Taught course


Heriot-Watt University · School of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Entry requirements

A first class or upper second honours degree in mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science or other relevant disciplines with a numerate background and sufficient computer programming experience. Equivalent overseas qualifications will also be considered.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

MSc Robotics at Heriot-Watt University provides you with industry-relevant training in core elements of modern robotics and autonomous systems.

This one-year postgraduate master’s degree in Robotics is linked to the United Kingdom’s (UK's) National Robotarium and will equip you to work in industry and wider society in areas where robots can be used to improve productivity, transform transportation, work in extreme environments, and improve quality of life.

Studying MSc Robotics will allow you to:

  • be trained in core robotics techniques, from basic kinematics to robot control, robot navigation, robot planning, machine vision, and human-robot interaction, and in enabling technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NPL), machine learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT)
  • receive an extensive training in robot programming, especially using the robotic operating system (ROS), and practical implementation of solutions on real robots
  • apply skills in various applications through major robotics projects, relevant to research and industry, and involving systems such as autonomous vehicles, underwater robots, humanoid and social robots, advanced manipulators for compliant control, and novel robot designs
  • obtain access to staff from leading research groups to mentor their development and guide their research projects

On this degree you will be offered flexibility in the courses you study so that you can specialise in specific domains of robotics application. Check the course details section below for more information.

Why study Robotics?

Robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are seen as key technologies for the future and the subject of massive commercial investment.

There is a rapidly growing worldwide demand for graduates with the technical skills and industry awareness to create an innovation pipeline from academic research to global markets in the field of robotics. Key application areas include manufacturing, assistive and medical robots, offshore energy, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, defence, and support for the aging population.

Apple, Google, Uber, Amazon, and Facebook all have major ongoing research programs in robotics. In the UK, Dyson, 5AI and a plethora of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups are trying to grasp the huge market opportunity that is foreseen. Predictions of the worldwide economic impact of Robotics and Autonomous Systems range from US$1.7 trillion to US$4.5 trillion by 2025.

Our Expertise

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active robotics electrical and electronic engineers, and academics.

96% of Heriot-Watt University’s engineering research was classed as world-leading in the REF 2021 review, which ranked us 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for engineering research through a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh.

Our MSc Robotics draws upon the world class research carried out by Heriot-Watt as part of the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CDT-RAS). The centre is leading in the UK effort to realise the potential of Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, by producing a new generation of highly skilled researchers, trained to take a leading role through technical skills coupled to industry and marketing awareness.

Heriot-Watt also hosts the National Robotarium. The multimillion-pound innovation hub for robotics and autonomous systems has been built in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and delivers leading research and support for business creation and growth. The presence of the National Robotarium provides you with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills at the forefront of robotics and AI.

The research relevance of this postgraduate programme ensures your studies remain innovative and industry focused.

Your learning environment

The MSc Robotics programme is taught though a combination of lectures, tutorials, and laboratory practicals, allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your teaching staff, academics, and peers. You will be assessed by coursework, exams, and your dissertation, and will receive support and feedback throughout the programme.

During your studies, you’ll benefit from and have access to our specialist equipment, software and laboratories used by professional electrical, electronic, and robotic engineers. You will have the opportunity to work on real-world problems, and work across disciplines to deliver practical solutions with global impact in our state-of-the-art GRID (Global Research Innovation and Discovery) facility. This specifically designed centre gives you access to innovative labs and facilities for electronics, electrical power, computing, embedded systems, communications, robotics, and mechanical prototyping.

Outside of the classroom, there are several societies you can join, where you can meet likeminded people, get involved in social and networking events, and gain insights into industry, including:

  • Electrical, Electronics, and Computing Engineering Society where you can join regular social events and listen to industry talks and seminars outside of your teaching
  • Robot Wars Society where you can battle robots and discuss fighting robots with other robotics students, and others around the university
  • Robotics Society to join weekly Come and Build sessions, attend workshops, crash courses, and training throughout the year and meet interesting people and have fun at robotics related events and socials

Customise your learning

You’ll have the opportunity to focus on the areas of robotics that interest you the most. You can customise your degree to match your specific interests or desired career pathway by studying four mandatory courses and choosing four further options from a suite of over 10 specialist robotics, electrical and electronic engineering courses. You will choose optional courses from an extensive list, including embedded systems, data mining and machine learning, internet of things, human robot interaction, and optimisation and deep learning for imaging and vision.

In semester three, you’ll undertake an extensive and specialised investigation into your chosen area of robotics through your master’s project and dissertation. You’ll be required to demonstrate your mastery of the subject area by applying your understanding of specialised areas in robotics, including principal theories, concepts, design, and evaluation techniques, to develop original and creative responses to current and emerging issues in the field of robotics.

You can choose to study the programme full-time from either a September or January start date. This flexibility allows you to fit your postgraduate studies around your lifestyle.

You may have the opportunity to Go Global on our Inter-Campus Transfer. Opportunities for postgraduate study abroad are assessed on a case-by-case basis and if you are interested in studying at our Dubai campus or Malaysia campus for a semester or longer, you should contact the Go Global Team.  


The prevalence of industry and research, through the National Robotarium and the CDT-RAS, on campus means that your learning will be directly informed by current and emerging trends, technologies and techniques as used by professional robotics and autonomous systems academics. As a result, you’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.  

Information for international students

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Enquiries Team