Q1. What is the difference between M.S. and Ph.D. program options you offer?
We offer three different graduate degree options in the Robotics Program. All these programs require a research advisor.
- M.S. Thesis combines 45 credits of course work and research. Student will write a thesis document that will be published by the university.
- M.S. Project combines 45 credits of coursework and research. Student will write a project document that will not be published by the University. This option is used in cases where project sponsors restrict publication of data or when a student is working towards a Ph.D. and would like to obtain an M.S. in addition.
- Ph.D. combines 108 credits of coursework and research. Students are required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge in their field and will write a dissertation that will be published by the University.
The coursework expectations for each degree can be found here
Q2. How are applications reviewed?
See here for more information on how to write a successful application.
Applications are reviewed in a holistic process that uses five criteria: 1) Academic preparedness, 2) Research experience, 3) Soft skills (motivation, self-teaching, resilience, leadership), 4) Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and 5) Program fit.
Academic skills are assessed primarily through your transcript and letters from academic advisors; be sure to include any additional academic information (such as classes/experiences not reflected in your transcript) in your personal statement/resume. We accept students from a wide variety of backgrounds; we also use academic skills to align students with faculty and research projects.
Research experience is assessed through your resume, personal statement, and letters from research advisers. Research experience does NOT need to be in the area of robotics. If you do not have any formal research experience, discuss open-ended projects (such as capstones, competitions, and class projects) you have been involved in.
Soft skills are assessed through your personal statement as well as reference letters. Provide examples that demonstrate how you have gone beyond simply doing class assignments.
Contributions to DEI is assessed primarily through your resume and personal statement. Examples include participating in outreach and mentoring activities, involvement in societies and activities that promote success for under-represented groups, and other activities that support your community. These do not need to be in robotics.
Program fit is assessed both by the faculty you select in your application and your personal statement.
Q3. Are there any funded positions available for incoming students?
All students, regardless of domestic/international status, are eligible to be awarded a graduate research assistantship (GRA) and/or graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) position. These positions cover your tuition, benefits and salary. Ph.D. students are (with rare exception) awarded funding upon being admitted. Masters students may receive funding for some or all of their degree, however, this funding is very competitive. GRA funds are allocated by individual faculty members so it important to identify prospective advisors prior to applying. GTA funds are allocated based on course needs and current students have priority for them.
Q4. Can I get a degree in more than one area?
Robotics is a highly multi-disciplinary program. Many of our students pursue a dual, major, or minor in another area (Computer science, Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, and Artificial Intelligence are the most common). Our required courses for the robotics degree are deliberately kept minimal in order to facilitate pursuing these.
Q5. Do you accept applications for the Winter or Spring term or only for Fall admissions?
It is recommended that you apply during the fall admission cycle because this is when most faculty are recruiting and considering students. If you need to start later than fall you can ask for a deferment to a later term after you are admitted. Apply by December 31 for full consideration. No applications will be accepted after April 30 for the upcoming academic year.
Q6. Is it possible to waive the application fee?
In cases of extreme need, an individual faculty member can request a waiver of the application fee if they plan to advise the student who is applying. Your future advisor will make this request to the program director and you will be provided a code to waive the application fee, if approved.
Q7. Are GRE test scores required?
GRE scores are not required for any applicant. However, if you have taken the GRE, you may submit your scores in your application.
Q8. How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?
There is no separate application process for graduate assistantships, you will automatically be given full consideration for graduate assistantships. For all research graduate assistantships the selection process is determined by individual faculty members. Therefore, the best approach is to identify faculty members with research activities that align with your interests and research skills and experience. Faculty labs with current and past projects are listed in the right, and a full list of the faculty can be found here. Your application will be routed to the faculty you select for reviewing.
Q9. Do International Students have a disadvantage when it comes to applying directly to the PhD program or funding?
We do not discriminate between domestic and international students in terms of admission or funding. However, it is a highly competitive process. See allocating funding above.