An interdepartmental program, the Master of Science in Robotics (MSR) is a one-year, full-time graduate program that equips engineers with the tools required of a robotics engineer. Robotics is a cutting-edge field that is forecasted to grow substantially over the next 20 years. It is also a broad field requiring engineers to have expertise in computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, and mathematics. Most undergraduate programs focus on one of these areas. This program is designed to provide intense, hands-on training to bridge the knowledge and experience gap between an undergraduate engineering degree and a career in robotics.
Students enrolling in the MSR program for the 2014/2015 academic year have the special opportunity to participate in one of the largest robotics conferences in the world when the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems comes to Chicago in September 2014. Read more about this exciting opportunity here.
The program features a combination of traditional courses and in-depth, project-based courses.
Robotics curriculum course subject areas
- automatic control
- kinematics and dynamics
- machine learning
- path planning
- human-machine interfaces
- biomedical engineering
- robotic rehabilitation
Robotics research projects
Students will be given the opportunity to participate in a diverse set of robotics research projects with faculty from all over Northwestern. This includes working with the Neuroscience and Robotics Laboratory, a world leader in robotics, haptic interfaces, and biomedical engineering. Project areas include multi-robot systems, robotic manipulation, haptics, simulation and control of multibody systems, swarm robotics, bio-inspired sensing and control, and prosthetics engineering.
Industrial collaboration and internships
Industrial ties are an essential part of the program. The program will feature seminars, networking events, and projects from leading industrial partners. Additionally students will be encouraged to participate in industrial internships.
Who should apply?
The program is aimed at outstanding students who have already completed a BS in engineering or related field and are seeking a career in robotics. Possible undergraduate majors include computer science, and mechanical, electrical, or biomedical engineering. Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to have programming experience in C, C++, or Python prior to enrolling. Programming experience will facilitate participation in upper-division EECS courses that have programming prerequisites. Students with less programming background will be presented with supplementary instruction during the Fall term.
Program duration and requirements
The program requires 10 courses during the three-quarter academic year with courses offered in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and biomedical engineering. Required courses for the program are ME 495: Robot Mechanics, Planning, and Control, ME 495: Embedded Systems in Robotics, and ME 333: Intro to Mechatronics. For those students with no experience in Lagrangian dynamics, ME 314: Theory of Machines—Dynamics is highly recommended. During the academic year students will participate in 2 quarters of project courses (accounting for 2 of the 10) that will then lead to a summer project. The project will conclude with a final presentation describing the work and its relevance and importance to the robotics industry and robotics research.
Alternatively, the student will participate in a summer internship at an industrial company or an international partner lab and then return to Northwestern for the Fall Quarter to finish their project. Some industry-sponsored, collaborative projects may allow a blended schedule where the student’s internship also completes their project.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Please see The Graduate School website for more information about tuition and financial aid.