The innovative new programme will open up the field of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to students from non-STEM backgrounds.
The MSc in Data Science and AI by conversion programme, which launches in September 2020, will break new ground as unlike existing degrees that require learners to have a background in STEM education, the programme is open to students from varied academic disciplines.
Funding for the programme was awarded by the UK Office for Students (OfS) as part of an Institute of Coding (IoC) consortium bid to develop new postgraduate conversion courses in AI and data science. The OfS initiative was announced in June 2020, in response to the shortage of data science and AI specialists in the UK, a concern brought to light in the UK Government’s 2017 Digital Strategy.
The funding will also create scholarship opportunities for under-represented students to help address the lack of diversity in the AI and data science workforce, an issue highlighted in the UK Government’s AI Sector Deal.
To support students from under-represented groups to access and participate in studies at postgraduate level, Queen Mary will offer 23 scholarships over three academic years, amounting to £10,000 each to eligible students.
As part of the programme, a series of ‘bootcamps’- a participatory learning environment that accelerates the learning process through blended learning concepts, iterative learning approaches and challenging problem solving- will help students from non-STEM backgrounds to acquire skills in Computer Science, programming or statistics before moving on to apply them in learning specialist AI techniques.
Isobel Bates, Institute of Coding Project Manager at Queen Mary University of London, said: "We are delighted to receive funding from the OfS to create this important new programme and offer an opportunity for a more diverse group of learners to gain essential digital skills, who will in turn address the needs of our future work place and society. We actively encourage female, black and disabled graduates, learners who are under-represented in AI and data science, to apply for our conversion programme at Queen Mary University of London and consider a future in this area."
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