The University of Southampton

MSc in Artificial Intelligence numbers double in course’s tenth year

Published: 10 November 2017
Sofie Debloudts: I am convinced this course will further my career greatly

The University of Southampton’s MSc programme in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has attracted a surge of interest a decade on from its launch at the institution.

The one-year course, which draws upon the knowledge of world-leading experts in Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), teaches students core data analysis skills while exploring both traditional and state-of-the-art aspects of AI and machine learning.

The 2017/18 intake of over 40 students in the research-led programme represents an increase of over 130 per cent from 2016/17 and follows an 82 per cent rise in applications from the same year.

Programme Coordinator Dr Richard Watson explains, “Our MSc in AI benefits from world-leading research groups in intelligent agents, machine learning and data science - no other UK MSc can offer that. We have taken a contemporary approach with this course and cover the fundamental aspects of traditional and modern approaches.

“I’m delighted to see Southampton’s international reputation in the field being reflected in rising student numbers and am confident that we will see this trend continue as our researchers remain at the forefront of this rapidly expanding discipline.”

ECS has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology over the course’s 10 years. Its high profile staff include Professor Dame Wendy Hall, who co-led a major Government review this year into how the UK can increase the use of AI across the economy. In it she emphasises that Universities are on the ‘front line’ to help prepare and upskill the country’s future workforce.

Students participating in the AI MSc study the fundamentals of all aspects of intelligent algorithms with the freedom to choose options and specialise where desired. Topics in the course cover a skill base which is in very high demand from industrial companies and include intelligent agents, complexity science, computer vision, robotics and machine learning techniques.

Notable MSc projects this year include skin cancer detection using machine learning and computer vision, deep learning for visual recognition of satellite imagery and real-time epilepsy prediction from brain signal analysis.

Current MSc student Sofie Debloudts chose to study AI at Southampton after spending two years as a game designer. “I looked at the programme details based on a friend’s warm recommendation and the reputation of the University in general,” she says. “I immediately felt that this was the course for me. Now I’ve started, I’m finding that the programme is structured well and the lecturers are passionate about their subject matter. I am convinced this course will further my career greatly - by my second week of study I had already been contacted by head hunters to ask about my plans after graduating.”

Jia Bi completed the AI MSc in 2015. “I chose to come to Southampton to study my MSc in AI because ECS at the University has a good reputation and is among the top ranked in the UK,” she explains. “It has great research staff, advanced experimental facilities, and I had such a good supervisor that I decided to stay here to do my PhD in Computer Science.”

Undergraduate students are also able to develop their skills in artificial intelligence through ECS' MEng Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence and it's MEng Electronic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence.

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