Penn announces first AI undergrad degree in the Ivy League

The University of Pennsylvania introduced a new bachelor's degree program in artificial intelligence, the first in the Ivy League, it claims.
students walking
University students walk on pedestrian road near University of Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

The University of Pennsylvania introduced a new bachelor’s degree program in artificial intelligence on Tuesday, making it the first of its kind among Ivy League universities. 

The university decided to launch the new degree due to the rapid rise of generative AI creating an “urgent need” for engineers who understand the technology and can apply those skills in a responsible and ethical way, according to a press release.

“Inventive at its core, Penn excels at the cutting edge,” Penn interim President J. Larry Jameson said in the announcement. “Data, including AI, is a critical area of focus for our strategic framework…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 of humanity.”  

The new program was named for Raj and Neera Singh, who co-founded the private investment firm Telcom Ventures and also provided initial funding to support leadership, faculty and infrastructure for the new degree 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,” Raj Singh said in a statement. “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.” 

The coursework for the new AI degree program aims to provide students with high-level coursework in machine learning, computing algorithms, data analytics and advanced robotics, the release said. Professor George J. Pappas will lead the program. 

The program will welcome its first cohort of students beginning in the fall of 2024, which will consist of existing Penn students who would like to transfer into the program. The university is planning on expanding the program and opening it to new students during the fall of 2025.

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