Why Study an Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning Master's in 2019

by Robert S. Balan

The importance of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has been increasing as a growing number of companies are using these technologies to improve their products and services, evaluate their business models, and enhance their decision-making process.

If you’re interested in an AI or Machine Learning degree but aren’t sure if it’s a good choice for you, we’ll go through the most relevant facts for international students, and hopefully you’ll see things clearly afterwards.

Here are a few answers offered in this article:

  • What are Artificial Intelligence degrees?
  • What are Machine Learning degrees?
  • AI degree admission requirements
  • Courses duration
  • Best countries to study AI & Machine Learning degrees
  • Jobs & salaries for AI & Machine Learning specialists
  • Fun facts about the history of AI

Find Masters in Artificial Intelligence

What are Artificial Intelligence degrees?

Artificial Intelligence degrees prepare specialists who create intelligent machines and systems, which perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, like playing games or understanding natural language.

Popular examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) include chess-playing computers or self-driving cars. They rely on neural networks, deep learning, and natural language processing to analyse large amounts of data, find patterns, and make predictions and decisions based on relevant information.

What are Machine Learning degrees?

Machine Learning (ML) is a more specialised subdiscipline of Artificial Intelligence. ML degrees teach students how to use algorithms and statistical models to create computer systems which can learn for themselves.

These computer systems use data and self-generated feedback (trial and error) to perform tasks without receiving instructions from programmers.

A great example of a Machine Learning (ML) system is the picture recognition software used by companies like Google or Apple. The system analyses the elements inside pictures and groups them in different categories (e.g. location, subject, colour).

Difference between AI and Machine Learning

The main difference between AI and ML is that AI includes all systems, methods, and robots performing intelligent actions. ML only focuses on the AI methods and applications that learn and change their decision patterns based on data.

Artificial Intelligence in self-driving carAI degree admission requirements

These are some of the most common admission requirements for AI and Machine Learning Master’s degrees.

Artificial Intelligence degree requirements

  • Minimum English language test scores: IELTS – 6.5 or TOEFL – 90
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or other related fields
  • GRE or GMAT test
  • Academic transcripts
  • Motivation letter

Machine Learning degree requirements

  • Minimum English language test scores: IELTS – 7 or TOEFL – 90
  • Undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field
  • Minimum GPA
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letter of motivation
  • Letters of recommendation

Some universities and colleges may ask for more documents, others for fewer. Always check you have all the papers prepared; otherwise you might have to resubmit your application or even lose your place at the university if the deadline is too short.

Courses duration

If you’re interested in a Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s degree, it will generally take you 3 years to complete your studies and 4 in the United States and Canada.

For Masters in Artificial Intelligence, you need to spend between 1-2 years to graduate. If you already have a job, part-time and online AI courses are great options.

Best countries to study AI & Machine Learning degrees

These are some of the most popular study abroad destinations for students interested in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Average tuition fees in these countries vary between 10,000-15,000 EUR/academic year. You can find some AI or Machine Learning degrees for under 5,000 EUR, but the tuition for most programmes is higher than 20,000 EUR and reaching as much as 48,000 EUR/academic year.

Affordable AI and Machine Learning degrees

There are no tuition fees for numerous AI & Machine Learning courses in Scandinavian countries like Finland, Sweden, or Norway. While that’s encouraging, remember that living costs in these countries are usually much higher.

Still, at the end of your studies, you won’t have huge student debt to pay back, and that’s a great advantage for a young person entering the job market.

Jobs and salaries for AI & Machine Learning specialists

According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), Artificial Intelligence can create almost 58 million jobs in the next years. It’s not all roses, though. Many employees might find themselves looking for a new job once automation gets some momentum.

That’s why “It is critical that business take an active role in supporting their existing workforces through reskilling and upskilling, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning, and that governments create an enabling environment to facilitate this workforce transformation. This is the key challenge of our time.” - Klaus Schwab, chairman of WEF.

If you’re interested in AI studies, you only need to worry about competition. Jobs are well-paid and more and more companies are looking to hire experts like:

Software Engineers

  • 84,000 USD/year
  • As a software engineer, you’ll use computing, engineering, and programming skills to create and maintain new software and apps.

Computational Linguists

  • 80,000 USD/year
  • Computational linguists develop systems that can recognise speech, check grammar, mine text, etc.

Data Scientists

  • 95,000 USD/year
  • A data scientist interprets and extracts meaning from data, which is then used to improve products, services, or business decisions.

Machine Learning Engineers

  • 112,000 USD/year
  • Machine learning engineers work with data and programming languages to create self-running software that learns based on data.

Robotics Engineers

  • 81,000 USD/year
  • A robotics engineer creates robots and systems that perform tasks which humans cannot or prefer no to do.

View Masters in Machine Learning

Fun facts about the history of AI

Did you know that Eugene Goostman, a chatbot, managed to pass the Turing Test?

Alan Turin created the test in 1950 to evaluate a machine’s intelligence. If the machine could convince a human that he/she was actually talking to another human, then the machine would pass the test.

Eugen managed to achieve this in 2014, making 1/3 of judges think that it was human.

If you want know more fun facts from the history of Artificial Intelligence, here’s a timeline infographic courtesy of Digital Wellbeing:

History of AI infographicReady to turn sci-fi into reality?

Everything started at some point as an idea in someone’s head. It’s easy to get carried away and forget that while machines and computer systems are capable of great things, it’s the human minds who design, create, and maintain them. Just PLEASE also make sure the machines don’t take over the world in the process!

As AI and Machine Learning become more important, we shouldn’t forget our humanity and have the awareness and wisdom to programme and use these new technologies ethically, in a way that benefits humanity and our planet, not only the financial interests of corporate giants.

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