Today, Imperial College London announced it will be launching an online master’s degree in machine learning. The program will be offered on Coursera and will welcome its first learners cohort in fall 2020.
Imperial is ranked among the world’s top ten universities by QS and Times Higher Education. The degree will be the second offered by Imperial on Coursera: a year ago, they announced an online master’s degree in public health that is set to start in fall 2019.
The program will be the first MOOC-based degree fully dedicated to machine learning. Its closest competitor is Georgia Tech’s OMSCS, which leads to a degree in computer science but allows learners to specialize in machine learning.
The goal of Imperial’s degree will be to train engineers and researchers to meet the growing demand for machine learning specialists in fields ranging from analytics to bioinformatics.
The curriculum will cover fundamentals, such as computing and math; machine learning concepts, such as deep learning and statistical modeling; and tools, such as PySpark and PyTorch. The program will also delve into the ethics of machine learning applications.
Specific courses haven’t been revealed yet. But Imperial offers three Specializations on Coursera. The first and second cover public health and are part of their upcoming public health degree. And the third covers machine learning. So it’ll likely be part of their machine learning degree.
To be admitted, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, math, physics, or economics. They’ll also likely have to submit academic transcripts, recommendations, and English proficiency scores.
Imperial will allow learners to complete relevant MOOCs on Coursera then transfer them for credit if they later join the program. This will likely apply to their existing Specialization, but it may also extend to other, yet-to-be-launched online courses or microcredentials.
Applications start dates haven’t been announced yet. But Imperial’s machine learning degree seems to follow the same schedule as their public health degree, just one year later:
|Public Health MS||Machine Learning MS|
|Announcement||March 2018||March 2019|
|Applications Open||January 2019||TBA|
|Launch||September 2019||September 2020|
So assuming this one-year lag is maintained, Imperial should start accepting applications for its machine learning degree around January 2020.
Fees haven’t been disclosed either. But, again, assuming Imperial prices its second degree like the first, it should cost around $15K in the UK and EU, and $25K elsewhere.