Can You Earn a Master’s in Machine Learning?

A master's in machine learning teaches students essential skills to join a growing industry. Discover the related programs and careers in this field.
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Machine learning (ML), a subsect of automated intelligence (AI), imitates the way a human learns through programming and data. People with an interest in emerging technologies, programming, and math can consider pursuing a master's in ML.

Technology enthusiasts consider ML fascinating; machines self-learn and the technology has multiple applications. Companies, still discovering new areas to implement AI need professionals to assist with integrating it into the workplace.

According to O'Reilly, 48% of surveyed professionals currently utilize AI, ML, or data analysis for data quality issues. The following page discusses master's in machine learning programs, career paths, and the importance of the field.

What To Expect From a Master's in Machine Learning

ML programs aim to prepare you to understand and use machine learning in a public, private, or research setting. On average, enrollees spend 1-3 years earning approximately 30 credit hours. If you're unsure that a master's program suits you, consider attending ML bootcamps or bachelor's programs.

AI and ML, both wide-reaching fields, have multiple subdivisions and specialization opportunities. Increase your specialization in courses including computer vision, data analytics,or natural language processing.

Master's degree program tuition can range from $10,000-$80,000. Attendees may need to complete a thesis or capstone project, depending on the curriculum. Although programs have different courses, they often include machine learning, data mining, and statistics.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Machine Learning Degree and Specialization Options

Machine learning, an important part of AI, can be taught by itself or in combination with AI. Institutional programs include master's in ML, master's in AI and ML, or master's in AI with a concentration in ML. Your program choice depends on which aspect of AI you find most interesting.

Schools offer in-person, online, or hybrid degrees. Choose the program type that best suits your needs. Online programs can be asynchronous, allowing study at the time that works best for you..

Typical Master's in Machine Learning Courses

Master's in machine learning programs offer a variety of core and elective courses. The list below describes some of the most common courses in these master's programs.

  • Machine learning: Almost every machine learning program offers an introductory course into machine learning. Study the fundamentals of ML and practice implementing learnings.
  • Statistical machine learning: This course builds on the fundamentals of machine learning by discussing statistics and predictions in ML. Course topics include statistical accuracy and memory usage.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): Natural language processing, another branch of AI, refers to a computer's ability to understand languages. Classes cover the machine learning impact on NLP, neural networks, and related models.
  • Web mining: Learn how to extract and analyze data from the web. Courses may provide opportunities to use these skills on creating web apps or downloading real-life data.
  • Statistical methods: ML programs often have required math or statistics courses. Statistical methods focus on basic statistical ideas, data collection, and relationships between data.

Admission Requirements

Start the admissions process by filling out an online form, paying relevant fees, and submitting official transcripts. Some master's programs may require an undergraduate degree in computer science, while other programs only require a bachelor's degree. As an incoming student, you should have an understanding of programming and math.

Institutions may require you to take the GRE and meet a 3.0 GPA minimum. Successful applicants usually have a GRE score of 320 or higher.

Program Costs

Master's in machine learning tuition varies, but usually falls between $10,000-$80,000. Program costs depend on factors including school prestige, program length, class sizes, and more.

If you're looking into getting a master's in machine learning, budget for daily necessities in addition to tuition costs. Additional costs include housing, food, transportation, and books. Individuals that require financial assistance can apply to multiple programs including scholarships, grants, and loans. The links below can help.

Why Get a Master's in Machine Learning Degree?

Arthur Samuel first coined the term machine learning in 1959, defining it as the "field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed". Machine learning has evolved a bit since 1959 and currently gives corporations an overview of consumer and business trends.

If you enjoy math, analyzing data, and creative thinking, a career in machine learning might be something you find rewarding. Graduates of master in ML programs may be regarded as well-educated in the field and have additional opportunities compared to graduates of ML bachelor's or bootcamp programs. Prospective opportunities include data scientist, machine learning engineer, or robotics engineer.

The industries hiring machine learning experts are as diverse as the career opportunities in the field. The healthcare, banking, and technology sectors all employ machine learning to better understand their data and cut costs.

A master's in machine learning could be your stepping stone to a career with solid job security. As many as 300 million jobs could be influenced by the emergence of AI, according to Goldman Sachs. The World Economic Forum predicts up to 97 million new jobs may emerge by 2025 due to AI.

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    Earnings potential: Some ML programs publicize graduates receiving over $100,000 starting salary, $30,000 signing bonuses, and a 99% employment rate within three months of graduation. Corporations understand the expertise and in-demand nature of these professionals and offer high salaries.
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    Learning and growth opportunities: The fields of AI and ML rapidly evolve and offer specialization opportunities. Individuals interested in continuously learning and adapting new technologies may find this field interesting.
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    Flexibility: ML can be used in multiple industries and some jobs can be done remotely. Experts in ML may have flexibility in their industry choice, career path, work location, and working hours.

Jobs for Master's in Machine Learning Graduates

As a master's in machine learning grad, you'd have the ability to pursue a variety of careers. Relevant roles include working in data, AI, or software development. A professional's career opportunities grow the more time you spend in the field.

Research Scientist

Research scientists employ new technologies in creative ways to solve problems for multiple industries. Machine learning, an emerging technology, is currently being utilized in increasingly varied ways as the technology improves. Experts in this profession often explore problems, design solutions, and implement their ideas.

  • Required Education: Master's degree
  • Median Annual Salary: $131,490
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +21%

Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze data to find patterns or answers to questions. Professionals should have communication skills to convey findings to co-workers and corporate stakeholders. Machine learning can be applied to data science to develop increasingly complex algorithms.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Median Annual Salary: $100,910
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +36%

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers use their programming skills to design, develop, and train ML models. Models should be able to learn with minimal interference, however, the engineer should test and adjust programs for optimization. Engineers should have the ability to evaluate ML applications and explain the system to other team members.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Average Annual Salary: $114,980
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): Not Available

Business Intelligence Analyst

Business intelligence analysts collect and analyze data for finance, market trends, and internal corporate economic data. Analysts use multiple tools, including SQL, data mining, or machine learning to complete their tasks. These professionals may also create or maintain relevant databases, models, and spreadsheets.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Average Annual Salary: $78,860
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +11%

How to Choose a Machine Learning Program

Analyze different programs and relevant pros and cons. The below list highlights some important factors to consider when deciding among various degrees.

  • Accreditation: Entire institutions or specific programs can hold accreditation, which means they have met a certain standard of education. Ensure your chosen program or institution is accredited.
  • Cost/financial aid: ML programs have different tuition rates and financial aid opportunities available. Compare your post-aid program cost and loan details.
  • Extracurriculars: You may have the opportunity to network and make friends in extracurriculars. Extracurriculars can include sports programs, student associations, or events with local businesses.
  • Earning potential: Programs may include data about the average earnings of graduates, which you can compare.
  • Alumni network: As a graduate, you can use alumni networks to gain valuable connections in specific industries or corporations. Alumni from large and prestigious schools may have a wider and more powerful alumni network.

Questions About ML Graduate Degrees

Can you do a master's in machine learning?

With the relevant background, skills, and a bachelor's degree you can do a master's in machine learning. Prospective applicants without relevant skills can study programming, math, and statistics to prepare for the master's program.

What's the difference between a master's in ML and a master's in AI?

A master's in AI studies the overall field of AI and provides students with general knowledge. A master's in ML focuses on ML, a subdivision on AI, giving students a specialty within AI.

Do you need a bachelor's in machine learning to get a master's in ML?

A bachelor's degree in machine learning or computer science is not required to get a master's degree in ML. Applicants without a computer science or machine learning degree should be prepared to demonstrate their programming and math skills.

Should you earn your ML master's degree online?

ML master's degrees can be earned online or in-person. Students that enjoy increased flexibility may enjoy pursuing an online degree. Online learning suits ML programs as students can study and test theories simultaneously.

Is a master's in ML worth it?

Only you can determine if a master's in ML is worth it for you. Master's programs take significant time and economic resources, but allow graduates to pursue in-demand and well-paying career paths.

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