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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study artificial intelligence?

As technology continues to develop so do specialist study and research areas. Artificial intelligence has gained prominence in recent years with its wide scope of application and has proved popular with international students. Explore why.

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The rapid development of technological innovation has brought about the creation of new academic disciplines and areas of research. With the increasing use of machines and automation for the implementation of difficult tasks or the solving of complex problems, artificial intelligence has come into its own. Universities and colleges are now offering more courses and degrees in the subject than ever. If you are interested in finding out more about what artificial intelligence is, are interested in artificial intelligence or wish to study artificial intelligence then read on, this is definitely for you.  


What is artificial intelligence?


Let’s kick everything off by delving a bit deeper into exactly what artificial intelligence is. It is a fairly broad discipline that falls under the umbrella of computer science and engineering.  Artificial intelligence seeks to develop code, systems and machines that are able to adapt and adjust to different sets of inputs and display the ability to learn and perform actions that you may associate with a human being.


You may now be picturing the hyper-intelligent robots of Hollywood films, however, artificial intelligence systems need not take this form. The focus is on how data is interpreted, often in real-time, and then executed by complex algorithms in order to produce a dynamic action. Artificial intelligence often goes hand in glove with machine learning, with the intention of producing more refined and accurate decision making by the system.  There are a wide variety of applications for this technology, from transportation to medicine.


Find out a little more about some of the premier universities in the UK offering qualifications in the field:



What are the entry requirements for an artificial intelligence degree?


In order to gain admission to a degree in artificial intelligence, you will need to be able to tick a few boxes. In most cases, at the undergraduate level, artificial intelligence is studied in conjunction with computer science as part of a BSc qualification. The entry requirements usually include:


  • A high mark in mathematics or physical science
  • A high overall academic average (SAT +/- 1,100 or GPA 2.3 minimum)
  • A minimum of 32 points for an International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • An overall IELTS score of 6.5 (with no band lower than 6.0) or equivalent


If you have already completed an undergraduate degree in a related subject such as mathematics, computer science, physical science or engineering, then you may want to apply for a master’s degree in artificial intelligence. If this is the case you need to have either a first-class (distinction) degree or a minimum of a 2:1 degree with a high academic average.


Remember that it is also possible to undertake a foundation course or pre-master’s programme that will prepare you for a degree in the subject. This includes pre-sessional English courses, designed so that you can meet the English language admission requirements if you don’t quite meet them at first.


Thinking about studying in Canada? Have a look at some of the best universities offering degrees in the area of artificial intelligence:



What is the curriculum of a degree in artificial intelligence like?


If you are studying an undergraduate BSc in computer science and artificial intelligence there are a number of key areas that you will touch on. Generally, you’ll be given a set curriculum with compulsory modules that may include:


  • Human language and logic
  • Principles of algorithms
  • Foundations of software engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Theories of computation
  • Programming
  • Application development
  • Foundations of artificial intelligence


As you progress through your degree you will need to become familiar with and learn about more complex concepts that may include systems programming, software engineering, security networking, databases and various programming languages. By the time you reach the third year of your degree, with the foundations in place, you’ll be able to specialise in an area of artificial intelligence that really grabs your attention, with some elective modules, such as:


  • Machine learning
  • Computer vision
  • Advanced programming
  • Human-computer interfaces
  • Professional networking
  • Advanced graphics


What about studying at a master’s degree level?


If you have completed an undergraduate degree in a related subject or done a BSc with artificial intelligence and decide to pursue a master’s degree in the subject, you’ll be learning and gaining knowledge of highly specialised areas. For a master’s degree in artificial intelligence, you will usually have a combination of core and elective modules, allied with a group project and research dissertation. There are also likely to be laboratory-based assessments and examinations.  You could find yourself delving into parts of the field that include:


  • Symbolic artificial intelligence
  • Software engineering practice
  • Ethics and privacy in artificial intelligence
  • Probabilistic programming
  • Performance engineering
  • Quantum computing
  • Logic and learning
  • Knowledge representation
  • Data Mining
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Pattern recognition


Discover some of the places where you could study the degree in Australia:



How long does a degree in artificial intelligence take to complete?


A BSc in computer science and artificial intelligence will take you three years to complete, with the option of undertaking a subsequent honour’s year in the subject. If you move on to study for a master’s degree you will have to set aside a year if you study full-time, with a part-time degree taking you two years to complete.


What are the career prospects for a graduate in artificial intelligence?


As a graduate in artificial intelligence, you will be able to apply your qualification in a variety of settings, all of which are in significant demand. With artificial intelligence being a STEM-related field, this could also up your chances of being successful when applying for a post-study work visa/permit in countries like the USA, the UK and Canada.


Some of the careers and roles you could end up working in include:


  • Data analyst
  • User experience management
  • Language processing engineer
  • Researcher
  • Software engineer
  • Systems engineer
  • Robotics
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Information architect


With the variable number of roles and positions you may be able to take up, it’s not easy to estimate the type of salary you can expect to earn, however, graduate salaries average in the region of GBP 35,000 with an MSc qualification and with a BSc degree between GBP 26,000 and GBP 30,000. However, much will depend on your area of specialisation.


Equipped with this new knowledge on studying artificial intelligence you will be able to make a better decision about whether it is for you or not. You may also find our guide to studying for a master’s degree abroad helpful and it’s worth checking out our take on what to expect when studying computer science and engineering degrees.

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