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Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree Guide

Are you interested in an artificial intelligence bachelor's degree? Find out all you need to know about them in this handy guide.

Teacher giving a data presentation

An artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree will show you how to develop specialist skills and knowledge in problem structuring, machine learning, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and data analytics. AI is both a science and an engineering discipline.

Over the course of your degree, you’ll learn about natural intelligence through the use of computer models as well as techniques and technology for building systems capable of intelligent decisions and actions. You can also develop the core computer science skills of computational thinking, computational problem solving, and software development.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is technology that enables computers and machines to think and learn as humans do. It’s a branch of computer science that develops and studies methods and software that enable machines to take actions that maximise their chances of achieving defined goals. The possibility is a future where machines not only understand our commands but also empathise with our needs and desires. AI can take in information, process it, and then use that knowledge to tackle challenges in ways traditional computer programs can’t.

AI comes in various forms and can be categorised based on capabilities, functionalities, and the technologies they employ, such as machine learning, and deep neural networks. Neural networks are the backbone of AI, crunching numbers and patterns to mimic how we think. To train them, you need masses of data. 

How can I get a bachelor’s degree in artificial intelligence? 

Many universities are now offering BSc degrees in artificial intelligence, most over three years but some over four years, some on campus and others online, and even some offering part-time courses over two years. Once you’ve found the type of course that will suit you, you’ll need to apply to the universities of your choice and meet their criteria for higher education qualifications.

In the UK, you can apply through the UCAS website. The entry requirements for most AI degrees will insist on your having a good higher education qualification in Mathematics (usually at least an ‘A’ at A level in the UK).

What will I learn on a bachelor’s degree in artificial intelligence?

The degree curriculum for most degree courses will include artificial intelligence theory, methodologies, and applications. You’ll also learn about applications that are reliant on artificial intelligence technologies, such as robotics, autonomous systems, intelligent control and smart systems and devices. 

Giving you a strong foundation

Programmes usually begin with Mathematics and Informatics, with increasing choices for specialisation in later years depending on your interests. First, you will be introduced to basic principles of programming and computation:

  • How information can be represented and processed in computer systems
  • Computer programming
  • Solving problems using computer programs

After that, you will move onto more advanced programming and data structures, as well as considering related mathematics and broader professional and societal issues:

  • Software development
  • Decision making
  • Foundations of data science
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • The professional, social and ethical context of computing

Specialising as you progress

As you progress, you will have more options to specialise into areas such as:

  • Robotics
  • Computer processing of language
  • Machine learning
  • Automated reasoning
  • Algorithms
  • Computer security
  • Computer systems and networks

Overall, a bachelor’s degree in artificial intelligence will be designed to equip you with the computing and scientific skills to solve real-world problems.

How much is an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree? 

The cost of studying for an AI degree will depend on where you study it and at what kind of institution. In most of the UK, full-time courses will cost £9,250 per year (£1,820 in Scotland). That adds up to £27,750 (Scotland £5,640) for a three-year course, and £37,000 (Scotland £7,280). In the US, public and state universities’ fees range from $8,000 to $35,000. In Canada, it’s $7,000 to $22,000, while in Australia you can expect to pay $20,000 to $45,000. Part-time and online degrees cost less and vary according to the provider.

What can I do with an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree? 

One of the hot topics online right now is “Will AI take my job?”. But with an artificial intelligence degree under your belt, you’ll be one of the group of people who are in high demand. In fact, at this stage in its development, there are more people needed to fill AI-related roles than those with the qualifications required. 

With a degree in AI, job opportunities for you won’t be in short supply. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs report, the number of roles in AI and machine learning is growing at a faster rate than in any other field. This means that now is the perfect time to consider it as a focus of your career.

AI specialist roles

Artificial intelligence students can go into a variety of careers including games development and information technology services, that are most closely related to the subject itself. These include:

  • AI engineer 
  • AI researcher
  • Software engineer
  • Computer Scientist
  • Robotics Scientist
  • Natural language processing scientist
  • Machine learning engineer

Related roles

In addition, there are many related roles that can make good use of the kind of technical knowledge and skills possessed by AI graduates, such as:

  • Data scientist
  • Data analyst
  • Research scientist
  • Business intelligence developer
  • User experience researcher
  • Systems Engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Information Architect

Creative industries and banking

You could also put what you have learned to use in some less obvious settings. Employers in creative industries, for instance, are always eager to discover how new technology can influence their work. Graduates with a degree in AI have the inside track on how to use it in the creation of art, whether that be visual, literary or musical. Banks and other financial institutions are also very keen to explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence in their businesses. Here are some of the roles you could consider:

  • Advertiser, marketer and publicist
  • Applications, games or web developer
  • Banker
  • Digital content writer 
  • SEO Specialist
  • Social media or web content manager
  • Telecommunications and media production
  • UX (user experience) or web designer.

Elsewhere, the job title of Prompt Engineer is emerging strongly. This is someone skilled in asking the right questions to services such as ChatGPT in order to get effective responses. This role will become increasingly wanted across many job sectors.

How long is an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree?

In the United Kingdom, most artificial intelligence Bachelor of Science degrees are three years long. This is very similar in Australia and Canada. Year one will typically involve compulsory and core modules, to give you a broad grounding in your subject. As you progress, you’ll be able to choose from different options.

Some of these are assessed by coursework or dissertation, (for example, an extended essay or thesis), while others are assessed through the kind of timed examinations you’ll have faced at an earlier stage of your academic career. However, in the UK, a few courses are four years long.

How long is an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree in the USA?

Unlike the UK, Canada and Australia, artificial intelligence bachelor’s degrees in the United States usually take between four and six years. That’s how long it usually takes for students to earn the 120 credits required to graduate.

Full-time students who dedicate their time completely to their studies and take a full course load, will gain around 15 credits per semester, averaging two semesters each academic year. However, a part-time student who takes around 9 credits each semester, may take over six years to achieve their bachelor’s degree. 

Why get an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree?

Choosing to study for an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree is a very smart choice at this moment in time. It’s a rapidly growing area of technology and many employers at a wide variety of organisations are keen to hire as soon as possible.

As an artificial intelligence graduate, you’ll be one of the first to emerge into the job market qualified to take these emerging roles. In fact, there are currently many more vacant roles than available candidates to fill them, so the reasons to get an AI degree are incredibly compelling:

  • Strong employability
  • Wide variety of roles
  • Among the first with formal qualifications
  • ‘Employees market’ due to scarcity of qualified candidates
  • Opportunity for speedy advancement due to being among the first

Choosing if an Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree is right for you

Before you commit to pursuing a degree in artificial intelligence, it’s worth considering how suitable it is to your personality and academic strengths. As mentioned earlier, universities are looking for students with strong ability in Mathematics. If you’re good with numbers, have strong analytical skills, and are ambitious, this could be the perfect course for you to choose. In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated tremendous growth for artificial intelligence-related roles between 2020 and 2030:

  • Computer and Information Research Scientists – 22% projected growth.
  • Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers – 22% projected growth.
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers – 11% projected growth.

You’ll need to be able to commit to a demanding syllabus across at least two years and to be able to focus and concentrate on a lot of technical details. If this sounds like you, and AI degree could be one of the best investments you ever make in your life and career.

How will you be assessed on an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree?

Assessment of your work during an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree will follow a very similar model to other mathematical or scientific subjects. Your performance will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations. Forms of assessment may typically include written exams, with some class testing, assignment reports, quizzes, software prototypes, and oral presentations. Types of assessment may include:

  • Coursework
  • Examinations
  • Class tests
  • Assignment Reports
  • Quizzes
  • Oral Presentations
  • Software Prototypes

You will be assessed on your core knowledge in computer programming, algorithms and data structures, data management, and cloud computing, as well as key topics in artificial intelligence, computer vision, robotics and automation, and machine learning. 

Can I get an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree online?

Absolutely, you can get an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree online, from many providers, including FutureLearn. Studying online is the perfect option for making higher education work for you, whatever your lifestyle or life stage. You can make study fit around your other commitments and find a way to learn that allows you to continue earning, working, or caring for others. 

FutureLearn – your global online artificial intelligence degree provider

FutureLearn is dedicated to making it possible for you to take an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree flexibly, with degree courses created by leading universities. You get the same level of expertise, together with an enjoyable, social experience, and the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas. All delivered one step at a time, to your mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

Final thoughts

There’s never been a better or more exciting time to consider an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree. 

The technology of our age

As AI plays an ever-increasing role in helping individuals and organisations deal with new and exciting developments affecting today’s society, an AI degree course will immerse you in an exciting, innovative environment where you will develop your theoretical and technical knowledge and skills. Skills which are directly relatable to a range of fascinating and expanding future careers. 

Stimulating learning

Studying will give you transferable skills such as the ability to develop and present arguments, as well as the ability to work independently and in groups. You’ll have the opportunity to discover, learn, and master the technology that is going to change our relationship with computers forever. 

From intelligent chatbots that ‘understand’ and communicate just like humans, to uncovering information from Big Data that could predict disease and save lives. You’ll be equipped with solid knowledge of computer science and will gain a strong understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of AI. 

Boost your career opportunities

With a skillset that combines both technical and analytical know-how, you will be able to find employment in very competitive institutions in a wide range of disciplines. This is an incredible opportunity to graduate qualified with an expertise that is in huge demand within the UK industry, and which will make you an attractive candidate to a plethora of recruiting sectors in the country 

Top five benefits of taking an artificial intelligence bachelor’s degree

  1. Experience an exciting, stimulating subject
  2. Be at the cutting edge of technology
  3. Study in the way that suits your lifestyle
  4. Choose from an exciting range of specialisms 
  5. Enjoy great employability prospects

>> Explore our range of online artificial intelligence degrees

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