New Master’s Degree Applies AI to Product Innovation

Duke Engineering master's students in class discussion

Increases in computing power, storage capacity and research funding are fueling a dramatic evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and expanding the field beyond university research and large tech companies.  In every industry, from biomedical to aerospace, engineering teams are integrating AI into products and systems. 

Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering is launching a new graduate degree program to address the talent gap created by this remarkable growth. Beginning in fall 2021, Duke Engineering’s Master of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence for Product Innovation will equip early-career engineers and scientists with the skills to bring artificial intelligence innovation to product and service development. 

The degree can be completed within 12 months, and is expected to attract early-career engineers and scientists from diverse fields

Duke Engineering’s world-class machine-learning research, strong interdisciplinary environment, and close industry relations uniquely position the school to prepare high-potential future AI leaders.

“The strength of Duke’s reputation in AI and Machine Learning, combined with the focus on applying these technologies to solve the world’s challenges in healthcare, retail, energy and beyond, make Duke the logical choice for someone interested in pursuing education in this space,” said Tarun Thapar, senior product manager-personalization with Wayfair and 2015 Duke engineering master’s graduate.

The new program is guided by a cross-departmental steering committee of faculty experts in the theory and application of AI, together with an advisory board of AI leaders from diverse industries to ensure the program continues to evolve along with industry needs.

The program’s director, Jon Reifschneider, joined Duke from the analytics company DTN, where he was senior vice president overseeing development of advanced predictive analytics products upon which major U.S. energy and transportation providers rely. Reifschneider’s background gives him an excellent vantage point on the value of the new degree program.

Tarun ThaparThe strength of Duke’s reputation in AI and Machine Learning, combined with the focus on applying these technologies to solve the world’s challenges in healthcare, retail, energy and beyond, make Duke the logical choice for someone interested in pursuing education in this space."

Tarun Thapar, '15
senior product manager-personalization for Wayfair
What Tech Leaders are Saying »

“What sets our new AI for Product Innovation program apart is the unique combination of education in AI theory and implementation coupled with a strong focus on hands-on learning about applications of AI within industries such as health care and energy,” he said.  “We designed our curriculum from the ground up with significant input from industry partners and structured our novel core course sequence around the product development process, providing students a strong foundation in the technical aspects of AI but also an understanding of the business, legal and ethical context in which the technology is applied. Our students complete their experience with a two-semester industry capstone project, enabling them to gain deep experience in applying AI within their field of interest.”

The new program can be completed within 12 months and is expected to attract early-career engineers and scientists from diverse fields who want to leverage AI to make a greater impact in their industry. It is, however, also accessible to participants from technical fields who may not have an extensive prior computing background. Through the course of the program, students will develop a strong understanding of both the theory and hands-on implementation of machine learning and AI. 

Online students will have access to the same faculty and courses as Duke students on campus

In addition to the full-time on-campus master’s program, Duke Engineering is launching an online version of the degree. Professionals who want to continue working while pursuing graduate education will have access to the same faculty and courses as students in the on-campus equivalent. 

“We are seeing significant growth in demand among working professionals for online education in major interdisciplinary technology areas such as AI,” said Jeff Glass, the senior associate dean for education and learning innovation at Duke Engineering.  “We have responded to this high level of interest through the introduction of online versions of our new master’s programs in AI, Financial Technology (FinTech), and Cybersecurity, which offer flexibility while preserving the same intimate, tailored, world-class educational experience valued by our on-campus students.”

The Duke Master of Engineering in AI for Product Innovation program is now accepting applications for August 2021.

Learn more and apply