A Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree Programs, Online and On-Campus

Written by Scott Wilson

ai student reading a book

Artificial intelligence is a field that is pushing the limits of what humankind can create.

The heavy lifting in that creation is happening in university research labs, where grad students and post-docs work late into the night, or on vast corporate campuses where leading tech companies have snared some of the finest minds in industry. Even a few run-down Silicon Valley office parks host shoestring startups where geniuses with dreams work faster and harder to build the next big thing in AI before Google can get there.

One thing you’ll find in all those places is that there aren’t any desks that don’t have an advanced degree hanging over them.

But you’ll also find that all those people started their journey to the cutting-edge of the industry by picking the right undergraduate degree to prepare for their advanced studies.

For most, that means majoring in math, computer science, data science, or statistics. Only in the last five years or so have AI majors been available for undergraduates.

But these AI bachelor’s programs offer a new world of possibilities for students today. Combining all the foundational knowledge of math, programming, and statistics with a focus on AI applications can get you on the fast track to a career for the next century.

Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree Programs Unlock Higher Levels of Education in an Exciting Field

university classWhile there is plenty of practical training that comes through bachelor studies in artificial intelligence, the real intention behind these programs is to get you to a level of knowledge needed to eventually get a graduate degree in the field.

The real work in AI right now is in discovering the basic principles and building the foundations that the field will grow on. That’s high-level work, taking extensive knowledge of advanced math, algorithm design, logic and reasoning, and programming skills. AI is a field that demands a collection of skillsets that are built from experience and practice in all those areas.

A four-year bachelor’s degree can’t get you over the finish line to the elite level of expertise it takes to develop and advance AI. But it’s a vital stop on your way there.

Like their counterparts at the master’s level, undergraduate studies in artificial intelligence are a new offering. But they are squarely aimed at getting you the kind of essential training you need to get to the next level.

Are Jobs Available for Someone with Only a Bachelor’s Degree in AI?

Of course, there are many jobs in the burgeoning artificial intelligence industry that are filled by people who only hold bachelor’s degrees. For one thing, there simply aren’t enough master’s graduates in the field yet to meet the demand. For another, there is quite a bit of grunt work going on that doesn’t dive too deeply into advanced concepts.

Roles like these may be open to graduates from undergraduate programs in AI:

But these are the low-hanging fruit that AI itself is likely to pick off the career tree first. Find out more about this complicated dynamic on our careers in artificial intelligence page.

Bachelor’s Degrees in AI Can Come with a Variety of Titles

glowing lightbulb next to laptopWhile you are going to see more and more Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence or Bachelor of Science in Applied Artificial Intelligence degrees in the coming years, there are already various majors that are edging into this field from other directions.

Just as at the master’s level, you’ll find degree programs are offered by both computer science and engineering departments that dive into AI. And they often begin through concentration options on their core majors.

So you can find a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering AI Option that offers a very similar experience to a major in AI. Other common degree titles can include Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a Concentration in Artificial Intelligence or a Bachelor’s in Intelligent Systems Engineering. And there are variations on the major theme, too, with options like a Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence and Decision Making.

Most bachelor’s programs in AI are aimed at the same kind of student who would have majored in computer science a handful of years ago. But there are also four-year degrees that are starting to pop up in areas where AI intersects with business or technical professional roles. A Bachelor of Science for Artificial Intelligence in Business goes lighter on the math and science aspects of the field to bring in some management and communications skills; a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence offers an onramp for neuroscience professionals to develop AI skills.

You may also want to explore undergraduate degree options in machine learning, a particularly hot area within AI studies right now. You’ll also see plenty of programs that use both terms, like a Bachelor of Science in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The details are all in the curriculum of such programs; you’ll have to check carefully to see if they cover AI from the right angle for your goals.

The Right AI Bachelor’s Concentration for Your Career Goals

It’s not as common to find concentrations in AI bachelor’s programs as it is at the master’s level. A bachelor in AI itself is frequently a concentration on a different major; there isn’t a lot of room for sub-specialization.

Still, you may find programs that offer options to specialize your training in areas such as:

These will put you through a selected subset of classes, often also available as ordinary electives, to focus your training in those areas. Although it still doesn’t reach the depth of a master’s program, it’s a way to build your foundations a little more heavily in areas you eventually plan to explore at the graduate level.

An Associate Degree in Artificial Intelligence Can Makes Sense for an Affordable Start in AI

community college buildingA bachelor’s degree isn’t the only option at the undergraduate level for artificial intelligence training anymore. Today, a handful of two-year associate degrees in AI are available at community colleges around the country… and their numbers are growing.

If a bachelor’s isn’t enough to turn you into a full-fledged AI engineer, then of course an associate program isn’t going to bridge that gap either. But just as the bachelor’s is a stepping-stone to graduate programs, an Associate of Applied Science in Artificial Intelligence can move you toward a bachelor’s program. And it can save you money and add flexibility to the process.

Artificial intelligence associate degrees come with a standard helping of general education coursework in communications, the arts, philosophy, and basic math. This part of the program is designed to help build toward an eventual bachelor’s degree. With transfer agreements, many four-year colleges will accept an AS as credit toward about half of a full BS program.

You’ll also spend roughly half your time on focused computer programming, data structures, ML and NLP concepts, and other coursework feeding into essential AI skills. A bare handful of elective options can take you off into more specialized tangents like robotics or cybersecurity.

Bachelor’s-Level Curriculum in Artificial Intelligence Lays the Groundwork for Your Success in the Field

students collaborating in classArtificial intelligence undergraduate courses aren’t always squarely about AI. At least, not as much as you would think.

The roots of AI are in other disciplines that demand their own significant study. Just like you’re expected to master basic knowledge of biology and chemistry before you can be accepted into a Doctor of Medicine program, you’ll have to nail down the roots of AI skills by mastering mathematics, coding, and basic computational concepts before moving on to the hard stuff.

So, the average undergraduate degree in AI will revolve around courses in areas like:

While all these subjects and more will be covered, you’ll notice that every school has its own style of presenting them. They aren’t always offered in discrete classes; it’s common to find machine learning and algorithms combined, or algorithms and data structures. Each of these speaks to the individual approach of the university and covers the same ground from different angles.

Many undergrad AI majors also expressly prepare you for master’s-level studies with required courses in research fundamentals and writing for scientific publication. This set of courses will prepare you to tackle your thesis or capstone project with confidence.

If all that seems like a tall, order, it is! And it explains why it most often takes a master’s degree to really succeed in AI. Building on and tying these skills together at a level that allows you to actually program AI requires even more training.

Finding Electives to Customize Your Undergraduate AI Education

working together in classAlthough your core studies will give you plenty to chew on, four years is long enough to allow quite a lot of customization in your class schedule. That’s where electives come in. They can bend your AI studies closer to your personal interests, whether that’s in robotics or computer vision.

Electives are also frequently where you jump ahead in your AI education, starting your path toward some of the advanced concepts that are covered at the graduate level. Your first taste of practical AI applications may come through classes like:

In general, anything in the compsci catalog will be on the menu. It’s up to you to put together a combination that will best prepare you for your career goals in AI.

The Liberal Arts Are a Part of All Undergraduate Education Today, Even in AI

ai robot playing hamletIt’s worth remembering that a bachelor’s degree is considered such an essential foundation for all white-collar professions these days because it comes with more than just technical knowledge. A liberal arts curriculum is at the core of an American bachelor’s degree program, even in BS degrees.

That’s important in AI because the kind of reasoning, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills that you are expected to teach to machines comes straight out of liberal arts studies. To really understand what you’re asking of machine learning, you need to see the scope of thought and reason as it exists in the human world.

That will come to you through classes in areas like:

While you may not immediately see how these apply in the study of artificial intelligence, they are part of giving you a holistic and informed view of the world that your AI will be working within. That understanding can only make you better at developing effective, efficient, and ethical systems.

Exploring Schools That Offer AI Bachelor’s Degrees

university student smiling outside of classFew schools offer entry-level AI bachelor’s programs… as of now. As the field itself grows, demand for this kind of rigorous preparation will come along with it.

As of the 2022-23 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recognized just 12 accredited universities with AI bachelor’s programs up and running and actively accepting students. These schools were the first to the party for good reason; they’ve been offering high-impact computer science and data science programs for a long time, making AI a natural outgrowth of the curriculum and resources they’ve been refining for a number of years.

These universities bring the kind of funding, facilities and labs, research credits, teaching experience, and professorial brain trust to be able to deliver on the promise of an AI-integrated future.


University of Advancing Technology

Tempe, AZ

University of Advancing Technology

BS in Artificial Intelligence (hybrid, online)

BS in Human Computer Interaction; BS in Robotics and Embedded Systems; BS in Virtual Reality; MS in Cyber Security; BS in Data Science; BS in Advancing Computer Science

The BS in Artificial Intelligence through the University of Advancing Technology offers a comprehensive examination of AI theory and tools and the core programming languages used in computer science. Coursework here is focused on topics like natural language processing, machine learning, behavior simulation, and deep learning. Real-world projects in production studio settings complement classroom theory here. Other opportunities include internships, community projects, and apprenticeships. Classes here are structured in five-week modules and delivered in an asynchronous online format that ensures maximum convenience and flexibility. Prefer an in-person experience? All classes can also be taken on-campus.


Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL

Full Sail University

BS in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence Concentration (bachelor completion program) (online)

Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity; Bachelor’s in Simulation and Visualization; Certificate in Computer Science

Full Sail University’s BS in Computer Science with an Artificial Intelligence concentration is a rigorous course of study that prepares students to design, develop, and implement their own AI solutions. Coursework here explores topics like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and human-AI interaction. A number of project and portfolio courses allow students to gain valuable, real-world experience. This program comes complete with a fully online format and monthly start dates for maximum convenience and flexibility.


Illinois Institute of Technology

College of Computing
Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology

BS in Artificial Intelligence (on-campus)

BS in CIS; Minor in Artificial Intelligence; Minor in Computational Structures; Minor in Computer Architecture; Master of Artificial Intelligence; Master of Engineering-Artificial Intelligence for Computer Vision and Control; MS in Computational Decision Science and Operations Research; PhD with research in AI and Machine Learning; Graduate Certificate in Computational Intelligence

The BS in Artificial Intelligence through the Illinois Institute of Technology, the only undergraduate program of its kind in the Midwest, is rich in AI concepts and techniques and grounded in programming, computer science, mathematics, and statistics. It also features several AI electives that let students align their program with their career and educational goals. Just some of the topics in AI explored here include state-space search, game-playing, machine learning, neural networks, and computer vision.


Indiana University Bloomington

Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Bloomington, IN

Indiana University Bloomington

BS in Intelligent Systems Engineering with concentrations in (on-campus)

BS in Computer Science-AI specialization (on-campus)

PhD in Intelligent Systems Engineering; MS in Human-Computer Interaction; MS in Intelligent Systems Engineering with tracks in (General, Bioengineering, Computer Engineering, Cyber-Physical Systems, Environmental Engineering, Molecular and Nanoscale Engineering, Neuroengineering)

Indiana University Bloomington offers two undergraduate options in AI for tomorrow’s trailblazers and changemakers in this emerging field. The BS in Intelligent Systems Engineering features hands-on learning and collaborative projects that prepare students to learn how to develop the next generation of AI-powered solutions. This program blends intensive engineering and computing study with a liberal arts foundation and your choice of four concentration options for a specialized course of study. The BS in Computer Science features an AI specialization and opportunities to engage in research and internship experiences for a well-rounded, career-ready program.

Purdue University

College of Liberal Arts/College of Science
West Lafayette, IN

Purdue University

BA/BS in Artificial Intelligence (on-campus)

Minor in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning; Applications in Data Science Certificate; BS in Data Analytics Technologies and Applications; Applications in Data Science Certificate; BS in Computer Science (Honors option)-Database and Information Systems; BS in Data Science; BS in Data Science (Mathematics, Statistics); Post-Bac Certificate in Spatial Data Science; Post-Bac Certificate in Applied Data Analytics Technology; BS in Computer Science (Honors option)-Machine Intelligence

Purdue University offers a BA and BS in Artificial Intelligence— two undergraduate options that offer outstanding preparation in this emerging, interdisciplinary field. Choose the BA in AI, which is offered through the Department of Philosophy, and you’ll take eight specialized philosophy courses alongside five computer science courses for a comprehensive examination of the principles of computer and data science. Students of this program have access to the university’s Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence (VRAI) Lab – a $100,000 state-of-the-art hub for research. The BS in Artificial Intelligence, offered through the College of Science, is designed to prepare students to become experts at building and understanding AI systems.


Ferris State University

College of Business
Big Rapids, MI

Ferris State University

BS in Artificial Intelligence (on-campus)

Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Analytics; BS in Business Data Analytics; Certificate in Data Analytics; Minor in Data Analytics; MS in Data Science and Analytics; Undergraduate Certificate in Machine Learning; Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity (Ethical Hacking option); Graduate Certificate-Advanced Studies in Autonomous Vehicle Research

Ferris State University’s BS in Artificial Intelligence is designed to provide students with a comprehensive examination of the interdisciplinary field of AI and the focus areas of cybersecurity, Internet of Things, machine learning, and natural language processing. Students of this program learn how to define and design solutions using a variety of AI technologies. This program, which is the only one of its kind in Michigan, was built on the university’s strong history in STEM education.


Maryville University

College of Arts and Sciences
St. Louis, MO

Maryville University

BS in Computer Science-Artificial Intelligence track (on-campus, online)

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security; Bachelor’s in Data Science; Big Data Post-Bac Certificate; Cyber Security Certificate (undergraduate); Data Science Certificate (undergraduate); Post-Bac Machine Learning Certificate; Master’s in Artificial Intelligence; Master’s in Cybersecurity; Master’s in Data Analytics; Master’s in Data Science; UX/UI Certificate (undergraduate); Bachelor’s in Computer Science with tracks in (Data Science, User Experience, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Software Development); Artificial Intelligence Certificate (undergraduate); Post-Bachelor’s Certificate-Fundamentals of AI

Maryville University’s BS in Computer Science features an Artificial Intelligence track and a flexible format that includes your choice of on-campus or online courses. This program’s curriculum allows students to build the skills and knowledge needed to assume AI positions in a variety of industries. It also includes a built-in certificate in AI that includes the following courses: Introduction to Python, Machine Learning, Introduction to Reinforcement Learning, and Deep Learning.


Carnegie Mellon University

School of Computer Science
Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University

BS in Artificial Intelligence (on-campus)

MS in Intelligent Information Systems; Graduate Certificate in AI Engineering Fundamentals-Mechanical Engineering; MS in AI Engineering with concentrations in (Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Information Networking-Information Security, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering); MS in AI and Innovation; Minor in Artificial Intelligence

Carnegie Mellon University’s BS in Artificial Intelligence is built on the university’s history of education and innovation in AI. Introduced in 2018, CMU’s BS in AI was the nation’s first bachelor’s degree in this emerging field. This program, which explores how complex inputs are used to make decisions and enhance human capabilities, includes study in computer science, math, statistics, computational modeling, machine learning, and symbolic computation, along with specific courses in ethics and social responsibility. Reflecting this program’s interdisciplinary design, BSAI program faculty hail from the school’s Computer Science Department, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, the Language Technologies Institute, the Machine Learning Department, the Robotics Institute, and the Software and Societal Systems Department.

South Dakota

Dakota State University

Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences/College of Business and Information Systems
Madison, SD

Dakota State University

BS in Artificial Intelligence (online, on-campus)

BS in Artificial Intelligence in Organizations (online)

BS in Computer Science-Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning specialization (online)

Minor in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; MS in Computer Science-Artificial Intelligence specialization

Dakota State University offers three bachelor’s degrees in artificial intelligence to prepare tomorrow’s AI experts in a variety of industries and settings. The BS in AI, offered both online and on-campus, is grounded in computer science and mathematics and features an exploration of AI applications and their societal impacts. The BS in Computer Science – AI/Machine Learning, which is offered online, explores AI and ML systems, and prepares students to solve real-world problems in this emerging field. And the BS in AI in Organizations helps students develop the skills for applying AI tools and methods in a variety of industries.


Houston Community College

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Houston, TX

Houston Community College

Bachelor of Applied Technology in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (on-campus, online, hybrid)

AAS in Cloud Computing and Applications Development; AAS in Computer Programming (Applications Development (Java, Microsoft #, Microsoft C++)), Computer Programming (Database Administrator, Mobile Application Developer, SharePoint Administrator, Web Application Developer); AA in Computer Information Systems; AS in Computer Science; AAS in Data Science; AAS in Biomedical Electronics; AAS in Computer Engineering Technology; AAS in Artificial Intelligence

Houston Community College’s Bachelor of Applied Technology in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics offers a well-rounded examination of this emerging field. Some unique features of this program include access to corporate and open-source tools, world-class AI laboratories, and hands-on projects. All students of this program enjoy mentorship from a supervising/assisting industry professional who provides continued support and guidance.

University of Texas at San Antonio

University College
San Antonio, TX

University of Texas at San Antonio

BS in Artificial Intelligence-Multidisciplinary Studies (on-campus)

MS in Artificial Intelligence; Certificate in Computer Programming for Engineers; BS in Electrical Engineering; MS in Aerospace Engineering; MS in Computer Engineering; MS in Mechanical Engineering; PhD in Electrical Engineering; PhD in Mechanical Engineering; Certificate in Cloud Computing; Certificate in Aerospace Engineering; BS in Artificial Intelligence-Multidisciplinary Studies; MS in Computer Science-Data Science concentration; MS in Data Analytics; PhD in Applied Statistics; BS in Cyber Intelligence-Multidisciplinary Studies

The University of Texas at San Antonio offers a BS in Artificial Intelligence – Multidisciplinary Studies, a comprehensive examination of the field of AI as it relates to computer science, mathematics, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, and information systems. It also features three focus areas: mathematics and statistics; programming, data structures, and algorithms; and artificial intelligence and applications. Choose courses within the three mini-tracks of the AI and applications focus area: data science, statistics & data science, AI & computer science, cyber analytics, AI & robotics, and neuroscience for a personalized course of study.


Concordia University Wisconsin

School of Arts and Sciences
Mequon, WI

Concordia University Wisconsin

BS in Computer Science-Artificial Intelligence and Robotics concentration (on-campus)

Minor in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; Minor in Virtual and Augmented Reality; BS in Actuarial and Data Sciences; BS in Data Science and Applied Analytics

Concordia University Wisconsin’s BS in Computer Science features an Artificial Intelligence and Robotics concentration – a customized degree that provides students with a foundation in computer science, which includes hardware, software, operating systems, databases, coding, and user interface, as well as advanced study in the emerging field of AI. Coursework in the AI specialization includes Coding III – Data Structures, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning and Robotics.

It’s safe to assume this list will grow very quickly, so we’ll be updating it frequently.

Although you might not have a lot of options just yet, you want to get into the best possible college you can find. There’s no room for a second-rate education in AI.

You can make sure you’re getting the best by focusing on finding a department that is working on cutting-edge AI research and development.

Universities are still at the forefront of many breakthroughs in AI. The closer you are to those developments, the better equipped you will be.

This one factor offers a clear sign that a school has many of the other qualities you are looking for. If they’re cracking open big problems in AI and solving them, you can be sure they have a great reputation. They are well-funded and have the kind of facilities and computational power you need for serious studies in AI. And they attract some of the top professors and researchers in the field.

With advanced research always comes master’s and doctoral candidates to fuel it. Naturally, that means most of these schools offer graduate-level studies in AI that bachelor’s grads can matriculate into.

That’s important both for your exposure to that advanced knowledge, but also to your aspirations as an AI professional. You have the inside track on a master’s program at the same university. Some schools even offer combined five year accelerated programs that take you straight through your bachelor’s studies into a full-fledged master’s degree by starting your graduate coursework early.

Should You Get an Artificial Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree Online?

woman earning her bachelor's degree onlineNaturally, when you’re looking at a field in technology today, it’s a given that it’s going to be available in an online format. AI is a shoo-in for this kind of remote study. While the machine learning algorithms that power NLP and computer vision breakthroughs run on big iron, all that computing power lives in the cloud these days. There’s no difference in accessing it from campus or from your bedroom seven states away.

And that offers a lot of advantages to most students. Rather than relocating, you can keep your costs under control by staying close to home. You may have a job or other obligations that keep you busy as well; online studies are usually asynchronous and often have flexible pacing, letting you live life while you study.

Finally, looking at schools with online AI undergraduate degrees opens your options to finding the best fit for your career objectives. There’s a wide range of specializations and degree types available. But there are not that many degrees available overall. That means it can be tough to find exactly what you want in your neck of the woods.

With online AI degrees at any level, though, you can pick from the cream of the crop anywhere in the country.

How Much Will It Cost You to Earn a Bachelor’s in Artificial Intelligence?

college tuition moneyAI is a field where a lot of money is heading these days. With the right education, you’ll tap into that flow of funding… but you’ll have to pay for the training first.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) keeps track of average rates of college attendance across the country, by year, degree, and type of institution.

Across all types of colleges and universities, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for undergraduate programs in the 2021-22 school year was $14,307.

Multiply that by four years of attendance and you’re talking about real money.

But that number includes all kinds of elite private schools, which can ratchet the number up. If you look only at four-year public schools, the number comes out to a more manageable $9,596 per year.

Those elite, expensive private universities do have advantages that come with the extra costs, though. Name recognition, rock-star professors, and well-equipped computer science departments don’t come cheap. If you have the means, for a cool $33,691 per year, you may decide they are worth the extra expense.

But no matter where you get started, sooner is better. AI is a field that is happening right now. And the long climb to expertise means getting an undergraduate degree under your belt ASAP.