AI Degree Programs: Are They Worth the Cost?

As artificial intelligence becomes more prominent, colleges and universities are offering AI-specific degree programs. However, there are questions about the value and relevancy of these degrees. This article explores the benefits and considerations of pursuing a four-year AI degree.


The Rise of AI Degree Programs

With the increasing demand for AI talent, colleges and universities are now offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and PhD programs specifically focused on AI. Companies are in need of professionals with AI skills, as half of the highest-paid skills in technology are AI-specific, according to

While AI-specific degree programs are relatively new, the number of AI degree awards has been increasing over the past decade. Many top schools have introduced AI programs, covering topics such as machine learning, computing algorithms, data analytics, and robotics. Additionally, AI classes are being offered within computer science departments across various institutions.

The rise of AI degree programs is a response to the demand for AI talent in various industries. However, there are concerns about the rapid pace of technological advancements and the applicability of a four-year AI degree in the future.

STEM Fundamentals and AI Degrees

For students interested in pursuing a degree in AI, it is important to find a program that emphasizes fundamental STEM subjects such as computer science, mathematics, and engineering. These foundational skills provide a strong basis for a career in AI-related fields, even as the technology evolves.

In addition to specific skill development, AI degrees should focus on developing students' ability to learn, think critically, and communicate effectively. These skills, combined with a solid STEM foundation, can help students succeed in the AI field.

AI degree programs should incorporate both theoretical knowledge and practical application, ensuring that students gain a deep understanding of AI concepts and technologies.

The Relevance of AI Degrees in a Changing Tech Market

Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, some students may question the relevance of a four-year AI degree. It is true that employers are increasingly willing to hire candidates with job-specific skills, regardless of whether they have a degree.

However, research suggests that having a degree is still advantageous in the job market, especially for high-paying positions. While certificate programs and online learning platforms offer alternative options for skill development, a four-year degree is still highly valued by employers.

Students who choose a traditional computer science degree can still enhance their AI skills by taking relevant AI and data science courses. The combination of a strong foundation in computer science and additional AI knowledge can make graduates more competitive in the job market.