Once the subject of mere speculation, AI-powered technology is now at the centre of progress in a number of industries, from finance to healthcare, increasing the need for AI-literate staff.

Exploring a diverse range of topics, the University of Bath’s Artificial Intelligence online MSc is designed to give individuals from both computing and non-computing backgrounds an opportunity to develop a career in this rapidly evolving field.

“Our course gives a breadth of knowledge of AI as a discipline, covering programming, maths, libraries and data science, all through to the more technical aspects like machine learning.”
— Dr Christina Keating, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Real-world application

As well as providing a broad picture of AI, crucially the course highlights its application in the real world, notably through practical experience of key theories and principles.

“For every unit that you take, we will present you the theory and we’ll get you to apply it. So, for example, Principles of Programming for AI will give you the underlying knowledge of programming paradigms, data structures and algorithms, and then you will apply that knowledge in the later units. But also to ground that theory we’d also ask you to implement sorting algorithms or to use libraries to process some data.”
— Dr Michael Wright, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Enhanced ethics

The course differs from many other AI programmes available in its exploration of the ethical implications of AI and the need for policies to ensure transparency and accountability.

“The ethical thread is fairly unique. The key thing is that a lot of businesses are so eager to be cutting edge and accepting of new technological advances and it is so important that we consider the ethical implications of such developments. This is an issue that the AI course at Bath is very ready to address.”
— Dr Christina Keating, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Practice-based experience

Spanning a minimum period of two years and three months, the course is delivered and assessed entirely online, all through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. This offers complete immersion, while supporting the practice-based focus of the course, featuring interactive elements such as discussion forums and live tutorial sessions.

“It's all coursework based. But the flavour of the coursework will be different, depending on the unit. For example, in the Programming unit we’ll ask you to complete programming lab sheets, where we’re giving you a problem and asking you to provide an implementation.”
— Dr Michael Wright, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Find your own pathway

The course is delivered in four phases, the first covering the core principles of AI, the second exploring the application of these principles in practice. In phase three, you’re offered a choice of pathways: a technical route with a focus on programming and machine learning, and a general route for a less technical, more theoretical approach to the subject. Finally, in phase four, you will be asked to complete a dissertation.

“In the technical pathway, we’re looking at the foundational frontiers of machine learning, reinforcement, learning robotics in machine vision. So, we’re looking at how we go about implementing these particular types of AI. Whereas the general pathway gives you, what is machine learning is, the theory and practice, applying machine learning in a particular context.”
— Dr Michael Wright, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Though previous coding experience is not essential to study the course, mathematical knowledge is essential to grasp high-level mathematical concepts. You should also have at least a second-class bachelor’s honours degree or international equivalent.

“The idea is to demonstrate evidence of quantitative background, particularly around algebra and calculus.”
— Dr Michael Wright, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Looking ahead

With AI gaining traction across a number of industries, career opportunities are growing, covering the likes of software development, programming, marketing and economics. To cite one recent example of AI in practice, look at the recent advances in the battle against the Covid-19 virus. As well as being used to detect and monitor the virus, it is proving crucial in the planning and personalising of care, supporting health services, and in the development of vaccines. It’s these particularly specialised practices that require a comprehensive knowledge of AI and its practical application, in order to further its development as a tool for change in industry and beyond.

“AI is one of the big topics at the moment in computer science. Different industries are looking into the application of AI. So this AI course is giving you the theory and understanding around the application of AI as a whole. So, it’s going to be useful to you, if this is the career that you want to go to, or you can see your own industry evolving and using those sort of AI techniques.”
— Dr Michael Wright, University of Bath AI course lecturer

Apply to study an Artificial Intelligence online MSc at the University of Bath and see how far it will take you.

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