Master’s in Robotics and Autonomous Systems Programs

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What are Master’s in Robotics Degrees?

Master’s in Robotics degrees are interdisciplinary programs that intersect computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. People with a Master’s in Robotics work for a range of companies that automate machines, such as self-driving vehicles, manufacturing, and medical devices.

Master’s in Robotics are often provided by various engineering colleges. For example, the Robotics Track program at the University of Utah is offered in three different departments:

  • School of Computing
  • Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering

Most universities, like University of Texas, require core coursework to be taken in multiple departments to ensure a broad, interdisciplinary program. The Texas program is a certification added to a more general Master’s degree. In addition to robotics courses, most programs require programming courses such as Advanced Topics in Computer Vision, advanced mathematics courses similar to Geometry of Mechanisms and Robots, and mechanical engineering courses like Dynamics of Mechanical Systems.

Types of Robotics Graduate Programs

Many universities with strong engineering departments offer a Master’s of Robotics. This is most often its own degree, although sometimes it is a specialization for another master’s program, such as Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science. The degrees signify an advanced knowledge in robotics.

Some Master’s in Robotics degrees are Master’s of Engineering instead of Master’s of Science. For example, Washington University in St. Louis offers a Master of Engineering in Robotics. Usually, recipients of Master’s of Engineering degrees do not continue on to a Ph.D. or other degree. Master’s of Science degrees provide requisite experiences and courses to continue on to a Ph.D. program. Both degrees are respected in the industry and qualify recipients as advanced in robotics.

The title of the degree depends on the specialization of the university. For example, Ohio State specializes in automotive systems, so the degree is called MS in Mechanical Engineering – Automotive Systems and Mobility. Other universities call the degree Master of Science in Robotics, Master’s in Mechanical Engineering – Robotics, Systems Modeling, Dynamics, And Control, or M.S. in Computer Science – Robotics, but most identify the focus in robotics in the titles. This is helpful when applying for jobs that require robotics expertise.

Even Master’s in Robotics programs have specializations since Robotics is such a dense field. For example, UC-Riverside allows for focus in artificial intelligence and perception, control and navigation, embedded platforms and system design, and mechanical design and fabrication.

How Do Robotics Graduate Programs Work?

The Basics

Most Master’s in Robotics programs require two years of courses, although some are more flexible and allow for shorter longer time frames. For example, Northwestern’s program may be completed in 1 year. The maximum amount of time allowed to complete a master’s program is usually six years. Some of the programs expect a traditional student approach, with on-campus classes and research for six consecutive semesters. Other programs allow for a hybrid approach with some classes online or alternatively taken on a fully online approach.

The cost of a Master’s in Robotics often exceeds $30,000 and some even cost over $60,000. For some programs, the on-campus cost is less than online tuition. For example, UW-Seattle charges $25,000 for on-campus whereas online costs over $46,000.

Core Skills

Students in Master’s of Robotics programs must have strong programming and analytical skills. Some universities require fundamental programming courses, such as Wayne State University, which requires a fundamentals of Python course. The courses also involve a range of engineering skills.

For example, the courses often cover the design of robots, which requires mathematical skills, mechanical and electrical engineering skills, and a firm grasp of computer algorithms. The most common programming languages used in robotics are C, C++, Python, and Java.

Master’s in Robotics programs rely on hands-on learning experiences. The theory is reinforced with projects and research. Many programs provide experience in everything from design to implementation of robotics.

Curriculum and Coursework

Most programs require ten courses in robotics, computer science, and machine learning or artificial intelligence. UPenn ensures a diverse curriculum by requiring courses in artificial intelligence, robot design and analysis, control, and perception. Skills in each of these areas are required for master’s level knowledge in robotics.

More specifically, most Master’s in Robotics programs require a core set of specialized courses to provide a valuable, high-quality program. For example, Tufts requires:

  • Introduction to Human-robot Interaction
  • Robot design and control
  • Robot programming
  • Modeling for engineering systems
  • Ethics

The core classes teach essential expertise robotics to enable graduates to build a career or research in robotics. Typically, three to five courses are required. The other five to seven courses are electives that allow for focus on an individual’s specialty.

The majority of Master’s in Robotics curriculums allow for either a thesis track or a project track. A thesis involves research, writing, and sometimes an oral presentation of robotics theory. Projects involve design and development involving robotics.

These options usually count for one to six of the thirty required credit hours, although some universities, like Georgia Tech, require the capstone project to count as an additional six credit hours. A thesis track is better for someone planning to go into research or a Ph.D. program. The project-based track is best for master’s students who plan to pursue a career in the robotics industry after the program.

What Do You Need for a Master’s in Robotics?

Background, Skills, and Prerequisites

Many Master’s in Robotics students have a strong interest in science, engineering, and mathematics, including a bachelor’s degree in one or more of these subjects. They may have even worked in the industry already.

Most programs do not require specific courses before enrolling. Some may require remedial courses in mathematics, signals and systems, or computer science if a student lacks skills or knowledge in these subjects. To succeed in a Master’s in Robotics program, students must have mastered this subject matter.

General Admissions Requirements

Many Master’s in Robotics programs require a science, engineering, or mathematics degree for admission. Most require a 3.0 G.P.A., although at least one program, UW-Seattle, requires a 3.5. Some students are required to submit foreign language test scores, but very few programs require the G.R.E. In some cases, universities like Kennesaw State allow for waiver of the G.R.E. given relevant work experience and a high undergraduate G.P.A.

More specialized master’s programs require specific degrees. For example, UNR has a Master’s in Mining with a focus in Intelligent Mining Systems. The degree requires either a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering or sufficient coursework combined with a degree in engineering. Students with an undergraduate degree in physical sciences may apply if they have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering professional exam.

Online Master’s in Robotics Programs

Several universities offer online programs for a Master’s in Robotics. The programs are generally the same as on-campus programs, but they may offer fewer electives to choose from. For example, Rice only offers 10 classes online, all of which are required. However, most of the programs advertise that the online degree is equivalent to on-campus degrees. Some online programs cost more than in-person programs, but others, like Embry-Riddle, cost roughly the same.

Many of the online Master’s in Robotics programs offer significant flexibility. For example, WPI offers classes live and self-paced. Brandeis allows students to complete the degree on a part-time basis. This advantage makes it more possible to earn a Master’s in Robotics while working or otherwise occupied.

What’s the Relationship Between Robotics and Artificial Intelligence?

An autonomous system is a device or application that replicates human behavior without a human’s control over the system. For example, a self-driving car is an autonomous system because it operates autonomously from a human driver.

Robotics is the design and development of autonomous systems. It requires mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, complex mathematical calculations, and software engineering.

Artificial intelligence is the theory that controls autonomous systems. Common forms of artificial intelligence used in robotics are computer vision control, machine learning, and cognitive systems.

Robotics involves the physical components of an autonomous system in addition to the artificial intelligence-driven software that controls the behavior. The autonomous systems may be virtual or physical. Many autonomous systems involve interactions with humans. For example, medical devices used in surgeries usually have a surgeon interacting with them.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Master’s in Robotics?

A Master’s in Robotics qualifies you for jobs in a wide range of industries. Some of the industries are manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, defense, healthcare. The job title for someone with a Master’s in Robotics may be Robotics Engineer, Software Engineer, Mechatronics Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Robotics Systems Integration Engineer, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineer, or Quality Control Engineer.

Each of these jobs specializes in a different point of the design and production of autonomous systems. For example, Quality Control Engineers may be primarily involved with the testing or production of autonomous systems.

A Master’s in Robotics also enables you to conduct research. For example, researchers at Colorado conduct research for the Army’s Micro Autonomous Science and Technology (MAST) CTA, and the AFOSR Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI). Tufts researchers focus more on human-robot interactions.

Salary for Master’s in Robotics Graduates

Salaries for robotics engineers range from $70,000 per year to over $200,000 per year, depending on the industry. A more typical salary is in the range of $80,000 to $100,000. For example, Stevens University says its graduates earn about $95,000 per year, and 95% are employed within three months. Worcester Polytechnic Institute reports starting salaries around $81,000 per year. Total compensation is likely higher. Total compensation would also include signing bonuses, performance bonuses, and stock options.

Schools with Master’s in Robotics and Autonomous Systems Programs

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ | Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Master of Science in Robotics and Autonomous Systems - Artificial Intelligence

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Boston University

Boston, MA | College of Engineering

MS in Robotics & Autonomous Systems

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Boston University

Boston, MA | College of Engineering

PhD in Systems Engineering - Automation, Robotics, and Control

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Brandeis University

Waltham, MA | Graduate Professional Studies

Online Master of Science in Robotic Software Engineering

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Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA | The Robotics Institute

Master of Science in Robotics

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Colorado School of Mines

Golden, CO | Mechanical Engineering Department

MS in Robotics and Automation

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Columbus State University

Columbus, GA | Department of Earth and Space Sciences

Master of Science in Robotics Engineering

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DePaul University

Chicago, IL | Institute for Professional Development

Online Certificate in Robotic Process Automation

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Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA | College of Engineering

Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering - Robotics and Autonomy

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Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA | College of Engineering

Online MS in Robotics and Autonomy

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Duke University

Durham, NC | Thomas Lord Departmet of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Master of Engineering in Autonomous, Intelligent Systems and Machines

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Duke University

Durham, NC | Thomas Lord Departmet of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Master of Science in Autonomous, Intelligent Systems and Machines

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Duke University

Durham, NC | Duke Robotics

Ph.D in ECE - Robotics Track

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Duke University

Durham, NC | Duke Robotics

Ph.D. in MEMS - Robotics Track

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, FL | Graduate School

Online MS in Unmanned & Autonomous Systems Engineering

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Florida Polytechnic University

Lakeland, FL | Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering Deprtment

M.S. in Engineering - Robotics

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Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA | Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines

Hampton University

Hampton, VA | Computer Science Department

Master of Science in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence / Computational Intelligence / Robotics Track

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Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, IL | Armour College of Engineering

M.S. in Autonomous Systems and Robotics

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Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD | Whiting School of Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering - Robotics

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Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD | Whiting School of Engineering

Master's in Mechanical Engineering - Robotics, Systems Modeling, Dynamics, And Control

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Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, GA | Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering

Online Master of Science in Intelligent Robotic Systems

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Kettering University

Flint, MI | College of Engineering

Master of Engineering in Autonomous Vehicles

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Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, MO | Business and Information Science and Technology Department

Online Graduate Certificate in AI, Machine Learning and Automation in Business

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New York University

New York, NY | Tandon School of Engineering

M.S. in Mechatronics and Robotics

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North Dakota State College of Science

Wahpeton, ND | STEM Department

Certificate in Autonomous Systems Technology (AST)

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Northeastern University

Boston, MA | College of Engineering

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL | McCormick School of Engineering

Master of Science in Robotics

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Oakland University

Rochester Hills, MI | Department of Mechanical Engineering

Master of Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering

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Ohio State University-Main Campus

Columbus, OH | College of Engineering

MS in Mechanical Engineering - Automotive Systems and Mobility

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Ohio State University-Main Campus

Columbus, OH | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

PhD in Mechanical Engineering - Automotive Systems and Mobility (Connected and Automated Vehicles)

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Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

Stillwater, OK | Graduate College

MS in Engineering Technology - Mechatronics & Robotics

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Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR | College of Engineering

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ | Robotics at Princeton

Certificate in Robotics and Intelligent Systems

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY | School of Science

M.S. in Computer Science - Robotics

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Rice University

Houston, TX | Department of Computer Science

Online Master of Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

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Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA | School of Engineering

Master of Science in Robotics and Automation

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Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ | Schaefer School Of Engineering & Science

Online Graduate Certificate In Autonomous Robotics

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Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ | Department of Mechanical Engineering

Online Master of Engineering in Robotics

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Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ | Schaefer School Of Engineering & Science

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering - Robotics And Smart Systems Research

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Tufts University

Medford, MA | Department of Computer Science

M.S. in Human-Robot Interaction

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University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

MS in Engineering Sciences - Robotics

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University of Bridgeport

Bridgeport, CT | School of Engineering

Master's in Artificial Intelligence - Robotics and Automation

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University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA | School of Engineering

Master of Engineering - Autonomous Systems

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University of California-Riverside

Riverside, CA | Computer Science and Engineering Department

Master's in Robotics - Artificial Intelligence and Perception

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University of California-San Diego

La Jolla, CA | Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems, Robotics and Control

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University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH | Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

M.Eng. in Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems

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University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, CO | College of Engineering & Applied Science

Master of Science in Robotics and Control

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University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, CO | Paul M. Rady Mechanical Engineering

PhD in Robotics and Systems Design

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University of Dayton

Dayton, OH | Department of Computer Science

Graduate Certificate in Autonomous Systems

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University of Delaware

Newark, DE | Center for Autonomous and Robotic Systems

Master of Science in Robotics

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL | Grainger College of Engineering

Master of Engineering in Autonomy & Robotics

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University of Maryland-College Park

College Park, MD | Maryland Robotics Center

Graduate Certificate in Robotics

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI | College of Engineering

Online Master of Engineering in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI | Robotics

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department

PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering - Robotics

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University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN | Minnesota Robotics Institute

University of Nevada-Reno

Reno, NV | Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering

Master of Science in Mining Engineering - Intelligent Mining Systems

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University of Nevada-Reno

Reno, NV | Computer Science and Engineering Department

Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering - Intelligent and Autonomous Systems Research

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University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA | Penn Engineering

Master of Science in Design - Robotics and Autonomous Systems

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University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA | Penn Engineering

MSE in Robotics - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialization

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University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA | Department of Computer Science

Master of Science in Computer Science - Intelligent Robotics

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University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS | School of Ocean Science and Engineering

Certificate in Uncrewed Maritime Systems

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University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX | College of Engineering

Graduate Certificate in Unmanned Vehicle Systems

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University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX | TexasRobotics

Graduate Portfolio Program in Robotics

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University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX | Texas Robotics

Ph.D. with Graduate Portfolio Program in Robotics

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University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT | Mechanical Engineering Department

Doctor of Philosophy - Robotics Track

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University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT | School of Computing

M.S. in Computing - Robotics Track

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University of Washington - Seattle

Seattle, WA | Mechanical Engineering Department

Online M.S. in Controls, Mechatronics & Robotics

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University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL | Department of Intelligent Systems and Robotics

Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems and Robotics

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Wayne State University

Detroit, MI | College of Engineering

Online Autonomous Vehicle Technologies Certificate

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Wayne State University

Detroit, MI | College of Engineering

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA | Robotics Engineering Department

Online Graduate Certificate in Robotics Engineering

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA | Robotics Engineering Department

Online Graduate Certificate in Robotics Engineering - Autonomous Vehicles Specialization

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA | Robotics Department

Online Master's in Robotics - Autonomous Vehicles

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA | Robotics Engineering Department

Online MS in Robotics Engineering - Autonomous Vehicles

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