School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

MEng (Hons) Robotics

Taking BEng (Hons) Robotics to the next level, this MEng course digs deeper into the robotic technologies that are shaping today and tomorrow. Providing an extra year of insight and training, your learning will be informed by robotics research pushing boundaries worldwide led by our very own teaching staff. You’ll build technical and managerial skills that you can put into practice daily, through a final group project that will set your course for success when you graduate.

You will experience learning that meets the highest standard academic requirements set by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). You will draw on unique opportunities to engage in world-class robotics research, and in a variety of activities. You’ll 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. You will take the fastest route to Chartered Engineer status.

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”.*
  • Immerse yourself in a degree accredited by the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET)  on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).
  • Keep pace with the fast-moving world of robotics, on a course that cuts a path through the latest research across technologies and disciplines.
  • Take the fastest route to Chartered Engineer status. 
  • Experience learning that meets the highest standard academic requirements set by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 
  • Undertake a major robotics design and implementation in your final project, showcasing your technical and managerial skills. Develop your technical content, legal and business skills as well as team working and project planning.
  • 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.
  • Rise to the challenge as part of the Plymouth Humanoids team, battling it out in a variety of international robot competitions.
  • Develop professional writing skills as well as strengthening your technical design skills. 
  • Refine your professional project management skills, with dedicated professional support from staff across the entire final year on every different aspect of your project.
  • Work alongside internationally-renowned staff in a leading service and cognitive robotics research environment.
  • 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).

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 communications laboratories. From analogue and digital electronics to engineering mathematics, you'll build up the essential foundations of robotics. Group project work will also 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
    • 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
  • Throughout your second year, you'll develop a greater understanding of underlying engineering principles and circuit design methods. Again there's an emphasis on team-work, with the opportunity to do both group and individual presentations of your projects. You'll use industrial standard software tools for design and simulation, data monitoring and control, all valuable 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 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 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.

  • Year 4
  • This is when your skills, expertise and know how come into their own. Through your individual project you'll consolidate your knowledge, explore and evaluate new technologies and showcase your potential. You'll demonstrate your communication skills in an oral and written presentation of your project. Refining the independent learning skills you've developed throughout the course, 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.

  • Final year
  • The MEng includes additional technical modules and a large interdisciplinary design project. There is also the possibility of continuing your studies to MSc level in the same academic year.
    Core modules
    • AINT512 Science and Technology of Human-Robot Interaction

      The objective of this module is to introduce the science and technology behind human-machine interaction. Techniques including designing natural language interfaces, non-verbal communication, and design of social robots. The module also covers the science of verbal and non-verbal interaction, underpinning the technical design consideration. Delivery consists of lectures, combined with project-based practicals.

    • PROJ515 MEng Project

      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.

    • ROCO503 Sensors and Actuators

      The module covers a range of classical and smart sensors and actuators which can be applied in interactive and automated system, with emphasis on several key sensors. This module has a strong hands-on component.

    • ROCO504 Advanced Robot Design

      This module aims to give the students a theoretical and practical understanding of designing and building advanced robot assemblies and mechanisms, through engineering and bioinspired approaches.

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:

MEngRobotics ProgrammeSpecification September2017 3746 v2

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

128

A level
To include B @ 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.

English language requirements

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.

International students

Scholarships are available for international students.

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.

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

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

Graduate case study – Matthew Preston

Studying robotics at Plymouth University 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

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 Plymouth University 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.

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 to investigate human motor control of arm movement

The picture and video show the use of the vBot robotic manipulandum. This device is able to record movement of the handle and also exert forces on the participant’s hand. When used within its custom 2D virtual reality environment, it can simulate simple virtual worlds and objects with different movement dynamics. Using this equipment, it is easy to assess movement performance and learning of novel tasks.

Here a participant is performing a 2-part movement task. This consists of a lead-in movement followed immediately by the main movement while grasping the handle of the robotic device. We recently showed that lead-in movement (related to backstroke in sports like tennis) that immediately precedes a forward stroke plays an important role in learning. These results could have important implications for both skill learning and movement rehabilitation, since it demonstrates that any immediately preceding movement, such as in a golf stroke or tennis swing, needs to be consistent to achieve fast learning.

See howardlab.com for further details.

vBot 2-part movement demonstration

Demonstration of the vBot manipulandum used for a 2-part movement task

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

Daniel Gregory-Turner - current MEng (Hons) Robotics student

My favourite memory studying at Plymouth has to be project showcase day. There are such a wide range of possibilities with this course it was great to see each individual’s interests and skills developed into a large project.
Learn more about Daniel Gregory-Turner

Steve Roberts - past MEng (Hons) Robotics student

"The best part about the MEng year is it allows you to focus on aspects that you have an interest in. It allows us to put into practice what we have been taught through coursework, projects, and extra-curricular opportunities."

Steve is now working as a research engineer at Gtech developing next generation consumer robotics products.

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.