Course Requirements MS PhD
The Robotics Masters (MS) degree program requires completion of 30 credits of letter-graded coursework including directed study for 3 to 6 credits. PhD programs have very similar course requirements. PhD students earn a Masters degree as part of their PhD program. To complete the PhD, students will typically complete a minimum of 6 additional credits to satisfy specific course requirements. The Rackham Residency requirement states that at least 18 of the 36 course credits required for a PhD be earned at the University of Michigan, for those entering with MS degrees from other institutions.
The robotics program classifies most of its courses as belonging to one of three core subdisciplines:
- Sensing – Includes computer vision, mapping, signal processing.
- Reasoning – Includes planning, multi-agent coordination, machine learning, artificial intelligence.
- Acting – Includes control, kinematics, dynamics, mechanical, bio-mechanical systems design, manipulation, real-time systems.
The following table summarizes robotics program course requirements. The “Other Electives” course set is quite general and should be discussed with a student’s advisor and documented on the student’s course plan. Some suggested math and robotics courses hosted in traditional departments are listed here.
|Course / Category||Description||Requirement|
|ROB 501||Math for Robotics||4 credits|
|ROB 550||Robotic Systems Laboratory||4 credits|
|Breadth||One course from each core area: sensing, reasoning, acting||3 courses (9+ credits)|
|Depth||At least one additional course taken from at least one of the three core areas||3 credits|
|Cognate (PhD only)||One technical course from outside your Depth core area. Note that the cognate CANNOT double-count for a Breadth course.||3 credits|
|Directed Study|| Research supervised by a robotics faculty member. |
(See ROB 590: Directed Study below)
|3 credits required|
|Other Electives||400 level or higher (approved by a faculty advisor)||3+ credits|
1st Year Students MS PhD
All first-year MS and PhD robotics students are advised to take three courses in the first (fall) semester: Math for Robotics (ROB 501), Robotic Systems Laboratory (ROB 550), plus a third course related to their primary area of interest. In the second term, students are advised to take two courses, e.g., from other breadth areas, plus a directed study course.
Each student is strongly encouraged to meet with their research advisor (PhD) or MS faculty advisor (MS) by the end of their second month in the program. The goal of this meeting is to develop a course plan that satisfies course requirements and student interests.
MS For MS students, course grades must be B- or better for the credit hours to be counted toward any MS degree requirement. A student must have a minimum cumulative Rackham GPA of 3.0 (B) to be granted a degree.
PhD For PhD students, a student must maintain a cumulative 3.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale, A=4.0) and must make a grade of B+ or higher in all courses counted toward the Robotics PhD degree.
ROB 590: Directed Study
A minimum of 3 credits (and a maximum of 6 credits) of ROB 590 is required to fulfill the Robotics MS degree requirements. A ROB 590 directed study project is research supervised by a robotics faculty member (core or affiliate) and the directed study project requirements are up to each individual faculty advisor.
At this time, the Robotics Grad Office does not have a list of faculty who are looking for students to work on a project. It is up to each student to seek out faculty with whom they are interested in working.
If you are seeking ROB 590 credit for MDP, approval is required from the grad committee: please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROB 690: Master’s Advanced Research
ROB 690 “Master’s Advanced Research” is faculty-supervised research that culminates in a submitted and graded document. The expectation is that the student will write and submit an original conference style paper based on their advanced research that builds on earlier research completed in three to six credits of ROB 590. Specific expectations are determined by the research advisor. ROB 690 will be letter graded (not S/U).
There are 2 different registration options for ROB 690:
Term X: register for 3 credits of ROB 590
Term Y: register for 3 credits of ROB 590 AND 3 credits of ROB 690
Term X: 3 credits of ROB 590
Term Y: 3 credits of ROB 590
Term Z: 3 credits of ROB 690
Registration will require an email from the advisor to email@example.com approving the registration, as well as an electronic permission from the grad office.
Qualification Process PhD
A major milestone for PhD students is to pass the Comprehensive Qualifying Exam(CQE). The CQE is a comprehensive oral exam that primarily includes a research component as well as technical questions regarding core courses. The student submits a standard IEEE conference paper format document describing their research and delivers an oral presentation describing a research problem. Following the presentation two faculty members will question the student on their understanding of their subject.
A student automatically qualifies to take the CQE if they received a grade of A- or better in both ROB 501 and ROB 550. A grade of B+ in either ROB 501 or ROB 550 is considered a borderline case and the student must request permission to take the CQE by identifying their core weaknesses and a plan (approved by advisor) to address them (e.g. by taking an independent study or related class, or retaking core class). This proposal will be considered by the Graduate Committee. If the student receives a grade below B+ in ROB 501 or ROB 550 they need to retake the course(s). Only one retake per class is allowed.
Thesis Proposal and Defense PhD
PhD students must propose, write, and defend a thesis on an original research topic. At least a year prior to the final thesis defense, the student must defend a proposal to the PhD committee. More information can be found here.