Top 20 Best Master’s in Robotics Technology Degrees

We have heard about it all our lives — a future in which robots play a pivotal role in our society. Already, they are showing up in fast-food restaurants, surgical theaters, and in our automobiles and airplanes. It is said that robots of the near future will look, feel, and act more human than machine. 

It is easy to understand why you may want to jump into the action by earning a master’s degree in robotics technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in robotics are expected to increase by 9%, or more than 25,000 positions, between now and 2026. Considering the fact that in the past decade robots have replaced more jobs than they have created, it makes sense to prepare yourself for a job on the creation end of this incredible phenomenon. 

But to get there, you will certainly need a specialized degree. In this article, we rank the top 20 U.S.-based Master’s in Robotics Technology degree programs. 

To come up with our ranking, we began by compiling a list of every university in the country that offers just such a degree. We then narrowed down our findings to just the top 20 by implementing the following points-based system: 

Annual Out-of-State Graduate Tuition:
Under $10,000: 5 points
Under $20,000: 4 points
Under $30,000: 3 points
Under $40,000: 2 points
Under $50,000: 1 point

Annual Percentage of 20-Year Net Return on Investment:
9% and above: 5 points
7%-8%: 4 points
5%-6%: 3 points
3%-4%: 2 points
1%-2%: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: Best Graduate Engineering Schools
Top 5: 5 points
Top 10: 4 points
Top 20: 3 points
Top 30: 2 points
Top 50: 1 point

Student-to-Faculty Ratio:
10:1 and better: 5 points
12:1 and better: 4 points
15:1 and better: 3 points
17: 1 and better: 2 points
20:1 and better: 1 point 

In the event of a tie in points, the higher ranking was awarded to the degree program with the lower annual tuition for out-of-state graduate students. All tuition numbers are accurate as of October 2021.

#20. University of Michigan, Dearborn
Master of Science in Engineering in Robotics Engineering 

Dearborn, Michigan
Tuition: $24,672
Total Points: 5

The MSE in Robotics Engineering offered by University of Michigan at Dearborn is ideal for anyone who holds an undergraduate degree in robotics, computer science, or engineering. The 30-credit hour program includes courses like Mobile Robotics and Introduction to Robotic Systems. Upon completing the required coursework, students may choose between four concentrations:

  • Machine Learning and Reasoning
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Systems and Control
  • Sensing and Processing

A thesis option is also available. 

#19. University of Washington, Seattle
university-of-washingtonMaster of Science in Electrical Engineering in Controls, Mechatronics, & Robotics 

Seattle, Washington
Tuition: $29,178
Total Points: 7

University of Washington offers an M.S. in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Controls, Mechatronics, & Robotics. The 42-credit hour degree program includes coursework in engineering analysis and numerical analysis. The degree culminates in the submission of a thesis.

#18. Oregon State University
Master of Science in Robotics

Corvallis, Oregon
Tuition: $26,109
Total Points: 7

The M.S. in Robotics degree at Oregon State University is a program with lots of options. Grad students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours to earn their degree. They may either complete 30 credits of coursework and 12 credits of thesis work, or they may complete 36 credits of coursework and 6 credits of a special project. Required courses include Sequential Decision Making and Research Robotics, to name but two. A final oral exam is required before graduation.

#17. University of Cincinnati
Master of Engineering in Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems 

Cincinnati, Ohio
Tuition: $24,966
Total Points: 7

University of Cincinnati offers an M.Eng. in Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems. Most robotics degrees focus on research experiences and/or a thesis. University of Cincinnati’s program focuses on technical skills and expertise that prepare a grad student for the workforce. Potential coursework includes:

  • Intelligent Robotics
  • Analytical Dynamics
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The degree program culminates in a Master of Engineering capstone project.

#16. Oakland University
Master of Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering

Rochester Hills, Michigan
Tuition: $24,648
Total Points: 7

Michigan-based Oakland University offers an M.S. in Mechatronic Systems Engineering. This degree program is especially popular among those interested in autonomous vehicles, as the university is located near Detroit and some of the world’s foremost automobile makers. Coursework covers:

  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • robotics, and more. 

#15. Arizona State University
arizona-state-universityMaster of Science in Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Tempe, Arizona
Tuition: $26,160
Total Points: 8

Arizona State University offers an M.S. in Robotics and Autonomous Systems via its campus in Tempe, Arizona. Grad students pursuing this degree have five concentration options from which to choose, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

Coursework covers a variety of topics, including:

  • control systems
  • human-machine interaction
  • machine learning, to name but three.

#14. Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of MinesMaster of Science in Robotics 

Golden, Colorado
Tuition: $37,350
Total Points: 9

Colorado School of Mines is one of the top-ranked science and engineering universities in the country. Graduate students who attend Colorado School of Mines have two options when it comes to earning a Master of Science in Robotics. A thesis option requires 30 credit hours of prescribed coursework, plus a final thesis before graduation. A non-thesis option requires students to complete a collection of:

  • core courses
  • robotics electives
  • technical electives
  • research.

#13. Colorado State University, Pueblo
Master of Science in Mechatronics Engineering 

Pueblo, Colorado
Tuition: $16,803
Total Points: 9

Colorado State University at Pueblo offers an M.S. in Mechatronics Engineering. This unique degree program is part of Biology studies, and prepares students for professional levels in:

  • artificial intelligence
  • intelligent robotics
  • advanced controls

To earn the M.S. in Mechatronics, students must complete at least 30 credit hours of coursework. Required core courses include:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Intelligent Robotics
  • a graduate seminar

Students may choose to tailor their coursework towards a specialization track. They may also choose to complete a thesis.

#12. Duke University
Duke University-Top Computer Science Bachelor's DegreesMaster of Engineering or Master of Science in Autonomous Intelligent Systems and Machines  

Durham, North Carolina
Tuition: $57,900
Total Points: 10

Duke University offers a very flexible robotics master’s degree program. Students may choose to pursue either a Master of Science or a Master of Engineering in Autonomous, Intelligent Systems and Machines. The degree covers a variety of topics, including:

  • motion planning
  • robotic mechanisms
  • machine learning applications

Uniquely, students may also choose to design their own graduate degree in robotics.

#11. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Master of Science in Robotics Engineering 

Worcester, Massachusetts
Tuition: $28,980
Total Points: 10

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers a very highly regarded M.S. in Robotics Engineering. Graduate students pursuing this degree work alongside faculty on cutting-edge research. Earning the degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Students may choose to complete either a thesis or a capstone project. Uniquely, Worcester Polytechnic Institute also offers its M.S. in Robotics Engineering as an online degree.

#10. Northeastern University
Master of Science in Robotics

Boston, Massachusetts
Tuition: $25,264
Total Points: 10

Northeastern University offers an M.S. in Robotics that combines:

  • computer science
  • mechanical engineering
  • electrical engineering

Required coursework includes, among others:

  • Mobile Robotics
  • Robotics Sensing and Navigation,
  • Sequential Decision Making

Students have three concentrations from which to choose, and may also decide whether or not to complete a thesis. 

#9. Michigan Technological University
Master of Science in Mechatronics 

Houghton, Michigan
Tuition: $21,744
Total Points: 10

Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan Technological University offers an M.S. in Mechatronics. The 30-credit hour degree program combines:

  • mechanics
  • computing
  • electronics

Students may choose to complete a thesis or report as part of their education, or they may complete additional coursework instead. For those with the time and discipline, the M.S. in Mechatronics may also be completed as an accelerated program.

#8. Johns Hopkins University
johns-hopkins-universityMaster of Science in Engineering in Robotics 

Baltimore, Maryland
Tuition: $57,010
Total Points: 11

Johns Hopkins University offers an MSE in Robotics via its top-ranked Whiting School of Engineering. The university is home to the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics, which has earned a reputation as one of the world’s best robotics research sites. Johns Hopkins students pursuing a master’s in robotics have six specialization options from which to choose. They may also choose to complete their degree with just coursework, or with a combination of:

  • coursework
  • an internship
  • a research essay.

#7. Northwestern University
northwestern-universityMaster of Science in Robotics

Evanston, Illinois
Tuition: $56,067
Total Points: 11

Chicago-based Northwestern University offers a Master of Science in Robotics. This top-ranked degree program is ideal for graduate students craving a hands-on approach to learning. The intensive, 10-course degree program includes classes such as Robotic Manipulation and Embedded Systems in Robotics. An independent project and a final project are also required before graduation. 

#6. University of Pennsylvania 
Master of Science in Engineering in Robotics

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuition: $37,678
Total Points: 11

University of Pennsylvania offers a Robotics MSE that is sure to attract anyone interested in a career in robotics research. The robotics master’s degree at UPenn is designed to provide a solid background in the subject. It also provides opportunities for students to focus their studies on a particular area within robotics. Students are required to choose courses from three foundational areas:

  • Robot Design
  • Analysis, Control, and Perception
  • Artificial Intelligence

They must also choose to specialize in either Computer Vision or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

#5. University of Michigan
university-of-michiganMaster of Science in Robotics 

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tuition: $49,120
Total Points: 12

University of Michigan offers an innovative and remarkably hands-on M.S. in Robotics degree. Students work with an advisor to develop an individualized plan of study, though all students are required to take courses like Math for Robotics and Robotic Systems Laboratory. Michigan’s M.S. in Robotics culminates in a directed study project.

#4. New York University
Master of Science in Mechatronics and Robotics 

New York, New York
Tuition: $23,704
Total Points: 12

New York University offers an M.S. in Mechatronics and Robotics. Earning the degree requires 30 credit hours of required coursework. Potential classes include:

  • Algorithms for Mechatronics and Robotics
  • Foundations of Robotics
  • Entrepreneurship

Students may also choose a specialization, options for which include:

  • Assistive Mechatronic and Robotic Technologies
  • Mobile Robotics
  • Microrobotics.

#3. Columbia University in the City of New York
columbia-universityMaster of Science in Computer Science (Vision, Interaction, and Robotics Track)

New York, New York
Tuition: $49,024
Total Points: 13

Those who are most interested in the computer science aspect of robotics technology would do well to consider Columbia University. The top-ranked research university gives graduate students the choice of eight different concentration options, one of which is Vision, Interaction, and Robotics. Coursework includes classes like:

  • 3D User Interfaces and Augmented Reality
  • Computer Animation
  • Biometrics

In addition to the 30 credits required to earn the degree, grad students must also complete the Columbia Engineering Professional Development & Leadership requirement.

#2. Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech-Top Computer Science Bachelor's DegreesMaster of Science in Robotics

Atlanta, Georgia
Tuition: $29,140
Total Points: 13

The M.S. in Robotics degree program offered by Georgia Institute of Technology is a collaborative effort between the colleges of engineering, computing, and the sciences. Earning the degree requires 36 hours of coursework. The degree program culminates in a Robotics Capstone project.

#1. Carnegie Mellon University
carnegie-mellon-universityMaster of Science in Robotics

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tuition: $46,441
Total Points: 15

Topping our list of the best master’s in robotics degree programs is Carnegie Mellon University. The university’s M.S. in Robotics program requires seven courses: four core classes and three electives. Each semester, graduate students participate in both coursework and research opportunities. The degree program culminates in a thesis and public talk.

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