The University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science introduces its Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) degree, the first undergraduate major of its kind among Ivy League universities and one of the very first AI undergraduate engineering programs in the U.S.
The rapid rise of generative AI is transforming virtually every aspect of life: health, energy, transportation, robotics, computer vision, commerce, learning and even national security. This produces an urgent need for innovative, leading-edge AI engineers who understand the principles of AI and how to apply them in a responsible and ethical way.
“Inventive at its core, Penn excels at the cutting edge,” says Interim President J. Larry Jameson. “Data, including AI, is a critical area of focus for our strategic framework, In Principle and Practice, and this new degree program represents a leap forward for the Penn engineers who will lead in developing and deploying these powerful technologies in service to humanity. We are deeply grateful to Raj and Neera Singh, whose leadership helps make this possible.”
The Raj and Neera Singh Program in Artificial Intelligence equips students to unlock AI’s potential to benefit our society. Students in the program will be empowered to develop responsible AI tools that can harness the full knowledge available on the Internet, provide superhuman attention to detail, and augment humans in making transformative scientific discoveries, researching materials for chips of the future, creating breakthroughs in healthcare through new antibiotics, applying life-saving treatments and accelerating knowledge and creativity.
Raj and Neera Singh are visionaries in technology and a constant force for innovation through their philanthropy. Their generosity graciously provides funding to support leadership, faculty, and infrastructure for the new program.
“Penn Engineering has long been a pioneer in computing and education, with ENIAC, the first digital computer, and the first Ph.D. in Computer Science,” says Dr. Raj Singh, who together with his wife Neera have established the first undergraduate degree program in Artificial Intelligence within the Ivy League. “This proud legacy of innovation continues with Penn Engineering’s AI program, which will produce engineers that can leverage this powerful technology in a way that benefits all humankind.” “We are thrilled to continue investing in Penn Engineering and the students who can best shape the future of this field,” says Neera.
Preparing the next generation of AI engineers
The B.S.E. in Artificial Intelligence curriculum offers high-level coursework in topics including machine learning, computing algorithms, data analytics and advanced robotics.
“The timing of this new undergraduate program comes as AI poses one of the most promising yet challenging opportunities the world currently faces,” says Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering. “Thanks to the generosity of Raj and Neera Singh, Penn Engineering’s B.S.E. in Artificial Intelligence program, we are preparing the next generation of engineers to create a society where AI isn’t just a tool, but a fundamental force for good to advance society in ways previously unimaginable.”
Leading the program will be George J. Pappas, UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation in Penn Engineering. “Realizing the potential of AI for positive social impact stands as one of the paramount challenges confronting engineering,” says Pappas, a 2024 National Academy of Engineering inductee. “We are excited to introduce a cutting-edge curriculum poised to train our students as leaders and innovators in the ongoing AI revolution.”
Ivy League coursework equipping students for the future
The program’s courses will be taught by world-renowned faculty in the setting of Amy Gutmann Hall, Penn Engineering’s newest building. A hub for data science on campus and for the Philadelphia community when it officially opens this year, the state-of-the-art facilities in Amy Gutmann Hall will further transform the University’s capabilities in engineering education, research and innovation as Penn Engineering advances the development of artificial intelligence.
“We are training students for jobs that don’t yet exist in fields that may be completely new or revolutionized by the time they graduate,” says Robert Ghrist, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in Penn Engineering and the Andrea Mitchell University Professor. “In my decades of teaching, this is one of the most exciting educational opportunities I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait to work with these amazing students.”
More details about the AI curriculum and a full list of courses available within the program can be reviewed here.
“Our carefully selected curriculum reflects the reality that AI has come into its own as an academic discipline, not only because of the many amazing things it can do, but also because we think it’s important to address fundamental questions about the nature of intelligence and learning, how to align AI with our social values, and how to build trustworthy AI systems,” says Zachary Ives, Adani President’s Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science in Penn Engineering.
The B.S.E. in Artificial Intelligence program will begin in fall 2024, with applications for existing University of Pennsylvania students who would like to transfer into the 2024 cohort available this fall. Fall 2025 applications for all prospective students will be made available in fall 2024. Visit the new website at ai.seas.upenn.edu.