Welcome to our guide to online Master’s in Machine Learning degree programs. First, we explore nine of the country’s best schools offering online ML degrees. You’ll learn about each school’s work in machine learning, the academic programs they offer, and what makes them unique. Next, we discuss what to look for in a program and how to find the best option for your needs. Finally, we list every online machine learning graduate degree that we could find.
|School Name||Program Name||More Info|
|Campbellsville University||Online M.S. in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence||program website|
|Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota||Online Artificial Intelligence Certificate||program website|
|Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota||Online M.S. in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics: Artificial Intelligence focus||program website|
|Syracuse University||MS in Applied Data Science||program website|
|Southern Methodist University||Online Master of Science in Data Science - Machine Learning specialty||program website|
|George Mason University||Online Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering - Machine Learning Engineering||program website|
9 Great Schools with Online Master’s in Machine Learning Programs
1. Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech’s OMSCS earned the top spot in our rankings. For starters, it’s a top 10 school for computer science, artificial intelligence, and data analytics (US News). Students will complete 30 total credit hours, with 15 being within the Machine Learning specialization. Choose from many excellent course options, from machine learning foundations to ML for trading or robotics. The program is a MOOC with nearly 11,000 enrollments since its inception in 2014, but online students earn the same reputable degree as their on-campus counterparts. And the best part? You can complete the program for just $7,000!
What Makes Georgia Tech a Great Machine Learning School?
Students love Georgia Tech because it has an excellent reputation and graduates top machine learning talent. Not only has the College of Computing partnered with AT&T for program support, but AT&T also offers internship opportunities and recruits program graduates. Browse the OMSCS Annual Report to learn more about the program, student achievements, (e.g., using AI, natural language processing, and machine learning to understand COVID-19), and plans for the future.
2. Columbia University in the City of New York
Columbia University’s online Master of Science in Computer Science Machine Learning track takes the #2 spot on our list. The School of Engineering and Applied Science leverages the Columbia Video Network to deliver the program 100% online. Students must complete 18 machine learning credits from the 30 total credits required for graduation. There’s also a breadth component, which requires one course from each of three content areas: Systems, Theory, and AI & Applications. Admission is competitive; most students hold an undergraduate computer science degree plus top grades in mathematics (e.g., linear algebra) and computer science (e.g., advanced programming). It’s a great program, but that reputation comes at a price – an estimated $70,000.
What Makes Columbia a Great Machine Learning School?
It’s hard not to be impressed with Columbia University’s work in Machine Learning and AI. Machine Learning @ Columbia and the Causal Artificial Intelligence Lab advance research in the field, covering topics like sequential decision making, big data algorithms, and algorithmic fairness. Students are encouraged to participate through reading groups, social get-togethers, and seminars. There are even specialty student groups, like Columbia’s Women in Computer Science. If you have a passion for machine learning then explore the offerings at Columbia University.
Learn More About ML at Columbia:
3. Duke University
Duke describes their Master of Engineering Management as an MBA alternative for leadership-focused science and engineering students. They have a one-year campus program, but an online version is available for part-time students (two-year completion). Students first complete the engineering management core (four courses) before tackling a specialty track (four courses). The Data Analytics and Machine Learning track prepares students for business and data analyst careers through coursework in machine learning, financial analysis, and data visualization. The online degree does require three one-week residencies for students to connect with classmates and deliver their capstone project presentations. The eight-course curriculum costs just under $60,000.
What Makes Duke a Great Machine Learning School?
Duke built a machine learning community by connecting nationally ranked departments in engineering (Pratt School of Engineering), computer science, and other disciplines. Online students earn the same degrees as their on-campus classmates. You’ll learn from prestigious faculty, including IEEE and AAAI Fellows, statistics and engineering award winners, and academic researchers. And it’s not just graduate-level students that benefit from Duke’s ML work; they’re home to an active undergraduate machine learning and data science community that holds events, offers a travel grant, and is sponsored by top machine learning companies. Browse some of the past and upcoming machine learning events available to Duke’s students.
4. Rice University
If you’re more interested in big data and statistics than engineering and robotics, consider Rice’s online Master’s in Data Science and its Machine Learning track. The online data science program can be completed in 12 months but is ideal for part-time students with a 24- to 36-month time to completion. They keep class sizes small, which allows for one-on-one time with faculty. The program requires 31 total credit hours: a data science core (statistics, programming, machine learning), the machine learning track (algorithms for ML, statistics for ML, deep learning), and one elective (either ethics, cybersecurity, or security & privacy). The program does not require a thesis, but students tackle a real-world problem through a capstone project at Rice’s Data to Knowledge (D2K) Lab.
What Makes Rice University a Great Machine Learning School?
Rice is a solid option for students interested in using machine learning for data science. The program is part of their Data Science Initiative aimed at training talented data scientists, developing new DS methods (through machine learning, natural language processing, etc.), and applying these advancements to important industries (biomedicine, geoscience, marketing, etc.). Rice’s Data to Knowledge Lab takes it one step further by empowering students to use big data to solve real issues at major companies. And Rice’s relationships with Houston-based businesses give students an edge with employers interested in hiring machine learning talent.
Learn More About ML at Rice University:
5. University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois Chicago’s online Master of Engineering degree is part of their nationally-recognized College of Engineering. They offer eight specializations, but you’ll want to consider the Machine Learning program. Students complete a total of nine courses (36 total credits), with four focused on machine learning: Digital System Design, Advanced Digital System Design, Embedded Processors and Architectures, and Methodologies for System-Level Design and Modeling. All students take Engineering Law and Engineering Management, regardless of their chosen track. Coursework is 100% online and self-paced; the average student completes the program in under two years.
What Makes UIC a Great Machine Learning School?
UIC is nationally ranked in engineering, computer science, and statistics, on top of being named a top 105 university nationally (US News). It’s a Carnegie Research 1 institution, meaning it conducts academic research at the highest levels. UIC has several relevant research labs, including the Computational Intelligence Laboratory and Intelligent Power Electronics (Grid Edge) Lab. Check out their research page to browse what faculty are working on, including signal processing, data science, and machine learning. Not only is the department doing exciting things in the machine learning field, but the entire program is an estimated $32,000 – less than half of what you’ll pay for some other machine learning graduate degrees.
6. Stevens Institute of Technology
Steven’s Institute of Technology offers many fascinating programs in fields like artificial intelligence and data science, but we’re focused on their online Master of Science in Machine Learning. The 30-credit degree is extremely flexible: students can study online or on-campus, full- or part-time, complete a thesis (or not), participate in an internship or experiential learning, and more. Students must complete at least four core courses (from machine learning foundations, AI, deep learning, NLP, or statistical ML) and three electives (data mining, applied statistics, dynamic programming, etc.). It’s an appealing option given that the entire curriculum focuses on machine learning foundations and core skills. Applicants will need a 3.0 GPA, undergrad transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and competitive GRE / GMAT scores (waived for part-time students).
What Makes Stevens a Great Machine Learning School?
Stevens is a top artificial intelligence and machine learning research institution. Students are able to participate in the university’s exciting machine learning work at the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI), the Health and AI Lab (HAIL), and beyond. And being located in New York City allows Stevens graduates to network with top companies; students have accepted positions with Amazon, Facebook, Google, and more. Faculty members have been recognized by the National Science Foundation, consult for companies like Microsoft, and led the machine learning program to a top ten US News ranking for computer information technology – need we say more?
7. Southern Methodist University
Located in one of the best tech towns in America, Dallas’ Southern Methodist University is home to an outstanding Data Science program. This 33.5-credit program uses a skills-based, interdisciplinary curriculum that pulls in knowledge from three distinct schools — Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, and Arts. The Machine Learning specialization preps students for highly technical (and good-paying) careers such as Principal Software Engineer, Data Architect, and many more. SMU’s engaging, fully online program takes 20-28 months to complete, with four convenient start dates offered throughout the year. Students can attend live, synchronous sessions and will benefit from small student-faculty ratios. Alum can apply SMU Boot Camp credits towards your degree. Tuition runs $1,704 per credit…roughly $57,084 for the entire program.
What Makes SMU a Great Machine Learning School?
Dallas’ reputation as a leading tech hub is important because, even if you won’t be living there, SMU’s program is located there. This proximity puts the school ahead of the curve, drawing top data science faculty able to conduct research in cutting-edge developments. SMU’s Online M.S. in Data Science – Machine Learning is intriguing because of its interdisciplinary nature, which synthesizes and integrates approaches from different fields. The program features ample student support including academic and career services aimed at helping graduates land jobs fast. Popular employers have included Adobe, Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and more.
8. Drexel University
Founded in 1891, Drexel University in Philadelphia made Forbes’ Top 25 STEM Colleges in 2018. Featuring an unbeatable combination of academic excellence and affordability, Drexel’s online MS in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (MSAIML) provides grad students everything they need to qualify for a promotion or high-paying career. This 45-credit program, run by the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), takes an average of two years for full-time students to complete. Part-time working students can take the 15 flexible classes at night or whenever is convenient. The program requires five core courses, seven free electives, three extra electives picked from designated focal areas, and finally, a team-oriented, multi-term capstone project.
What Makes Drexel a Great Machine Learning School?
Drexel touts itself as one of the few schools hosting computer and information sciences under the same college, allowing for a more integrated cross-disciplinary curriculum. Taught by world-class faculty, MSAIML courses establish a solid foundation then enable students to gain unparalleled breadth in Data Science and Analytics, Foundations of Computation and Algorithms, and Applications of AI and ML. This is followed by deeper learning in a chosen focal area and capstone, which can boost resume credentials. Recruiters love Drexel’s CCI grads because they know they’ll gain valuable assets ready to work! Indeed, the school features many opportunities to connect students with employers.
9. Colorado State University-Global Campus
As part of the Colorado State University System, the not-for-profit CSU Global was established in 2007 and has rapidly become known for helping non-traditional students achieve their educational dreams. Its 30-credit online Master of Science in AI and Machine Learning is very organized and straightforward, with no electives to worry about and only two prerequisites — one advanced course each in Discrete Mathematics and Probability and Statistics. The 10 core courses include Principles of Programming, Ethical Leadership in Software Development, and Foundations of Operating Systems, as well as a one-course capstone project. Tuition per course is $1,500 (3 credits), putting this program’s price at $15,000.
What Makes CSU Global a Great Machine Learning School?
CSU Global’s accredited program is offered entirely online and designed for both experienced working professionals and those newer to the AI field (who possess sufficient technical acumen). Courses focus on “real world concepts” aimed at preparing grads for better jobs. Flexible, accelerated classes begin each month and have no set attendance times. Students can apply for credit for job training and coursework done at technical programs to speed up completion times. CSU Global’s not-for-profit status keeps costs low with fixed rates, zero student fees, and a tuition guarantee that locks in your rate. They even offer tuition budget planning so students may graduate without debt. The school notes 95% of alumni report satisfaction with the online education they received.
Our goal in ranking schools with online Master’s in Machine Learning programs is to simplify your research by highlighting quality degrees. We consider many factors when evaluating the options, including:
- Program Focus: Schools package AI and machine learning programs as standalone degrees, concentrations tied to core subjects like computer science, and more. We only include graduate degree programs with machine learning in the program name or emphasis.
- Program Delivery: Online degrees come in many shapes and sizes. Some are 100% online or hybrid, whereas others only offer one or two courses online. We only considered programs that are fully online or hybrid (mostly online).
- Academic Reputation and Awards: We considered external recognitions (e.g., US News) and department reputation in fields related to machine learning – computer science, statistics, analytics, and more.
- Average Performance: The final step was to review and reward schools that performed well in multiple categories rather than excelling in one area.
This process allowed us to highlight nine great schools with online Master’s in Machine Learning programs, but don’t take our word for it! This list is a great place to begin your research, but it’s important to review all options to find the best program for your goals and interests. Consider what you’ll learn, what it takes to get in, and what you can afford.
Types of Machine Learning Graduate Programs Available Online
Two benefits to doing an online Master’s in Machine Learning graduate program are 1) the number of currently available options and 2) how much variety you can find! Programs come in all shapes and sizes, so there are multiple options suitable for almost any situation.
For example — some programs require more credits than others to finish, so if you have the time and resources, you can take more. If not, you can select an option requiring fewer credits.
Another variable — the number of allowed electives. Some programs keep things simple with plans that list only required courses; others let you choose a few electives to customize your plan.
Those who don’t want Machine Learning as their primary focus can opt to do a Master’s in Computer Science, Data Science, or Engineering with a Machine Learning track. Such programs often feature courses comparable to a straightforward ML graduate degree but with greater flexibility to tailor learning to your needs.
While this list focuses on online programs, many schools feature in-person and hybrid options. This can be handy to develop skills that are easier to learn in person.
How to Find the Best Master’s in Machine Learning For You
The only downside to having so many choices is that it’s hard to decide which online Master’s in Machine Learning program is best for you. To help whittle down the options, here’s a rundown of extra things to consider:
ML Major or Specialization Track: Do you want to do a standalone Master’s in Machine Learning…or an ML specialization track under a different major?
Fully Online or Hybrid: Do you need a program that’s 100% online…or is hybrid better for you? If hybrid, are there any obstacles to in-person attendance?
Cost of Attendance: Tuition and associated costs vary considerably. It’s critical to stay objective when assessing what you can afford (based on your financial contributions plus funding from other sources. i.e., parents, federal aid grants, scholarships, loans, GI Bill, etc.)
Reputation: Is it necessary for your goals to attend a costly prestigious university…or is a well-ranked, reasonably-priced accredited school enough?
Yes, an Ivy League like Columbia provides boosted name recognition, but will your employer care…or might they be equally impressed by abilities learned from a less expensive school like Georgia Tech?
Online vs. On-Campus: How to Decide
Even though there are several online Master’s in Machine Learning programs available, most programs are still taught on campus or via a hybrid method. This fact should be considered during your decision-making process, but how do you factor it in?
If you’ve only considered 100% online programs up to this point, then think twice. You’ll significantly expand your options if you’re willing to include on-campus programs in the equation. Think about the feasibility of doing an in-person or hybrid program and weigh the associated pros and cons.
In-State or Out-of-State: Is there a school you’re interested in that’s within your commute range? If not, would you relocate for a year or so to earn a degree that could change your life?
Learning Efficacy: Is any relevant subject matter learned better in person? Will online options use simulations or practical approaches to match the hands-on learning experiences of in-person courses? Chat with program coordinators, faculty, or alumni to get a feel for what you can expect from learning online through programs you’re curious about.
Full or Part-Time: How’s your schedule and budget? Can you afford to take off enough time to attend full-time, or do you need the flexibility of a part-time online program? Most online offerings are made with working students in mind, whereas full-time, on-campus programs expect education to be your primary focus. Full-time attendance allows you to finish faster, helping you land a promotion or better-paying job months or even years sooner.