The University of Southampton

MSc Artificial Intelligence (1 year full-time)

Our research led MSc in Artificial Intelligence covers the fundamental aspects of traditional symbolic and sub-symbolic aspects. This one year degree offers wide-ranging options including intelligent agents, complexity science, computer vision, robotics and machine learning techniques and helps develop a broad skill set suitable for further study or application development.

Introducing your degree

Develop core data analysis skills and explore both traditional and state-of-the-art aspects of artificial intelligence and machine learning.


This research-led MSc takes a contemporary approach and covers the fundamental aspects of traditional symbolic and sub-symbolic aspects.

The programme will give you a solid awareness of the key concepts of artificial intelligence. You will also learn the techniques that form the current basis of machine learning and data mining. You will develop a wide-ranging skill set that supports further study or that you can use in application development.

As a result of the leading research being undertaken at Southampton, the course is able to offer a wide range of options that cover state-of-the-art modern techniques, which directly reflect research directions in ECS. These include:

  • intelligent agents
  • complexity science
  • computer vision
  • robotics
  • machine learning techniques, such as kernel methods and support vector machines

View the programme specification document for this course

Programme Structure

The programme has been designed to maximise student choice by allowing you to tailor the structure to suit your own interests. You can choose areas that reflect your personal interests and work on an individual project. You will however, also take a number of compulsory modules to ensure you are exposed to key topics in all areas.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. Visit how to apply for more information. Please note that we belong to the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (FPSE).

Key Facts

Southampton University has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology of the past 10 years

We are in the top 10% in the UK for the volume and quality of our Computer Science research (REF 2014)

100% of our Computer Science research impact is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)

We have been ranked in the UK top ten for Computer Sciences for over ten years by the Guardian University Guide

Southampton is ranked in the top 51-100 universities for Computer Science in the 2016 QS World Rankings

We are one of only 13 universities recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the UK Government and our academics are playing a leading role in establishing a European Data Science Academy

We are number one in the UK for graduate prospects in Computer Science in the Complete University Guide 2017

"ECS has great research staff, advanced experimental facilities, and I had such a good supervisor that I decided to stay here to do my PhD in Computer Science"

Jia Bi

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Honours Degree:

Our normal entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree or higher (or equivalent) in a related discipline, such as mathematics, physics, engineering or computer science.

English Language Requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each competency. For information on other accepted English language tests, please visit

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office website

Selection process:

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.


Career Opportunities

This programme provides an excellent platform for further research in either industry or academia.

Graduates from our MSc programme are employed worldwide in leading companies at the forefront of technology.  ECS runs a dedicated careers hub which is affiliated with over 100 renowned companies like IBM, ARM, Microsoft Research, Imagination Technologies, Nvidia, Samsung and Google to name a few.

  • Academia
  • Bioinformatics
  • Chemoinformatics
  • Financial services
  • Web applications

Visit our careers hub for more information.

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

Approved CalculatorsCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
TextbooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.

Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and Photocopying CostsIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Pre-course Reading List

People on the MSc come from a variety of backgrounds, however you are expected to have some numerate and mathematical ability, and exposure to programming is strongly desirable. Many key modules require some programming aspects and it will help if you are familiar with at least the basics. A useful tool in AI and machine learning is MATLAB, which is a professional mathematical language. It is available at the university, but expensive to buy a single license. We therefore do not expect you to do this, however there is an open source package Octave for which the language and basic functionality is very similar. Some exposure to this before you start may help you out a little in some of the courses (and it is not a bad skill to have in any case!).

Refreshing some linear algebra and basic probability aspects would also help you when you start, as unsurprisingly these are some of the common mathematical tools which are used in the field. No experience of AI or machine learning is necessary, however a good idea of both disciplines could be gained from the following two books, and these are thus recommended (The Foundations of AI course uses the first, and the ‘Advanced Machine Learning’ course which everyone is strongly encouraged to take uses the second):

  • Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Stuart Russel, Peter Norvig; Pearson Education; 2 edition; ISBN-10: 0130803022, ISBN-13: 978-0130803023
  • Pattern Recognition and Machine, by Christopher M. Bishop; Springer-Verlag New York Inc.; New Ed edition; ISBN-10: 0387310738, ISBN-13: 978-0387310732


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