MS Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The M.S. program in Robotics Engineering requires 30 credit hours of work. Students may select a non-thesis option, which requires a 6-credit capstone design/practicum, or a thesis option which requires a 9-credit thesis. All entering students must submit a plan of study identifying the courses to be taken and a prospective project topic before the end of the first semester in the program. The plan of study must be approved by the student’s advisor and the RBE Graduate Program Committee, and must include the following minimum requirements:

1. Robotics Core (15 credits)*

  • Foundations (9 credits)
    RBE 500 Foundations of Robotics
    ME/RBE 501 Robot Dynamics
    RBE 502 Robot Control
  • Core (6 credits)
    Any RBE 500+ other than the above.

    (*) At least 15 credits are needed.  Any additional credits accrued from these courses will be counted as Electives.

2. Engineering Context (3 credits)

  • 3 credit hours selected from the following courses:
    ETR 592 New Venture Management And Entrepreneurship
    MIS 576 Project Management
    MKT 563 Marketing of Emerging Technologies
    OBC 511 Interpersonal and Leadership Skills for Technological Managers
    OIE 546 Managing Technological Innovation
    Courses prefixed by SYS at the 500 level or above

3. Capstone / Thesis (6-9 credits)

  • A 6 credit hour capstone design project/ practicum or a 9 credit hour thesis.

4. Electives (3-6 credits): Sufficient course work selected from courses at the 500 level or above with a prefix of RBE, CS, ECE, MA, ME, or SYS to total 30 credit hours. Courses at the 4000 level may also be taken as electives with the prior approval of the RBE Graduate Committee.

Thesis Option

The M.S. thesis consists of 9 credit hours of work, normally spread over at least one academic year. A thesis committee will be set up during the first semester of thesis work. This committee will be selected by the student in consultation with the major advisor and will consist of the thesis advisor, who must be a full-time WPI RBE faculty member, and two other faculty members, at least one of whom is a WPI RBE faculty member, whose expertise will aid the student’s research program. An oral presentation before the Thesis Committee and a general audience is required. In addition, all WPI thesis regulations must be followed.

Non-Thesis Options

As an alternative to a research-based thesis, students may elect a project or practicum to include a design/research component in their graduate program. For an M.S. Degree in Robotics Engineering this can be accomplished by completing a 6 credit capstone design project RBE 598 or a practicum RBE 596. The capstone design project must demonstrate significant graduate-level work involving Robotics Engineering. The capstone design project must include substantial analysis and/or design related to robotics engineering and will conclude with a substantial written report submitted to the advisor.

A practicum provides students an opportunity to put into practice the principles that have been studied in previous courses. It will generally be conducted off campus and will involve a real-world robotics-engineering situation. Overall conduct of the practicum will be supervised by a WPI RBE faculty member; an on-site liaison will direct day-to-day activity. For a student from industry, the practicum may be sponsored by his or her employer. The project must include substantial analysis and/or design related to robotics engineering and will conclude with a substantial written report.

Summary of Credit Requirements

MS Thesis MS Non-Thesis BS/MS
Robotics Core 15 15 15
Engineering Context 3         3 3
Electives 3-6 3-6 3-6
Thesis 9 -- --
Capstone Design / Practicum -- 6 6
Double Count -- -- (12)
Total 30 30 30

Transfer Credit

A student may petition for permission to use graduate courses taken at other accredited, degree-granting institutions to satisfy RBE graduate degree requirements. A maximum of 12 graduate credits, with a grade of B or better, may be satisfied by courses taken elsewhere and not used to satisfy degree requirements at other institutions. Petitions are subject to approval by the RBE Graduate Committee, and are then filed with the Registrar. Transfer credit will not be allowed for undergraduate-level courses taken at other institutions. In general, transfer credit will not be allowed for any WPI undergraduate courses used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements; however, note that there are exceptions in the case of students enrolled in the BS/MS program.

A student with one or more WPI master’s degrees who is seeking an RBE master’s degree from WPI may petition to apply up to 9 prior credits toward satisfying requirements for the subsequent degree. Petitions are subject to approval by the RBE Graduate Committee.

Students who take graduate courses at WPI prior to formal admission to the RBE graduate program may petition to apply up to 9 graduate credits to fulfill the RBE graduate degree requirements. Once again, petitions are subject to approval by the RBE Graduate Committee.

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