PhD in Robotics: Information for Doctoral Students

Oct 12, 2019

Doctoral robotics programs combine fields such as computing, engineering and physics. Students in a Ph.D. robotics program usually choose a focus area, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and kinetics, or robotics and sensors.

Essential Information

Before gaining acceptance into a Ph.D. program, students must also generally submit a proposed plan for study and a dissertation idea, which must be approved by a university committee. In addition to courses and research that revolve around their chosen topic, students might also take courses in calculus, algebra, numerical analysis, data structures, programming, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and more. Programs typically require a bachelor's and master's degrees in robotics, engineering, mechanical engineering or computer programming. Some program specializations that students can choose from are artificial intelligence, robotics and sensors, robotics and kinetic.

Ph.D. in Robotics

A Ph.D. program typically includes 2 years of advanced seminars and qualifying courses, 2 years of research in the student's focus area, and 1-2 years for completion of a dissertation. The courses in a Ph.D. program in robotics are generally determined by a student's chosen focus of study, but many universities require students complete some core seminar courses, such as:

  • Perception and robotics
  • Image, tactile and force sensors
  • Dynamics, control and computer vision
  • Artificial intelligence for robotics
  • Task scheduling and operations research
  • Kinematics and locomotion

Popular Careers

Other students might go on to work in private or public research facilities related to the advancement of the robotics field. Some, however, might find work in the following positions:

  • Robotics engineer
  • Computer engineer
  • Robotics technician
  • Design technician
  • Robotics tester
  • Mechanical engineer

Employment Prospects and Salary Info

The majority of graduates from a Ph.D. program in robotics go on to teach the subject at universities and colleges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed postsecondary teachers overall is expected to grow 11% from 2018-2028. While the BLS doesn't publish data specifically for college-level robotics teachers, it does report that professors in the closely related field of engineering earned a mean annual salary of $113,680 as of 2018.

Doctoral programs in robotics combine engineering, computer science, physics and mathematics to educate students on the development and programming of robotics. These degrees can help student pursue careers in engineering or postsecondary education.

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