The degree requirements for students in the Master’s of Science in Robotics Research Program (MSR) at Carnegie Mellon University consist of core course requirements, elective courses, and supervised research culminating in a public thesis talk and a Master’s Thesis document.
The MSR program is designed to be completed nominally in two full years (24 months), with exceptional trajectories as described below for the fifth-year Master’s Research option available to current Carnegie Mellon undergraduates, and for Carnegie Mellon staff who are taking courses and conducting research part-time while performing staff duties.
The MSR program does not provide or guarantee funding; students are expected to secure two years’ of funds to pay for their educational costs. It is Robotics Institute policy that incoming students may not receive funding (via a research assistantship or otherwise) their first semester unless the funding is outlined in their offer letter. Offer letters may be updated until April 1st. Fifth Year students can begin the summer after bachelor degree completion and count that as their first semester in the program if enrolled in 36 units of on-campus research with approval of their research advisor.
The Master’s Thesis requirement is satisfied through the oversight of the Master’s Committee, formed from faculty and students at The Robotics Institute who read and approve the Master’s Thesis document and attend and approve the public thesis presentation, as described below.Show All
Faculty Research Advisor
Review of Progress
Master's Thesis Committee
On-line forms are used (Speaking and Writing Qualifier forms, via the BlackFriday site) by the committee members to report on and to approve the final thesis document and presentation. Committee approvals must be submitted by the grade deadline in the semester which the student wishes to graduate.
Course of Study
- 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 are 15-780 Graduate Artificial Intelligence, and 10-601/10-701 Machine Learning (MS/PhD Levels).
- 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.
Students interested in doing a summer internship must first have their research advisor’s support. Some research projects require students to be on-campus performing research for both summer sessions. Students must also have their research advisor’s approval that the content of the internship corresponds to or assists with the student’s on-campus research project. By providing their approval the research advisor is committing to over-see the content of the internship, which culminates in a one-page report due to the Program Manager the day before summer grades are due.
Final Oral Presentation and Thesis Document
The student is also expected to deliver a Master's Thesis describing the supervised research. This should be a document for which the student is the sole or principal author. The thesis should demonstrate a style, organization and clarity that enable researchers in the field to comprehend the problem, method, and results of the research. The Thesis should, at a minimum, contain the following sections and ingredients: Background, Research Question, Related Work, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. There is not a specific page-based minimum length for the Thesis document. Once approved, the Thesis must be archived as a Carnegie Mellon Technical Report. The principal approval for the Thesis document is provided by the student's committee, via the Writing Qualifier form.
In both the presentation and document, the student should convey a mastery of a topic related to contemporary robotics research. The student should present a summary of work related to the topic from the current research literature, and should clearly describe how his/her research fits into the context of that research. It is not necessary for the student to generate his/her own novel research results that go beyond the current state of art, but of course novel results are welcome and will strengthen the presentation and document.
The student is also expected to deliver a complete thesis draft document to their committee sufficiently in advance (recommendation of two weeks) of the oral presentation to enable committee feedback. The oral thesis presentation must occur on a weekday on or before the last day of classes in the semester the student intends to graduate. All thesis requirements, including upload and qualifier forms, must be received by the date and time that grades are due for certification in that semester.
Carnegie Mellon Staff Enrollees
Following acceptance, staff should form their thesis committee and mutually select a faculty advisor. Staff are now eligible to take elective courses and must be enrolled in the MSR program for a minimum of two academic (fall and spring) semesters prior to graduation.
Staff members interested in utilizing the tuition benefits must coordinate directly with Human Resources. If the staff member is here on a Visa, it is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure they have appropriate status with the Office of International Education to pursue an academic degree.