School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Robotics

Whether you are interested in mechatronics, artificial intelligence or the possibilities for biosensors, the BEng Robotics will encourage you to push your limits. Our emphasis on high level robotics, including mobile and humanoid automation, and our focus on the electronics and hardware that support industrial and service robotics is complemented by the hands-on approach you'll develop in our specialist laboratories.

You will work in a world-class research environment with staff internationally renowned for conducting cutting-edge service and cognitive robotics research. You will take part in robot football and other robotics competitions offering invaluable opportunities for exciting and highly formative, practical sessions of intense study. You’ll capitalise on the opportunity to take a work placement in your third year, putting your robotics skills into action in the real world.

Key features

  • Our robotics courses have a large number of laboratory practical sessions embedded in their modules, and this is a strong feature of the robotics teaching in Plymouth. This ensures that you can consolidate theory learned in lectures using real practical tasks, making your understanding of topics much more concrete.
  • Benefit from outstanding teaching: in the 2016 National Student Survey 93 per cent of our final year students said that “The course is intellectually stimulating”.*
  • Develop in a broad range of subjects ranging from analogue and digital electronics to software programming and artificial intelligence, all in the context of robotics. 
  • Advance your knowledge of electronics, microprocessors, and embedded systems forming the technological core of the course. This is supported by a thorough understanding of robotics concepts, such as control theory, sensors and motors. 
  • Learn by doing in our high specification electronics, communications and robotics laboratories.
  • Work in a world-class research environment with staff internationally renowned for conducting cutting-edge service and cognitive robotics research.
  • Take part in robot football and other robotics competitions offering invaluable opportunities for exciting and highly formative, practical sessions of intense study. 
  • Benefit from individual and group projects offering the possibility for you to consolidate your robotics knowledge by building and programming a variety of robots including small wheeled robots, industrial robots and humanoids.
  • Draw on unique opportunities to engage in world-class robotics research, and in a variety of activities (for example, in the humanoid robot football, Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) competition).
  • Capitalise on the opportunity to take a work placement in your third year, putting your robotics skills into action in the real world.
  • Join our Robotics Society and take the opportunity to assist robot development for international competitions such as the Robocup humanoid football league and robot athletics. 
  • Immerse yourself in a degree accredited by the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET), and meet the educational requirements for becoming a Chartered Engineer (CEng).
  • Benefit from free IET membership while you are on the course.
  • Work alongside internationally-renowned staff in a leading service and cognitive robotics research environment.
  • To complement your formal learning we offer regular PALS sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In Year 1, you'll use our well-equipped laboratories to develop your knowledge and practical problem solving skills, learning by doing in a practically focused environment from the outset. Group project work will enable you to develop your problem solving and communication skills, and structured design procedures for both hardware and software are brought together in an integrating robotics project.
    Core modules
    • BPIE112 Stage 1 Electrical/Robotics Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • ELEC141 Analogue Electronics

      This module provides an overview of analogue circuit characterisation, analysis and design, linking theory to practice. It will examine how common analogue systems are constructed from elementary components.

    • ELEC142 Digital Electronics

      This is a foundation module in digital electronics and computer control, which introduces digital devices and provides a background in the principles, design and applications of combinational and sequential logic circuits.

    • ELEC143 Embedded Software in Context

      This module develops skills in elementary programming through the use of high-level programming languages and the use of the flowcharts to develop algorithms. The module has a strong practical bias where students are required to solve various problems by programming existing microcontroller hardware.

    • ELEC144 Electrical Principles and Machines

      This module gives an introduction to the electrical properties of materials, capacitance, Inductance, and electromagnetism. Basic circuit principles and their application in dc and ac circuit analysis are then applied to electrical machines, transformers and energy conversion.

    • MATH187 Engineering Mathematics

      The module provides students with a number of fundamental mathematical skills and techniques which are essential for the analysis of engineering problems.

    Optional modules
    • ELEC137PP Electronic Design and Build

      This module will introduce the students to practical skills needed to design and build an electronic system. A number of hands-on tutorials on specific topics will provide the necessary knowledge. Most of the module will be organized around practical design-and-build exercises combining analogue, digital and software.

    • ROCO103PP Robot Design and Build

      This module will introduce the students to practical skills needed to design and build a small robot. A number of hands-on tutorials on specific topics will provide the necessary knowledge. Most of the module will be organized around practical design-and-build exercises framed in the context of a robot competition.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you'll develop a greater understanding of underlying engineering principles and circuit design methods. Again, there's an emphasis on teamwork and you will have opportunity to do both group and individual presentations of your projects. You'll have the opportunity to use industrial standard software tools for design and simulation, data monitoring and control, which are good preparation for your final year individual project or for a placement year.
    Core modules
    • BPIE212 Stage 2 Electrical/Robotics Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • ELEC240 Embedded Systems

      This module introduces the architecture of an embedded system and the engineering process to design, implement, program and validate them. Students will interface analogue and digital peripherals to microcontroller and FPGA devices, develop programming techniques to solve various real-time problems and perform testing.

    • ELEC241 Real Time Systems

      The module enables students to build robust and scalable solutions to real-world problems using both Microcontroller and FPGA technologies. This will include both hardware and firmware development skills.

    • MATH237 Engineering Mathematics and Statistics

      This module provides an introduction to mathematical and statistical methods that are important in the study of electronic and communications engineering. The mathematical techniques (transforms) are central to the study of linear, time-invariant systems. As well as introducing descriptive statistics, basic probability distributions, the module also considers the more advanced topics of reliability and quality control.

    • ROCO218 Control Engineering

      This module will introduce basic classic control theory, including Laplace transformation, root locus, Bode plot, Nyquist plot, PID controller design etc. Control design methods will be mainly introduced in frequency domain, while transient performance in time domain will also be covered. Simulation tools such as MATLAB control design toolbox and Simulink will be taught in seamless combination with control theories.

    • ROCO222 Introduction to Sensors and Actuators

      A systems level study of the principles and design requirements of modern electronic motor systems. Operating performances of various electrical machines are characterised in four quadrants and the requirements of the corresponding power electronic converter topologies are examined. Control strategies are investigated in terms of drive system performance.

    • ROCO224 Introduction to Robotics

      This module covers the theory and implementation of robotics, for both physical and simulated robots. Industry standard robot kinematics and simulations are used to analyse different robot designs, and are practically experienced through commercial tools. The basic mechanical principles for building physical robots are also covered, as well as the algorithms required for planning and generating movement.

  • Optional placement year
  • Your optional work placement experience year gives you opportunities to put the theory into practice, grow your understanding of robotics in the real world and showcase your emerging expertise. We can help you find industrial placement opportunities in the UK, France, Germany or even Japan. Placements will complement your studies with on-the-ground experience and could lead to final year sponsorship. Many of our graduates are offered permanent jobs with their placement company.
    Core modules
    • BPIE332 Electrical Industrial Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • Your final year is an exciting opportunity for an individual project, which will consolidate your knowledge, and encourage you to explore and evaluate new technologies. You'll demonstrate your communication skills in the oral and written presentation of your project and refine the independent learning skills vital for your continuing professional development in your chosen career path. You’ll build a proactive, imaginative and dynamic approach to learning, vital for your future robotics career.
    Core modules
    • AINT308 Machine Vision and Behavioural Computing

      Providing an advanced knowledge of artificial vision systems for interactive systems guidance and control, this module is underpinned by current theoretical understanding of animal vision systems.

    • ELEC351 Advanced Embedded Programming

      The module aims to develop programming skills in embedded programming, by making use of advanced features of high-level programming languages and by deepening the knowledge of modern programming techniques in embedded systems. The module has a strong practical bias where students are required to solve various problems by programming existing microcontroller hardware.

    • PROJ324 Individual Project

      The project presents the student with a design, experimental or investigative problem which relates the theoretical studies to a practical application. The project objectives will be based on problems originating from industry, commerce and current research programs. Students will also create a business plan in conjunction with their projects.

    • ROCO318 Mobile and Humanoid Robots

      This module examines the technology, control and modelling of mobile and humanoid robot systems. Mathematical analysis and computational algorithms underpin practical considerations and case studies.

    Optional modules
    • AINT351 Machine Learning

      This module introduces machine learning, covering unsupervised, supervised and reinforcement learning from Bayesian, Information Theoretic and decision making perspectives. This includes theory behind a range of learning techniques and how to apply these to build representations of data in systems that make decisions and predictions.

    • ELEC345 High Speed Communications

      A circuit and system design module covering analogue and high frequency techniques and their place in modern communications systems.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BEngRobotics ProgrammeSpecification September2017 3700

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120

A level
To include C @ A level Mathematics and grade C at second relevant subject. Relevant subjects include design technology, electronics, engineering, further mathematics, physics, pure mathematics, statistics, use of mathematics OR chemistry. Excluding general studies. 

BTEC
18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM in engineering/science/technology BTEC. To include merit in mathematics as a core module: mathematics for technicians, mathematics for engineering.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access
The tutor will look at Access on an individual basis. Please contact the admissions team at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

IB
International Baccalaureate: 30 overall to include 4 at Higher Level maths and 4 at Higher Level relevant second science/technology subject. English and mathematics must be included.

Some double awards and other qualifications accepted - please enquire for further details.



For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £12,500 £13,000
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (International) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
All our electronics and robotics courses are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Any student embarking on our courses is eligible to apply for a number of IET engineering scholarships. Amounts can vary between £1,000 and £3,000 per annum, and closing dates for applications are usually at the end of June. For more information on the different scholarships available, details on how to apply and confirmed closing dates for applications, please visit IET Awards and Scholarships.

Scholarships and Awards  

For 2017 entry, we have the following scholarship:

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Robotics Scholarship: students are eligible for a £500 automatic scholarship if they have a grade A in A-level Mathematics and either of Physics or Electronics up to a total of £1,000. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must put us as their first choice before 1 August 2017. The scholarship is paid in term one of the first year.
  • There are additional prizes and awards to reward high marks in later years.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Welcome to robotics at Plymouth

Dr Phil Culverhouse and some of our current students discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

Watch and discover more about studying robotics at Plymouth University.

What our students say

"As a second year robotics student and having talked to all stages of students on the course I would definitely recommend Plymouth. If you are looking at a BEng, there are a number of advantages for Plymouth. Firstly we don't use any store bought robots in the 3 year course, except the industrial arms, and even then it's not a major part. The rest of the time, we either make our own electrical and software designs, mainly in the second and third year; or we use robots made by the university for teaching purposes. This leads to one of the main points over other courses, we actually get to use Bipedal robots (walking). Plymouth provides lots of hands-on learning, and a big lab that anybody on the course can use. As well as that, there is a strong robotics society with strong ties to the course, meaning there is an awful lot available to students."

Ryan, second year robotics student

Electrical and electronic engineering and robotics

Our department offers strong teaching and research and we're very proud of the support we offer our students. Our facilities are world class, with bespoke laboratories and workshops where you will put your learning into practice.

Our satisfaction ratings are among the highest in the UK and 70 per cent of our graduates are in professional or managerial roles after six months.

Further information on the Unistats website

Work placements

A ‘placement year’ is an excellent way to gain a competitive edge. It will set you up for when the graduation schemes launch and help you make better career decisions.

Josh Sullivan gained important skills and career-defining experiences working for Rolls Royce as an electronics engineer.

Read more about Josh's journey, and how you can launch your own career

Women in robotics

Within the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics there has been a historic and consistent commitment to promote and encourage women in to robotics.

We are striving to eliminate the gender imbalance that exists nationally in the engineering sector.

Find out more about some of our women in robotic engineering

Left to right: Rithika Venkatesan, Chiara Rivetti, Jane Sheard, Katherine Page-Bailey

Final year project

Our final year student project open day showcases the excellence of the engineering skills development and the high levels of achievement of our undergraduates.

Many of our prizes are sponsored by industry partners.

Learn more about our final year projects

The Tamar Engineering Project

Funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not otherwise consider higher education as a route to a career in engineering.

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship to study engineering at Plymouth University through the Tamar Engineering Project.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £3,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
Read more about the Tamar Engineering Project.

UK Robotics Week with Plymouth University

To celebrate Robotics Week, Plymouth University organised an afternoon comprising presentations, lab demonstrations and a discussion on robotics and artificial intelligence.

The event was organised by the Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS).

Research

Your degree is strongly informed by our research in electronics and robotics. You will be taught by internationally recognised researchers, many of whom also have strong industrial links through our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).

We have conducted research with organisations ranging from the Bank of England to Honda and Aldebaran Robotics.

Find out more about our research

vBot robotic manipulandum

This device is able to record movement of the handle and also exert forces on the participant’s hand.
Find out more about the vBot

Robot football

Since 2005, we have been developing humanoid robots for teaching, research and international competition in both RoboCup football and FIRA athletics events.

We have an 18-strong fleet of 'Drake' Plymouth Humanoids for teaching and we're engineering our first teen/adult size humanoid 'Scott' for competition

Find out more about robot football

Joel Gibbard - graduate profile

During my final year project I’ve learnt a great deal about analogue electronics, signal processing, and mechanical engineering. The technical support is excellent. I was provided with financial support for the final year project which was brilliant.
Find out more about Joel Gibbard

Kabul Maharjan - graduate profile

I don’t think I would have been where I am today if I hadn’t decided to study at Plymouth University.
Find out more about Kabul Maharjan

Morgan Roe - graduate profile

I managed to get my name in the credits for the BAFTA winning film Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Find out more about Morgan Roe

Vasileios Chatzimarkos – BEng (Hons) Robotics

I believe that Plymouth University prepared me very well for the challenges that I will face in my career.
Learn more about Vasileios Chatzimarkos

Jaroslaw Szostak - student placements

The work placement was very important to me, as I gained experience and confidence. Skills which were invaluable during my final year.

Spinnaker International Ltd, designing intelligent cash protection systems.

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics we recognise that our students are the future of the growing computing and electronics industry. We know that our applicants will thrive in the hands-on environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2017, a range of full-time undergraduate courses within the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Meet some of your lecturers

*The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.