Academic Program

Michigan is producing tomorrow’s robotics leaders. Our program is already #2 in the nation.

Students design, create, analyze, and use embodied computational systems that interact with the physical and human environment. They study robotics and its place in the world, drawing on many fields of engineering, including computer science, mechanical engineering, artificial intelligence, computer vision, electrical engineering, control systems, human-robot/computer interaction, and biomedical engineering. Our students learn from these fields and apply that knowledge to build robots and related systems.

A structure of wood and plastic, with a blue glowing LED.
Students in Robotics 550 build systems to enable quadrotor drones to autonomously snatch ping pong balls in flight.

The Robotics Program

Michigan Robotics offers Master’s and PhD degrees. Both programs are built on a common set of course requirements, with PhD students also completing research published in leading journals in the field of robotics.

The Michigan Robotics program consists of three main technical areas, which converge as students produce functioning robots:

  • Sensing of the environment, external agents, and internal body information to determine state information
  • Reasoning with that information to make decisions for guidance, control, and localization
  • Acting upon the body and environment to produce motion or other outputs that enable the robot to locomote or interact with the environment

Each of these areas may be considered a subplan for coursework and research study.

Our students come to the field with a variety of backgrounds, particularly in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. They learn to work in teams to accomplish the many tasks necessary to build and operate an autonomous system, including mechanical design, electronics, programming and integrating all the parts. Students graduate the program as independent researchers and engineers, and many will go on to become leaders in robotics research, in academia, industry and government.