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Northwestern MS in AI vs. JHU MSE in CS  

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  1. 1. which school should I go?

    • Northwestern MS in Artificial Intelligence
    • Johns Hopkins MSE in Computer Science

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I'll be starting my master's this upcoming Fall and having a hard time deciding which school to attend. Here are some information about two schools that I'm considering.



Johns Hopkins


Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence

Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Science


Evanston, IL

Baltimore, MD

Cost of living

Evanston/Chicago's cost of living is little higher


Academic system

Quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Semester (Fall, Spring, Summer)


Similar tuition rate


No funding available from the department. However, I can look for TA positions in lower-level courses.


5 quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

3 semesters (Fall, Spring, Fall)

AI/NLP faculty

Big names. Ex. Ken Forbus, Kristian Hammond

There is no NLP-specific lab

Quite a lot of NLP papers published and two NLP-specific labs


All AI-related courses. No algorithms, theory, systems and software courses, which I think is both pro & con.

can & must take most CS courses (Theory, Applications, Systems, Software, and Reasoning)


MSAI is more of industry focused program rather than academia. So an emphasis on thesis seems very weak. But I guess it's up to me to contact a professor to conduct a research and write a thesis. No restriction on this by the program.

Graduation requirements include:

  1. 2 additional (graduate-level) courses in Computer Science, approved by their CS advisor.
  2. An original, faculty-approved master’s essay, submitted to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library.
  3. A faculty-supervised research project including an approved project report that will be made publicly available.  For students enrolled in the PhD program, a PhD qualifying project may be used to meet this requirement.
A student must fulfill one of these requirements and I think I can use #2 or #3 to write a thesis.

Class size

40 students per cohort

Not sure about the exact cohort size, but expecting the size to be larger than NW's

Things to consider as I'm planning to pursue Ph.D. in the future

MSAI's program overview is somewhat clear that the program prepares its students to become a part of the industry rather than of academia. However, as I mentioned earlier, I'm planning to get my Ph.D. later on. So, I'm wondering if the program's purpose might hinder my plan for any reason.

Because this is a Master's in CS, I will be taking most of general CS courses. However, I wish to focus on AI rather than taking general CS courses. On the other hand, when applying for Ph.D. I think having those CS background will be beneficial.

Based on the information above, Is there anyone who can provide any thoughts on my concern? Thanks a lot in advance!

Edited by NLP2021
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