Program in Robotics and Intelligent Systems



  • Szymon M. Rusinkiewicz

Associate Director

  • Naomi E. Leonard
  • Naveen Verma

Executive Committee

  • Amir Ali Ahmadi, Oper Res and Financial Eng
  • Daniel J. Cohen, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
  • Niraj K. Jha, Electrical Engineering
  • Anirudha Majumdar, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
  • Peter J. Ramadge, Electrical Engineering
  • Olga Russakovsky, Computer Science
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Program in Robotics and Intelligent Systems is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing careers or graduate education in three general areas:

  1. The analysis, design, and development of systems that automate manufacturing, transportation, health care, environmental stewardship, scientific research, and other activities,
  2. The creation of systems for learning, adaptation, decision making, identification, estimation, and control using concepts drawn from cognitive and biological sciences, and
  3. The understanding of human intelligence from the perspective of neuroscience and computation.

New industries and organizations depend increasingly on the interplay between engineering, computing, and the life sciences. Innovations and inventions require multidisciplinary approaches and entrepreneurship, as well as grounding in theory and practice, in topics that may not be covered by a single department. The program offers an integrated set of core and elective courses, introducing students to fundamental concepts, providing depth in specific fields of interest, and setting the stage for further achievement. Students are encouraged to expand their experience through summer internships with companies, government agencies, and university laboratories.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to juniors and seniors who have a satisfactory background in mathematics, science, and computing. Students should have successfully completed:

  1. Mathematics through MAT 202 or 204.
  2. The A.B. science and technology distributional requirement or the B.S.E. first year science requirement.
  3. COS 126, ORF 201 or an equivalent computing course.

A student planning to earn the program certificate should contact the program director as early as possible and no later than the seventh week of the fall term of the senior year.

Program of Study

A student in this program must satisfy both program and departmental requirements. The program for each student is worked out by the student and the student's departmental adviser. The program requirements are as follows:

1.  All students must take six courses, including three core courses and three electives. To qualify for the certificate, a minimum grade average of B- in the six program courses is required. Program courses may not be taken on a pass/D/fail basis, unless that is the only grading alternative for the course. In some cases, a course can fulfill both a certificate program requirement and a regular departmental requirement (contact program director for details).

Core Courses (one from each group):

Laboratory (1)


  • ELE 206/COS 306 Contemporary Logic Design
  • MAE 224 Engineering Science Laboratory
  • PHY 210 Experimental Physics Seminar

Control Systems (1)

  • CBE 445 Process Control
  • ELE 301 Designing Real Systems
  • MAE 345 Robotics and Intelligent Systems
  • MAE 433 Automatic Control Systems
  • MAE 434 Modern Control

Cognition, Language, and Decision Making (1)

  • PSY/CGS 255 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 321/WWS 340 The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment
  • PSY 322 Human-Machine Interaction
  • NEU/PSY 258 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
  • NEU/PSY 259 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
  • NEU/PSY 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging between Brain and Mind

Elective Courses

Maximum of two from the same department to satisfy the requirement): an up-to-date list of approved elective courses may be found on the program website.

2. A senior independent work project or thesis must be completed and presented to the program committee on a topic relevant to the program and acceptable to the program committee.

3. Close collaboration with faculty is expected. Program students are expected to demonstrate strong academic performance. Program courses may not be taken on a pass/D/fail basis, unless that is the only grading alternative for the course.

4. Program students must fill out the student profile form at the beginning of each year in which they are members of the program. This is especially important during the senior year to assure that requirements for the certificate will be met by the end of the year.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all program requirements will receive a certificate of proficiency in robotics and intelligent systems upon graduation.