In the 21st century, robots perform numerous tasks, such as vacuuming carpets, building cars, and entertaining children. Robots and the conveniences they provide would not exist without technology companies and the highly trained robotics engineers they employ. On the job, robotics engineers apply their knowledge of mechanical engineering, computer science, and human behavior to create intelligent, autonomous machines. Engineers attain this expertise by earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in robotics.
The best robotics master’s programs require hands-on projects that allow learners to brainstorm, design, and build robots. As these experiences resemble what robotics professionals experience in the workplace, alumni can transition from classroom to laboratory seamlessly. Prospective students need a passion for robotics, electronics, mathematics, programming, and collaboration.
This page highlights typical programs in a master’s in robotics program, including scholarship opportunities and prospective careers. Read on to learn more about what to do with a robotics engineering degree and discover salary outlook for various professionals in the field.
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|What is robotics engineering?
||Robotics engineers design and build robots that serve numerous purposes, such as manufacturing and helping people with physical disabilities.
|What kind of degrees are available for robotics engineering?
||Prospective degree-seekers can choose between a master of science and a master of science in engineering. Some programs may offer a choice between a thesis and a non-thesis track.
|What is the difference between robotics engineering and mechanical engineering?
||All robotics engineers possess a solid foundation in mechanical engineering but specialize in robots’ design and construction. Other mechanical engineers have different specialties.
|What kinds of engineering majors could prep you for a graduate program in robotics engineering?
||Learners can prepare for a robotics master’s program by earning an undergraduate major in mechanical engineering, mechatronics, or robotics engineering.
Best Robotics Engineering Schools in the U.S.
The following 10 schools offer the best master’s in robotics degrees for 2020. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, each program provides degree-seekers with additional benefits, such as hands-on learning experiences, opportunities to perform original research, and financial aid. Please use the embedded links to learn more, as information may have changed since this article’s publication.
With a hands-on emphasis, Northwestern's master's in robotics helps degree-seekers curate a professional portfolio attractive to potential employers. The core curriculum includes introduction to mechatronics, robotic manipulation, and embedded systems in robotics. Learners can customize their educational experience with seven electives and two independent projects.
Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) prepares degree-seekers for career success by providing Handshake, virtual chat sessions, and online job fairs. NCA resources include the NCA Career Guide, webinar recordings, and free assistance preparing resume and cover letters.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's in robotics or a relevant field, a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and three recommendation letters. Northwestern does not require, but recommends, that applicants submit GRE scores. Finally, degree-seekers must maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for institutional financial aid.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Michigan's robotics engineering degree confers an MS and includes coursework in math for robotics, robotics systems laboratory, and master's advanced research. The latter teaches essential academic writing skills that students use for research projects discussed at conferences. Learners select multiple electives that increase their breadth and depth of robotics knowledge.
Degree-seekers not planning to enroll in U-M's doctorate in robotics program can explore positions with the university's corporate sponsors through the Engineering Career Resource Center (ECRC). The U-M Career Guide features the latest job hunting tips, and ECRC provides learners with a detailed career primer that introduces relevant ECRC resources, such as on-campus career fairs.
Application requirements include GRE scores, recommendation letters, an academic statement of purpose, and a current resume. In-state learners save nearly half on tuition compared to their out-of-state peers. Applicants can apply for institutional and departmental aid by submitting FAFSA results.
Carnegie Mellon University
CMU's robotics master's programs include an MS in robotics systems development and an MS in robotics. These degrees typically take 21-24 months to complete, and they feature courses emphasizing perception, cognition, action, and math foundations. Approximately half of the curriculum involves an independent research project that leads to a master's thesis.
The CMU Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) helps students and alumni by providing them with industry-specific career counseling, mock interviews, and free access to virtual job resources. CPDC also offers an informational guide that teaches students how to identify and avoid fraudulent job postings.
Admission requirements include GRE scores, recommendation letters, a resume, and a statement of purpose. As a private university, CMU charges the same per-credit tuition rate and fees to all graduate degree-seekers. Additionally, learners may qualify for a paid research assistantship.
NYU's master's in robotics' emphasis on mechatronics has made it a destination for students around the globe. Core courses include the foundations of robotics, simulation tools and software algorithms for mechatronics and robotics, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, students can choose from three concentrations, including mobile robotics and microrobotics.
Engineering students can find invaluable resources on the Tandon Career Services (TCS) website, including professional development training, virtual career fairs, and skill boot camps. TCS offers an in-depth graduate student guide that breaks down the milestones learners should accomplish before graduation. Downloadable resources include resume templates, webinars, and contact information for employers with a history of hiring NYU engineering graduates.
NYU's Tandon School of Engineering requires that prospective graduate students earn a bachelor's degree in engineering. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in a different field may be considered with relevant work experience. NYU automatically awards merit-based financial aid to incoming students who earned an excellent undergraduate GPA.
Johns Hopkins' robotics engineering degree allows students to choose between a thesis and non-thesis option. Learners select from among six specializations, including biorobotics, control and dynamical systems, and medical robotics and computer-integrated surgical systems. All specializations teach in-demand leadership skills, a passion for lifelong learning, and the ability to create robotics systems that solve real-world problems.
The Whiting School of Engineering's career webinars, career planning website, and writing workshops help robotics students plan for professional success. Graduates can also join the school's extensive alumni network on LinkedIn. Additionally, the Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program offers free mental health services to graduate students.
Prospective students must take undergraduate prerequisites in upper-level mathematics and earn a satisfactory GRE score. Other application materials include two recommendation letters and a statement of purpose. Lastly, working students may receive tuition reimbursement, and Maryland STEM teachers may qualify for a tuition waiver.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology's robotics master's program confers an MS in electrical engineering and allows students to specialize in robotics. The specialization involves coursework in engineering analysis, advanced engineering mathematics, and artificial intelligence explorations. Additionally, students complete a thesis and an oral defense in the second year.
RIT's Career Services (CS) advisors curate more than 24,000 job opportunities for students, hosting career fairs that attract more than 9,000 people. Learners can also participate in cooperative education -- temporary paid employment that can bolster a resume. These and other services help 95% of RIT alumni find a job or enter a doctoral program soon after graduation.
Application materials include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two recommendation letters, and GRE scores. Full-time students pay a flat per-semester tuition rate. RIT additionally awards institutional financial aid to degree-seekers who earn a 3.0 or higher graduate GPA.
University of Detroit Mercy
UD Mercy's master's in robotics program offers both a traditional two-year degree and a one-year dual-degree for undergraduate learners earning a bachelor's in engineering. Coursework emphasizes sensing/perception, cognition/learning, and mechatronics. Students market their skills to potential employers by participating in the annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition.
Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) counselors empower students and alumni by providing them with TitanCareerLink, a private job board that features career opportunities in and around Detroit. Virtual events include a free resume clinic. Additionally, these resources result in a 95% graduate success rate for undergraduate and graduate alumni.
Prospective students apply online, and can expect a response from UD Mercy in just one week. U.S., Canadian, and Mexican citizens all pay the same low per-credit tuition rate but cannot receive tuition discounts. Finally, institutional aid includes assistantships, grants, scholarships, and loans.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Students earning Worcester Polytechnic Institute's robotics engineering degree can study on campus or online. Degree courses include foundations of robotics, robot control, and concepts of systems engineering. Learners choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option in the second year, with those choosing not to write a thesis completing a capstone project.
The WPI Career Development Center (CDC) features virtual career fairs, an alumni speaker series, and resume and cover letter critiques. CDC offers most resources through Handshake, including networking events that attract more than 400 employers. School organizations can also request a career workshop.
Application requirements include three recommendation letters. WPI does not require standardized test scores. Online students pay a per-credit tuition rate, while on-campus students pay a flat per-semester tuition rate. Lastly, WPI uses three financial aid application deadlines per year, and graduate students can apply for an assistantship or fellowship.
Lawrence Technological University
LTU's robotics master's program awards a degree in mechatronic systems engineering. The program features courses in modern control systems, advanced dynamics, and mechanical vibrations. Students can write a thesis or complete three upper-division electives in topics including digital signal processing and unnamed aerial vehicles. Additionally, the program helps learners develop advanced written communication and analytical problem-solving skills.
Students approaching graduation can visit the Office of Career Services (OCS) to take a self-assessment, attend a career development workshop, and perform a mock interview. Learners can sign up for these and other OCS services through Handshake.
Prospective students should possess a bachelor's in engineering and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. LTU accepts some applicants who do not meet every admission requirement under special circumstances. The university hosts free financial literacy events that assist new learners with filling out the FAFSA and applying for institutional aid.
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
A public university founded along the shores of Lake Washington near downtown Seattle, the University of Washington offers more than 370 graduate programs. UW's master's in robotics program offers a non-thesis and thesis option, with both tracks emphasizing electives and seminar courses. Electives allow students to specialize in areas such as communication, systems, and controls and robotics.
The UW Career and Internship Center (CIC) website features articles covering fraudulent job postings, upcoming career fairs, and internships. Students can navigate these and other CIC services on Handshake. Additionally, CIC's DIY resources help learners build skills, network with alumni, and locate a quality job.
Although UW does not require a bachelor's in engineering, the school suggests that applicants complete specific undergraduate prerequisites. Out-of-state students pay approximately 75% more tuition than in-state students. Lastly, degree-seekers can fund their degree by working as a teaching assistant or applying for federal grants and loans.
What Can I Do With a Degree in Robotics Engineering?
Master’s in robotics students can attain a lucrative and fulfilling career soon after graduation, especially if they curate a professional portfolio while earning a degree. Many well-known companies hire entry-level engineers. For example, both new and experienced engineers at NASA collaborate to create robots that can explore planets and moons without putting human lives at risk. At the technology company NVIDIA, robotics engineers work with Toyota to produce the next generation of self-driving cars.
Like professionals in any field, robotics engineers often earn higher salaries as they gain more work experience. Senior robotics engineers often lead design projects, oversee others’ work, check code, and maintain documentation throughout the design and development process. Like managers in other fields, senior robotics engineers also mentor new employees and report to senior managers.
Robotics engineers use cutting-edge software and hardware tools on the job. Hardware can include 3D printers, devices that prototype parts quickly. Professionals must know how to program their robots using one or more programming languages. All robotics engineers should know C++ and Python. Learning these languages requires that engineers master trigonometric functions and other mathematical formulas.
Career and Salary Outlook
The table below highlights data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on four popular careers for master’s in robotics degree-holders. Although none of the following careers directly relate to robotics, they allow graduates to apply their knowledge and skills in a relevant way.
According to PayScale, other career opportunities may develop in the next decade as industries evaluate their need for highly skilled and experienced roboticists. Current robotics careers may offer a different median annual salary and a projected growth rate in the coming years as the field evolves. As a result, aspiring robotics engineers should continue to review the latest information.
The best robotics engineering degrees possess multiple forms of accreditation. All reputable colleges in the United States earn regional accreditation from one of six agencies the Department of Education charters. These agencies determine whether a school’s academic programs meet specific benchmarks. Regionally accredited schools must undergo a renewal process every few years.
Learners planning to earn a degree online should also determine whether a university received national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC accreditation signifies that a school’s online programs have the same academic rigor and educational outcomes as its on-campus programs.
Some robotics master’s programs may possess programmatic accreditation. Programmatic accreditation agencies specialize in one academic field, and their experts evaluate a program’s curriculum and learning outcomes. Learners in the robotics field should consider master’s degrees with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Courses in Robotics Engineering Programs
The curriculum in a master’s in robotics program conveys in-demand technical knowledge and skills through core and specialization coursework. Typical courses include introduction to mechatronics, robotics manipulation, and embedded systems in robotics. Special projects and writing a master’s thesis provides learners with a strong professional portfolio they can present to potential employers or a doctoral program. Learners also attain transferable skills they can apply in a profession outside the engineering field.
See below for some common courses in robotics engineering programs. Keep in mind that academic requirements vary among universities.
Earning private, institutional, and federal financial aid to pay for a robotics master’s program starts with completing the FAFSA. Once users submit the FAFSA, the government calculates how much the student or their family can afford to spend on tuition in the following academic year. Students whose tuition exceeds their ability to pay qualify for federal grants and loans.
Master’s in robotics degree-seekers can find other opportunities to save on tuition, such as participating in a work-study program. Learners can also research if their university awards graduate fellowships or assistantships to master’s students.
Online learners often save money compared to their on-campus peers since they do not incur on-campus housing, meal plan, or commuting costs. Some universities exempt online learners from specific fees.
Scholarships for Robotics Engineering Programs
Master’s in robotics students can finance their degree by researching relevant scholarships. The following awards provide funding to learners working toward a master’s degree in robotics, STEM, and related fields. Use the embedded links to learn more about each scholarship’s application requirements, deadlines, and other essential information.
A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: The American Indian Science and Engineering Society awards this scholarship to Native American degree-seekers earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in STEM. Application materials include recommendation letters and three essays.
The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students
Who Can Apply: African American men who maintain a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA can apply. The POISE Foundation does not require but strongly recommends that prospective candidates join the NAACP.
Amount: Up to $3,000
Leo W. and Alberta V. Thomas Utz Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Daughters of the American Revolution awards this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students earning a degree in a science-related topic. The scholarship renews up to four times as long as recipients maintain a minimum 3.25 graduate GPA.
Amount: Up to $16,000
SME Scholarship Opportunities
Who Can Apply: Robotics degree-seekers who maintain a minimum 2.5 graduate GPA can apply. Other application requirements include U.S. or Canadian citizenship. SME opens the scholarship application window in November.
STEM Teacher Scholarships
Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens preparing for a career as a K-12 STEM educator can apply. The scholarship committee restricts applicants to graduate students with a minimum 3.5 GPA.
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