The mission of the Robotics concentration is to conduct world-class research and teaching to train future generations of thinkers and creators.

Robotics Concentration for Master's Students

Prepare for a career in robotics with an internationally-acclaimed faculty

Students in Duke MEMS master’s programs have the opportunity to specialize in robotics.

The mission of the Robotics concentration is to conduct world-class research and teaching to train future generations of thinkers and creators.

For our students interested in the field of robotics, we offer:

  • A research-oriented Master of Science (MS) degree
  • A career-focused Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering degree

Our interdisciplinary faculty has a wide breadth of expertise — ranging from mechanical design to artificial intelligence and algorithms to the social implications of robotics.

Robotics students at Duke are part of an intellectually stimulating environment where they participate in project-based courses and are encouraged to make high-impact contributions to research.

HIGHLIGHTS

The robotics program for Duke MEMS master’s students offers:

  • Interdisciplinary training in a robotics core in the MS curriculum or an MEng area of concentration jointly sponsored by Duke's Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • A flexible curriculum allowing students to define their own specialties and bridge to other disciplines. Project-based courses translate state-of-the-art research into experiential learning.
  • A master's thesis or research project in the Master of Science (MS) degree program
  • Business courses and an internship in the Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering degree program

MEET OUR GRADUATES

About 60 percent of our MEMS master's students go onto careers in industry, where they work for leading firms or build their own startups. About 40 percent of our master's graduates enter PhD programs. Learn more about where our master's grads go.

David BrittonDavid Britton

JD, Duke University School of Law, 2017
MS, Mechanical Engineering, 2017

Yan ZhangYan Zhang

PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, Duke University
MS in Mechanical Engineering, 2016

 Meet our Faculty

Duke MEMS Robotics faculty, students, and postdocs are engaged in high-impact research spanning many areas in robotics, with numerous grants from major funders such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Leila BridgemanLeila Bridgeman

Research interests: Robust and optimal control, linear matrix inequalities (LMIs), model predictive control (MPC), delayed systems, input-output stability, passivity.

Patrick CoddPatrick Codd

Research interests: Minimally invasive neurosurgical device development and neurosurgical robotics.

 

Mary "Missy" CummingsMary "Missy" Cummings

Research interests: Human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-systems engineering, public policy implications of unmanned vehicles, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Kris HauserKris Hauser

Research interests: Robot motion planning and control, semiautonomous robots, and integrating perception and planning; research applications include automated vehicle collision avoidance, robotic manipulation, robot-assisted medicine, and legged locomotion.

Brian MannBrian Mann

Research interests: Nonlinear dynamics and vibration utilizing analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques. Fundamental investigations of phenomenon and application areas where dynamical systems theory plays an important role.

Michael ZavlanosMichael Zavlanos

Research interests: Networked dynamical systems, robotic and sensor networks, biological and social networks, and hybrid solution techniques; research applications include communication maintenance, formation flying and intruder detection.

Curriculum and Courses

Our robotics curriculum is flexible, allowing a master's student to focus on the interdisciplinary techniques needed to be a successful robotics engineer.

Since robotics is a broad discipline, we provide a variety of sub-specializations to choose from. Below are two example degree plans for the robot design and control and intelligent systems sub-specializations.

Key Courses

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Introduction to Robotics and Automation
  • ME 627: Linear Systems Theory
  • ME 555: Systems Engineering
  • ME 555/ECE 590: Human-Robot Interaction
  • ME 555/ECE 590: Advanced Robot System Design
  • COMPSCI 527: Computer Vision
  • COMPSCI 570: Artificial Intelligence
  • COMPSCI 571D: Machine Learning
  • COMPSCI 590: Advanced Topics in CS: Algorithmic Aspects of Machine Learning
  • ME 545: Robot Control and Automation
  • ME 546: Intelligent Systems
  • ME 555: Intelligent Sensors
  • ME 524: Introduction to the Finite Element Method
  • ME 542: Modern Control and Dynamic Systems
  • STA 611: Intro to Mathematical Statistics
  • STA 561: Probabilistic Machine Learning
  • CEE 625(210)/ME 541: Intermediate Dynamics
  • CEE/ME 648: Multivariable Control
  • CEE 690: System Identification
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++
  • ECE 555: Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers
  • ECE 581: Random Signals and Noise
  • ECE 590: Vector Space Methods With Applications
  • ECE 681: Pattern Classification and Recognition Technology
  • STA 611: Intro to Mathematical Statistics
  • STA 561: Probabilistic Machine Learning
  • STA 643: Modern Design of Experiments
  • STA 641 Statistical Learning and Bayesian Nonparametrics
  • STA 621 Applied Stochastic Processes

Sample Degree Plans

Below we are two example degree plans for the Robot Design and Control, and Intelligent Systems sub-specializations. There is some flexibility in each of these plans, and a fourth course each semester should be taken according to your interests and to fulfill degree requirements.

Sub-Specialization: Robot design and control

First Year — Fall semester

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Introduction to Robotics and Automation
  • ME 627: Linear Systems Theory
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++

First Year — Spring semester

  • ME 542: Modern Control and Dynamic Systems
  • ME 524: Introduction to the Finite Element Method
  • CEE 690: System Identification

Second Year — Fall semester

  • CEE 625(210)/ME 541: Intermediate Dynamics
  • STA 611: Intro to Mathematical Statistics
  • ME 555: Systems Engineering

Second Year — Spring semester

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Advanced Robot System Design
  • CEE/ME 648: Multivariable Control
  • Additional electives, independent study, or MS final project

Sub-Specialization: Intelligent systems

First Year — Fall semester

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Introduction to Robotics and Automation
  • ME 627: Linear Systems Theory
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++

First Year — Spring semester

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Human-Robot Interaction
  • ECE 555: Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers or STA 611: Intro to Mathematical Statistics
  • A machine learning, artificial intelligence, or computer vision course

Second Year — Fall semester

  • ME 555: Systems Engineering
  • MATH 561: Scientific Computing
  • A machine learning, artificial intelligence, or computer vision courses

Second Year, Spring semester

  • ME 555/ECE 590: Advanced Robot System Design
  • STA 611: Intro to Mathematical Statistics
  • Additional electives, independent study, or MS final project

HOW TO APPLY

Robotics is a specialization within our Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering degree programs.

Before applying, take an opportunity to learn even more about our Master of Science (MS) degree program — ideal preparation of a research career or preparation for a PhD, and about our Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering — a career-focused option with an internship experience.

Learn how to apply.

Application Deadlines

Master of Science (MS)

  • For fall admission: January 31
  • For spring admission: October 1

Apply to MS

 

Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering

  • For fall admission: January 15 (Round 1), March 15 (Round 2) and June 1 (Round 3–US citizens and permanent residents)
  • For spring admission: September 1 (Round 1) and November 1 (Round 2–US citizens and permanent residents)

Apply to MEng