The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence program curriculum combines technical skills with real-world integration.The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence program curriculum combines technical skills with real-world integration.

Curriculum Overview

The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence is a 15-month (5 quarter) program that combines class work, internships coordinated by the program, research opportunities within Northwestern AI labs, and a capstone project. Students start the program together in the fall quarter and take most of their class work together as a cohort.

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Fall Quarter (First) 

Students take a set of required core courses to establish a baseline body of knowledge for all in the cohort. This quarter focuses on a deep introduction to AI, machine learning and interactive AI systems, and on human cognition.

Frameworks for Artificial Intelligence (MSAI 431)

Framing artificial intelligence to explore the latest challenges in the theory, practice and implications of AI in the modern world.

Introduction to AI (MSAI 348)

Core techniques and applications of artificial intelligence.

Machine Learning (MSAI 349)

The study of algorithms that improve automatically through experience.

Data Science Seminar (MSAI 339)

Data models and database design.

Winter Quarter

Required core courses this quarter include classes in semantic information processing, knowledge representation and commonsense reasoning, and collaborative system design.

Natural Language Processing (MSAI 337)

Depth of both understanding and generation systems. Focus on representation and inference.

Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (MSAI 371)

Problem solving, ontologies, reasoning.

Deep Learning Foundations from Scratch (MSAI 495)

A hands-on introduction to deep networks, their varieties, applications, and algorithms used to train them.

Human Computer Interaction (MSAI 330)

Human-Computer Interaction.

Spring Quarter

This quarter students enroll in three elective courses in relevant or related areas to Artificial Intelligence while teaming to complete an industry-led practicum project guided by a corporate partner and overseen by an academic and technical adviser. Students choose from elective courses in Computer Science or with approval from courses offered through other academic departments across the university including Kellogg School of Management.

Practicum in Intelligent Systems (MSAI 490)

Students take a practicum class in the development of systems using existing libraries and publicly available code bases to give them the experience of building on existing work.

Three Elective Courses

Students have an opportunity to choose three elective courses from a variety of options, including Introduction to Robotics, Data Management and Information Processing, Designing and Constructing Models with Multi-Agent Languages, Active Learning in Robotics and Seminar in Statistical Language Modeling.

Summer Quarter

During the summer, all students either complete an external internship with an industry partner, or work on specific projects or research within an AI lab at Northwestern.

Fall Quarter (Second)

The final quarter allows students the ability to focus on skills to ensure they are ready for the next phase of their professional careers. Students enroll in one core, two electives, and complete a final capstone project.

Law and the Governance of Artificial Intelligence (MSAI 448)

An introduction for engineers to the legal, regulatory, ethical, and policy questions raised by advancements in artificial intelligence and its increasing use.

Industry Capstone Project (MSAI 490)

Students focus on a capstone project that is an extension of either their practicum or independent study project (at Northwestern's AI lab) from the spring quarter or that are based on their work from the summer quarter. The goal is to have all students develop demonstrable systems that become part of their portfolios.

Two Elective Courses

Students have an opportunity to choose two elective courses from a variety of options, including Artificial Intelligence ProgrammingDesign of Problem SolversAdvanced Computer Vision, or Machine Perception of Music & Audio, among many others.

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Speaker Series

Along with classes, the program hosts an ongoing series of speakers from industry to provide students with a view of the business problems of today and how the technologies and techniques they are learning about can be applied.