Research course

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University

University of Edinburgh · School of Informatics
MSc by researchPhD

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or related subjects. Non-native English speakers need to provide evidence of a SELT (Secure English Language Test) at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) Level B2 taken within 2 years of the date of application. There are several types of SELT but IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most common. The minimum requirement is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, no individual component can be less than 5.5 in a single sitting. A degree from an English speaking university may also be accepted in some circumstances, but we do not accept TOEFL certificates.

Months of entry


Course content

Robots have the potential to revolutionise society and the economy, working for us, beside us, and interacting with us. This EPSRC-sponsored programme will produce graduates with the technical skills and industry awareness to create an innovation pipeline from academic research to global markets.

The robotics and autonomous systems area has been highlighted by the UK Government in 2013 as one of the eight Great Technologies that underpin the UK's Industrial Strategy for jobs and growth. Key application areas include manufacturing, assistive and medical robots, offshore energy, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, defence, and support for the ageing population.

The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University are jointly offering this innovative four-year PhD training programme, which combines a strong general grounding in current theory, methods and applications with flexibility for individualised study and a specialised PhD project.

Robotics and autonomous systems are increasingly studied beyond the range of classical engineering. Today robots represent one of the main areas of application of computer science and provide challenges for mathematics and natural science.

It is impossible to imagine transportation, warehousing, safety systems, space and marine exploration, prosthetics, and many other areas of industry, technology and science without robots. Robots are used in theoretical biology and the neurosciences as a model of behaviour.

Areas of interest specific to the center include: movement control, planning, decision making, bio- and neurorobotics, human-robot interaction, healthcare applications, robot soccer, neuroprosthetics, underwater robotics, bipedal walking, service robots, robotic co-workers, computer vision, speech processing, computer animation realistic simulations, and machine learning.

Many more topics can be found be exploring the Centre’s web pages, particularly the personal web pages of the Centre supervisors:

Qualification and course duration

MSc by research

full time
12 months


full time
36 months

Course contact details

Informatics Graduate School
+44 (0)131 451 3326