The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently approved artificial intelligence (AI) degree programs at Rose State College, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. The programs are the first undergraduate AI degrees offered in the state.

“These degree programs are a great leap forward in our commitment to innovation in education and will position Oklahoma to be a leader in AI,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “AI is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially academics. I’m proud of the Board of Regents for ensuring Oklahoma’s higher ed students do more than just keep pace, they’ll lead the AI revolution.”

“AI is going to create pathways for every student to have a personalized education,” said Secretary of Education Nellie Sanders. “Students deserve a dynamic educational environment where everyone can realize their potential. I’m excited that university students will now have the opportunity to take a deeper look at AI and all of its applications here in Oklahoma.”

Many state system institutions have offered AI courses for some time, and growth in the field makes degree programs the next logical progression. SWOSU and OU were approved to offer the Bachelor of Science in artificial intelligence. Rose State will offer an Associate in Science in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The new degrees will be available via traditional and electronic delivery.

“Given its transformative impact on business operations, AI is rapidly emerging as a vital employment sector,” said State Regents Chair Jack Sherry. “New career opportunities in areas like machine learning, data science, robotics and AI ethics are driving demand for AI expertise, and Oklahoma’s state system colleges and universities are answering the call.”

Growing demand for AI programs is fueled by the widespread adoption of machine learning technology across various industries, including health care, finance, manufacturing and aerospace. In Oklahoma, more than 19,000 jobs currently require AI skills, with median annual earnings of nearly $106,000. The number of AI-related positions in our state is expected to increase 21% over the next 10 years.

“AI capabilities and applications in education and business are evolving quickly, and Oklahoma public higher education is at the forefront of this changing landscape,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “Ours was the first system in the nation to establish a statewide committee focused on AI impacts in higher education. The goal is to equip our institutions to remain on the leading edge of the AI field and produce the skilled graduates required to meet our state’s current and future AI workforce needs.”

Garrett represents Oklahoma on the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) Commission on Artificial Intelligence in Education. The commission is reviewing research and industry data to develop recommendations to assist SREB states in leading the use of AI in teaching and learning at the K-12 and postsecondary education levels, developing related policies for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and preparing students for AI careers.