Carnegie Mellon University
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Masters of Science Program Curriculum
  • Overview
  • The degree requirements for students in the Robotics Master's Program at Carnegie Mellon consist of core courses, electives, and supervised research culminating in a public oral presentation and a short written summary.

    The Master's Degree Program is designed to be completed in 12 months for those who are full-time students. There are also a limited number of research assistantships available. For students holding assistantships, the program is designed to take two academic years. RA's are often expected to remain on campus during the summer between their first and second year of the program, in order to make significant contributions to their research projects.

    Full-time students enrolling in January 2007 or thereafter will have 12 to 16 months to complete the Master's Degree Program.

  • Review of Progress

    Since the bulk of the M.S. curriculum is course work, there is no formal review of the student by the entire faculty. Satisfactory progress in coursework will be assessed by the student keeping up with the course schedule and passing the courses. All courses must be passed with a grade of B-, or better.The advisor will assign a pass / fail grade every semester for the supervised research. To oversee completion of the M.S. requirements the student will form a Masters Committee that will verify the final presentation of the supervised research in oral and written forms.

  • Faculty Advisor

    Master's students beginning in the fall semester must have a faculty advisor by October 30th; those beginning in the spring semester must have a faculty advisor by February 15th.

  • Masters Committee

    To complete the M.S. curriculum the student will form a Masters Committee consisting of two faculty members and one Robotics Ph.D.student who has completed his or her second year of study. The committee should include the student's advisor and a second Carnegie Mellon faculty member from a different research group or project than that of the student. The Masters Committee must be formed by the end of the student's first semester. A form is available to verify completion of the speaking and writing presentation of the supervised research and must be filled out by the Masters Committee.

  • Course of Study

    The Master's Degree curriculum is designed to be a subset of the Ph.D. curriculum. Each M.S. student must complete 96 credits, equivalent to eight 12-unit courses.

    • Core Courses

      Four of the courses must be drawn from the "Core Courses", one course from each of the following four areas.

      • Perception

        vision, image sensors, range data interpretation, tactile and force sensors, inertial guidance, and other sensors. Core courses in Perception are 16-720 Computer Vision and 16-722 Sensing and Sensors.

      • Cognition

        artificial intelligence for robotics, including knowledge representation, planning, and task scheduling. Core courses in Cognition are15-780 Graduate Artificial Intelligence, and 10-701 Machine Learning.

      • Action

        kinematics, dynamics, control, manipulation and locomotion. Core courses in Action are 16-741 Mechanics of Manipulation, and 16-711 Kinematics, Dynamic Systems and Control.

      • Math Foundations

        signal processing, optimal estimation, differential geometry, and operations research. There is one core course in this area:>16-811 Math Fundamentals for Robotics.

    • Elective Courses

      The student should take 24 - 36 units of elective courses. These can be drawn from one of the approved advanced sequences for the Ph.D. curriculum, or can be additional core courses. Electives need to be approved by the Chair of the Master's Program prior to taking the courses. Please use our Elective Courses Approval Form or email your elective courses to Illah Nourbakhsh, and copy Suzanne Muth, for approval.

    • Supervised Research

      The balance of the units, to a total of 96, will come from supervised research (16-997), which will normally be conducted in a faculty's laboratory, working with that faculty on one of the on-going projects of the laboratory. Supervised research is graded pass/fail, based on the advisor's assessment that the student has learned how to contribute to an original research project. Those students who receive research assistantships are expected to satisfy their supervised research requirement by working on the project from which they receive their funding.

  • Final Presentation

    The student is expected to give an oral presentation regarding the supervised research in a public venue. The student is expected to demonstrate the ability to present technical material to a technical audience that is not presumed to have specific expertise in the research area. Ideally, the Masters Committee will be in attendance, but committee members may designate proxies to evaluate the presentation. The student is also expected to deliver a written report regarding the supervised research in which he or she is the sole or primary author. The report should demonstrate a style, organization and clarity that enables researchers in the field to comprehend the problem, method, and results of the research. Typically the written report will be archived as a technical report.