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Best Doctorates in Machine Learning: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salaries

Danel Redelinghuys - May 29, 2022


If you want to take your career in machine learning to the next level, you might be considering enrolling in one of the best PhDs in machine learning. However, it can be hard to figure out which program is right for you, how to fulfill all the requirements, or how to secure the right funding opportunities so you can continue your education in this field.

This comprehensive guide will look at the best options for a machine learning PhD, both in-person and online. We’ll also discuss the best machine learning jobs and how to get them with this type of degree, as well as the average PhD in machine learning salary you can earn upon graduation.

What Is a PhD in Machine Learning?

A PhD in machine learning is a research-intensive degree program that helps students further their education in machine learning. A machine learning PhD is a doctorate degree that involves coursework, qualifying exams, and oral examinations. Professors and members of faculty also work closely with students to help them develop a strong dissertation throughout their degree program.

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Students interested in pursuing a PhD in machine learning should have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. They also need to have completed a master’s degree , or commit to completing it along the way.

How to Get Into a Machine Learning PhD Program: Admission Requirements

The admission requirements to get into a machine learning PhD program typically include filling out an application form and submitting an application fee, academic transcripts from your undergraduate degree, two to three recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, GRE scores, a resume, writing sample, and English proficiency test scores for international students.

Each school’s website will have a detailed breakdown of all the requirements needed for the application process. Some schools may require you to pay an application fee, have a minimum GPA score, and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), although most schools have waived this requirement until 2023.

You will need two or three recommendation letters for your PhD application. The recommendation letter should be from faculty members and colleagues familiar with your work. Part of the application process is a statement of purpose, which is an essay that should tell the admission committee why you want to pursue a PhD in Machine Learning.

PhD in Machine learning Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • Application fee
  • College transcripts
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (varies)
  • Two to three recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • GRE scores
  • Resume
  • Writing sample
  • English proficiency test (only for non-native English speakers)

Machine Learning PhD Acceptance Rates: How Hard Is It to Get Into a PhD Program in Machine Learning?

It is hard to get into a PhD program in machine learning. Prestigious schools are usually very selective and have a low admission rate ranging between four and 30 percent. For example, Harvard University has an admission rate of  four percent, so make sure you prepare a strong application and have a high GPA if you want to get into Harvard or another highly-reputable university.

However, not all PhD programs are extremely selective. For instance, institutions in the University of California system have higher acceptance rates, such as 34.4 percent. To improve your chances of acceptance, you can ask a friend or mentor to look over your PhD application. You should also apply to more than one program.

How to Get Into the Best Universities

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Best PhDs in Machine Learning: In Brief

School Program Online Option
Carnegie Mellon University PhD in Machine Learning No
Georgia Institute of Technology PhD in Machine Learning No
Harvard University PhD in Computer Science No
Northwestern University PhD in Computer Science and Learning Sciences No
Tulane University PhD in Computer Science No
University of California Irvine PhD in Computer Science No
University of California San Diego PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science No
University of Pennsylvania PhD in Computer and Information Science No
University of Texas at Arlington PhD in Computer Science No
University of Washington PhD in Machine Learning and Big Data No

Best Universities for Machine Learning PhDs: Where to Get a PhD in Machine Learning

The best universities for machine learning PhDs include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech, and University of Washington. These schools can help you earn your machine learning PhD. If you’re wondering where you can get a PhD in machine learning, the list below discusses 10 excellent programs, along with their essential details.

1

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburg, PA

Carnegie Mellon University was founded in 1900. It is known for its high-quality graduate programs in engineering, artificial intelligence (AI), and computer science. There are about 29 graduate degree programs offered at Carnegie Mellon University’s graduate school. Students and faculty conduct open and restricted research in four main areas, including AI, learning sciences, robotics, and neuroscience.

PhD in Machine Learning

The PhD in Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University requires students to take six core courses and one elective course. This research-focused degree program requires students to present and defend a thesis by the end of the program.

During this program, students need to work as teaching assistants for two semesters and will complete a presentation to show adequate presentation skills to the Speaking Skills committee. Common courses for this program include an introduction to machine learning, intermediate statistics, and regression analysis.

PhD in Machine Learning Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Tuition and Fees: $645/unit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, scholarships, and grants

PhD in Machine Learning Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • College transcripts
  • GRE (recommended)
  • TOEFL (for international applicants)
  • Recommendation letters
  • High level of knowledge in computer science and math

2

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Georgia Institute of Technology is a reputable university founded in 1885. It is known for its excellent STEM majors, of which 86 percent of students are enrolled. It offers many graduate degree programs to its 25,011 graduate students, but the most well-known programs are in electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering.

PhD in Machine Learning

The PhD in Machine Learning at Georgia Institute of Technology will teach you excellent machine learning techniques through machine learning courses. Students need to complete four core courses, five elective courses, responsible conduct of research course, and three doctoral minors.

Typical courses for this PhD program include machine learning theory and methods, advanced theory, and computing and optimization. This program consists of many research hours and requires PhD students to complete the defense of a dissertation. Students also need to complete a qualifying exam.

PhD in Machine Learning Overview

  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 21%
  • Tuition and Fees: $586/credit (in state); $1,215/unit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Federal loans, private loans, federal work-study program

PhD in Machine Learning Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • College transcripts
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • IELTS minimum score of 7.5 or higher for non-native speakers
  • TOEFL minimum score of 100 or higher for non-native speakers
  • GRE (optional)

3

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is a highly reputable and well-known private research university founded in 1636. It currently has about 33,276 students enrolled in undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and certificate programs. Harvard University has 12 graduate schools and a fantastic faculty, of which members have received Nobel prizes in chemistry, medicine, physics, literature, peace, and economic sciences.

PhD in Computer Science

The machine learning PhD program at Harvard University teaches students about the interaction of computation with the world and computation fundamentals. Students will work with highly-rated faculty members conducting research in programming languages, machine learning, and artificial intelligence during this excellent program. As they move through their program, students will learn about connecting computer science to other fields while they interact with lawyers, scientists, and engineers.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%
  • Tuition and Fees: $50,928/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Grants, fellowships, traineeships, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • At least one recommendation letter
  • Statement of purpose
  • Show English proficiency (for non-native English speakers)

4

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University was launched in 1851 and is one of the top research universities in the country. Its more than 50 research centers focus on topics like nanotechnology, neuroscience, biotechnology, and drug discovery.

Currently, Northwestern university has over 13,000 grad students enrolled in its 173 graduate degree and certificate programs. Northwestern University is known for its fantastic business, education, and materials engineering degree programs.

PhD in Computer Science and Learning Sciences

The machine learning PhD program at Northwestern University is research-driven and helps students understand and build a connection between research on computation and learning. Students can choose between many different areas of study, including machine learning and programming language design.

To complete this program, there should be apparent relevance in your research between computer science and the learning science in your field of study, such as machine learning. You must also complete a qualifying exam, research projects, and a PhD dissertation. Courses include Machine Learning, Foundations of Learning Science, and Artificial Intelligence Programming.

PhD in Computer Science and Learning Sciences Overview

  • Program Length: 4-9 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Tuition and Fees: $18,689/quarter for programs with 8 or fewer quarters; $4,672/quarter for more than 8 quarters
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Assistantships, grants, and fellowships

PhD in Computer Science and Learning Sciences Admission Requirements

  • Online application form
  • Application fee
  • Resume
  • Academic transcripts
  • GRE scores (temporarily not required, but still recommended)
  • TOEFL scores (for international applicants)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Two to three recommendation letters
  • Writing sample

5

Tulane University

New Orleans, LA

Tulane University was launched in 1834 and is in the top two percent of research universities in the US. Tulane University conducts research in bio-innovation, health, energy, and the environment. It offers over 200 graduate degrees to over 5,000 grad students.

Students at Tulane University graduate school can pursue PhDs in computer science, environmental health studies, economics, and more. This University offers excellent funding opportunities such as fellowships and stipends.

PhD in Computer Science

The PhD in Computer science at Tulane University is a research-intensive program. Students must conduct research in a specific depth area such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, or data science. Students who specialize in machine learning will research machine learning techniques, theory of applications, machine learning systems, and algorithms.

Topics covered during this graduate program include algorithms, machine learning, and computer networks. Students also need to take three research courses. Students will do a qualifying oral exam during this program, complete a prospectus presentation, and a PhD dissertation in their preferred specialization, such as machine learning.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 4-7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 9.73%
  • Tuition and Fees: $1,831/credit; $35,088/year with 9 credits per semester
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Scholarships, fellowships, and stipends

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • Application fee
  • University transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume
  • GRE test scores
  • TOEFL scores (for international applicants)

6

University of California Irvine

Irvine, CA

University of California Irvine is a public land-grant university established in the 1960s as part of the University of California system. It is a research-focused institution and boasts eight  Nobel Prize winners among its alumni. The graduate school offers over 100 graduate programs. This university offers many different PhDs, including bioengineering, machine learning and data science, and mechanical engineering.

PhD in Computer Science

The PhD in Computer Science at University of California Irvine helps students learn computer science fundamentals and essential machine learning skills. This program involves a research project. Students need to choose a research topic such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, scientific computing, or any other research topic listed on the website.

Students need to complete at least 47 units during their program and maintain a 3.5 GPA. Courses for this degree include Machine Learning, Machine Learning and Data Mining, and Analysis of Algorithms. Before the end of the program, students will complete a candidacy exam, submit a dissertation plan, complete a final exam, and defend their dissertations.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 6-7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 28.96%
  • Tuition and Fees: $18,037/year (in state); $33,139/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Fellowships, graduate employment, research assistantships, and training grants

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • Application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • Academic transcripts
  • English proficiency test scores (for international applicants)

7

University of California San Diego

San Diego, CA

University of California San Diego traces its roots back to 1960 and had its first enrollments in 1964. It offers over 200 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is a research-focused institution that conducts research in a variety of fields, from robotics and climate to microbiomes.

PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science

The PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science program teaches students essential machine learning techniques to help them further or start their careers in machine learning and artificial intelligence . During this graduate program, students need to complete 36 credit hours. They will conduct an in-depth research project, a preliminary exam, and a qualifying exam.

At the end of the PhD, students need to submit and defend a doctoral thesis. They are allowed to consider the faculty and choose a research advisor that fits their research style and goals. The research advisor will support the student through their PhD from start to finish. Courses included in this degree are Linear Algebra & Application, Deep Learning & Applications, Machine Learning for Image Processing, and Statistical Learning.

PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science Overview

  • Program Length: 6-8 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 34.3%
  • Tuition and Fees: $ 11,442/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Fellowships

PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • GRE test scores (recommended)
  • English proficiency test (for international applicants)
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • High school and college transcripts

8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania is a research-driven university based in Philadelphia. It opened its doors to students in 1751. It prides itself on research and encourages students to conduct research during their studies. This university has twelve graduate schools that offer graduate degrees and certificates. Some of the fields for PhD level studies include biochemistry, economics, and materials science and engineering.

PhD in Computer and Information Science

The PhD in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania has a specialization called Machine Learning + X, allowing students to choose machine learning and one other specialization to focus on throughout their programs. For example, you could choose to do a Machine Learning + Computer Architecture specialization.

This degree requires specific courses, a preliminary exam, a teaching assistantship, a defense proposal, a defense of your dissertation, and a submission of your thesis. This PhD will help students gain new machine learning skills and experience in machine learning.

PhD in Computer and Information Science Overview

  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Tuition and Fees: $19,919/year for the first eight semesters; $1,836 flat rate after the first eight semesters
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Fellowships, teacher assistantships, and research assistantships

PhD in Computer and Information Science Admission Requirements

  • Online application form
  • Application fee
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial academic transcripts
  • Three official recommendation letters
  • English proficiency test scores (for international applicants)
  • GRE scores (optional until 2023, but still recommended)

9

University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX

This public research university was established in 1895 and is known for its high-quality doctoral research. University of Texas at Arlington has more than 174 graduate degrees and other graduate study options. New and current students can pursue a PhD in different fields like computer science, civil engineering, and mathematics.

PhD in Computer Science

The PhD in Computer Science offered by University of Texas at Arlington allows students to choose a study track. There are eight options, but students interested in machine learning should choose the intelligent systems track, which covers machine learning methods, neural networks, parallel AI, and more.

Throughout this degree program, students will complete 18 hours of coursework and complete two comprehensive exams, one of which is a dissertation proposal. They will also submit a final dissertation defense before being awarded their PhD.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 4-5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: Not stated
  • Tuition and Fees: $11,044/year (in state); $23,486/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Teacher’s assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, grants, and scholarships

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • College transcripts
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • GRE test scores
  • Three recommendation letters

10

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

University of Washington is a highly reputable school located in Washington that started conducting classes in 1861. It is known for its high-quality research and boasts that seven of its researchers have won Nobel prizes in physics, physiology, and medicine.

New and current students at University of Washington can choose to continue their education with over 300 graduate degree programs offered at its three campuses. This university provides PhDs in physics, mathematics, and machine learning and big data.

PhD in Machine Learning and Big Data

The PhD in Machine Learning and Big Data program at University of Washington teaches students valuable machine learning methods and how to conduct data analysis of big data sets. It will help students build a strong foundation in machine learning and big data methodologies.

Students need to meet the coursework requirements, write a general examination, conduct research to write a dissertation, and meet the credit hour requirement of 90 credits. Courses included in this PhD are Foundational Machine Learning, Advanced Machine Learning, and Advanced Statistical Learning.

PhD in Machine Learning and Big Data Overview

  • Program Length: Up to 10 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 10.58%
  • Tuition and Fees: $6,725/quarter (in state); $11,688/quarter (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Fellowships, internships, and research assistantships

PhD in Machine Learning and Big Data Admission Requirements

  • Application form
  • Application fee
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial academic transcripts
  • Resume
  • GRE scores (optional)
  • Funding application

Can You Get a PhD in Machine Learning Online?

No, you cannot get a PhD in machine learning online. However, you can pursue an online PhD in computer science with a machine learning component such as an online machine learning course or specialization. Many fantastic online computer science PhDs will help you fine-tune your machine learning expertise.

Best Online PhD Programs in Machine Learning

School Program Length
University of North Dakota Online PhD in Computer Science 4-5 years
University of Southern Carolina Online PhD in Computer Science Up to 10 years
Kennesaw State University Online PhD in Computer Science 4-5 years

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Machine Learning?

It takes between four and 10 years to get a PhD in Machine learning. According to Statista, the average time to complete a doctorate degree is seven and a half years. A PhD takes this long to complete because it is research-intensive and involves several stages.

Students need to take required courses and complete coursework in the first two years of a PhD program. Once the coursework is complete, students will write an examination to ensure they have completed all the essential skills and expertise in machine learning.

In the final years of a PhD, students conduct research and write a dissertation which takes between two to five years to finish. Usually, the school will have information on their website regarding the maximum time students have to meet all the PhD requirements.

Is a PhD in Machine Learning Hard?

Yes, a PhD in Machine Learning is hard because it is research-driven. If you decide to pursue a PhD in machine learning, you need to ensure that you are motivated and determined to work hard because this program involves many hours of independent research and writing.

A PhD is also a lengthy degree program that takes a minimum of four years to complete. Don’t let the difficulty of a PhD in machine learning discourage you, though. If you are determined and enjoy researching and learning about machine learning, you will succeed.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a PhD in Machine Learning?

It costs $19,314 annually to get a PhD in Machine Learning , according to the figures from 2019 stated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The total tuition of your machine learning PhD depends on specific factors, including format, location, school, and specialization.

Colleges and universities are usually public or private institutions. Depending on what kind of school you attend, the tuition will differ. The average tuition for a PhD at a public institution is $12,171, while a PhD at a private institution costs $25,929. Search your school’s website or contact it directly to learn about the specific tuition costs of your PhD program.

How to Pay for a PhD in Machine Learning: PhD Funding Options

The funding options that students can use to pay for their PhD in machine learning include research assistantships, teaching assistantships, fellowships, internships, grants, and stipends. These funding options will lighten the financial burden of pursuing a PhD in machine learning.

Some schools offer teaching assistantships to students. You work a certain number of hours per week and receive a stipend or a tuition waiver or discount. A research assistantship is similar to a teaching assistantship, but they have different duties. According to Statista, research assistantships are the most common funding option for doctoral degrees .

Find out directly from your school if there are available paid internships, along with any other funding opportunities for PhD students in machine learning. Some schools award funding opportunities to students nominated by faculty members.

Best Online Master’s Degrees

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What Is the Difference Between a Machine Learning Master’s Degree and PhD?

The difference between a machine learning master’s degree and a PhD is that a PhD is research-intensive and focused, while a master’s degree is more focused on one’s career and may or may not include research for a master’s thesis.

A PhD is the highest degree level that a person can pursue, whereas a master’s degree is one level below. According to Statista, PhD degree holders make more than master’s degree graduates . Upon completing a master’s degree, students can earn an average salary of $92,272, while PhD graduates earn an average salary of $136,702.

Master’s vs PhD in Machine Learning Job Outlook

You can get a job as a computer information research scientist with a master’s degree, which comes with a job outlook of 22 percent . This is much faster than the average job outlook. With a PhD in machine learning, you can get any job in machine learning, but a job that explicitly requires a PhD is a university lecturer.

The job outlook for a machine learning lecturer is 12 percent , according to information cited by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This job outlook is much lower than that of a computer information research scientist. However, 12 percent is still an excellent average growth rate.

Difference in Salary for Machine Learning Master’s vs PhD

There is a significant contrast in earnings between a Machine learning PhD and a Machine learning Master’s degree. Although PayScale does not list the salary of Machine learning graduates specifically, it lists salary information for artificial intelligence, a field closely related to machine learning.

The average salary of an artificial intelligence PhD graduate is $115,000, while an AI master’s degree graduate earns an average salary of $103,000, annually . As you can see, a PhD will get you a very high average annual wage, and your salary can increase depending on your experience, location, and position.

Related Machine Learning Degrees

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Why You Should Get a PhD in Machine Learning

You should get a PhD in machine learning because it will open up new job opportunities, help you earn a higher salary, and allow you to add value to the machine learning industry. If you enjoy doing research, learning new things, and want to earn a higher salary, then a PhD is perfect for you.

Reasons for Getting a PhD in Machine Learning

  • Higher salaries. Earning a PhD ensures that you will get a job with a high-paying salary. A PhD is the highest degree level that you can achieve, and PhD graduates earn a significantly higher salary than associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree holders.
  • Contributing to your professional industry. While completing a PhD, students conduct a lot of original research, broaden their skills and add value to their field. At the end of a PhD, students submit a dissertation, a document that identifies a problem within the industry and presents a solution through research.
  • Enhancing specialized and soft skills. A PhD will help you improve and gain valuable specialized skills and techniques in machine learning, such as statistics and natural language processing. You will also gain excellent soft skills in machine learning, like problem-solving and time management.
  • Increasing job opportunities. Once you earn your PhD, your job opportunities will increase. A PhD will help you get a senior profession, such as a lecturer or senior machine learning engineer. According to PayScale, a senior machine learning engineer earns an annual wage of $153,255 .
  • Gaining valuable knowledge. Due to a PhD’s research-intensive nature, students constantly learn new things and gain valuable knowledge. If you enjoy learning, you should get a PhD because the learning opportunities are endless.

Getting a PhD in Machine Learning: Machine Learning PhD Coursework

Man with black t-shirt fitting a robotic arm onto a man with a blue t-shirt
Machine learning courses required for a PhD in machine learning will teach you essential skills and machine learning techniques.

Getting a PhD in Machine Learning requires taking specific courses to meet the necessary credit hours to graduate from your PhD program. Required courses typically include machine learning, introduction to AI, and statistical learning. Machine learning PhD coursework will help you gain essential machine learning skills and knowledge.

Machine Learning

During the machine learning course, students will learn about the fundamental topics and techniques in machine learning, such as logistic regression, clustering, classifications, deep neural networks, linear models, and support vector machines. This course encourages reinforcement learning by looking at several real-world examples.

Deep Learning

Deep learning is an essential part of machine learning and involves artificial neural networks. The deep learning course will teach students about theoretical and practical aspects of deep learning, including neural networks, optimization algorithms, and structured models.

Statistical Learning

This course will cover modern learning algorithms such as variational approximations, boosting, and support vector machines. While completing the statistical learning course, students will learn about statistical algorithms for data analysis and applications of signal processing. Students should know programming languages to enroll in this course.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

While completing a PhD in machine learning, students will need to complete an Artificial Intelligence course. An Introduction to AI course involves the study of models and theories related to systems that emulate human intelligence. Students will cover Bayesian networks, constraint satisfaction, probabilistic reasoning, and natural language processing.

Analysis of Algorithms

The analysis of algorithms course looks at different efficient algorithms and studies their complexity and correctness. Topics covered include network flow, dynamic programming, and amortized analysis. Students will discuss problems with no solutions and cover all different kinds of algorithms.

Best Master’s Degrees

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How to Get a PhD in Machine Learning: Doctoral Program Requirements

Read the list below to find out how to get a PhD in Machine Learning. There are specific criteria that each student needs to meet before being awarded their degree. Common requirements include the completion of coursework, a research project, and a final thesis.

1

Complete Credit Hours

A machine learning PhD usually requires 40 to 48 credit hours. Students must take about six core courses and one elective course. During the first four semesters of their programs, students need to complete a specific number of credits before the next stage of their PhD.

2

Complete Research Courses

Research is a considerable part of a PhD, so most programs will require students to take one or more responsible conduct of research courses. The responsible conduct of research courses involves seminars and workshops that help students learn the best methods of conducting research. Some research courses involve a project that will help students learn through practice.

3

Conduct a Research Project

Machine learning PhDs will include a research project after completing the required research courses. The research project will be directed by a faculty member and requires students to conduct research and write a report. Students will then present their reports to the PhD committee. Research projects usually focus on a specific topic within machine learning or computer science.

4

Complete the Qualifying Exam

Once students have completed the core course requirements and written their research project, they must complete a qualifying exam which typically includes an oral examination. The PhD committee sets the qualifying exam and is designed to assess whether students are ready to conduct independent research for their PhD thesis.

5

Complete Teaching Practicum

You need to act as a teaching assistant for two semesters in a machine learning course. This is a requirement that only some PhD programs have. The graduate chair and coordinator set the requirements of the teaching practicum.

6

Thesis for PhD in Machine Learning

The PhD thesis requires a few years of research around a specific topic in machine learning. Students research a particular topic, and then they need to present their findings to the PhD committee. The thesis also includes a defense of the dissertation. Usually, students need to submit a thesis draft to the committee for approval before defending it.

Potential Careers With a Machine Learning Degree

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PhD in Machine Learning Salary and Job Outlook

Machine learning PhD graduates earn a highly favorable salary because a PhD is the highest degree level someone can earn. As stated above, PayScale does not list the average salary of a machine learning PhD graduate, but it notes that the average salary of an AI PhD graduate is  $115,000. Artificial intelligence is a field very closely related to machine learning.

The job outlook for a machine learning PhD graduate is between 12 and 22 percent. That is a very favorable job outlook. The BLS has stated that there are approximately 33,000 machine learning jobs each year.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Machine Learning?

With a PhD in machine learning, you can become a computer and information research scientist, a deep learning research engineer, or a computational linguist. Most higher education institutions offer career coaching services that help students prepare for interviews, write resumes, and find jobs. Contact your college to find out whether it offers career services.

Best Jobs with a PhD in Machine Learning

  • Computer and Information Research Scientist
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Deep Learning Research Engineer
  • Professor of Machine Learning
  • Computational Linguist

What Is the Average Salary for a PhD in Machine Learning?

The average salary for a PhD in machine learning is $115,000 per year . This is a high average salary, but it varies based on factors such as experience, location, and job description. The more experience you have and the higher your degree level is, the higher your salary will be. If you decide to become a computer and information research scientist, you can earn an average salary of $131,490. If you are part of the 90th percentile, you can earn more than $208,000 annually .

Highest-Paying Machine Learning Jobs for PhD Grads

Machine Learning PhD Jobs Average Salary
Machine Learning Engineer $112,513
Deep Learning Research Engineer $110,679
Computer and Information Research Scientist $100,384
Professor of Machine Learning $98,500
Computational Linguist $80,330

Best Machine Learning Jobs with a Doctorate

Now that we have looked at all the details about a machine learning PhD and how to become a machine learning engineer , let’s look at the five highest-paying machine learning Jobs for PhD graduates, in detail.

1

Machine Learning Engineer

PhD Salary: $112,513

A machine learning engineer develops artificial intelligence systems that research and create algorithms that use large datasets. These algorithms can learn and make accurate predictions. Machine learning engineers are very skilled at programming, and they use programming languages like Java and Python.

2

Deep Learning Research Engineer

PhD Salary: $110,679

Deep learning research engineers use deep learning platforms to create programming systems that copy brain functions. They do this using neural networks, which have a similar structure to the human brain. These programming systems are designed to learn without the help of humans.

3

Computer and Information Research Scientist

PhD Salary: $100,384

A computer and information research scientist improves and creates computer hardware and software using complex algorithms. They streamline these complex algorithms and enhance system efficiency. Computer and information research scientists' simplified algorithms lead to advancements in machine learning systems and other types of technology.

4

Professor of Machine Learning

PhD Salary: $98,500

Professors of machine learning usually teach students at a university or college. They will teach courses related to a specific field. In this case, they will teach courses related to machine learning. Professors at big institutions may also conduct research and experiments and publish original research. If you enjoy teaching you can become a professor of machine learning.

5

Computational Linguist

PhD Salary: $80,330

Computational linguists are a specific kind of computer scientist. They work with computers and teach computer systems how to understand human languages. They have excellent coding skills because they use programming languages to code. They also conduct computational linguistic research around a specific functional area or product line.

Is a PhD in Machine Learning Worth It?

Yes, a PhD in Machine Learning is worth it. There are many excellent institutions that can help you earn a PhD in Machine Learning while providing valuable support from faculty members. Earning this type of degree can help you further your machine learning career.

If you pursue a PhD in machine learning, you will very likely add value to your industry with the research conducted during your dissertation. Completing a PhD takes many years and is research-intensive but completely worth it if you look at the jobs that use machine learning and the average PhD in Machine learning salary.

Additional Reading About Machine Learning

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PhD in Machine Learning FAQ

What is the cheapest PhD in machine learning?

The cheapest PhD in machine learning is the PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science offered by University of California San Diego. The PhD in Machine Learning and Data Science tuition at University of California San Diego costs $11,442 per year for both residents and non-residents.

What companies hire machine learning PhD graduates?

Many top companies hire machine learning PhD graduates, including Google, Microsoft, Adobe, PayPal, Amazon, IBM, and Duolingo. With a PhD in machine learning, you can land a job at one of these companies and earn a high salary.

Are there remote jobs for machine learning PhD graduates?

Yes, there are many remote jobs available for machine learning graduates. A quick search on websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn can put you in touch with many possible machine learning jobs. Make sure you read the details of each job carefully before you apply.

Can I get a job in machine learning with a bootcamp?

Yes, you can get a job in machine learning with a bootcamp. Bootcamps are short, but they are  intensive and can teach you all the necessary skills to have a successful career in the machine learning industry. There are many excellent machine learning bootcamps to help you start your machine learning career.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Danel Redelinghuys

About the author: Danel is a content writer and English teacher. She has completed education about teaching English as a second language and individualized learning methods. She is eager to share her love for teaching and learning by helping others find their passions and access the tech industry.

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