Postgraduate study

Artificial Intelligence

Awards: MSc

Funding available

Programme website: Artificial Intelligence

This MSc is taught at the UK's longest established centre for artificial intelligence, which remains one of the best in the world.

Many of your courses will be taught by internationally known researchers spanning a wide range of areas in artificial intelligence and also drawing on research in related fields such as neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, and mathematics. We aim to give you the fundamental knowledge and practical skills needed to design, build, and apply AI systems in your chosen area of specialisation.

You will follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments. During this time you will also learn research methods to prepare for your final project and dissertation, which is completed during the summer.

Compulsory courses:

  • Informatics Research Review
  • Informatics Project Proposal
  • Introduction to Java Programming or Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing (for students who do not already meet the programming requirements for the taught masters)
  • Dissertation

In addition, about half your taught course credits must be chosen from areas of artificial intelligence. Course offerings follow the main research areas of our staff, with multiple course options available in natural language processing, machine learning, robotics, and related areas.

Example courses offered recently in artificial intelligence include:

  • Accelerated Natural Language Processing
  • Advanced Vision
  • Automatic Speech Recognition
  • Decision Making in Robots and Autonomous Agents
  • Machine Learning & Pattern Recognition
  • Natural Language Understanding, Generation, and Machine Translation
  • Probabilistic Modelling and Reasoning
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • Robotics: Science and Systems

For your remaining courses, you may choose further options from artificial intelligence or from a wide range of courses offered in other areas of Informatics, including computer systems, theoretical computer science, software engineering, and social and biological computation. Guidance is provided to help you choose a set of courses that work well together, giving you specialised expertise in your chosen area.

Please note: This degree has flexible course options. Students are only admitted onto the degree if they will have a viable set of options, but not all courses on offer are appropriate for all admitted students. The School of Informatics offers a wide selection of courses, but not all optional courses are guaranteed to run every year, and a few high-demand courses may limit enrolment to students on the most relevant degree(s).

The degree description and structure given here reflect changes being made for 2019 entry based on feedback from recent graduates. These changes aim to improve the student experience by providing a more focussed set of course options and a clearer structure. Degree programme information provided to current students (e.g., the 2018-19 MSc Handbook) should not be taken to fully reflect the nature of the programme starting in 2019.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScArtificial Intelligence1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MScArtificial Intelligence2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MScArtificial Intelligence3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

Our students are well prepared for both employment and academic research. The emphasis is on practical techniques for the design and construction of intelligent systems, preparing graduates to work in a variety of specialisms, from fraud detection software to spacecraft control.

Recent graduates are now working as software developers and engineers, programmers and data analysts for companies such as HarperCollins, J.P. Morgan, Nokia, IBM, Amazon, Soundcloud and the Bank of England.

2019 entry:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology, plus experience in computer programming.

During your degree you must have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (eg. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc.)

2020 entry:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology.

Competent programming skills are essential. During your degree you must have completed a programming course in at least one of the following: C/C++, Java, Python, R, Matlab, Haskell, ML.

During your degree you must have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (eg. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc.) Prior knowledge of probability concepts is especially important for the Artificial Intelligence degree.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit in advance of their study.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. If there is no information on your offer about the deposit you are not required to pay.

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Email: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

Due to high demand, this programme operates an application deadline. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the application deadline of 31st March 2019.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Email: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE