Is A PhD In Robotics Worth It

Is a PhD in Robotics worth it? A degree in robotics is not just the opportunity to build things that move; it is a ticket to a new career path. Robotics is an exciting and ever-changing field, as new technologies emerge every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of industrial robots is projected to grow by 25% over the next decade.

Graduate school can be an exciting and rewarding experience. But, you don’t want to end up with $100,000 of debt and no job prospects. Join us as we talk to real robotics professionals about their careers, what they did right, what they would change if they could do it again and more.

Is A PhD In Robotics Worth It -

A Ph.D in robotics is a difficult and demanding degree to achieve and can be quite costly. Big Question: With that investment, is a Ph.D in Robotics worth it? Lets look at how long does it take to get a phd in robotics, phd in robotics salary, jobs after phd in robotics, phd in robotics in usa costs and job prospects for someone entering the field to decide if getting a Ph.D is worth it or not.

Here at Infolearners, we afford you a litany of information on how long does it take to get a phd in robotics and so much more.

Is A Degree in Robotics Worth It?

Robotics is defined as the field of computer science and engineering that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots. Robots are automated machines that can assist humans in a variety of settings, from manufacturing processes, to working in critical conditions, unsuitable for human life. Robotics specialists aim to achieve diverse tasks by designing mechanical devices, able to complete them intelligently. Robotics is related to other science sub-fields such as computer science, character animation, machine design, cognitive science, bio-mechanics. Main sub-divisions of robotics include: android science, artificial intelligence, nano-robotics, robot surgery.

Studying robotics, students will acquire information related to computer graphics, gadgetry, mobile robot programming, robotic motion methods, mathematical algorithms, social implications of technology, and more. Apart from learning specific scientific methods, graduates will gain skills that involve mathematical thinking but also artistic vision. Robotics will prepare specialists in competencies such as technology design, programming, repairing and installing equipment for machines, etc.

Career paths in robotics cover a large subject palette, from medicine to engineering and IT. Robotics graduates usually engage in jobs as laboratory assistants, testing technicians, quality assurance staff, programmers, systems controllers, or researchers.

PhD in Robotics: Information for Doctoral Students

Doctoral robotics programs combine fields such as computing, engineering and physics. Students in a Ph.D. robotics program usually choose a focus area, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and kinetics, or robotics and sensors.

Essential Information

Before gaining acceptance into a Ph.D. program, students must also generally submit a proposed plan for study and a dissertation idea, which must be approved by a university committee. In addition to courses and research that revolve around their chosen topic, students might also take courses in calculus, algebra, numerical analysis, data structures, programming, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and more. Programs typically require a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in robotics, engineering, mechanical engineering or computer programming. Some program specializations that students can choose from are artificial intelligence, robotics and sensors, robotics and kinetic.

Ph.D. in Robotics

Is a Robotics Degree Worth It? | Northeastern University

A Ph.D. program typically includes 2 years of advanced seminars and qualifying courses, 2 years of research in the student’s focus area, and 1-2 years for completion of a dissertation. The courses in a Ph.D. program in robotics are generally determined by a student’s chosen focus of study, but many universities require students complete some core seminar courses, such as:

  • Perception and robotics
  • Image, tactile and force sensors
  • Dynamics, control and computer vision
  • Artificial intelligence for robotics
  • Task scheduling and operations research
  • Kinematics and locomotion
Is a Robotics Degree Worth It? | Northeastern University

Types of Robots

Mechanical bots come in all shapes and sizes to efficiently carry out the task for which they are designed. All robots vary in design, functionality and degree of autonomy. From the 0.2 millimeter-long “RoboBee” to the 200 meter-long robotic shipping vessel “Vindskip,” robots are emerging to carry out tasks that humans simply can’t. Generally, there are five types of robots:

1) Pre-Programmed Robots

Pre-programmed robots operate in a controlled environment where they do simple, monotonous tasks. An example of a pre-programmed robot would be a mechanical arm on an automotive assembly line. The arm serves one function — to weld a door on, to insert a certain part into the engine, etc. — and its job is to perform that task longer, faster and more efficiently than a human.

2) Humanoid Robots

Humanoid robots are robots that look like and/or mimic human behavior. These robots usually perform human-like activities (like running, jumping and carrying objects), and are sometimes designed to look like us, even having human faces and expressions. Two of the most prominent examples of humanoid robots are Hanson Robotics’ Sophia (in the video above) and Boston Dynamics’ Atlas.

3) Autonomous Robots

Autonomous robots operate independently of human operators. These robots are usually designed to carry out tasks in open environments that do not require human supervision. They are quite unique because they use sensors to perceive the world around them, and then employ decision-making structures (usually a computer) to take the optimal next step based on their data and mission. An example of an autonomous robot would be the Roomba vacuum cleaner, which uses sensors to roam freely throughout a home.

4) Teleoperated Robots

Teleoperated robots are semi-autonomous bots that use a wireless network to enable human control from a safe distance. These robots usually work in extreme geographical conditions, weather, circumstances, etc. Examples of teleoperated robots are the human-controlled submarines used to fix underwater pipe leaks during the BP oil spill or drones used to detect landmines on a battlefield.

Doing a PhD in Robotics | DiscoverPhDs

5) Augmenting Robots

Augmenting robots either enhance current human capabilities or replace the capabilities a human may have lost. The field of robotics for human augmentation is a field where science fiction could become reality very soon, with bots that have the ability to redefine the definition of humanity by making humans faster and stronger. Some examples of current augmenting robots are robotic prosthetic limbs or exoskeletons used to lift hefty weights.

Is robot software considered robotics?

A software robot is an abundant type of computer program which carries out tasks autonomously, such as a chatbot or a web crawler. However, because software robots only exist on the internet and originate within a computer, they are not considered robots. In order to be considered a robot, a device must have a physical form, such as a body or a chassis.

Popular Careers

Other students might go on to work in private or public research facilities related to the advancement of the robotics field. Some, however, might find work in the following positions:

  • Robotics engineer
  • Computer engineer
  • Robotics technician
  • Design technician
  • Robotics tester
  • Mechanical engineer

Estimates of the Time Allocated to Each Component of the Ph.D. Program

The following table indicates estimates for an appropriate distribution of effort in the Ph.D. program. It is based on actual student performance over the past few years; it also corresponds to the faculty’s judgment of realistic estimates of the time required by various components of the program. These figures are meant to be suggestive, not prescriptive. We present them so that all faculty and students can develop a shared image of the expectations of the program.

Robotics Orientationfull-timeone weekone week
Courses1/2 time1 sem each4 sem
Teaching1/4 time2 sem2 sem
Directed Research1/2 time*5-7 sem
Thesis Proposal1/2 time2 sem1 sem
Thesisfull-timeuntil done2-4 sem
Good Worksvariableoften
Robotics degree courses | Postgrad | Middlesex University London

Deeper Level of Research and Collaboration

Students are involved in every aspect of research – from initial problem formulation to the final publication of results. Research is conducted in the laboratories of the Robotics Institute under the supervision of faculty advisers and in collaboration with student colleagues. Students in the PhD program are awarded a yearly graduate fellowship, which includes tuition, activity fees, and a stipend, as long as they maintain good standing in the program.

Uses of Robots

Robots have a wide variety of use cases that make them the ideal technology for the future. Soon, we will see robots almost everywhere. We’ll see them in our hospitals, in our hotels and even on our roads.


  • Helping fight forest fires
  • Working alongside humans in manufacturing plants (known as co-bots)
  • Robots that offer companionship to elderly individuals
  • Surgical assistants
  • Last-mile package and food order delivery
  • Autonomous household robots that carry out tasks like vacuuming and mowing the grass
  • Assisting with finding items and carrying them throughout warehouses
  • Used during search-and-rescue missions after natural disasters
  • Landmine detectors in war zones


The manufacturing industry is probably the oldest and most well-known user of robots. These robots and co-bots (bots that work alongside humans) work to efficiently test and assemble products, like cars and industrial equipment. It’s estimated that there are more than three million industrial robots in use right now.   

Master of Science in Robotics | Northwestern Engineering


Shipping, handling and quality control robots are becoming a must-have for most retailers and logistics companies. Because we now expect our packages to arrive at blazing speeds, logistics companies employ robots in warehouses, and even on the road, to help maximize time efficiency. Right now, there are robots taking your items off the shelves, transporting them across the warehouse floor and packaging them. Additionally, a rise in last-mile robots (robots that will autonomously deliver your package to your door) ensure that you’ll have a face-to-metal-face encounter with a logistics bot in the near future.


It’s not science fiction anymore. Robots can be seen all over our homes, helping with chores, reminding us of our schedules and even entertaining our kids. The most well-known example of home robots is the autonomous vacuum cleaner Roomba. Additionally, robots have now evolved to do everything from autonomously mowing grass to cleaning pools.   

Is a Robotics Degree Worth It? | Northeastern University



Is there anything more science fiction-like than autonomous vehicles? These self-driving cars are no longer just imagination. A combination of data science and robotics, self-driving vehicles are taking the world by storm. Automakers, like Tesla, Ford, Waymo, Volkswagen and BMW are all working on the next wave of travel that will let us sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are also developing autonomous rideshare vehicles that don’t require humans to operate the vehicle.   


Robots have made enormous strides in the healthcare industry. These mechanical marvels have use in just about every aspect of healthcare, from robot-assisted surgeries to bots that help humans recover from injury in physical therapy. Examples of robots at work in healthcare are Toyota’s healthcare assistants, which help people regain the ability to walk, and “TUG,” a robot designed to autonomously stroll throughout a hospital and deliver everything from medicines to clean linens.

Recently, robots have been employed by pharmaceutical companies to help speed up the fight against COVID-19. These bots are now being used to fill and seal COVID-19 testing swabs, and are also being used by some manufacturers to produce PPE and respirators.  

Robotics applications

Today, industrial robots, as well as many other types of robots, are used to perform repetitive tasks. They may take the form of a robotic arm, robotic exoskeleton or traditional humanoid robots.

Industrial robots and robot arms are used by manufacturers and warehouses, such as those owned by Amazon, Devol, Best Buy and more.

To function, a combination of computer programming and algorithms, a remotely controlled manipulator, actuatorscontrol systems — action, processing and perception — real-time sensors and an element of automation helps to inform what a robot or robotic system does.

Some additional applications for robotics are the following:

Mechatronics and Robotics, M.S. | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Machine learning in robotics

Machine learning and robotics intersect in a field known as robot learning. Robot learning is the study of techniques that enable a robot to acquire new knowledge or skills through machine learning algorithms.

Some applications that have been explored by robot learning include grasping objects, object categorization and even linguistic interaction with a human peer. Learning can happen through self-exploration or via guidance from a human operator.

To learn, intelligent robots must accumulate facts through human input or sensors. Then, the robot’s processing unit will compare the newly acquired data to previously stored information and predict the best course of action based on the data it has acquired.

However, it’s important to understand that a robot can only solve problems that it is built to solve. It does not have general analytical abilities.

benefits of robotic process automation (RPA)
Robotic process automation automates repetitive and rules-based tasks that rely on digital information.

The pros and cons of robotics

Robotic systems are coveted in many industries because they can increase accuracy, reduce cost and increase safety for human beings.

In fact, safety is arguably one of robotics’ greatest benefits, as many dangerous or unhealthy environments no longer require the human element. Examples include the nuclear industry, space, defense, maintenance and more.

With robots or robotic systems, workers can avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals and even limit psychosocial and ergonomic health risks. However, despite these benefits, there are several drawbacks to robotics as well.

There are certain tasks that are simply better suited for humans — for example, those jobs that require creativity, adaptability and critical decision-making skills.

PhD in Robotics Salary

A Master’s degree is not always required to do a PhD in the US. Several top universities offer direct entry PhD programs. An American PhD begins with two to three years of coursework in order to pass qualifying exams. During this time doctoral students are able to develop their research interests and hone in on their thesis topic. They will then write a thesis proposal which must be approved before they can start their dissertation. Most programs require PhD students to gain two to three years of teaching experience as well, either by leading their own class or as teaching assistants for a professor. It takes an average of six years to earn a PhD in the US.

Unlike some European countries, there is no mandated minimum salary or national salary scale for PhD students in the US. PhD students earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year depending on their institution, field of study, and location. This stipend can be tax-free (if it is a fellowship award) or taxable (if it is a salary e.g from a teaching position). American PhD students are usually only paid for nine months of the year but many programs offer summer funding opportunities. A PhD funding package will also include a full or partial tuition waiver.


After earning a PhD, many researchers go on to a postdoc. A postdoc is a continuation of the researcher’s training that allows them to further specialize in a particular field and learn new techniques. Postdoc positions are usually two to three years and it is not unusual to do more than one postdoc. There is no limit on the number of years you can be a postdoc in the US. The average postdoc salary in 2016 was $45,000.


A lecturer is a non-tenure-track teaching position. They often have a higher teaching load than tenure track-faculty and no research obligations. These positions are more common in the humanities or as foreign language instructors. Lecturers hold advanced degrees, though not always PhDs. The average salary for a lecturer in 2017-2018 according to the American Association of University Professors was $56,712.

Assistant Professor

This is the start of the tenure track. An assistant professor is responsible for teaching, research, and service to the institution (committee membership). Assistant professors typically teach two to four courses per semester while also supervising graduate students. They are also expected to be active researchers and publish books, monographs, papers, and journal articles to meet their tenure requirements. The average salary for assistant professors in 2017-2018 was $70,791 according to the American Association of University Professors. The College and University Professorial Association for Human Resources lists the average assistant professor as salary $67,231 in 2017-2018.

Associate Professor

An assistant professor who has been granted tenure is then promoted to an associate professor. An associate professor often has a national reputation and is involved in service activities beyond their university. The average salary for associate professors in 2017-2018 was $81,274 according to the American Association of University Professors. The College and University Professorial Association for Human Resources lists the average assistant professor as salary $75,284 in 2017-2018.


This is the final destination of the tenure track. Five to seven years after receiving tenure, associate professors go through another review. If they are successful, they are promoted to the rank of professor (sometimes called full professor). Professors usually have a record of accomplishment that has established them as an international or national leader in their field. The average salary for professors in 2017-2018 $104,820 according to the American Association of University Professors was . The College and University Professorial Association for Human Resources lists the average assistant professor as salary $93,830 in 2017-2018.

Categories Uncategorized

Leave a Comment