FAQ: What Is a Robotics Graduate Program?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 2, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in pursuing a robotics career, you consider enrolling in a related graduate program. Learning about robotics programs may also prepare you to specialize in your chosen field. It can also help you decide what type of program you want to enroll in and understand how much coursework to expect. In this article, we explain what a robotics graduate program is, what its requirements are, what its curriculum includes, how long it takes to complete and what career paths it supports.

What is a robotics graduate program?

A robotics graduate program is a set of courses that aim to help students achieve expertise in robotics. Students may learn how robots perceive their environments and interact with other robots. Depending on the program you choose, your course load can prepare you for a variety of careers, including design engineering, mechanical design and algorithmic engineering. You can also use your elective courses to learn about specializations like machine learning, natural language processing or artificial intelligence programming.

In contrast to a bachelor's program in robotics, graduate students typically have the responsibility to create and manage their own projects. Professors often also expect graduate students to develop projects that have real-world applications, such as a robot that aids humanitarian groups in removing plastic from the world's oceans. Many programs expect you defend a final project that you complete under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Robotics graduate programs may partner with organizations that help students get a career in their chosen specialization after they graduate, and many faculty advisors provide students with letters of recommendation after they graduate.

Read more: Learn About Robotics Engineering

What are the requirements of a robotics graduate program?

Here are some of the requirements necessary to gain acceptance into most robotics graduate programs:

  • A bachelor's degree in a subject related to robotics like electrical engineering, mathematics or computer science.

  • Experience using different programming languages and operating systems

  • A copy of your transcript from the university where you received an undergraduate degree

  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA throughout your undergraduate career

  • Several letters of recommendation, including an email address for each reference you provide

  • Your GRE scores

  • A resume or CV

  • A personal statement, often focusing on why you chose to study robotics and what career goals you plan to pursue

Read more: How To Become a Robotics Engineer (Including Careers List with Job Outlook)

What is the curriculum of a robotics graduate program?

A two-year robotics graduate program often organizes its curriculum into four semesters. In the first semester, you might take required courses and electives and decide what you want to do for your independent project. During the second semester, you may continue your courses and finish your independent project. In the third semester, you often complete your courses and choose a faculty advisor to help you with your final project. In the final semester, you can focus on your final project, which your faculty advisor reviews upon completion.

If you're interested in receiving your degree in less than two years, some robotics graduate programs allow you to finish your final semester in the summer. Many programs also offer students the opportunity to participate in program-sponsored internships, which can allow you to finish your final semester in the fall, then spend the spring semester gaining work experience. Additionally, students may use both the projects they create in classes and during internships to fill a portfolio, which they can use when pursuing their career or enrolling in a Ph.D. program.

Read more: 8 Careers in Robotics To Consider

How long does a robotics graduate program take?

While it depends on the program in which you enroll, most robotics graduate programs take between one and three years to complete. Some programs allow students the flexibility to take a summer internship or a gap year. If you'd like to obtain your degree faster, some programs offer students the opportunity to complete a final project without defending it in front of a faculty advisor.

Read more: 34 Robotics Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

What are the career opportunities of a robotics graduate program?

Here are some career opportunities you might pursue after obtaining your Master of Science in robotics:

1. Controls engineer

National average salary: $69,018 per year

Primary duties: A controls engineer designs robotic systems for manufacturing operations. They're responsible for ensuring that people who use robotic systems in manufacturing understand how to use them safely and efficiently. They maintain the performance of their robotic systems by consistently running tests and performing debugging operations if necessary.

2. Design engineer

National average salary: $80,115 per year

Primary duties: Design engineers use computer-aided design software to create new products and improve existing ones. They can also improve a company's manufacturing processes by conducting research and proposing strategies to increase productivity. They can specialize in various fields, from electrical to chemical engineering.

Related: Learn About Being a Design Engineer

3. Process engineer

National average salary: $84,111 per year

Primary duties: Process engineers design processes within the manufacturing industry, and help to optimize new ones. They monitor all the equipment and machinery used from the beginning to the end of a production process. To perform their work, they use software for computer-aided design, data analysis and computer engineering.

Related: Learn About Being a Process Engineer

4. User experience designer

National average salary: $89,648 per year

Primary duties: User experience designers, or UX designers, make products more enjoyable to use. They're involved during the development, design, and marketing of a product to ensure it's accessible to a company's target audience. They're often responsible for the usability of physical products, but they can also specialize in web design.

Related: Learn About Being a UX Designer

5. Aeronautical engineer

National average salary: $104,775 per year

Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers can specialize in a variety of products, but their main focus is creating and testing propulsion systems. Within their chosen product, they can further specialize in a certain area like designing the structure of a rocket or the communication system of an aircraft. They often manage multiple teams responsible for the engineering and technical aspects of production.

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