Columbia Engineering Offers New MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence

Columbia Engineering has partnered with edX to be the exclusive provider of a MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Sep 28 2016 | By Allison Elliott

Master’s Level Online Course through edX Provides Credential for Career Advancement


Artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming our world, from autonomous vehicles and drone delivery to advanced robotics for manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare. It is also opening up new opportunities for job creation.

As demand grows for flexible, affordable education in skills needed for a changing job market, Columbia Engineering has partnered with edX, the leading non-profit online learning destination, to be the exclusive provider of a MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Originally pioneered by MIT and adopted by several prestigious universities, MicroMasters is a new category of Master’s-level education offered online that allows learners to gain credentials that will support career advancement in highly competitive, in-demand fields or count as credit toward a Master’s degree. Students who successfully complete the MicroMasters and are accepted into a Master’s program that acknowledges the MicroMasters certificate can accelerate their degree by counting the credits toward one quarter to one semester of their program. At Columbia, the MicroMasters represents 25 percent of the coursework toward a Master’s degree in Computer Science.

“Advanced technology is transforming the way we learn as much as it’s transforming the way we work,” said Soulaymane Kachani, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Senior Vice Dean of Columbia Engineering. “Columbia prepares students to be innovators and leaders and so it’s fitting that we are offering cutting-edge content taught by outstanding research faculty, leveraging advanced technology and sound pedagogy to learners around the world.” 

Starting January 13, Columbia Engineering’s MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence comprises four courses:  Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, and Computer Animation. The courses target learners interested in pursuing professions working with artificial intelligence, which is expected to span a wide range of fields, including the automotive, healthcare, and service industries.

Matei Ciocarlie, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, leads the series course in robotics.
—Photo by Jeffrey Schifman

Computer Science Department Chair Julia Hirschberg believes the course will give students a solid foundation in artificial intelligence that will benefit them in any professional setting that makes use of AI.  

“There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is dramatically changing the future of work and those who understand this subject will be at an advantage,” said Hirschberg. “We have our leading faculty in AI teaching the course to bring this applicable knowledge to a greater number of people.”

Columbia Engineering is the only school to offer a MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence. The series is taught by leading Columbia Engineering faculty members Eitan Grinspun, associate professor of computer science; Matei Ciocarlie, assistant professor, mechanical engineering; John Paisley, assistant professor, electrical engineering and member of the Data Science Institute; and Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi, lecturer in discipline in Computer Science.

“EdX is on the cutting edge of education and known to provide a high-quality of learning that can help students manage an evolving professional landscape,” said Mary C. Boyce, Columbia Engineering Dean and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering. “We’re excited to be partnering with them on this new endeavor that offers learners a pathway to career success.”

MicroMasters courses are self-paced, with each course expected to take approximately twelve weeks to complete.  A Charter Member of edX, Columbia University offers several other courses online in addition to the MicroMasters, including, “Enabling Technologies for Data Science and Analytics: The Internet of Things” and “Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics.”

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