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'Artificial Intelligence Masters’ Programs - an Analysis of Curricula Building Blocks' is a 2021 report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which tries to identify the essential elements of a Masters' level program in AI by analysing various programs already in place across Europe. In fact, the report analyses 45 postgraduate programs related to the topic of AI from 13 universities in 11 EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden in the EU) and 2 other countries (Switzerland and the United Kingdom). As a closely related and relevant part of Informatics and Computer Science, major AI-related curricula on data science have been also taken into consideration for the analysis.

The report identifies the core topics and competences from disciplines related to AI and links the main building blocks of an AI program to knowledge areas (essential, core, general, and applied). These knowledge areas are then refined into knowledge units and topics to guide the analysis. Some findings include: 

  • Machine learning is the most common topic in AI-related masters' programs. A significant number of master programs analysed are significantly focused on machine learning topics, despite being initially classified in another domain.
  • After machine learning, masters' programs focus on: computer vision, human-computer interaction,  knowledge representation and reasoning; natural language processing; planning, search and optimisation; and robotics and intelligent automation.

Another finding, observed by the report and analysed in detail is the lack of alignment between engineering studies and ICT competences, which are necessary to study AI. More in the full version of the report below. 

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital skills in education.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Education science
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) not further defined
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative
Publication type