AI program offered at Oshawa’s Trent University means artificial intelligence “not going away”


Published January 22, 2024 at 3:50 pm

The benefits – and the potential dangers – of a future filled with artificial intelligence has been the subject of often heated discussion in recent years and while the moral ambiguity of AI is up for debate the demand for more information on the subject is not.

Trent University’s Durham campus in Oshawa is trying to meet the demand for that knowledge with artificial intelligence training programs, starting with a new postgraduate certificate in Applied Artificial Intelligence that will launch in September.

The new certificate will be offered exclusively at the Oshawa campus and can be completed in as little as eight months, declared a statement from the university.

“As a truly interdisciplinary campus, with a focus on experiential and community-based learning, Trent Durham provides the ideal backdrop for students to learn about AI and its various applications from a number of different perspectives,” explained Trent University Durham GTA Dean Dr. Scott Henderson. “Durham Region, as a Top 7 Intelligent Community, has an increasing need for professionals knowledgeable of AI. Students in this program are studying right where they need to be – in a place full of opportunities post-graduation.”

Students in the program will study at the brand-new Trent Durham Advanced Learning Centre in downtown Oshawa and will explore AI from various perspectives including Computer Science, Mathematics, Business Administration, Media Studies and Philosophy.

Through this program, which is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree from an accredited university, students will learn the fundamental concepts of AI, including basic computer programming, algorithms of machine learning, statistics, information systems, as well as the history, ethics, social, and political implications of AI.

Featured courses include the Philosophy of AI, Human-Computer Interaction, Financial Econometrics, and Programming for Computer Science.

The certificate program has the advantages of interdisciplinary training and quick development for people from diverse backgrounds, said Trent Durham Associate Dean Dr. Wenying Feng, who added that students will learn from professors from various programs to “deepen their understanding” of AI’s relevance across multiple sectors.

“Our students will be well trained on theoretical foundation and programming skills, as well as experiential learning opportunities throughout their studies, including applications of AI tools and technologies to information systems,” she said. “Hands-on projects will allow students to focus on their own passions and fields as they develop creative solutions for inefficiencies within their profession.”

After graduation students will have the skills necessary to implement AI into their discipline, giving them a competitive edge in the job market, or they can continue their studies on any AI-related subject that interests them, added Henderson.

“AI is here, and not going away, so those equipped to best understand AI and its impacts will be the ones positioned to benefit from it and help develop it in meaningful and positive ways.”

The new certificate in Applied Artificial Intelligence will also be offered as a dual postgraduate certificate, in combination with Financial Analytics. The dual certificate, which also launches in September, can be completed in 20 months and international students who complete the dual certificate may be eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit.

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