Doctoral Program in Robotics - The Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University
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Doctoral Program in Robotics2023-07-27T15:14:57-04:00

Doctoral Program in Robotics (PhD)

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Tomorrow’s Robotics Leaders

The Robotics doctoral program is committed to preparing students to be world-class researchers, creating knowledge and artifacts that can impact our society. Graduates of the program will take a leading role in the research and development of future generations of integrated robotics technologies and systems.

The program is inherently interdisciplinary, bringing together areas of research that would otherwise be spread across different departments or separate universities.

Requirements for the degree include coursework, a research qualifier, and submission of a thesis that describes original, independent research.

Doctoral students typically complete the program in five to six years. In the first two years of the program, students split their time between research and coursework.

Upon completion of the coursework and other basic requirements (such as demonstrating writing and speaking skills, and TA’ing), students focus entirely on research, learning to work independently and collaboratively.

Estimates of the Time Allocated to Each Component of the Ph.D. Program

The following table indicates estimates for an appropriate distribution of effort in the Ph.D. program. It is based on actual student performance over the past few years; it also corresponds to the faculty's judgment of realistic estimates of the time required by various components of the program. These figures are meant to be suggestive, not prescriptive. We present them so that all faculty and students can develop a shared image of the expectations of the program.

Robotics Orientationfull-timeone weekone week
Courses1/2 time1 sem each4 sem
Teaching1/4 time2 sem2 sem
Directed Research1/2 time*5-7 sem
Thesis Proposal1/2 time2 sem1 sem
Thesisfull-timeuntil done2-4 sem
Good Worksvariableoften--

Deeper Level of Research and Collaboration

Students are involved in every aspect of research – from initial problem formulation to the final publication of results. Research is conducted in the laboratories of the Robotics Institute under the supervision of faculty advisers and in collaboration with student colleagues. Students in the PhD program are awarded a yearly graduate fellowship, which includes tuition, activity fees, and a stipend, as long as they maintain good standing in the program.

Read More about the Course of Study (PDF)

Faculty Research Interests

Find out more about current Robotics Institute faculty and their ranked research interests.