Editor’s Choice: Our Top Picks for the Very Best Master’s and Graduate Certificate Programs in Artificial Intelligence

Top Picks Master's and Graduate Ai Certificate ProgramsThere’s no question that artificial intelligence is going to change the world. The big question is how. That very question is being answered today concretely, and with great nuance and depth. It’s the top graduate schools in the country offering degrees in AI that are providing those answers.

If you want to take the wheel in advancing this revolutionary technology, you can’t settle when it comes to your education.

Master’s-level studies are a practical requirement for jobs in any field as complex and earth-shaking as AI. But when you’re talking about a technology with the potential to replicate and eventually surpass even human cognition, you want a program that lives on the leading edge of high-tech innovation.

There are a handful of universities in the United States today that are involved in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in AI. If you’re serious about learning from the smartest minds in the field, working alongside a cohort of the best and the brightest, while exploring your own ideas in the age of thinking machines, these are the places to be.

Graduate Studies in Artificial Intelligence Are at a Unique Stage

It’s an exciting time to be involved in artificial intelligence. But not just anyone can show up and explore the very nature of what it means for machines to think, or how to push them to new heights in human-level reasoning… or beyond.

For the elite prospects who are developing the algorithms and processes that will run the AI platforms of tomorrow, a fundamental grounding in the best AI thinking happening today is essential. And these universities are where it is happening.

AI is a technology that is being incubated in the research centers of major American universities.

While the hottest new applications in AI are coming out of private corporations, they’re all being built on basic research that has spent decades cooking in academic computer science and engineering departments.

If you’re serious about being a game-changing contributor in the field of AI engineering, then, you don’t just want a master’s degree or post-bacc certificate… you want one from the best school you can find.

How We Selected the AI Graduate Programs Worthy of Being Called the Best

But what exactly goes into picking the best university graduate programs in artificial intelligence? In such a new and formative field there are a lot of different ideas and approaches.

We’ve used time-tested human methods to identify extraordinary programs from elite schools – the ones that get to know you and your potential during the admissions process; the ones that recognize your talents and work with you to develop them; the ones that will make any hiring committee sit up a little straighter and lean in when they see the name on a resume.

Elite Graduate Studies Are Led by Elite Instructors

Rock star instructors go right to the top of our list of things to look for in elite AI engineering programs. This is a field where inspired individuals are having a big impact. It’s the ideas and research projects of visionaries that are changing the face of modern AI, after all. When you can learn directly from those professors, tap into their ideas, and assist in their research, that’s an invaluable leg up in your own education in the field.

These schools meet that test and more, with faculty members who include IEEE fellows, among those with other distinctions, and many with illustrious careers behind them.

At these schools you’ll find some of the best mentors and mentorship available in AI graduate education today.

Top Programs Deliver the Resources to Support Modern AI Research

While a lot of what is going on in modern AI is pure theory and mathematics, there’s also plenty of hardcore processing happening. It takes significant computational horsepower to train and operate many of the most impressive AI tools today.

So we’ve identified schools that have the computer science resources to match your AI ambitions. Many of them run dedicated centers for AI research and development. They have serious IT support staff and state-of-the-art centers where you can put your ideas to the test.

Great AI Graduate Schools Earn Great Reputations

Reputations are still being made in the small circles of cutting-edge AI researchers. But if you ask around to see what universities everyone is talking about, it’s the names on this list you’ll be hearing.

Reputation isn’t everything, but in a major where the yardsticks aren’t yet fully developed, it counts for a lot.

These are universities whose findings are published in major research journals, and who are named as top recommendations in respected publications. If there is an AI engineering graduate program that is turning heads in multiple fields today, chances are good it’s on this list.

Success in AI Graduate Studies Requires Connections to the AI Industry

We also looked for schools that have strong ties to industry. Anytime you have a CompSci department whose alums are creating hundreds of startups raising billions of dollars in funding, you know you are dealing with a university that is fostering the right qualities in their students.

And those alumni connections are important in a small industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. These are programs with big but tight-knit alumni networks, ones that will continue to help you make connections and build your expertise long after graduation.

Academic Excellence Is a Must in AI Graduate Studies

Finally, we understand that the basics are all still important even in the most futuristic learning environments. So we looked for schools that check the right boxes in basic academic and research support: well-funded teams and specialty resources to help deal with thorny problems of knowledge or administration.

We also looked for schools with notable research going on, with full funding for the future. AI is still in the phase where a lot of the learning is happening through basic research. These are the schools that are conducting that research and giving graduate students the opportunities to participate and make real contributions.

Giving You the Data You Need to Complete Your Analysis of the AI Graduate Program That’s Right for You

No future AI engineer worth their salt is just going to take our word for how terrific these programs are, though. It’s in your nature to dive deep, to ask penetrating questions, and to work out all the angles.

We wouldn’t expect anything less. And that’s why we’re also giving you the data you need to dig deeper.

We give you a standard set of data points for each of these programs as a basis. Then, we flesh it all out with some of the highlights that show exactly how these programs distinguish themselves. Big funding drops that power groundbreaking research efforts; top rankings by industry journals or college rating organizations; unique ties to related industries or a track record of alumni hires in the industry.

You’ll also see exactly what the philosophy and orientation of the program is, whether it’s hardcore engineering or one that leans into the philosophical underpinnings of machine intelligence research.

Editor’s Choice: Our Top Selections of the Best AI Master’s Degree and Certificate Programs

This list offers a penetrating view into the most esteemed AI graduate degree programs today. Artificial intelligence is in our future, and it will touch the lives of everyone. But it’s the graduates of these master’s degree and certificate programs who will be building and shaping that world.

University of Southern California (Private)

Viterbi School of Engineering,
Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science
Los Angeles, CA


university of southern california

MS in Computer Science - AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $77,568

Also offers: Minor in AI Applications, BS in AI for Business

The University of Southern California’s MS in Computer Science offers a rigorous course of graduate study in the theories and applications of AI to prepare students to become experts in the design, programming, and application of computing systems. Designed as an excellent precursor to PhD study or immediate employment, this program explores machine learning and deep learning, natural language processing and speech recognition, and computer vision and robotics. The Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science is proud to announce the construction of its newest state-of-the-art center, the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall. Here, computer science students, researchers, and experts will come together to collaborate on some of the most cutting-edge research in the field.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Private)

Rensselaer at Work
Hartford, CT

rensselaer polytechnic institute

Graduate Certificate in Machine Learning and AI (online)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $18,090

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is proud to offer a Graduate Certificate in Machine Learning and AI. The program is expertly designed to complement your bachelor’s or master’s degree and provide you with advanced study in machine learning, machine intelligence, and AI. Here, students develop supervised and unsupervised machine learning models in Python as they gain valuable experience in areas like feature selection, imbalanced data, and poor model performance. Real-world learning allows students to address business challenges as they receive unparalleled guidance from dedicated instructor mentors. The online design of this program allows students to study anytime and anywhere in the world! Don’t have a master’s degree yet? You can combine the Graduate Certificate in Machine Learning and AI with two other graduate certificate programs for a customized master’s degree!

George Washington University (Private)

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Washington D.C.

george washington university

MS in Electrical Engineering-Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems (on-campus, online)

MS in Computer Engineering-Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $62,250

Graduate Certificate in Machine Learning (hybrid)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $24,900

Also offers: Doctor of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

George Washington University offers three superb graduate options in artificial intelligence that are designed to elevate your skills in this emerging field. The MS in Computer Engineering offers a specialization in machine learning and intelligent systems to prepare students to explore advanced solutions in modern computing systems. Topics studied in this program include big data and cloud computing, secure computer architecture, machine intelligence, and reinforcement learning. The MS in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems, which is available both on-campus and online, allows students to become experts in engineering principles through the study of machine intelligence, reinforcement learning, and pattern recognition and machine learning. And the Graduate Certificate in Machine Intelligence provides students with a solid exploration into the software and hardware aspects of machine intelligence.

Florida Atlantic University (Public)

College of Engineering and Computer Science
Boca Raton, FL

florida atlantic university

MS in AI (online, on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $11,370

Graduate Certificate in AI (online, on-campus)


Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $4,548

Florida Atlantic University is home to the first AI graduate program in Florida! Both the MS in AI and the Graduate Certificate in AI explore AI theory, methods, and technologies, and the MS features a thesis and non-thesis option. Core courses include study in the computational foundations of AI, data mining, and machine learning while elective courses are available in vision, data analytics and algorithms, knowledge management and reasoning, machine learning, and applications in areas like robotics and AI medicine and healthcare. Both programs are part of the famed Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where you’ll find students, faculty, and industry professionals collaborating on cutting-edge research in AI and autonomous systems. Faculty-led research here is focused on the areas of intelligent robotics, networked autonomy, human-autonomy interaction, trust in AI/autonomy, and AI in medicine.

Northwestern University (Private)

McCormick School of Engineering
Evanston, IL

northwestern university

MS in AI (on-campus)

MS in Data Science - AI Specialization (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $84,911

Advanced Graduate Certificate in AI (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $13,716

Northwestern University offers no less than three graduate programs focused on the emerging field of AI. The MS in AI features your choice of a traditional track that includes 15 months of full-time study or an accelerated track that includes 12 months of full-time study. A small cohort of less than 40 students ensures a tightknit learning community where students explore the ways in which to use the emerging technologies of machine intelligence to solve real-world problems. The online, part-time Data Science master’s program with an AI specialization is where students learn how to use contemporary data-adaptive models in machine learning to implement real-world solutions in computer vision, natural language processing, and software robotics. And the Advanced Graduate Certificate in AI explores how recent advances in AI and machine learning impact how computer software, statistical models, and neural networks are built and programmed. Regardless of which program you choose, you’ll study under a renowned faculty and leading AI and business executives and enjoy opportunities to engage with faculty in world-class research in cutting-edge AI systems.

University of Louisville (Public)

J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Louisville, KY

university of louisville

Graduate Certificate in AI Medicine (online, on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $11,865 ($1,575 per-credit out-of-state)

Also offers: BA in Computer Science-AI track

The University of Louisville is home to a truly unique Graduate Certificate in AI Medicine, which is where both current and future medical professionals and engineers master the science of accessing, analyzing, and interpreting biomedical data through AI. This exciting course of study, which is available through a convenient and flexible online format, allows students to study anytime and anywhere in the world. The program includes an exploration of computation, modeling and simulation, machine learning, and big data and advanced statistical analysis. It all comes together to show how these methods are directly applied to medical data management, medical imaging, and more. Take just one to three courses at a time and you’ll complete your certificate program in as little as two semesters!

Johns Hopkins University (Private)

Whiting School of Engineering
Baltimore, MD

johns hopkins university

MS in AI (online)

MS in Engineering-AI and Data Science focus area (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $50,910

Graduate Certificate in AI (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $20,364

Johns Hopkins University’s AI programs are nothing short of superb! And if geographical or time limitations make it difficult or even impossible to study in-person, they’ve developed the nation’s first online AI master’s programs to prepare tomorrow’s technology leaders for success! The MS in AI, which was developed in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, boasts a rigorous curriculum that explores computer robotics, natural language processing, image processing, and more. This exciting course of study is led by a team of researchers, scientists, and engineers and is designed with cutting-edge courses that address AI-driven technologies, techniques, and issues. Not ready to tackle a full master’s program? Johns Hopkins also offers a Graduate Certificate in AI, which is also delivered in a fully online format for maximum convenience and flexibility!

Brandeis University (Private)

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Waltham, MA

Brandeis University

MS in Computer Science - Master’s Project in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $86,796

Brandeis University’s MS in Computer Science comes complete with a master’s project in AI and is designed to provide outstanding preparation for future PhD study or immediate employment! This nine-course master’s program, which is ideally designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, offers a deep scholarly exploration of the field, along with unparalleled professional training in computer science. Just a few of the reasons why this program makes our list of the top AI graduate programs includes small class sizes for unmatched individualized attention, outstanding computer science research labs, excellent research and internship opportunities, and, of course, proximity to Boston’s famed technology corridor.

University of Michigan-Dearborn (Public)

College of Engineering and Computer Science
Dearborn, MI

University of Michigan-Dearborn

MS in AI (online, on-campus, hybrid)


Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $27,270 ($1,640 per-credit out-of-state)

The University of Michigan – Dearborn is proud to announce its MS in AI, which is offered in an on-campus, online, or hybrid design. The program comes complete with your choice of four concentrations for a custom-tailored course of graduate study. This exciting and rigorous program is interdisciplinary in nature, offering students the option of selecting electives from colleges across the university. It’s also offered in a full- or part-time format and is ideally designed for both future PhD students and those seeking top tech positions in industry.

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Public)

College of Engineering and Computing
Rolla, MO

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Public)

MS in Computer Engineering with a specialization in Computational Intelligence (online, on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $22,500 ($1,200 per-credit out-of-state)

Graduate Certificate in Computational Intelligence (on-campus, online)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $9,000 ($1,200 per-credit out-of-state)

Also offers: PhD in Engineering/Doctor of Engineering in Computer Engineering with a specialization in Computational Intelligence

The Missouri University of Science and Technology offers tomorrow’s technology leaders with two graduate programs in computational intelligence, a superset of AI that encompasses both AI and areas like neural networks, fuzzy logic, and evolutionary computation. Computational intelligence explores a number of areas, including machine vision, automation, bioinformatics, medical informatics, and more. The College of Engineering and Computing is home to state-of-the-art research, an esteemed faculty of experts in their field, and cutting-edge laboratories offering unmatched research opportunities.

Saint Louis University (Private)

McCormick School of Engineering
Evanston, IL

Saint Louis University

MS in AI (on-campus)

Offered with concentration options in:

Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $42,000

Saint Louis University’s MS in AI prepares tomorrow’s technology leaders to solve real-world problems using AI. This interdisciplinary program explores the ethical use of AI, the impact it has on society, and the implicit bias that may result from it. The MS in AI brings faculty members from across the university together to study topics such as autonomous systems, bioinformatics, data science, and image processing, and it culminates in a research thesis or team-based capstone project. And thanks to the university’s prime location near St. Louis’ Midtown area, which is home to a strong technology community (it’s within walking distance to the Cortex Innovation Community, an innovation hub and technology district), students of this program enjoy exciting internship and career opportunities.

Stevens Institute of Technology (Private)

Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science
Hoboken, NJ

Stevens Institute of Technology

MS in Applied AI (online, on-campus)

Offered with concentration options in:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $55,920

Graduate Certificate in AI for Engineering (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $22,368

Also offers: Option to combine MSAAI with a dual MBA degree, Option to apply Graduate Certificate credit towards the MSAAI

The Stevens Institute of Technology offers both a master’s degree and graduate certificate program in AI that allow tomorrow’s technology leaders to explore the theoretical foundations and algorithm development in AI. This program offers an immersive, hands-on learning environment that comes complete with cutting-edge courses in topics like information systems security, the Internet of things, and big data applications. Students gain both hardware and software skills applicable in a variety of areas in engineering. From machine learning to biomedical engineering to embedded systems and beyond, there’s no shortage of opportunities to engage in real-world learning here. This fully online program also offers students the best in convenience and flexibility!

Rochester Institute of Technology (Private)

Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology

MS in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $71,100

Advanced Certificate in AI in Computer Science (on-campus)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,440

Also offers: PhD with an AI research area

The Rochester Institute of Technology offers two graduate options in AI that allow students to explore the responsible and impactful design, development, analysis, and deployment of AI. Designed for students from various educational backgrounds and with interests in different AI sectors, the MS in AI provides a well-rounded exploration of AI, including the role it plays on policy and in society. The program’s core courses provide students with essential knowledge and skills in AI, while a choice of electives allows students to customize their curriculum to investigate a specific area of this emerging field. Opportunities to study machine learning, natural language and speech processing, computer vision, robotics, sociotechnical AI analysis, and much more abound at RIT!

University of Rochester (Private)

Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Rochester, NY

University of Rochester (Private)

MS in Computer Science-AI and Machine Learning focus (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $59,100

Also offers: PhD with an AI-HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) focus

The University of Rochester’s MS in Computer Science features an AI and Machine Learning focus for a highly specialized course of graduate study. We love this program’s tightknit learning environment and the superb mentoring and guidance from a dedicated faculty. Just some of the courses in this exciting program include data mining, machine learning, computer vision, optimization and machine learning, and logical foundations of AI. Students of this program enjoy outstanding research opportunities in computer science, with interdisciplinary research available through collaborations with the departments of Linguistics and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, the Center for Language Sciences, the Center for Visual Science, and the Goergen Institute for Data Science. AI research here includes work in machine learning, bioinformatics, AI-based assistive technology, knowledge representation and reasoning, and statistical natural language processing.

Duke University (Private)

Pratt School of Engineering
Durham, NC

duke university

Master of Engineering in AI (online)

MS in Computer Science-AI/Machine Learning concentration (on-campus, online)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $62,610

Graduate Certificate in AI Foundations for Product Innovation (online)


Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $62,610

Duke University offers three graduate-level programs in AI that are designed to prepare students to make cutting-edge advances in AI in a wide range of industries. The Master of Engineering in AI allows students to advance their technical skills in AI and machine learning and build AI-powered software products. This program boasts an industry-connected curriculum, a world-class faculty, and an immersive cohort design that includes plenty of individual advising and opportunities to build a personal portfolio with real-world AI machine-learning projects. Students of this program can work directly with industry leaders through a semester-long capstone project or a summer internship. Choose on-campus study and you’ll complete this program in 12 (accelerated) or 16 (traditional) months. Choose online delivery and you’ll complete the program on a part-time basis in 24 months. The MS in Computer Science with a concentration in AI/Machine Learning offers an exploration of theoretical foundations and current technologies and is ideally designed to prepare students for both future doctoral studies and for careers in research. And for students looking for a more condensed option, the Graduate Certificate in AI Foundations for Product Innovation boasts a fully online format and consists of just four courses in AI and machine learning that are designed to elevate your skills in this emerging field.

Montana State University (Public)

Gianforte School of Computing
Bozeman, MT

Montana State University

Graduate Certificate in AI (online)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $5,136 ($1,403 per-credit out-of-state)

Montana State University’s Graduate Certificate in AI prepares students to become adept problem solvers using advanced AI techniques and technologies. This 12-credit program, offered through a fully online format for superior convenience and flexibility, features an exploration of the rapidly developing field of AI and how it impacts people’s lives and society. The flexible design of this program allows students to custom tailor the curriculum to best fit their career goals. Just some of the course options here include advanced AI, machine learning, advanced data mining, advanced database systems, mathematical optimization, and mathematics of machine learning.

University of Cincinnati (Public)

College of Engineering and Applied Science
Cincinnati, OH

University of Cincinnati

Master of Engineering in AI (MENG in AI) (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $22,380 ($1,333 per-credit out-of-state)

Also offers: PhD in Computer Science and Engineering-Intelligent Systems research group

The University of Cincinnati is home to the Master of Engineering in AI, an exciting program where students explore AI within the practice of engineering. This program offers an excellent overview of this emerging field. Designed to develop core skills and expertise in engineering coupled with unique capabilities in AI, the University of Cincinnati MENG in AI prepares graduates to make innovative contributions to the field of engineering. This practice-oriented degree features coursework options in areas like fuzzy control systems, soft computing based AI, machine learning, and complex systems and networks, as well as core coursework in AI, deep learning, and intelligent systems. Choose the University of Cincinnati and you could complete a co-op for unmatched professional experience even before you graduate!

Carnegie Mellon University (Private)

College of Engineering/School of Computer Science
Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University

MS in AI Engineering (on-campus)

Offered with concentrations in:

MS in AI and Innovation (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $147,420

Graduate Certificate in AI Engineering Fundamentals-Mechanical Engineering (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $16,968

Also offers: MS in Intelligent Information Systems

Carnegie Mellon University is proud to offer no less than three graduate programs in AI, which includes the MS in AI Engineering, the first program of its kind in AI engineering! This program effortlessly blends the fundamentals of AI and machine learning with a solid foundation in engineering to allow students to broaden and embed their skills within the engineering field. The MS in AI is another exciting course of graduate study that prepares students to become technology leaders who develop and deploy AI solutions to large-scale problems. This team-based program arms students with the practical skills needed to implement AI solutions to meet market needs. Taught by CMU’s world-class faculty from the top-ranked School of Computer Science, the MS in AI provides a rigorous course of graduate study in machine learning and language technologies. The Graduate Certificate in AI Engineering Fundamentals allows mechanical engineering professionals to learn the valuable AI skills that ensure a competitive edge in the field. Students of this program learn how to use AI to automate repetitive tasks, optimize designs, make predictions, improve quality control, and more!

University of Houston Downtown (Public)

College of Sciences and Technology
Houston, TX

University of Houston Downtown

MS in Artificial Intelligence (on-campus)

Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $12,420 ($780 per-credit out-of-state)

The University of Houston Downtown is proud to offer the MS in Artificial Intelligence, a unique evening and weekend program that provides students with an outstanding, application-oriented examination of AI that includes hands-on training in AI-specific applications. Students of this exciting program complete foundational courses in areas like machine learning, deep learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, and cognitive systems. Students then dive deep into interdisciplinary application courses like computer vision, robotics, engineering of AI systems, AI in biomedical applications, and AI in business intelligence. This program brings students from various academic backgrounds together to learn how to use statistical and computation tools to manage, assemble, structure, and analyze large data sets and effectively communicate their findings.