RIT develops interdisciplinary master’s degree in artificial intelligence

New graduate degree aims to prepare well-rounded AI professionals from diverse backgrounds

RIT has created a new master’s degree in artificial intelligence, geared toward aspiring AI professionals from a variety of academic backgrounds.

Rochester Institute of Technology is offering a new master’s degree in artificial intelligence (AI). The program begins in fall 2023 and enrollment is now open.

The Master of Science degree aims to prepare students from diverse educational backgrounds to become well-rounded AI professionals. Graduates will develop skills in designing, developing, and deploying AI systems, as well as understanding and analyzing AI’s impact on society and policy.

“AI is now extensively used across our society—it has moved out of labs and into our homes and work environments,” said Cecilia Alm, professor in RIT’s Department of Psychology and joint program director of the master’s in AI. “Because of that, industry is looking for well-rounded AI professionals who understand both the algorithms and the impacts these technologies have.”

To meet these demands, RIT is creating a holistic program that is interdisciplinary and has technical rigor. The collaboratively delivered program jointly draws from strengths across the university. It is housed in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences and also leverages faculty expertise from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, and Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

“Our graduates will have understanding of AI’s technical-scientific underpinnings, as well as valuable experience with real-world uses of AI,” said Alm. “Students will additionally have opportunities to explore future domains of AI and analyze the societal implications they could have.”

Core courses in the program focus on AI foundations, mathematical methods, ethics, machine learning (including deep learning), and research methods. Students will also select elective courses that tailor their experience to specific domains of AI. While some students focus on longstanding traditions in AI—including machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, or computer vision—others may choose to study areas such as sociotechnical AI analysis and policy or neuromorphic computing.

Students in the AI program will also benefit from experiential learning and gain career-enhancing experience through project-based coursework. In a capstone, or an optional thesis, students will apply their skills to evaluate and investigate a specific area in artificial intelligence.

The new RIT degree program comes at a time when technology companies are seeking highly skilled AI workers, including senior AI software developers, AI design researchers, AI policy analysts, and machine learning engineers. In its Future of Jobs Report 2020, the World Economic Forum predicts that 97 million new artificial intelligence jobs will be created by 2025, as humans and intelligent systems increasingly solve problems together. More than 40 countries have created national strategic plans for AI, as they vie for AI success.

“Due to the growing demand for AI workers across society and industry sectors, this degree is open to people from a wide variety of backgrounds—not just computer scientists and mathematicians,” said Matt Huenerfauth, dean of RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

The 30 credit-hour graduate program typically takes two years to complete. In addition to the on-campus program beginning in fall 2023, organizers additionally plan to offer a fully online version of the program starting in fall 2024.

For more information, go to the artificial intelligence Master of Science degree webpage.

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