UT San Antonio introduces dual degree program for AI and medicine
by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | September 25, 2023
UT San Antonio and UT Health San Antonio have created the first dual U.S. degree program in medicine and AI.
The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio have created the first dual degree for medicine and AI in the U.S. to provide medical students with the training they need to use this technology once they become physicians.
In addition to their M.D. at UT Health San Antonio, students will receive a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence from UTSA as part of the five-year M.D./M.S. program. They will have their choice of three tracks in the program: data analytics, computer science, and intelligent and autonomous systems. The last of these will train students on theory and applications, and all the tracks will enable them to use and learn about developing applications in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and electrical and computer engineering.
They will also work with professors in the MATRIX: The UTSA AI Consortium for Human Well-being, a research-intensive environment focused on developing sustainable and comprehensive AI solutions.
“I believe the future of healthcare will require a physician to navigate the technical and clinical sides of medicine. While in the program, the experience opened my mind to the many possibilities of bridging the two fields,” said Aaron Fanous, a fourth-year medical student who was accepted into the program for the fall of 2023 and is expected to graduate in the spring of 2024.
Discussions about forming a multidisciplinary program began in 2019, with a pilot unveiled in 2021 for UT Health San Antonio medical students. Those who are accepted must take a leave of absence from their medical education to complete two semesters of AI classes at UTSA, which together include 30 credit hours. Nine credit hours will be in core courses, including an internship; 15 in a degree concentration; and six as part of a capstone project.
Prospective students must first be accepted into the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Long School of Medicine and complete one year of medical school there before applying for dual enrollment at UTSA. Current third-year medical students in good academic standing can apply beginning in the spring of 2024.
“Through a combined curriculum of medicine and AI, our graduates will be armed with innovative training as they become future leaders in research, education, academia, industry, and healthcare administration,” said Dr. Ronald Rodriguez, director of the M.D./M.S. in AI program and professor of medical education at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Accepted students will begin attending the MSAI program at UTSA in the fall as part of a small group in their medical school class.
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