Prof. Kris Hammond speaking to students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to common questions that we receive about the program and internships. If your question is not answered below, please feel free to contact us.

You may also be interested in general FAQs about the admissions process.


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General Questions

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How many people are expected to be in the program?

We plan to keep the program size relatively small, around 40 students per year, to encourage collaboration among the students, and to increase the opportunities for students to work directly with faculty members.

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What is the difference between this degree and the MS in Computer Science?

The goal of the Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence program is to produce graduates who are designers and developers of AI systems and who can integrate the central AI technologies of analytics and symbolic reasoning in the crafting of user-centric solutions.  Students will receive education and training in the use of these techniques and technologies in the development of systems that do human level tasks such as planning, problem solving, language understanding, and decision making. The focus of the MS in Computer Science is a more general approach to providing students with an understanding of the core concepts of Computer Science. While far more than a program that trains them in the theory of Computer Science, it does not have the focus or specificity of the MSAI program.

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What is the difference between this degree and the MS in Machine Learning and Data Science (MLDS)?

The MLDS program focuses on the development of skills to deliver value from predictive, prescriptive, and descriptive analytics. A combination of training in machine learning, statistics, IT, and business consulting, the program produces graduates who solve business problems within organizations with different levels of analytical sophistication. Both programs include training in core analytical methods, but the Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence program is far more focused on how those methods are part of larger AI systems that also integrate symbolic reasoning, problem solving and human-computer interaction.

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What if I want to take extra classes beyond what is required?

Students will be allowed to take extra courses as long as approval is granted from both the MSAI administration and the faculty advising either project courses and/or research. The student will be responsible for paying all extra tuition costs associated with the additional classes.

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Can I begin the program in an academic term other than the fall quarter?

No, students are on a tight schedule, and the program is designed to run with all students moving through as a cohort. As a result, all MSAI students begin the program in the fall quarter.

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Is it possible to pursue a dual degree at Northwestern with MSAI?

It is not currently possible to pursue a dual degree with the MSAI program. This is an intensive, full-time, 15-month program that includes a practicum, internship, and capstone requirements.

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Can I continue to work and take classes part time or online?

The MSAI program is a full-time, daytime, 15-month program (4 quarters plus a summer internship). There are no online courses or part-time options available for this particular intensive full-time program.

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Are MSAI students eligible for a U-Pass? What is a U-Pass?

Yes, MSAI students are eligible. All MSAI students are charged a fee each quarter ($100) they are eligible for a U-Pass.

Full-time graduate students are eligible for a CTA University Pass called a U-Pass. The U-Pass is a discounted fare card for university students and replaces cash and other transit cards for all CTA fares. It allows for unlimited rides all day, every day.

More about the U-Pass can be found at CTA U-Pass page.

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Are admission requirements the same for the MSAI traditional and MSAI+X track?

No. A degree in Computer Science or in a related field is not a requirement for MSAI+X. The requirement is an advanced degree—MD, PhD, or JD.

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Internship Questions

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When obtaining an internship, what is the program's role and what is the student's role?

The program identifies, creates, and disseminates internship leads and helps students research companies and opportunities. Students should supplement these efforts by researching additional internship opportunities and networking on their own. Students should also make an effort to better understand the industry, polish their resumes, and prepare for interviews.

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Are students guaranteed an internship?

Internships are not guaranteed, and students are ultimately responsible for securing their internship positions.

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Do I have to pay tuition over the summer if I participate in an internship during that time?

No, you do not. In some rare instances, companies require interns to receive academic credit for their work. If this is the case you may be responsible for the fees that are associated with enrolling in an internship course.

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Are MSAI+X students required to take an internship?

No, there is no internship requirement for MSAI+X students.

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