The University of Colorado Boulder has started a graduate engineering program in robotics to fill a growing need in an in-demand field.
The CU Regents have approved new Master of Science and PhD degree options in robotics that will provide students a flexible education that merges hardware and software engineering, mathematics and artificial intelligence into a single program.
“Demand is so high for degrees like this across the country; it’s something students and employers really want,” said Sean Humbert, director of the Robotics Program and a professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering.
The program brings together a wide array of faculty, research and class options from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, according to Chris Heckman, associate professor of computer science and the robotics program.
“The workforce in robotics is often siloed, with people only being specialists in certain elements. We want students to be able to work across the field in computer science, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, wherever they need to be,” Heckman said.
Students enrolled in the program can choose from 40+ different courses taught by leading researchers with strong expertise in key areas, including field robotics, reasoning and assurance, smart materials, human-centered robotics and biomedical robotics.
“CU Boulder is really strong in robotics, and now we’re bringing together all that expertise,” Humbert said. “This field is so interdisciplinary, and we have strong connections and teams both within the university and in industry and the public sector.”
Boulder and Colorado’s Front Range is home to many businesses active in robotics, providing educational partnership and career options for students and graduates, according to Alessandro Roncone, associate director of the Robotics Program and an assistant professor of computer science.
“This program positions students at the nexus of innovative research and real-world application. Not only will they be taught by leading experts in the field, but they'll also have the opportunity to become leaders in robotics and AI. We are committed to fostering creativity and innovation, and our strong tech ecosystem locally provides an unparalleled environment for growth and discovery,” Roncone said.
In addition to a research-focused PhD, students enrolled in the master’s program can choose from thesis and non-thesis options, providing graduates with opportunities in academia and technical leadership positions in large industry, startups, emergency services and government.
The program officially launched for the fall 2023 semester, with students transferring into the program from other CU Engineering graduate programs. Prospective students from outside the university will be welcomed starting in fall 2024. That application window is now open.