Artificial intelligence graphic.

St. Thomas Launches AI Master of Science Degree

The latest master’s degree program offered by Minnesota’s largest private university addresses a growing need for organizations seeking skilled professionals who can harness the power of artificial intelligence to enhance efficiency, make data-driven decisions and innovate.

The University of St. Thomas’ Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence, which was developed in consultation with Twin Cities software and tech leaders, is now accepting applications for this new graduate degree program. Open to students at all levels of experience starting in spring 2024, the AI program equips students with a comprehensive blend of advanced technical knowledge and practical skills, preparing them for the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

“The pervasive nature of AI across diverse sectors means that most professionals will inevitably encounter AI-driven tools and systems in their work,” said Dr. Manjeet Rege, professor and chair of the St. Thomas Software and Data Science Program and director, Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence. “This exposure necessitates a fundamental grasp of AI, not only for operational efficiency and staying competitive in the job market but also for comprehending the ethical, legal, and societal impacts of these technologies.”

Manjeet Rege
Manjeet Rege is professor and chair of Graduate Programs in Software at the University of St. Thomas and serves as director of the university's Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence.

The demand for AI-related professional skills is increasing across almost every American industrial sector, according to a LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report. AI specialist roles have grown by 74% annually over the past four years. The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report for 2023 forecasts the fastest-growing position will be AI and machine learning specialists, factoring in an employment growth rate of 39% within the next five years.

“The job market is rapidly evolving with the integration of AI in many sectors. AI literacy ensures that the workforce can adapt to these changes, understand the basics of AI, and work alongside AI systems effectively,” Rege said. “This knowledge is becoming as fundamental as computer literacy was in the late 20th century.”

While AI degree and certificate offerings are growing across the country, St. Thomas’ Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence is the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. The program delves into core AI concepts such as machine learning, neural networks, computer vision, and natural language processing, while emphasizing a hands-on learning experience.

“Such education opens up expansive career opportunities across various sectors like technology, health care and finance, often correlating with higher earning potential due to the growing demand for AI expertise,” Rege said. “Additionally, the program encompasses the study of ethical and societal implications of AI, ensuring that graduates are not only technically proficient but also cognizant of the responsible development and application of AI technologies.”

The new Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence has been designed to be accessible to those looking to change careers, with no prerequisite for a prior technical background. This inclusivity allows individuals from diverse professional backgrounds to pivot into the field of AI, expanding their career prospects significantly. The program's structure is also designed for working professionals, with courses offered on weeknights, accommodating those who need to balance their studies with full-time employment.