Ph.D. Program in Robotics

Offered jointly by the College of Computing and the College of Engineering, the Ph.D. program in Robotics is the first truly multidisciplinary robotics degree of its kind in the world—and only the second robotics doctorate offered in the U.S. The program involves the schools of Interactive Computing, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.

We educate a new generation of robotics researchers who are prepared to be impactful contributors upon entering the high-tech workforce. The Institute for Robotics & Intelligent Machines (IRIM) serves as the flagship for Tech’s robotics efforts; therefore, IRIM has an integral relationship with the program, and many IRIM faculty members serve as research advisors to students pursuing the degree. The Robotics program supports Tech’s mission to provide instruction in disciplines related to science, technology, and interdisciplinary areas.

Program of Study

The main emphasis of the Ph.D. program is the successful completion of an original and independent research thesis. The degree requirements are designed around this goal.

Minimum Requirements

  • Completion of 33 semester hours of courses with a letter grade
  • Passing a comprehensive qualifying exam with written and oral components.
  • Successfully conducting, documenting, and defending a piece of original research culminating in a doctoral thesis.
ComponentCoursesHours Required
Intro to Robotics ResearchA new course CS/AE/ECE/ME/BME/PHYS 7785, Introduction to Robotics Research. 3
Foundation CoursesThree foundation courses, each selected from distinct core areas: Mechanics, Controls, Perception, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).9
Elective CoursesThree targeted elective courses, each selected from the same three core areas used for the foundation courses. 9
Multidisciplinary Robotics ResearchTwo new courses CS/AE/ECE/ME 8750 and CS/AE/ECE/ME 8751, Multidisciplinary Robotics Research I and II. 6
Courses Outside the MajorThree courses outside the major area to provide a coherent minor in accordance with Institute policies. 6




Home Unit Teaching Apprenticeship and Extra-curricular Requirements Robotics Ph.D. students are subject to their home unit's teaching apprenticeship requirements (e.g., a certain number of semesters serving as a TA) and other the extra-curricular requirements such as seminar attendance or annual review process. For example, students with home units in BME, IC, and ME are required to do two semesters of teaching practicum or apprenticeship and register for the corresponding courses. Students should contact their home units for details for any departmental requirements that are in addition to the Robotics degree requirements. Students are responsible for ensuring that they understand and satisfy any home unit requirements as well as the Robotics program and Institute requirements.

*A maximum of two classes (6 semester hours) at the 4000 level may be used to satisfy the minor requirements only. No courses used to satisfy any bachelor's degree requirements can be used towards a graduate degree.