Taught course


University of Birmingham · School of Computer Science

Entry requirements

First degree (BSc or equivalent) at 2(i) level (or equivalent) in Computer Science. Alternatively degrees in Electronic Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, or other numerate disciplines will be acceptable only if the student can show programming experience equivalent to that in a BSc Computer Science in either Java or C/C++.

Months of entry


Course content

The state of robotics today is analogous to that of personal computing in the early 1970s. Numerous small robot companies are innovating and producing hundreds of different types of robots for applications in logistics, entertainment, aerospace, agriculture, subsea maintenance, rehabilitation, surgery, and far more. This is the start. The true power of robotics to revolutionise our lives is only just about to realised. In the next ten years robots will stop working in factories and start working in our everyday world. The revolution is being driven by new algorithms and mechanisms that help robots cope with the uncertainty and rapid change in our world. Birmingham has one of the leading centres for robotics research in Europe, with 7 faculty and over 20 researchers, and we are now looking for students at Master’s level to help us continue to create the robotics revolution.
This programme is intended for graduates of any numerate science or engineering disciplines, particularly electronic engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, physics and mathematics. Students will learn modern theories of robotic control, artificial intelligence for robotics, robot vision, robot manipulation and the widely used software frameworks commonly used to implement standard algorithms in mobile robots and robot manipulators. Graduates of the programme will be excellent qualified to work either in industry in a development or research and development role or to pursue a research degree in robotics. Entrants to the programme should have had some exposure to programming. A pre-semester course in programming for those not adept in C/C++ or Java will be offered.
The programme is composed of a taught core covering mobile robotics, robot manipulation, and robot vision. You will be taught the mathematical fundamentals of robotic control, and take two short research projects on current world-leading externally funded research projects run by the Intelligent Robotics Lab. You will have access to a lab equipped with more than £1m of the latest mobile robot research platforms and robot manipulators. We also arrange industrial placements for our students with leading robotics companies in the region and around the UK. Scholarships are available for excellent students of £5000 as a contribution to your living expenses.
This is a one year full-time programme. There is a taught core in which you will take three compulsory modules on intelligent mobile robotics, robot dynamics and manipulator control and robot vision. In each you will study robotics to an advanced level.
We teach mobile robotics using the ROS (Robot Operating System) and cover modern probabilistic approaches to mobile robotics, including localisation, navigation, motion planning and map learning. In robot vision you will learn methods for recovery of scene structure, object recognition, appearance based vision tracking, camera calibration, as well as more advanced methods for object categorisation and machine learning in computer vision. In our course on robot manipulation you will be taught the kinematics and dynamics of robot manipulators, and cover current techniques in control of industrial and research manipulators.
You will also work on at least one research project, typically attached to a live externally funded robot research project. Here you will work intensively on a one-to-one basis with one of a faculty member or a member of our research staff to explore a particular topic in great depth – analysing the problem and existing solutions, developing new ideas and building or evaluating prototype systems. Typical projects include robust grasping with dextrous manipulation, recovery of scene geometry, mobile robot task planning, and mobile manipulation.
You will develop your skills in experimental analysis, mathematical foundations of robotics, research skills, software engineering skills and also in presenting and explaining your work clearly and effectively. In addition, you will be able to choose from several optional taught modules drawn from related fields such as neural computation, AI planning or computer vision. All students work on a 4 month summer research project in an area of robotics over the summer, again with expert one-to-one supervision, leading to your Master’s dissertation.
Teaching is by a variety of methods. Typical modules require two lectures per week, plus two to eight hours of supervised labs, supervised problem classes and also one-to-one supervision. There will be some group work as part of the taught modules. You will be expected to attend weekly lab meetings and research seminars as part of the course. There are opportunities for industry-based project work. Perhaps most importantly, you will be part of a small, highly qualified group of students working closely with researchers within the Robotics lab.
Through the course you will become a specialist in robot algorithms and software development. Graduates from this programme will be excellently equipped for software development roles in the robotics industry or research and development roles, or to go on to pursue a research degree in robotics.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days. Register to attend at: www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Please visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005