MSc Artificial Intelligence

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About the course

The details
Location: Online
Mode of study: Part-time
Qualification: MSc
Indicative duration: 2 years
Start date: 16 April 2024, 16 July 2024, 8 October 2024

Awarding body: University of Essex

Delivered by: Kaplan Open Learning

Break down the walls of traditional technology with this innovative conversion degree.

Our MSc Artificial Intelligence is designed for non-computing graduates who wish to develop their career in the high-demand field of artificial intelligence (AI), or computing professionals who wish to specialise in this exciting sector.

This Masters degree covers a breadth of technology-focused topics. You will gain a fundamental understanding of the underpinning theories and methodologies of artificial intelligence, as well as methods for application of your new skills. Throughout your studies you will take part in collaborative team projects designed to mimic the experiences of working within the AI industry.

Your study journey begins with an overview module that will provide you with a background understanding of the theoretical concepts in the discipline. Next up, you will cover core mathematical and statistical methods and their real-world applications within this domain. Later in the course, you will study a range of specialist topics including:

  • machine learning and the application of algorithms to learn patterns in data and gain value from it
  • the core concepts and techniques used in representing knowledge and supporting reasoning for building effective AI programmes
  • how intelligent agents can be used to provide innovative problem-solving tools in any industry

Throughout the course you will develop a number of programs and applications, and the course will focus on the programming languages Python and R. Your degree will culminate in the individual production of a computing artefact. If anything captures your interest during the course that you to want to study in more detail, this is your opportunity to spend a third of the course focusing on it.

Why we’re great

  • This programme focuses on the three fundamental areas of artificial intelligence – search, knowledge representation and learning – which underpin all other areas of AI.
  • There’s no need to download lots of different software packages – all programming languages are included within the tuition fee and all work is carried out in our online development environment.
  • This conversion course will enable you to access the broad range of artificial intelligence vacancies, even if you don’t have a computing background.

The MSc Artificial Intelligence is made up of the following modules and, upon completion, is equal to a total of 180 credits.

Level 7

Component 01: Core
Understanding Artificial Intelligence
(20 credits)

Component 02: Compulsory
Numerical Analysis
(20 credits)

Component 03: Compulsory
Machine Learning
(20 credits)

Component 04: Compulsory
Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
(20 credits)

Component 05: Compulsory
Intelligent Agents
(20 credits)

Compulsory 06: Core
Research Methods and Professional Practice
(20 credits)

Compulsory 07: Core
MSc Computing Project
(60 credits)


Learning and assessments
Teaching methods
Studying online gives you the freedom to study when and where it suits you – at home, during your lunch hour or anywhere else you have internet access.

Our courses are delivered through a virtual learning environment (VLE) instead of a traditional campus. This means you will have access to your study materials 24/7, including:

  • multimedia lecturecasts made up of written content, short videos, animation, audio recordings, infographics, short tests and mini-assignments
  • discussion forums for you to chat about the course content with fellow students
  • live seminar sessions with your tutors
  • a comprehensive eLibrary of textbooks and academic journals
  • support from academic staff and your dedicated Student Support team

To ensure you receive the support you need from your tutor, we cap our class sizes at around 20 students.

In order to meet the technical requirements for this course, students will need access to a computer with at least 8GB RAM.

Assessment methods
Our varied assessment methods allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the course content in a wide range of ways. This can be by engaging in discussion forums throughout your modules, completing programming exercises, participating in team projects, completing reflective journal entries and an e-portfolio, by submitting longer written pieces or by undertaking timed open-book tests at home, without the need to travel to an assessment centre.

We are committed to providing frequent and transparent feedback through the following ways:

  • Our assessment criteria are designed to be simple and transparent.
  • You will always be aware of your current provisional grade, right from the start of the programme.
  • You will be able to view your marks clearly in your gradebook whenever you log onto the learning platform.
  • There is a 7-day turnaround for marking and feedback of assessed work.
  • You will have regular contact with your Student Support team, with whom you can discuss any concerns as soon as they arise.
     

Study duration
Our MSc Artificial Intelligence has an indicative study duration of 2 years, which is a guide to how long your course will take to complete. The actual duration may be longer or shorter depending on your speed of study, study options chosen and module availability.

It’s possible to complete your studies faster than the indicative course duration by doubling up on modules at certain times; however, minimum study durations do apply.

Our academic year is organised into modules, typically with a one- or two-week break between modules and a structured three-week break for the Christmas period. Students will receive a course timetable during the application process.

All of our courses have regular start dates throughout the year.

On successful completion of your degree, you will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus.

Your future

Artificial intelligence is a vital part of the ‘Industry 4.0’ vision and will play a vital role in the future growth of many sectors, including IT, healthcare, governance and technology. This course is designed to you help you move into this exciting field and after completing your studies you’ll be prepared to succeed in various roles, such as Machine Learning Engineer, AI Engineer, AI Architect, Business Intelligence Lead, AI Analyst or AI Researcher.

Gaining a postgraduate qualification with the University of Essex Online also puts you in good stead for your career prospects. Results from our 2021 student survey showed:

  • 92% of students said their course helped develop their research skills
  • 89% of students say their studies fit with their future plans
  • Almost 60% said their studies had a positive effect on their career
  • 25% of students saw their salaries increase by up to 10%

Entry requirements


We know that many people from non-traditional backgrounds would succeed on our courses! That’s why we offer two different entry routes, taking into account your prior work experience and relevant qualifications. You will also need to meet our English language requirements.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to take a short aptitude test which is designed to test your ability to handle the intellectual and practical demands of the course. Please note that we will consider your performance in the aptitude test as part of your overall application, so if you don’t pass the test you may still be accepted onto the course. Additionally, you will need to pass your first assignment set within your two-week induction period of the course in order to continue your studies.

Academic entry route
In order to satisfy the academic entry route requirements for our MSc Artificial Intelligence, as a minimum you must have an undergraduate degree from an approved institution, equivalent to a UK Honours degree, or a relevant professional qualification.

Work experience entry route
In order to satisfy the work experience entry route requirements for our MSc Artificial Intelligence, you must have at least three years’ relevant work experience in IT or computer science.

English language requirements

As our courses are delivered in English, a high proficiency with English is required. If English is not your first language, your English ability should be equivalent to an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5. Don’t worry if you don’t hold an IELTS or equivalent qualification – we offer a free online English test to assess your proficiency.

You don’t need to prove your English ability if you are a national of, or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in, any of these countries.


Full tuition fee:  

£12,167 UK / £12,428 International (2023-24) Δ 

  • Designated for postgraduate student loans in England. 
  • Simple monthly payment plan available, enabling you to spread the cost over the duration of your studies. 
  • Full payment discount of 5% if you pay upfront. 
  • Regional scholarship available for international students based overseas in eligible countries. 
  • Alumni discount of 10% of the tuition fee available if you are a previous graduate with the University of Essex or University of Essex Online. 
  • 10% corporate discount available when three or more of your employees study with us. 
  • 10% anniversary scholarship available for students who enrol by 31 July 2024.
  • 20% impact scholarship available for our July and October 2024 intakes.

Please note, a maximum of two discounts or scholarships can be applied. The corporate discount can only be used in combination with our upfront payment discount, but not in conjunction with any other discount or scholarship. Find out more information about our discounts and scholarships here. 

Our course fees are fully inclusive – all teaching materials and required reading are included, and there are no hidden charges for assessments or resits.  

Δ All tuition fees shown are net of any applicable sales tax payable by you in your country of residence. Where we are required to add sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the tuition fees shown and confirmed during the payment process. 

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