WPI’s PhD in Robotics Engineering program is one of the few worldwide where students can earn a doctorate in the field. We take robotics seriously, yet our approach is creative and innovative. Our world-class facilities and industry-leading faculty encourage originality and allow candidates to lead novel, cutting-edge research that crosses disciplines.

The open atmosphere builds collaborative opportunities where students generate solutions that often lead to breakthroughs in robotics technology. And WPI’s location in the heart of the robotics industry opens doors to research, collaboration, internships, and networking with the world’s leading robotics companies.



The Robotics Engineering doctoral program is groundbreaking and internationally known for its outstanding faculty and advanced research projects. A small student-to-faculty ratio means students work side by side with world-class professors who are exploring everything from medical robotic devices and multi-robot systems to the ethical implications of human-robot interaction. ​

Course work across disciplines includes computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mathematics, and mechanical engineering and gives candidates depth and breadth in robotics expertise. Students may enter the program with a BS or an MS degree and will propose a plan of study and potential research leading up to dissertation studies.


Faculty research is wide ranging and involves students in every step of research and exploration, so PhD students have nearly endless choices. Working in this wide-ranging field means you’re always innovating on exciting new problems and challenges in real time. The energy in our labs is contagious and breeds revolutionary approaches to robotics.

WPI’s robotics faculty research is supported through federal and industry funding. Some areas of faculty specialization:

  • Assistive and Augmentative Robotics
  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control
  • Manipulation
  • Medical and Surgical Robotics
  • Perception
  • Motion Planning
  • Multi-robot Systems
  • Navigation
  • Origami-inspired Foldable Robot Design and Fabrication
  • Real-time Motion Planning
  • Robot Learning
  • Soft/Flexible Robotic Systems
  • Tactile Sensing

The extensive robotics labs and facilities at WPI cater to the various interests and the collaborative and independent research projects of students. All around campus, students pursue advances using the latest technology in labs outfitted for robots for medical, social, military, communication, and even artistic uses. 

Faculty Areas of Research        Research Facilities

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Gregory S. Fischer
Associate Professor
Mechanical Engineering

Professor Fischer is a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Engineering with an appointment in Biomedical Engineering at WPI. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 from Johns Hopkins University, where he was part of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computer Integrated Surgery. At WPI he has been an integral part of developing the Robotics Engineering program and teaches primarily junior-level and graduate courses in Robotics.

Jie Fu
Assistant Professor
Electrical & Computer Engineering

My research leverages control theory, formal methods, and machine learning to construct adaptive, provably correct cyber-physical systems with respect to complex specifications. The challenges I am currently interested in include: reactive robotic systems under partial information and modeling uncertainty, multi-robot coordination, optimal control of hybrid systems, and design of adaptive semi-autonomous systems.

Kenneth Alan Stafford
Teaching Professor
Undergraduate Studies
Marko B. Popovic
Asst. Research Professor

Marko B. Popovic's research interest ranges from fundamental physics, e.g. particle physics, to human neurosensory-motor organization, engineering robotics systems that assist and augment humans, biomechatronics, and bioinspired engineering. He is the founder and director of Popovic Labs http://users.wpi.edu/~mpopovic/ where researchers study physics, biomechanics, and robotics with the goal of answering how living systems function and to synthesize systems that have resembling architecture and functionality and/or may improve life.

Getting Involved

Getting Involved

WPI’s central New England location is at the heart of the area’s robotics industry, so you’ll get involved and network with industry leaders and faculty. Check out WPI’s often competition-bound robotics clubs or join a robotics professional organization chapter on campus. ​

Students walking around the fountain in the springtime

After Graduation