Houston Community College became the first community college system in Texas to offer both associate and bachelor's degrees in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics in late 2023, said Samir Saber, dean of the Digital & Information Technology Center of Excellence.

In addition, HCC is only the second community college institution in the nation to offer such a program, and it did so shortly after Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona did so in October, Saber said. HCC will soon be expanding its lab space for the program.

What’s happening?

HCC was also the first to launch its bachelor's in applied technology degree in artificial intelligence and robotics in Texas.

“States such as California, Florida and Washington are launching several bachelor's degrees through their community colleges, and they have been proven to be very effective in helping underserved communities and bringing a positive financial impact to society," Saber said.

This follows the 2020 launch of the first associate of applied science degree in artificial intelligence in Texas.

Zooming in

Saber said the following companies are just some of the partner companies in the program with HCC:
  • Amazon Web Services provided material from their Machine Learning University, equipment/academic resources and advisory support, and also supported HCC’s annual AI conference.
  • Intel supports HCC with academic resources and advisory support and has also supported the AI conference. The company has been highlighting student successes—HCC won Intel's first Global AI Impact competition in 2022. .
  • NVIDIA has supported HCC with equipment and academic resources.
  • Apple has supported HCC through its Community Education Initiative and Racial Equity and Justice Initiative by funding equipment, faculty, staff and instructional support.
  • Microsoft supports HCC through an advisory board, with guest speakers, faculty support and scholarships.
  • Google provides advisory support and academic resources.
AI and robotics programs are offered around the west side of Houston at HCC locations, Saber said.
  • Robotics: The HCC West Loop Campus is the primary location for the robotics program.
  • Robotics: Some courses are also offered at the Stafford and Katy campuses.
  • AI: HCC has an AI laboratory at the West Loop campus.
  • AI: Another lab is located at the Stafford campus.
  • AI: Two other labs are being built at Coleman College in the Texas Medical Center.
By the numbers

Saber said the programs are gaining momentum. The current enrollment numbers are as follows:
  • 3 recent graduates
  • 6 students transitioning from the associate program to the bachelor’s degree
  • 254 students enrolled in the associate program