Florida Tech Developing Artificial Intelligence Degree

The university is also considering offering certificates and microcredentials in artificial intelligence (AI).
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Published on March 21, 2024
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  • Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) will begin offering an artificial intelligence (AI) bachelor's program as soon as this fall.
  • FIT will also offer AI classes for students and workshops for high school teachers.
  • Degrees in AI often focus on machine learning, coding, and natural language processing.
  • Since 2022, associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in AI have popped up at large and small colleges nationwide.

Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) degree and considering a variety of AI certificates, microcredentials, and workshops.

FIT President John Nicklow told faculty and staff during his State of the University address that the university is preparing students and faculty to contribute to the AI field.

AI bachelor's programs have been popping up nationwide since ChatGPT's launch in 2022. While some universities worried about AI's capabilities to take tests, write essays, and plagiarize, others embraced the technology and began developing programs around it.

FIT is already beginning with a bachelor's degree and smaller AI-centered classes and workshops. It could begin offering the bachelor of science degree — focused on applied math, artificial intelligence, and data science — as soon as this fall.

The university is also considering offering AI certificate and microcredentialing programs.

FIT will offer AI and space science workshops for high school teachers this summer. It will also integrate AI into the one-credit first-year student seminar University Experience to start building AI literacy at the start of college.

"This is a great start — but probably not enough," Nicklow said, according to an FIT press release. "We must keep looking ahead to ensure we're keeping pace with the speed of innovation in this area. AI is about to be a major part of each of our lives. The more we know about its capabilities, its responsible and ethical use, and how it can be a positive tool in our work, the better."

Degrees in AI often focus on machine learning, natural language processing, coding, and AI model design.

FIT isn't the only Florida college investing in AI.

A few hours down the coast, students will have the option to take a bachelor's in AI program at Miami Dade College (MDC). MDC got approval in July from the Florida State Board of Education to offer its bachelor of science in applied artificial intelligence degree — the first in the state.

MDC, a community college with an associate degree, two certificates in AI, and two AI centers, will offer the four-year degree program starting this fall.

Smaller colleges have been at the forefront of turning AI into accredited degrees.

Ferris State University (FSU), a university of about 10,000 undergraduates, boasts Michigan's only AI bachelor of science program. This spring, the university also enrolled its first two virtual first-year students, Ann and Fry, who will take hybrid classes with real students, listen to lectures, complete assignments, and choose their majors.

"This project will help us learn more about applications for this rapidly evolving technology," Dave Murray, associate vice president for marketing and communications at FSU, previously told BestColleges.

"AI will increasingly be a part of our daily lives in some way. We are teaching students how to use it and develop it. But we are also learning how a university can best harness the technology to support students."

John Brown University (JBU), a Christian university in Arkansas, will integrate Christian ethics and perspective into its new AI degree. The program will explore topics including AI and business, data analytics, engineering, healthcare, robotics, and e-governance.

The degree is also compatible with JBU's accelerated master's program, which allows students to earn a master of business administration (MBA) or a master's in cybersecurity one year after graduating from their bachelor's program.

The University of Pennsylvania became the first Ivy League school to announce an AI bachelor's degree in engineering last month with concentrations from robots to machine learning, vision/language, data/society, and health/systems.

AI education doesn't just stop at the bachelor's level.

Northwestern University, Villanova University, Northeastern University, and Ball State University offer some of the most innovative MBA programs in AI.

For those not interested in business, Purdue University, Kennesaw State University, and the University of Georgia offer a master of science in AI that provides pathways for students to become AI application developers, research scientists, algorithm developers, and more.

Purdue University has invested millions into Purdue Computes, a new initiative to push AI, quantum computing, semiconductor, and other tech at the university.