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 may earn a Master’s degree as part of their PhD program. This MS may be conferred provided the student does not already have a master’s degree in Robotics. 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. Some suggested math and robotics courses hosted in traditional departments are listed here. Any course listed under Sensing, Reasoning, or Acting that is not used to fulfill the breadth or depth requirement, 400-level courses listed here, or any 500-level or higher courses within the College of Engineering, can be considered an elective. If you would like to request that a course not included in one of these groups count as an elective, please fill out the Robotics Course Approval Request form.
|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 two-three courses in the first (fall) semester: Math for Robotics (ROB 501), Programming for Robotics (ROB 502) or Robotic Systems Laboratory (ROB 550), plus, if they choose, a third course related to their primary area of interest. In the second term, students are advised to take two-three courses, e.g., from depth or breadth areas, or 2 courses plus a directed study course.
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 and ROB 690: Master’s Advanced Research
Find more information on ROB 590 and ROB 690, including steps and the proposal form.
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.