a capstone project.

Students don’t need to specifically earn a degree in AI to prepare for an AI-related career. Depending on your professional goals, you may also want to consider degrees in areas like data science, machine learning, or computer science.

The type of online program you choose can also impact what to expect. Students who enroll in synchronous programs can expect scheduled sessions in virtual classrooms that allow for real-time interaction with faculty and classmates. Meanwhile, in asynchronous programs, there are no designated class meetings. Students learn via reading assignments, pre-recorded lectures, and videos and may have limited interaction with faculty and fellow students.

Best Accredited Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs

Best Online Master's Degree in Artificial Intelligence badge

Stevens Institute of Technology

Colorado State University Global

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals

Drexel University

Illinois Institute of Technology

Nova Southeastern University

Lewis University

Stanford University

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Penn State World Campus

Georgia Institute of Technology

Troy University

Depaul University

University of Michigan

University of Charleston

The University of Texas at Austin

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best online master’s degree programs in AI 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 Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence?

Each AI master’s degree program has a specific curriculum, which prospective students can review online before enrolling. In general, AI master’s programs include coursework in the following areas.

AI engineering

Most AI master’s programs include courses that cover foundational AI engineering concepts and skills, such as supervised learning, feed-forward neural networks, flow graphs, dynamic computational graphs, convolutional neural networks, and recurrent neural networks. These courses may offer hands-on experiences with high-level tools for engineering functioning machine learning models.

Deep learning

Deep learning is commonly used to solve challenging problems, particularly in computer vision, natural language processing, and recommendation systems. Courses in this area help students develop an understanding of both the mathematical theory and programmatic implementation of neural networks using programming languages.

Data analysis

Since data is such an integral part of AI, courses in data analysis are also standard in AI master’s programs. These courses introduce students to methods and tools used for data collection, storage, manipulation, analysis, and visualization. Technical aspects may include types of data and modes of sourcing data. The course may also introduce methods and tools for evaluating data quality, performing fundamental exploratory data analysis, and preprocessing data for use in analytics.


Ethics courses help build students’ awareness of AI’s far-reaching effects on our society and help them develop a framework for handling these issues. Most ethics courses cover the spectrum of legal, societal, and ethical implications of developing and deploying AI technologies.

Thesis or capstone project

Master’s programs typically culminate with a thesis or capstone project. A research-based thesis, such as an academic paper, is common for MS degrees. Meanwhile, professional degrees like an M.Eng. typically require a capstone project that focuses on applying skills in a real-world setting.

What Can I Do With an Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence?

Career outlook

The career outlook for those with degrees in AI is currently good as the use of technology continues to expand across industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for data scientists will grow 36% through 2031, with an estimated 40,500 new jobs expected. The current median annual salary for data scientists is $100,910. Meanwhile, job opportunities for computer and information research scientists, also known as AI engineers, will increase by 21% in the same period. The median annual salary for this position is $131,490.

Career paths

Individuals with education and experience in AI have several different career paths open to them.

Students can choose a career path based on industry, as AI is an interdisciplinary field with many applications. Some popular industries among AI professionals include business, banking and finance, healthcare, and transportation. Earning an advanced degree can also prepare individuals for teaching positions in post-secondary institutions.

AI professionals go by many names, and their roles can include various responsibilities. Here are some common AI career paths:

  • Data scientist — collect and analyze data to extract meaning from it
  • Machine learning engineer — teaches AI models to process data
  • Software engineer — develop and maintain software for AI applications
  • Robotics engineer — create machines that use AI to perform tasks
  • Business intelligence analyst — uses business data and AI programs to predict future business trends

Research Engineer in Large Model System

Earning Potential: $136,800-$280,000 annually

Education: Master’s degree

This position is responsible for the machine learning system development of the company’s large-scale models, researching new applications and solutions of related technologies in areas such as search, recommendation, advertising, content creation, conversation, and customer service, meeting the growing demand for intelligent interaction from users, and comprehensively improving users’ lifestyles and communication methods in the future world. Skills needed include:

  • Excellent coding ability
  • Solid foundation in data structures and fundamental algorithms
  • Proficiency in C/C++ or Python
  • Familiarity with at least one mainstream machine learning framework (TensorFlow/PyTorch)

Customer Engineer, AI/ML, Generative AI, Google Cloud

Earning Potential: $97,000-$142,000 annually

Education: Master’s degree in Computer Science or a related technical field

The individual in this role works with Technical Sales teams as a machine-learning subject matter expert to differentiate Google Cloud to customers. They will help prospective customers and partners understand Google Cloud, explain technical features, help customers design architectures, and problem-solve any potential roadblocks. They will also identify and assess customer Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) opportunities to uncover cloud solutions to recommend, plan, and address core market opportunities and use cases.

Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist, Sr. Associate

Earning Potential: $133,000-$195,000 annually

Education: Master’s degree in Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, or related fields

The AI research scientist will work on multiple research projects in collaboration with internal and external researchers and applied engineering teams. They will be integral to all aspects of the research lifecycle, including formulating problems, generating hypotheses, developing new algorithms and models, conducting experiments, synthesizing results, gathering data, building prototypes, and communicating the significance of your research. Output will result in publications in AI/ML conferences and journals, high-impact business applications, open-source software, and patents.

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

Step 1: Choose your area of study

Reflecting on what you want from your AI master’s degree at the start of your search process will help you find the best program for your needs.

In the case of a master’s degree, this means considering what specific type of master’s degree you want. The most common options for master’s in AI degrees are a Master of Science (MS) and a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), although others are also available.

Students should also consider the specific major they want, whether it’s a general artificial intelligence or computer science degree or a program focusing on an AI sub-field, such as machine learning, data science, or robotics.

Now is also an excellent time to think about practical needs for your online degree. Are you seeking a synchronous program with scheduled virtual class meetings or an asynchronous program you can complete in your own time? Do you need a fully remote program, or can you complete some in-person courses? Will you enroll full-time or part-time?

Because there are so many options available, the more specific you can be about what you’re looking for, the easier it will be to find a program that meets those needs.

Step 2: Research schools and programs

Based on the criteria established in Step 1, you can begin researching online master’s degrees in AI.

In addition to your specific requirements, there are a few things to look for in any programs you’re considering. The most important is institutional accreditation. In the U.S., post-secondary institutions can have either regional or national accreditation. Because regional accreditation standards are more rigorous than national ones, degrees from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted by employers and other schools.

You can also look for programs accredited by ABET, a nonprofit agency that accredits computing, engineering, and tech-related degree programs. While an ABET-accredited degree isn’t usually required for jobs, it can demonstrate to employers that you completed a program with high academic standards.

The following questions can be helpful when evaluating online master in AI degrees:

  • What specialization and elective options does the program offer? How much flexibility do students have to personalize the curriculum?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their areas of expertise?
  • How do online students communicate with faculty and classmates?
  • What hands-on learning opportunities, such as internships or labs, are available to online students?
  • What is the culture of the AI department and overall institution like?
  • What resources are available for online students, including academic and tech support?

Most of this information is likely accessible on the school’s and department’s websites. You can also learn more by contacting the school’s admissions office or program representatives. To better understand a program, consider attending a virtual information session or open house or following a department or faculty on social media. It’s an opportunity to get an up-close look.

Step 3: Prepare for applications and tests

During your research phase, you should also review the eligibility requirements, application processes, and deadlines for the programs that interest you. This information will be different for each school, so using a spreadsheet or calendar reminders to keep track of requirements and deadlines can be helpful.

Students applying to an advanced degree program like a master’s are generally expected to have some educational or professional background in AI or a related field. Programs may require students to have a specific undergraduate major, like computer science, mathematics, artificial intelligence, or a specific undergraduate GPA, to ensure they can handle the academic rigor of the master’s curriculum.

The application for an online master’s in AI generally consists of the following:

  • Application form
  • Official transcripts from all colleges previously attended
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • GRE scores

Step 4: Select your program

After you’ve collected information and evaluated programs, select the ones that best fit your needs and submit your applications. There isn’t a magic number of schools to apply to. Some students may submit several applications to increase their odds of acceptance, while others may focus on one or two schools.

Be mindful of application deadlines. Some programs offer multiple start terms, while others only admit students once or twice yearly. Missing application deadlines can impact your admissions decision and ability to enroll for your desired start term.

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

Throughout your research, you should also gather information about the program’s cost, including tuition and fees, and the financial aid options available, such as scholarships, grants, assistantships, tuition assistance benefits, and more.

Graduate students can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use this application to determine eligibility for different forms of financial aid, including federal student loans.

Students can also seek scholarships from community groups, professional organizations, and nonprofits outside of loans and institutional aid. Students who will be employed while pursuing their degree should check if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits, which can help offset the cost of a master’s degree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master’s in Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs

Should I get a master's in AI degree in person or online?

Whether you should earn your master’s degree in AI online or in person depends on your specific learning and scheduling needs.

Online programs attract students who need flexibility in terms of schedules and location. Remote learning can make a degree more accessible to those unable to travel to campus for classes. They may also be more affordable than a traditional in-person program, as students don’t have to pay for room and board or transportation to campus.

However, it also requires students to work independently and hold themselves accountable for completing lessons and assignments. Students who prefer to learn through hands-on experiences and real-time discussions should review the program’s instruction methods to confirm that the online learning environment meets their needs.

What are the admissions requirements for an online master's in AI degree?

Each program sets its own specific admissions requirements. Students should review this information before starting an application to ensure eligibility and contact the school’s admissions office if anything needs clarification.

For advanced degree programs like a master’s in AI, schools usually expect students to be familiar with the subject through prior education, work experience, or a combination of both. Generally, master’s in AI programs may seek students who meet these criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree in AI or a related field (computer science, mathematics, data science, etc.)
  • Undergraduate coursework in AI-related topics
  • Professional experience in AI or a related field
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA (overall or in specific courses)

Beyond academics, AI master’s programs may look for students with qualities including:

  • 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 online master's in AI degree program?

In the U.S., a master’s degree costs, on average, $62,650, according to the Education Data Initiative. A Master of Science degree specifically costs, on average, $59,720.

However, the cost of an online master’s in AI degree will vary based on several factors, including a school’s status as a public or private institution and a student’s residency status if they attend a public university. Generally, in-state students at public universities pay the lowest tuition, with private schools and out-of-state public university students paying more.

In some cases, online programs can be more affordable, as students have greater control over living in an affordable area and don’t need to spend money on public or private transportation. The flexibility of online learning may also make it easier for students to work and have a steady income while enrolled.

How long does it take to complete an online master's in AI degree?

Length of completion depends on the overall number of credits the degree program requires.

Master’s degrees generally require anywhere from 30-60 credits, translating to one to two years of full-time study. Professional degrees, like an M.Eng., require fewer credits than MS degrees and can be completed faster.

Students should also remember that their enrollment status can impact their program duration. Part-time students take longer to finish their degrees, taking fewer credits each term.

Because of the flexible nature of online learning, some online programs offer accelerated options, which allow students to compress their coursework into a shorter timeframe and finish faster.

How hard is an online master's in AI degree?

Because of the subject matter’s complexity and the advanced nature of the skills being taught, an online master’s in AI degree can be challenging. However, students with a foundational understanding of and aptitude for key AI concepts and skills, like computer science, programming, linear algebra, probability and statistics, data analysis, and more, should be prepared to meet those challenges.

The right soft skills can also help students succeed in an online AI master’s program, including analytical thinking, creative problem-solving, time management, attention to detail, and communication.

There are also some challenges that are specific to online programs. Students in asynchronous programs must be self-motivated and disciplined to complete their lessons and assignments. It’s also essential to create a physical and mental space where you can concentrate on schoolwork.

Is an online master's in AI degree worth it?

Earning a master’s degree in AI has a variety of benefits. This degree can prepare students for advanced positions and leadership roles and further study at the doctoral level.

According to, AI developers with a master’s degree can expect to earn a median annual salary of $116,660 to $122,499.

An online master’s in AI degree can also give students access to experiences and opportunities they may not otherwise get, like internships and research projects. Students can also use their degree program to connect with faculty, fellow students, researchers, and others to build their professional networks, leading to job and mentorship opportunities.

For students interested in remote work, earning a degree online can also give you an advantage, as it demonstrates that you have the self-motivation, time management, and organization skills to work from home.

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