A new master’s degree in computer vision at the University of Central Florida to begin this fall will give technology professionals proficiency in a burgeoning field that relies on artificial intelligence to make computers perform complex tasks faster and more accurately than a human.

UCF is the only university in the state, and one of only two nationally, to offer a computer vision master’s degree program. Carnegie Mellon University also offers the degree, but UCF is the only public university to offer it.

Computer vision is a specialized computer science discipline that involves using computers to acquire, process, analyze and understand images, videos, 3D data, and other types of high-dimensional data of the real world. Tasks include everything from mass-crowd counts, facial recognition, surveillance and analysis of lengthy video feeds, to detecting microscopic patterns or anomalies in medical scans.

Rapid advancements in computer science has fueled a need for skilled professionals nationally and worldwide. The job of computer vision engineer was included in Indeed’s most recent Best Jobs in the U.S. report that cited a 116 percent growth in the number of computer vision job postings. And this year, Payscale.com noted computer vision engineers earned an average $116,294 salary.

UCF’s computer science doctoral graduates who specialize in computer vision are often recruited by technology industry giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Netflix.

Students enrolled in the master’s degree program will be able to study and perform research with faculty in the UCF Center for Research in Computer Vision, where groundbreaking advancements in pattern recognition, facial recognition and mass-crowd counts has emerged. The program is designed to offer students numerous hands-on opportunities in research, internships and competitions.

Center students won a worldwide competition in computer vision in 2020 for video tracking and analysis.

The center hosts the nation’s longest-running Research Experience for Undergraduates, a program of the National Science Foundation that attracts undergraduates from around the nation to UCF to perform computer vision research in the summer. The REU in Computer Vision has been offered at UCF for 33 years.

“The world is producing more visual data than ever before so the demand and applications for computer vision are expanding at a rapid pace,” says UCF Trustee Chair Professor Mubarak Shah, director of the Center for Research in Computer Vision. “UCF is well-positioned to offer the master’s degree program with its nationally ranked reputation in computer vision research and strong industry partnerships.”

UCF is ranked 12th in the U.S. in computer vision, according to Computer Science Rankings.

The 30-credit-hour master’s degree program is offered full-time or part-time through the Center for Research in Computer Vision within the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science.  A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or mathematics is the preferred prerequisite but is not required.

The application deadline for fall is July 1.