Several Oklahoma universities, colleges to offer artificial intelligence degree programs


Oklahoma is taking proactive steps to ensure its students are well-prepared for the evolving workforce dominated by artificial intelligence (AI).

Recently, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced plans for AI undergraduate degree programs at several institutions. The University of Oklahoma and Southwestern Oklahoma State University will offer bachelor’s degrees in AI, while Rose State College will introduce an associate’s degree in AI and machine learning. These programs will be accessible through both traditional in-person classes and online courses.

Governor Kevin Stitt expressed enthusiasm for these initiatives, noting their potential to establish Oklahoma as a leader in AI education. He emphasized the transformative impact of AI across various sectors, including academia, and highlighted the state’s commitment to ensuring its higher education system remains at the forefront of technological innovation.

Currently, Oklahoma faces a growing demand for AI skills, with over 19,000 jobs in the state requiring such expertise, boasting median annual earnings nearing $106,000. The state anticipates adding 4,000 new AI-related positions over the next decade.

While these programs mark Oklahoma’s first foray into undergraduate AI education, similar degrees have been available nationwide since 2018. Institutions like Carnegie Mellon University pioneered undergraduate AI education, prompting other schools across the country to follow suit.

The introduction of these AI degrees aligns with broader efforts in Oklahoma to promote digital literacy and AI proficiency. Earlier this year, the state partnered with Google’s Grow with Google initiative to offer free AI Essentials courses aimed at enhancing productivity through responsible AI utilization.

The surge in AI education reflects its increasing integration into diverse industries such as healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. A 2023 Census Bureau survey revealed that over half of large companies in the US utilize AI, underscoring its critical role in modern business operations.

Jack Sherry, Chair of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, emphasized the burgeoning demand for AI expertise in fields like machine learning, data science, robotics, and AI ethics. He affirmed Oklahoma’s state colleges and universities’ readiness to meet this demand by preparing students for lucrative career opportunities in the AI sector.

Details regarding the exact commencement of these degree programs for students have not yet been finalized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.