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The Best Online Master’s in Robotics Programs for 2024

Learn advanced technical skills, build intelligent robots, and get ready to enter high tech fields such as systems engineering and artificial intelligence (AI) at a top online master’s in robotics program.

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A person in a blue suit operates a tablet in an industrial setting, controlling robotic arms and machinery. The tablet displays various controls and data, highlighting advanced technology and automation in a factory environment.

Has robotics always been an interest of yours? Recent groundbreaking advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have made the field more exciting than ever, and plenty of students like you are eager to earn their master’s in robotics online.

Aspiring engineers, tech enthusiasts, and anyone with a passion for technical innovation are all good fits for online robotics master’s programs. But you’re probably wondering how it all works. Which online colleges are best? Will you learn the same content as if you were on campus? What about the job prospects and earnings potential that come with an online master’s in robotics?

We’ve got you covered on all of these. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about earning an online master’s in robotics. From the benefits of pursuing an advanced degree in robotics to the ins and outs of online learning, you’ll walk away with a clearer idea of your future and solid robotics programs to consider.

School Spotlight: Online Master’s in Robotics Programs

Robotics is a field in which you definitely don’t want to compromise on the quality of your education. That’s why we compiled this spotlight of the best online robotics master’s programs around.

Accreditation, quality of the institution, and depth of the program knowledge were all considered. Here are the three colleges that came out on top.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Interested in becoming a robotics engineer? The master of science in robotics engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute will teach you the ins and outs of this technical field.

Real-world application, not just theory, is a major focus in this 30-credit program. As you delve into computer science and various types of engineering, you’ll also learn how to build your own robots. Your capstone project involves solving a real-world workplace problem.

An online specialization in autonomous vehicles is also available if this is an area of focus for you. Admissions requires a 3.0 GPA, a bachelor’s in a related field, and knowledge of an object-oriented programming language such as C, C++, Java, Perl, or Python.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: 100% online
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering

At Johns Hopkins University, you can receive some of the best robotics and engineering education available through the online master’s in robotics and autonomous systems program. The institution is a pioneer in the study and application of autonomous robots; you can be a part of the future research.

Through 30 credits covering machine learning, AI, neural networks, control systems, microprocessors, robotics cybersecurity, and even spacecraft, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create safe, autonomous robots that collaborate with you and each other. You’ll also be able to select from several focus areas to curate your own education to match your career and aspirations.

Admissions requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, mathematics, or a similar field, as well as prior education in courses such as programming and multivariable calculus.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: 100% online
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Whether you’re looking for a fully online program or one that you can complete partially on campus, the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s MSE in robotics engineering allows you to get the education you’re most comfortable with.

Through the 30-credit program, you’ll build up your area of focus in systems and control, machine learning, robotic sensing and processing, or autonomous vehicles. You’ll also learn how to conduct high-level research in the field of engineering and robotics.

Admissions requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, mathematics, or a related field; preparatory courses may be required to get you ready for the program if you fall outside these fields.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: Online or hybrid
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Career Services: Yes
  • Academic Counseling: Yes

What Classes Will I Take in an Online Robotics Master’s Program?

In an online master’s in robotics program, you can expect a diverse curriculum. After all, you need to learn how to design a robot, physically put it together, and code in AI – all while tackling various ethics issues. All these systems come together to create a broad and interesting program. Here are a few of the classes you may encounter.

Robot Motion Planning

Teaching a robot to autonomously navigate and creating the sensors required to do so is no easy task. In this course, you’ll learn about pathfinding, obstacle avoidance, and kinematics, all while gaining hands-on experience. Once you’ve mastered robot motion planning and simulations, you can see your own robots grow and learn to navigate their environments effectively.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Many robots these days don’t have remote controls; instead, they intelligently learn to react to and interact with their environment on their own. Courses in AI and machine learning focus on the development of intelligent robotic systems capable of learning from data and adapting to new situations. This course teaches you how to create robots that make decisions autonomously. Neural networks, reinforcement learning, and deep learning are some of the topics you’ll master.

Human-Computer Interaction

Are you interested in creating robots or computers that can interact with humans in a natural way? Developing robots that are user-friendly and socially aware is the goal of this course. You’ll focus on the ability to recognize and respond to human speech, emotions, and gestures.

Human-computer interaction comes into play in a variety of fields, from customer service to physical therapy to search and rescue operations. If you want to create robots that cooperate and interact with humans, you’ll enjoy this course.

What are the Specializations in Robotics?

Some online master’s in robotics programs offer specialized degrees, enabling you to tailor your studies to a specific area of interest. Maybe you particularly enjoy the AI side of things or want to focus on creating the underlying systems.

Specializations can make you more valuable in the job market. Here are a few to consider.

Artificial Intelligence

Specializing in AI means focusing on developing intelligent robotic systems capable of reasoning and learning. You’ll explore topics such as computer vision, natural language processing, and navigation, enabling you to create robots that are fully autonomous and can explore their environment on their own.

If you’re interested in this field, Arizona State University hosts a master’s in robotics and autonomous systems that specifically focuses on the field of AI-driven robotics.

Software Engineering

A specialization in software engineering, such as that offered by the University of Houston-Clear Lake, emphasizes the design, development, and maintenance of software systems in robotics.

Your primary focus is learning the programming languages needed to build the software architecture that powers robotic systems. You’ll be well-equipped for a role as a robotics software engineer, firmware developer, or system architect in a variety of industries.

Systems Engineering

A systems engineering specialization concentrates on the integration and optimization of complex robotic systems, covering aspects such as system architecture and hardware-software interfacing.

For a good example, see the master of science in intelligent robotic systems offered at Kennesaw State University. This interdisciplinary degree uses a systems-focused approach, perfect for future systems engineers.

How Much Does an Online Robotics Master’s Cost?

It’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into financially, as affordable computer science programs can be hard to come by. Here are tuition examples for online master’s in robotics degrees.

School Program No. of Credits Est. Tuition
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Master’s in Robotics Engineering

30

$48,300

Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering Master’s in Robotics and Autonomous Systems

30

$52,700

University of Michigan-Dearborn MSE in Robotics Engineering

30

$27,270-$49,200

Tuition and Financial Aid for Robotics Students

Before you take a robotics program, it’s important to have a plan lined up for financial aid. There are plenty of financial aid resources and scholarships for computer science and data science students like yourself that offer tuition assistance.

What Can You do with a Robotics Master’s?

Earning your master’s degree in robotics opens doors to a world of innovation and possibilities. Fields such as computer science and information technology are booming — and robotics is booming right along with them, with promising job prospects, competitive salaries, and opportunities for growth and advancement.

Whether you’re passionate about engineering, education, design, or research, a wide range of exciting career paths awaits you.

Robotics Engineer

As a robotics engineer, you’ll design and build robotic systems for a variety of applications. Manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, and even space exploration are all viable industries in need of more employees with robotics master’s degrees.

With an online master’s in robotics degree, you can pursue advanced roles in research and development, leading teams to innovate and push the boundaries of robotic technology.

Career Outlook: Robotics Engineer

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$111,970 $177,020 2%-4% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services; Government

Median Annual Pay
$111,970
90th Percentile
$177,020
Projected Growth (2022-32)
2%-4%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Government

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Postsecondary Engineering Teacher

If teaching is a goal of yours, consider becoming an engineering teacher. You can inspire and educate the next generation of engineers. Just like your professors in your master’s programs, you’ll conduct lectures, develop curriculum, and supervise student projects.

This isn’t a field you can jump right into. You’ll need a lot of work experience, and a PhD is often recommended. But an online master’s in robotics degree is a good start and could land you smaller teaching roles.

Career Outlook: Postsecondary Engineering Teacher

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$106,910 $200,030 9% Educational Services

Median Annual Pay
$106,910
90th Percentile
$200,030
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Educational Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Commercial and Industrial Designer

Commercial and industrial designers – specifically with degrees in robotics – create functional, aesthetically pleasing, and user-friendly robotics components and systems. You’ll collaborate with engineers and marketers to create manufactured products from toys and consumer electronics to medical equipment and automobiles.

Career Outlook: Commercial and Industrial Designer

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$76,250 $126,010 2%-4% Manufacturing; Professional,
Scientific, and Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$76,250
90th Percentile
$126,010
Projected Growth (2022-32)
2%-4%
Top Industry
Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Computer and Information Research Scientist

If research and learning are some of your favorite things, consider becoming a robotics research scientist. You’ll conduct groundbreaking research to advance the field of robotics and AI, developing computational models and studying algorithms. Your online master’s in robotics degree will teach you the research skills necessary to thrive in this fast-paced environment.

Career Outlook: Computer and Information Research Scientist

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$145,080 $233,110 9% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services; Government

Median Annual Pay
$145,080
90th Percentile
$233,110
Projected Growth (2022-32)
9%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Government

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Biological Technician

Biological technicians support research efforts in fields such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare, including applications of robotics in medicine. You’ll assist scientists with experiments, contributing to breakthroughs in prosthetics and other medical tools.

Career Outlook: Biological Technician Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$51,430 $80,330 5%-8% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services; Educational Services

Median Annual Pay
$51,430
90th Percentile
$80,330
Projected Growth (2022-32)
5%-8%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Educational Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Robotics Degree FAQs

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in robotics?

Robotics master’s admissions can be rigorous. Here’s what to expect when you apply.

  • Related bachelor’s – As robotics is a highly technical field, you’ll usually need a bachelor’s in engineering, computer science, or mathematics.
  • Prerequisite knowledge – You may be required to have courses in certain mathematics and programming topics.
  • GPA – A GPA of 3.0 or above often is required for admissions.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s degree in robotics?

Typically, you can expect a robotics master’s degree to take one-and-a-half to three years to complete, though if you’re a part-time student it could take up to five years.

Is there a benefit to earning a master’s degree in robotics online instead of in person?

In an online master’s in robotics program, you’re free to study at your own pace and balance work-life commitments with your study. You may wish to pursue a hybrid robotics course, since hands-on experience building robots can be helpful.

Do I need to learn coding or computer programming to study robotics?

Proficiency in computer programming languages is essential. Most robotics programs require students to have a strong foundation in programming languages such as Python, C++, or MATLAB.

Will I be accepted into a robotics master’s program without a computer science or related undergrad?

If you lack a computer science undergrad, you may still be admitted to an online master’s in robotics program. However, computer science and programming are essential prior knowledge, so you may need to take extra courses until you’re caught up.