School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Robotics

Want to play your part in the rapidly advancing field of robotics? Fascinated by artificial intelligence and the innovations that will underpin the development of tomorrow’s robots? This course combines theory with lots of hands-on, practical laboratory sessions designing and building motors and robots. Work placement in your third year provides industrial experience and strengthens your CV, whilst putting your engineering skills into action in the real world.

Our emphasis is on software aspects of robotics and embedded systems in the final year, building on a good grounding of electronics, mathematics and mechanics. We offer four rapid-prototyping printers, printed circuit design and manufacturing and expert technical support. You'll learn to build and program robots, ranging from small wheeled robots and industrial robotic equipment to advanced humanoids. We have the highest number of humanoid robots available to undergraduate students in Europe.

Key features

  • 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”.*
  • Take opportunities throughout your degree to build and program robots, ranging from small wheeled robots through industrial robotic equipment to advanced humanoids.
  • Benefit by studying modules that will support you to design and build robots and automated systems. Our emphasis is on the software aspects of robotics and embedded systems. 
  • Experience the highest number of humanoid robots available to undergraduate students in Europe.
  • Capitalise on the opportunity to take a work placement in your third year, putting your robotics skills into action in the real world.
  • Rise to the challenge as part of the Plymouth Humanoids team, battling it out in a variety of international robot competitions.
  • Join our Robotics Society and have 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.
  • 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 get stuck into the practical, with opportunities for laboratory based project work to increase your confidence in using electronic instrumentation for robotic system evaluation. You'll consolidate your hardware and software skills using industry standard software for simulation, remote control and monitoring. Throughout the year, you will take part in a hands-on robot design and build workshop, ending in a competition where your robot is tested against other students' robots.
    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.

    • ELEC138 Electrical Principles

      The module introduces: passive and reactive devices, D.C. and A.C. circuit principles, elementary electric and magnetic field theory. It also introduces and develops methods for the solution of problems in electrical engineering.

    • ELEC139 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.

    • ELEC140 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.

    • MATH188 Engineering Mathematics

      This module begins with a review of basic mathematical techniques and then moves on to cover important functions, complex numbers, calculus and the use of matrices. Many examples used in the module are drawn from Engineering applications.

    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
  • During your second year, you'll develop a greater understanding of robot construction and software development and integrate your software and hardware knowledge to customise a microprocessor controlled robot. There's an emphasis on teamwork with opportunities for both group and individual presentations of your projects. You'll use industrial standard software tools for design and simulation, data monitoring and control.
    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.

    • ELEC238 Communication Systems

      This module extends the student's knowledge of electrical engineering systems in order to develop an awareness of electrical engineering principles and apply them to electronic and communication engineering.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • ROCO223 Classical Control

      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. Numerical simulation tools will be taught in seamless combination with control theories.

    • 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 year gives opportunities to put theory into practice, grow your understanding of robotics in the real world and showcase your growing expertise. We can help you find industrial placement opportunities in the UK, France, Germany and Japan. Placements 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
  • In the final year, you have the opportunity to consolidate your knowledge in specialist robotics topics including machine vision, humanoid robotics, behavioural computing and design for entertainment systems, and robotics and control systems. Your final project showcases your abilities to potential employers and relates your technical knowledge to the business environment. You'll demonstrate your communication skills in an oral and written presentation of your project.
    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.

    • AINT354 Design for Entertainment Systems

      The module follows a small developer model facilitating company formation around an Entertainment prototype, from initial concept to product launch. Work as part of an interdisciplinary team, develop a commercial pitch and understand your position in the value chain. Make a games product, smart toy or robot system to generate a start-up company. Use online management and version control following an agile methodology.

    • ELEC350 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.

    • PROJ325 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.

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:

BSc Robotics Programme Specification September 2017 2755

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

112

A level
112 UCAS points to include grade D in relevant subject, and grade D in AS/A level Mathematics; Use of Mathematics. Relevant subjects include; biology, chemistry, design technology, electronics, engineering, further mathematics, mathematics/use of mathematics, physics, pure mathematics, statistics OR computing. Excluding general studies.

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

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
All Access courses: 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 Level 3 credits in a relevant subject with merit, and a pass in all mathematics units. Including GCSE English and Mathematics grade C /4 or above or equivalent.

International Baccalaureate
28 overall to include 4 at Higher Level relevant subject, plus pass in mathematics subject. English and mathematics must be included.

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

Students may also apply for the BEng (Hons) Robotic Engineering with Foundation Year.

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 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School 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.

Facilities

We have one of the best-equipped undergraduate laboratory suites in the UK, and all courses are highly practical, with an emphasis on design and build.

Dedicated robotics and communications laboratories, where students focus on industrial and intelligent robotic systems and high frequency electronics.

Find out more about the facilities

Placements

Deciding on completing a ‘placement year’ is an excellent way to gain that competitive edge, in time for when the graduation schemes launch. You will advance your knowledge of internal working practices, whilst developing as an individual

Our student success stories

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

Free tablet PC

You will receive a tablet PC to give you access to additional resources to support your modules, and to enable you to participate in interactive activities such as in-class voting and feedback.

Receive an tablet PC to support your learning.

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.

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

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

Clare Simpson

Plymouth is a world-leader in humanoid robotics. Being involved with our robot football research allows me to travel the world to compete against international teams.

Clare Simpson, BSc (Hons) Robotics, on her involvement in international humanoid robot competitions with Plymouth University.

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.