a researcher in Wenlong Zhang's lab handles a robotic arm

Robotics and autonomous systems (mechatronics and automation), PhD

Master the knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully meet the most difficult challenges of modern robotics and autonomous systems on a global scale.

Program description

The mechatronics and automation concentration of the PhD program in robotics and autonomous systems provides an opportunity for in-depth independent research in a highly focused problem domain approved by the student’s advisory committee.

The robotics and autonomous systems (mechatronics and automation), PhD is intended primarily for those desiring to develop expertise in a particular and focused problem in the field of robotics and autonomous systems, including both traditional and advanced robotics and autonomous systems technologies, systems integration and data fusion techniques, and modeling and simulation development.

Graduates will become trained researchers and scientists who will be able to perform analysis, evaluation and synthesis for a broad range of problems related to the design, implementation and efficient operation of robotics and autonomous systems.

Career outlook

Graduates with a doctorate in robotics and autonomous systems typically seek research-oriented academic appointments or industrial research and development positions.

These professionals have substantial opportunities at all levels in manufacturing engineering in research and development at companies, research institutes and national laboratories (e.g., Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Relevant careers and related titles include the following:

  • electronics engineer
  • industrial engineers
  • manufacturing engineers
  • mechanical engineers
  • mechatronics engineers
  • robotics engineer

Admission requirements and application process

The applicant must have a master’s degree in a relevant field with a GPA of 3.00 or higher. Relevant fields include mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, automation engineering, manufacturing engineering, automotive engineering, biomedical engineering and human systems engineering.

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in robotics and autonomous systems or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = “A”) in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor’s degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = “A”) in an applicable master’s degree program.

All applicants are required to submit:

  • graduate admissions application and application fee
  • official transcripts for undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • personal statement
  • professional resume
  • two letters of recommendation
  • proof of English proficiency

An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Applicants need to submit a copy of their unofficial transcripts as part of the online admission application submission. After admission, official transcripts are required to be submitted to the Graduate Admission Services office.

The admission process begins by applying for graduate admission. The application requires that following items must be submitted:

  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose: Submit online a 300- to 500-word statement of purpose describing your motivation and rationale for obtaining a PhD in the robotics and autonomous systems program at Arizona State University and how it relates to your long-term career goals.
  • CV/Resume
  • Official transcripts from each college or university attended.
  • Graduate admission application and application fee
  • International applicants must also meet the English proficiency requirements, as defined by Graduate Admissions. Please be sure to review the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score requirements, as your application will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency.

Graduate faculty and funding opportunities

Degree requirements

A minimum of 84 semester credit hours are required for the PhD degree, distributed as follows:

  • 12 credit hours of core courses from approved list
  • 6 credits of concentration coursework
    • EGR 546 Robotic Systems II (3)
    • EGR 550 Mechatronic Systems (3)
  • 6 credit hours of other requirements
    • EGR 545 Robotic Systems I (3)
    • EGR 602 Principles of Independent Research (3)
  • 12 credit hours, at minimum, of RAS 792 Research
  • 12 credit hours of RAS 799, Dissertation
  • 36 credit hours, Electives or Research (up to 30 credits from previous completed master’s degree in engineering)

A program handbook with more specifics will be available in January 2024.

Application deadlines

August 15 Spring semester (January)
January 15 Fall semester (August)

These are priority deadlines. Applications submitted after this deadline may still be considered.

Course requirements

All students enrolled in the PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems with a concentration in Mechatronics and Automation must complete the required courses. Additional curriculum details will be listed in the program handbook, which will be available in Spring 2024.

12 credits of core courses within 4 key areas:

  • Conceptualization (Modeling/Theoretical Foundations) of RAS
  • Intelligence and Control of RAS
  • Embodiment (Mechanics/Actuation) of RAS
  • Sociotechnical Implications of RAS

All courses must be chosen from the approved course list.

6 credit hours of other requirements

  • EGR 545 Robotic Systems I (3)
  • EGR 602 Principles of Independent Research (3)

6 credits of concentration coursework

  • EGR 546 Robotic Systems II (3)
  • EGR 550 Mechatronic Systems (3)

Additional coursework will fall into three categories: Electives, Research, Dissertation.