Robotics Programs in Schools and University

People who can get into the field of robotics can expect to have a highly engaging, interdisciplinary career in an area that can only be expected to grow. People who wish to work in robotics can come from many backgrounds such as computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering. Only recently, however, have schools begun to create academic degree programs that explicitly bear the name robotics. Enrolment in one of these degree programs may offer students a leg up in the growing pool of robotics job market applicants.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive- there may be other schools that offer degrees in robotics or that have degree programs with a robotics specialization. Also, one should not be discouraged if one wants to work in the field of robotics and is not enrolled in one of these programs. The vast majority of people who work in robotics do not have explicit degrees in robotics but rather have degrees in the aforementioned related fields. Try to find a school where there is a robotics laboratory or research group and get as much exposure to robots as you can while attending school (both in and outside of the classroom).

That said, this list should be of value to anyone who is absolutely sure that their future lies in robotics. It should also be noted that the vast majority of schools on this list are graduate programs; WPI is the only school in America offering an undergrad degree in robotics engineering. It should also be noted that this list focuses on the United States, though there are many other robotics programs abroad (which Americans can still attend). Information for this article was gathered from the official websites of the respective degree programs. For more information, you should visit the website of the degree program of interest.

Schools with Robotics Degrees

These are a few of the universities offering a degree explicitly in robotics:

Carnegie Mellon University: 

CMU in Pittsburgh, PA, arguably has the best robotics program in the United States, if not the entire world. The university’s Robotics Institute is an international centre for robotics research. CMU offers a terminal MS and a Ph.D. degree in Robotics. One also has the option of pursuing a medical doctorate (MD) in addition to a Ph.D. degree. Carnegie Mellon’s program can be expected to be very rigorous, and admissions are quite competitive.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:

RPI is a prestigious school in upstate New York with strong programs in science and engineering. RPI offers an MS in Computer Science Specializing in Robotics. The program of study will be of most benefit to those who wish to gain a software-focused education in robotics.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology:

SDSM&T (also simply called Mines) is a small public institution in Rapid City, South Dakota. This school of about 2,000 students offers an MS degree in Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems. This (thesis-only) master’s program is truly interdisciplinary, offering admissions to those with a strong background in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, or mechanical engineering.

University of Pennsylvania:

UPenn is another world-renowned centre of robotics research. It offers an MSE degree and Ph.D. degree in robotics.

University of Southern California:

USC is a large public school located outside of Los Angeles. It is well-known as an important worldwide hub of robotics research. The school offers a MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Intelligent Robotics.

University of Utah:

The University of Utah in Salt Lake City is a large public university offering an MS and Ph.D. degree in Computing with a Robotics Track. The university carries out a lot of important research, and its robotics programs are rigorous with a competitive admissions process.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute: 

WPI is a high-quality engineering school in Massachusetts. It has a growing reputation as a centre of robotics research and education. WPI offers a BS and MS in Robotics Engineering. As the name might suggest, this program will be of special interest to those who wish to explore the engineering side of robots- the hardware as opposed to the software. WPI is also in the process of developing a Ph.D. program.

Finding the Best School

To figure out which robotics program is right for you, consider the location of industries close to the school and what type of research the faculty is doing. Robotics has many sub-disciplines, some of which may not be of interest to you, so do your research ahead of time. Be sure to visit the websites of each of these schools to get a better idea of what they offer and request brochures and other information. All of these programs, however, are sure to help make your dreams of a robotics career into reality.

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