MSc Artificial Intelligence (2 years)

The course

Course type
Entry date


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MSc Artificial Intelligence (2 years) is a two-year conversion programme. It has been created to provide the perfect stepping stone for students aiming for a career in artificial intelligence, who may not be coming directly from a computing background

This two year programme offers an opportunity for students looking to transition to a new career path in artificial intelligence (AI), who may be coming from a background outside computing. Whether your experience lies in psychology, linguistics, science, technology or the arts, this pathway programme is a rare opportunity to become well-versed in the advanced, challenging field of AI. 

The programme aims to provide intensive and high-quality preparatory graduate and postgraduate education in artificial intelligence, all within just two years. The collective programme will be taught by a variety of traditional and innovative means, making use of applied topical material relevant to research and industry. This will create a supply of robustly prepared postgraduates with skills relevant to research and industrial applications of AI, in the UK and internationally. Computer Science at Heriot-Watt is ranked 6th in Scotland by The Complete University league tables (2021).

September 2024 entry

The deadline for applications from UK students is 30 August 2024. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 2 August 2024.

Course content

The two year MSc in Artificial Intelligence is a full-time postgraduate programme comprising two stages in two successive years.

Year 1

4 courses are taken in each of 2 semesters in Year 2 and normally include all core courses.

Core courses

  • Software Engineering Foundations (Semester 1)
  • Introduction to Interaction Design (Semester 1)
  • Artificial intelligence and Intelligent Agents (Semester 1)
  • Advanced Software Engineering (Semester 2)

Optional courses

  • Databases and Information Systems (Semester 1)
  • Research Preparation in English I (Semester 1)
  • Statistical Modelling and Analysis (Semester 1)
  • Introduction to Natural Language Processing (NLP) (Semester 1)
  • Project Management (Semester 2)
  • Operating Systems and Concurrency (Semester 2)
  • Advanced Interaction Design (Semester 2)
  • Research Preparation in English II (Semester 2)
  • Software Engineering Master Class (Semester 2)

Year 2

4 courses are taken in each of 2 semesters in Year 2 and normally include all core courses.

Core courses

  • Biologically Inspired Computation (Semester 1)
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning (Semester 1)
  • Research Methods and Project Planning (Semester 2)

Optional courses

  • 3D Graphics and Animation (Semester 1)
  • Human Robot Interaction (Semester 1)
  • Industrial Programming (Semester 1)
  • Intelligent Robotics (Semester 1)
  • Big Data Management (Semester 2)
  • Computer Games Programming (Semester 2)
  • Conversational Agents and Spoken Language Processing (Semester 2)
  • Data Visualisation and Analytics (Semester 2)
  • e-Commerce Technology(Semester 2)

After semester 2, students continue full-time on the MSc project from May until August. It is assessed by a 15000 word dissertation on a challenging practical problem in this subject area.

Entry requirements

Admission requires a good honours degree at UK 2:2 level (minimum), with evidence of numeracy and familiarity with a programming language.

This programme is designed for students with a non-Computer Science background who would benefit from a foundational year to help them to make a successful transition into AI, and therefore students will only be recruited into Year 1 of this programme.

There is no direct entry into Year 2 of this programme.

English language requirements

Important: If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 (with no component under 6.0).

We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master's programme:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time
UK £10600
Overseas £24496


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional fees information

Year 2 - Tuition fees
Status Full-time
UK tbc
Overseas tbc

Please note that fees are payable for each year of this two year MSc. Fees for Year 2 are not yet confirmed.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.