Animatronics Schools and Courses: How to Choose

Those interested in studying animatronics should be looking at programs in robotics engineering or technology. Read on for more information on colleges and universities that offer degrees and courses in robotics engineering.

Robotics engineering combines the studies of computer engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, and it is the most applicable field for anyone interested in learning more about animatronics. Robotics engineering is offered as a certificate of completion or associate's degree program, though students can also study robotics as a minor or take robotics courses in other engineering bachelor's degree programs.

Schools with Robotics Programs

Robotics programs are offered at these schools.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $48,710 Undergraduate; $48,710 Graduate
Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $15,224 In-state Graduate; $32,700 Out-of-state Graduate
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $46,320 Undergraduate; $45,729 Graduate
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $48,093 Undergraduate; $47,300 Graduate
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Doctoral $13,452 In-state Graduate; $27,872 Out-of-state Graduate
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $50,665 Undergraduate; $40,625 Graduate

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are several points to consider when choosing an animatronics program.

  • Extracurricular learning opportunities such as robot building competitions or participation in community events may be available in some programs and provide additional experience to students.
  • Online program options are valuable for students who cannot commit to a full-time program and wish to complete non-lab portions of the course at their leisure.
  • Research opportunities and lab facilities vary from program to program and tend to be better equipped in 4-year colleges than in associate's or certificate programs.
  • Determine if the school provides assistance to graduates to help them find employment.

Certificate in Robotics Engineering

This is a certificate of completion program that can be completed in one year or less. It teaches students how to maintain and repair robotic systems at a practical level so they are ready for entry-level positions upon completion, such as robotics technician. The fundamental principles of robotics technology taught in a program such as this can be valuable to those interested in animatronics.

Associate of Applied Science in Robotics Engineering

This associate's degree program provides training in the programming and design of robots. This program also teaches students the fundamentals of digital systems and microprocessors, electronic circuits, motion-control systems and programming tools. There are general education requirements such as college algebra, English composition and research methods, as well as robotics courses similar to those in the certificate program. This material, though it may have an industrial focus at times, can provide students with the tools and experience they need to understand and work with animatronics. Some programs include a cooperative work experience so students can gain real-world experience.

Choosing a robotics program can involve determining which program level is best suited to your personal goals, and evaluating the school's reputation, location and costs. A number of schools offer mechanical engineering degrees with a focus in robotics.

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