University of Pennsylvania Launches AI Undergraduate Degree

ODSC - Open Data Science
3 min readFeb 22, 2024

In a first for an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science unveiled its Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Artificial Intelligence. This comes as AI continues to reshape how industries function and workers look to harness AI to enter the digital age.

As we’ve seen over the last few years, generative AI technologies are revolutionizing sectors across the board. This is seen everywhere from healthcare and energy to transportation and national security. This rapid scale of AI underscores a critical demand for adept AI engineers capable of navigating the complexities of AI with a keen understanding of its ethical application.

With this demand in mind, The University of Pennsylvania announced in a blog this new AI engineering program. Interim President J. Larry Jameson remarked on the university’s commitment to leading in data science and AI, emphasizing the strategic importance of this new degree within Penn’s broader vision for innovation and service to society.

Named after its benefactors, The Raj and Neera Singh Program in Artificial Intelligence is designed to empower students to leverage AI for societal good. The curriculum is tailored to foster the development of AI tools that enhance human capabilities, from making scientific breakthroughs to improving healthcare outcomes.

Speaking about the importance of the program and Penn Engineering’s reputation, Raj Singh said, “Penn Engineering has long been a pioneer in computing and education, with ENIAC, the first digital computer, and the first Ph.D. in computer science,”.

Raj Singh continued, “This proud legacy of innovation continues with Penn Engineering’s AI program, which will produce engineers that can leverage this powerful technology in a way that benefits all humankind.”.

Under the guidance of George J. Pappas, UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation and a recent inductee into the National Academy of Engineering, the program aspires to mold students into leaders who will navigate the AI revolution with innovation and social responsibility.

The coursework, rich in machine learning, computing algorithms, data analytics, and robotics, promises a comprehensive education in AI engineering. This should provide a rich environment for both learning and future research/development.

Classes will commence in the state-of-the-art Amy Gutmann Hall, a new addition to Penn Engineering that serves as a nexus for data science. This facility not only enhances the university’s educational and research capabilities but also signifies Penn Engineering’s commitment to advancing AI development.

The University stated that the B.S.E in Artificial Intelligence program is set to begin in fall 2024, with application processes outlined for both existing University of Pennsylvania students and prospective students.

With this move, likely, other universities, both within and outside of the Ivy League will likely look toward AI as a new avenue to educate and train the future workforce of our planet.

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