UAB Introduces AI Programs for Aspiring Students

UAB Introduces AI Programs for Aspiring Students

Students with a passion for artificial intelligence now have a new educational opportunity at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Starting next year, UAB will offer a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine.

This new master's program, recently approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, will begin enrolling students in spring 2025. It is a key component of UAB’s broader initiative to integrate AI into health care.

“By 2025, the UAB School of Medicine aims to have the largest and most comprehensive AI in medicine program globally,” said Dr. Rubin Pillay, assistant dean in the School of Medicine and executive director at the Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation.

Currently, UAB offers a graduate certificate in artificial intelligence in medicine. The new MS program, which has been in development for two years, will expand on the foundation established by the certificate.

Dr. Pillay emphasized that AI’s impact on health care will be transformative. AI applications can enhance workforce retention, reduce health care costs, and improve service quality. He envisions AI aiding health care professionals with what he calls “deep medicine.”

AI-powered imaging software, for instance, can diagnose conditions more accurately than the human eye. “From a chest X-ray, we can diagnose diabetes, cardiovascular risks, and many other medical conditions,” Pillay explained. He noted that AI will enhance the work of radiologists, nurses, and other health care practitioners.

According to a news release, the master’s program will offer practical experience and real-world applications, exploring the intersection of data science, machine learning, and medicine. It will cover the foundations of AI in health care and emerging trends.

In addition to the master’s program, UAB plans to introduce a new graduate certificate in AI for nurses and is developing a doctoral program. The executive doctorate in health leadership will also incorporate AI education.

Dr. Pillay highlighted the importance of ethical and responsible training in AI, particularly when dealing with sensitive patient data. “There is no irresponsible or untrustworthy AI,” he said. “There are only irresponsible and untrustworthy designers and developers.” He emphasized that AI has always been a core focus of the biomedical innovation institute, even before ChatGPT popularized artificial intelligence.

These programs are designed for individuals both within and outside the health care industry. The certificate program is aimed at health care practitioners, the new master’s degree targets data researchers with a STEM background, and the doctorate is intended for health care executives and C-suite professionals.

“If individuals lack the necessary technical prerequisites for the master’s degree, we can help them acquire the skills needed for success,” Pillay added.

For more information, visit UAB’s website or contact Dr. Sandeep Bodduluri, AI in medicine program director, at