School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MEng (Hons) Robotics

The MEng Robotics course leads to a high-level qualification which is recognized by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), providing a fast route to Chartered Engineer status. The course introduces fundamental concepts in the area of robotics, as well as specialist topics, preparing students for future careers in industry. It digs deep into the robotic technologies that are shaping the future and adopts a hands-on approach which students develop in our specialist laboratories.

The field of robotics is very dynamic and constantly changing. However our lectures are given by research active staff, ensuring teaching always remains up-to-date and relevant to the needs of industry. This leads to very high student employment after graduation.

Opportunities available...

  • A course-specific scholarship scheme is available: for more information, see the 'Fees, costs and funding' section, below.
  • Excellence schemes: we may make you a personalised offer if you are a strong candidate – visit our webpage for details.
Careers with this subject

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a robotics degree.

What can I do with my robotics degree?

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.
  • Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.
  • Undertake a major robotics design and implementation in your final project, showcasing your technical and managerial skills.
  • Capitalise on the opportunity to take a work placement in your second or third year, putting your robotics skills into action in the real world.
  • Students are able to get involved with industrial partners for their project work.
  • Students can undertake industrial placements and summer internships with researchers at the University. 
  • Draw on unique opportunities to engage in world-class robotics research, and in a variety of activities.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year you'll learn through doing, developing your knowledge and practical problem-solving skills in our dedicated robotics and electronics laboratories. From engineering mathematics to analogue and digital electronics, you’ll build up the essential foundations for understanding robotic systems. Group project work will help you develop your communication skills and you'll learn structured design procedures for hardware and software all brought together in an integrating robotics project.

    Core modules

    • Stage 1 Electrical/Robotics Placement Preparation (BPIE112)

      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.

    • Analogue Electronics (ELEC141)

      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.

    • Digital Electronics (ELEC142)

      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.

    • Embedded Software in Context (ELEC143)

      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.

    • Electrical Principles and Machines (ELEC144)

      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.

    • Engineering Mathematics (MATH190)

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

    • Electronic and Robot Design and Build (PROJ101)

      The module aims to provide an overview of a range of electronic sensors and mobile robotics topics, to give students practical involvement in the subject through problem-based learning, to introduce students to various techniques and skills relevant for electronic sensors and robotics as well as creating enthusiasm for the possibilities of the subject.

  • Year 2

  • Throughout your second year, you will develop a greater understanding of underlying theoretical and practical principles of robotic systems. You will make use of standard software tools for design and simulation and control of robots which are essential preparation for a placement or your final year individual project

    Core modules

    • Stage 2 Electrical/Robotics Placement Preparation (BPIE212)

      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.

    • Embedded Systems (ELEC240)

      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.

    • Real Time Systems (ELEC241)

      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.

    • Engineering Mathematics and Statistics (MATH237)

      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.

    • Control Engineering (ROCO219)

      This module introduces basic concepts in how to control systems that have dynamics. This can involve making an unstable system stable, like balancing a Segway transporter to ensure it always remains upright. Or to get a system to follow a desired input and reach the desired goal. For example, controlling a robot arm so it moves directly to a target location without oscillating or overshooting.

    • Introduction to Sensors and Actuators (ROCO222)

      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.

    • Introduction to Robotics (ROCO224)

      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

  • An optional work placement experience gives you the opportunity 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 and abroad. Placements will complement your studies with real-world industrial experience which can lead to final year sponsorship. Many of our graduates are offered permanent jobs with their placement company.

    Core modules

    • Electrical Industrial Placement (BPIE332)

      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.

  • Year 4

  • In the fourth year, you will learn additional more advanced concepts and topics in the field of robotics. You will also have the opportunity to make use of the knowledge you have consolidated this far and apply it to your individual project, which also provides a means to develop and practice your presentation and communication skills which are also vital for your future robotics career.

    Core modules

    • Machine Vision and Behavioural Computing (AINT308)

      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.

    • Advanced Embedded Programming (ELEC351)

      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.

    • Individual Project (PROJ324)

      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.

    • Mobile and Humanoid Robots (ROCO318)

      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

    • Machine Learning (AINT351Z)

      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.

    • High Speed Communications (ELEC345)

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

  • Final year

  • The final year of the MEng programme introduces more specialist topic in robotics and a major robotics project.

    Core modules

    • Topics in Advanced Intelligent Robotics (AINT516Z)

      This module introduces the research activities of the Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS). It is taught by CRNS members who lead thematic workshops on their own areas of expertise, such as swarm robotics, cognitive robotics, Human-Robot Interaction, and bio-inspired cognitive architectures. The module also covers scientific research methods and data analysis.

    • MEng Project (PROJ515)

      This group project involves an in-depth study of a complex real-world problem originating from industry, commerce or research. It could include theoretical, computational and experimental work in addition to a critical literature survey and also involves the design and build of a prototype to support the claims made in the project execution plan.

    • Science and Technology of Autonomous Vehicles (ROCO506Z)

      This module focuses on both theoretical principles and practical methodologies of robotic perception, mapping and navigation aiming at providing ground vehicles with multiple degrees of autonomy. In addition, advanced technologies from statistics, vision and machine learning will be analysed. The module will then focus on the implementation of these technologies on real platforms to close the perceive-reason-act loop.

    • Software Engineering for Distributed and Interactive Systems (SOFT564Z)

      In this module, students will develop applications involving interconnected hardware devices and software capabilities. Devices include both embedded and networked computers. Capabilities include sensor data acquisition, actuator control, and behaviour generation. The module will cover both theory and practical work, including management of code complexity, and dealing with real-time and reliability issues.

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:

MEng Robotics programme specification 3746

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

128

A level
To include B at A level Mathematics and grade B at a 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 distinction 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.

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

International Baccalaureate
32 overall to include 5 at Higher Level mathematics and 5 at Higher Level relevant second 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) Robotics with Foundation Year.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

IET Awards and Scholarships

All our electronics and robotics courses are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); any student embarking on our courses are 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.

The Plymouth Engineer Scholarship: Electrical, electronic and robotics degrees

Up to £1,000.

Students are automatically paid £500/£250 for an A/B in Mathematics A level and/or one further sum of £500/£250 for an A/B in a relevant subject (e.g. Physics). This is awarded to home applicants who put us as their firm choice before 1 August 2022. The scholarship is paid during the first semester of the first year.

There are additional prizes and awards to reward high achievement in later years of the degree.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

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.

Coursework example

Second year BEng (Hons) Robotics students completing coursework in core module ROCO219 Control Engineering

In this ROCO219 Control Engineering coursework task, students implement a state feedback controller to stabilise an inverted pendulum. An inverted pendulum consists of a pole that acts as the pendulum, which is pivoted at one end and attached to a cart.

The cart can travel backwards and forwards on a linear track, and by moving the cart appropriately it is possible to balance the pole and maintain it in its inverted position. The controller is first modelled and designed in Matlab. The design is then ported onto a microcontroller that can read pendulum angle using an encoder, and drive a stepper motor to move the cart. As can be seen, when the controller is running, the pendulum can resist small disturbances and it is possible to balance objects on its endpoint.

Watch our videos below

Women in electronics and robotics

Within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics there has been a historic and consistent commitment to promote and encourage women in to electronics and 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 electronic and robotic engineering

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

Work placements

A ‘placement year’ is an excellent way to gain a competitive edge. It will set you up for when the graduate 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

Enhancing lives with social technology

Estilla Hefter,  MEng (Hons) Robotics student

Having always been drawn to robotics, it became my passion when I realised it could be used to help people. 

Social robots have the capabilities to raise people's self-esteem, make them feel more connected, and improve their welfare.

On placement, I developed a system to help children learn how to read and study another language. My projects are now used by the company.

Discover how Estilla is using robotics to overcome social challenges

Becky Harding - Final year project

As part of my final year project, studying MEng (Hons) Robotics with the University of Plymouth, I collaborated with fellow students to design and produce the Wearable Enhanced Awareness System.

"The idea of this system is that, for example, you can be walking down the street alone at night and, using radar and lidar technology, it will detect if there is another human approaching you, or a bicycle or something like that. The aim is to reduce knife crime, mugging, accidents, these kinds of things." 

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

Students present robot design at Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) conference

Final-year MEng (Hons) Robotics students, Rebecca Harding and Charles Freestone, share their experience speaking at the 20th TAROS conference.

“Our talk detailed the application for our robot, how we designed it and why the design features included were beneficial. Talking at TAROS will look very good on my CV and it is definitely an experience I would talk about a lot in interviews.”

Find out more about Rebecca and Charles' experience at TAROS 2019

Meet some of your lecturers

Graduate case study – Nora Schillinger

"I graduated in 2015 with a first-class honours in MEng Robotics Engineering at Plymouth University.

"I did a placement as a test engineer with Buhler Sortex where I had responsibility for developing test equipment for high speed cameras in Buhler food sorting machines. I have now returned to the company since graduating and work with the team developing the electronics of cutting-edge optical sorters.

"I have always enjoyed engineering, mostly the taking things apart bit when I was younger! I also have an arty side and I love the creativity that I can put into my work, I think a female engineer really stands out when it comes to the details and design elements of a project. My current role is very varied, I work on mechanical, software and electronics as well as following products through testing and into production. I’m very glad that I chose to study robotics as it gave me all the skills required for my current role. I touched on a wider range of subjects at university than my colleagues, which gave me a greater choice of jobs to select from.

"Choosing the University of Plymouth was an obvious decision for me. The robotics department is famous for its hands-on experience, and they gave me the chance to get involved with their robot football competitions. All this on a campus in the heart of a sea-side town!" 

Learn more about how Nora Schillinger managed to secure a job even before she had graduated.

Graduate case study – Matthew Preston

Studying robotics at the University of Plymouth gave me a vast area of knowledge and an excellent foundation to use a wide range of robotic engineering applications.

Matthew Preston’s final year MEng (Hons) Robotics project was noticed by MSubs Ltd who were so impressed they employed him straight after graduating.

Matthew Preston's profile

UK Robotics Week with the University of Plymouth

To celebrate Robotics Week, the University of Plymouth 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).

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

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni is updated annually in September.