New MS in Robotics and Automation
Recognized as a world leader in field robotics education, Santa Clara University is now offering an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in Robotics and Automation, drawing on the capabilities and partnerships of the Robotic Systems Laboratory (RSL).
Christopher Kitts, RSL Director and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, reports,"One of the most exciting aspects of this new degree is its alignment and partnership with local companies and agencies in the robotics and automation technology sector. This will allow us to establish a strong recruiting pipeline, a set of industry-aligned elective tracks, and real-world R&D opportunities."
The degree will provide students with knowledge about the design, control, and automation of robotic systems and smart machines, and includes:
- Core courses covering the hands-on design of mechatronic devices, the dynamics and control of robotic manipulators/vehicles/systems, and advanced perception systems using technologies such as vision processing and machine learning.
- Industry-aligned concentration options with courses in areas such as advanced manufacturing, bio-devices, autonomous vehicles, aerospace systems, agricultural technology, and others.
- An in-depth R&D opportunity consisting of work on an industry design problem or conducting research leading to a publication.
- A co-curricular badging system and electronic portfolio allowing students to showcase their experience relating to design capabilities, computing languages/environments, maker skills, etc.
- Courses from the School’s graduate core in areas such as technology ethics, the societal impact of engineering, and high-tech business/entrepreneurship that complement the technical degree with a broader societal perspective.
Kitts notes that the program will leverage the expertise and international reputation of the School of Engineering’s Robotic Systems Laboratory, which develops advanced robotic systems and automation technology for vehicles and instruments that operate on or in land, sea, air, and space. Examples of this work includes the development of deep-sea instruments and robots for the National Science Foundation, the design of agricultural field robots for several California growers, the development of AI-based robotic control algorithms for the Megachips Corporation, and the control of on-orbit spacecraft for NASA. Since its inception, the RSL has developed systems for a wide range of government sponsors, industry partners, academic collaborators and non-profit partners, resulting in well more than $10 million of external funding.