AI Ethics and Society at University of Cambridge - UCAS

Course summary

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is rapidly developing and is increasingly being applied across sectors, posing significant ethical and societal challenges. The MSt in AI Ethics and Society is devoted to developing leaders who can tackle the hard AI questions that are most relevant for the workplace today, such as issues of privacy, surveillance, justice, fairness, algorithmic bias, misinformation, Big Data, responsible innovation, and more. The MSt in AI Ethics and Society is an academically rigorous part-time programme, drawing together a community of students from a rich mix of professional backgrounds including business, management, policy, technology, design, consultancy, law, communications, and others. The programme will provide students with the critical skills, knowledge and analytical abilities needed to identify and address ethical challenges as they arise in practice from the application of AI. The MSt AI Ethics and Society is developed and taught by the University’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI), a global research centre at the forefront of AI Ethics and impact research, in partnership with the Institute of Continuing Education. As the programme is run by a specialist research centre, rather than a department, the curriculum is uniquely multidisciplinary, informed by up-to-the-minute research developments, and incorporates experts from diverse areas, including philosophy, machine learning, computer science, policy, law, and more. See We are delighted to announce that our Master of Studies in AI Ethics and Society has won the 2022 CogX award for 'Best Course in AI'. Course delivery: We plan to deliver our postgraduate and MSt qualifications in-person in the academic year 2023-24. Applications for the 2023-25 cohort closed on 31 March 2023 and we are unable to consider or accept any late applications. The next application round for the 2024-26 intake is due to open in autumn 2023.


Year 1 Module 1: The Nature and History of AI Aims: To provide students with theoretical, academic and practical understanding of how artificial intelligence has been developed, used and understood historically across different traditions, and how it is being applied in society today. Key areas: ● The technical foundations of AI and the current capabilities and status of the technology ● Current applications of AI across a range of domains and sectors ● The history of AI and its relationship to other disciplines and technologies, including the history of computing and administration ● The nature and measurement of intelligence, and comparisons between human, animal and artificial intelligence Module 2: Ethical and Societal Challenges Aims: To provide students with a comprehensive understanding of key ethical and societal challenges raised by AI, through engagement with the contemporary critical literature and case studies. Key areas: ● Critical discussion of the following themes:

  • Privacy
  • Fairness and equality
  • Safety
  • Accountability
  • Human dignity and autonomy
● The relationship between the near- and long-term challenges of AI ● Comparison of different global perspectives Module 3: Theories and Methods Aims: To increase rigor and depth in understanding and analysing the ethical and societal challenges of AI by introducing students to foundational knowledge, theories and methods in established academic disciplines. Key areas: ● Theories and methods from the following disciplines:
  • Philosophical ethics
  • The history and philosophy of science
  • Literary and cultural studies
  • Social and behavioural sciences
  • Futures studies and foresight methods
  • Critical design studies
Year 2 Module 4: Governing AI Aims: To critically engage with a range of practical approaches to navigating the ethical and societal challenges of AI, including those found in policy, regulation, law, ethics principles, and social action. Key areas: ● Comparison and critical analysis of current AI policy initiatives worldwide ● Overview and critical discussion of different codes of practice and principles for AI ethics, and their implementation ● Critical discussion of methods for ethical impact assessment ● Critical discussion of methods for ethical design ● The role of activism and civil society Module 5: Dissertation Aims: To enable students to apply and develop their learning from Modules 1-4 through an innovative, independent research project in an area relevant to the course, topic and scope to be agreed with the supervisor.

Assessment method

Assessment Assignments on the MSt are divided into two components: the essays, taken as a group, and the dissertation. Students are expected to submit academically rigorous, properly referenced assignments. Guidance on academic writing is offered through the Course Guide and VLE, wider University resources - including within Colleges - and within the first module. As students enter the MSt with differing levels of experience of academic writing, it is expected that students will seek to develop these skills independently as needed, thereafter throughout the programme. The modules are assessed as follows: ● Module 1: 2,000 word essay (8% of final grade) ● Modules 2, 3 and 4: 4,500 word essay each (14% each of final grade) All summative assessment is compulsory. Students will receive continual formative feedback throughout the course using a variety of strategies and techniques, including evidence of regular reflection. In the second year (module 5), students will write a 15,000 word dissertation which accounts for 50% of the final grade.

Entry requirements

Expected academic standard Applicants are normally expected to a hold a 2i degree or higher from a UK university or an equivalent from an overseas university in a relevant subject. If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country. Applicants to the programme are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the English language; students whose first language is not English must be able to satisfy the current English Language Competence requirements of the University’s Board of Graduate Studies in the year in which they apply for admission to the course. Applicants for this course are also expected to have: fluency in written and spoken English language; demonstrable commitment to, and aptitude for, advancing the ethical use of AI in society; and access to appropriate computer technology and internet service to allow for significant online participation, both synchronous and asynchronous; There is provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion. Such applicants must produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course. The structure of the programme allows international students to attend on a Short-term Study Visa, and those in full-time employment, whether in the UK or abroad, to work and study at the same time. Language requirement If English isn’t your first language, you will be required to submit evidence that you meet the University’s English language requirement before you are admitted. Please follow this link for full details of the University Language Requirement: Please note that there are no exceptions to this requirement and, if you are offered a place on the course, it will be subject to you meeting this requirement. Those that have taken previous degrees in English may not fulfil the requirement. Please use the calculator to check if you are required to take a language test. Failure to do could mean that you are not able to join the course. Language requirements for this course are as per the table below: IELTS Academic: Overall band score of 7.5, with no element lower than 7.0 TOEFL Internet: Overall score of 110, with no element lower than 25 CAE: Grade A or B (with at least 193 in each individual element), plus a language centre assessment. CPE: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 in each individual element)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Tuition fee status depends on a number of criteria and varies according to where in the UK you will study. For further guidance on the criteria for home or overseas tuition fees, please refer to the UKCISA website .

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.
AI Ethics and Society at University of Cambridge - UCAS