The course

Course type
Entry date
September, January

The UK's National Robotarium is located on Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh campus and makes us an international centre for excellence in robotics. Study MSc Robotics with us to develop advanced knowledge in modern robotics and apply your learning to industry.


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MSc Robotics at Heriot-Watt University provides you industry-relevant training in core elements of modern robotics and autonomous systems.

This one-year postgraduate masters degree in Robotics is linked to the UK's National Robotarium and will equip you to work in industry and wider society in areas where robots can be used to improve productivity, transform transportation, work in extreme environments, and improve quality of life.

Studying MSc Robotics will allow you to:

  • be introduced to core robotics techniques, from basic kinematics to robot control, robot navigation, robot planning and human-robot interactions
  • receive an extensive training in robot programming (especially ROS) and practical implementation of solutions on real robots
  • apply skills in various applications through major robotics projects, relevant to research and industry, and involving systems such as autonomous robots (cars, subsea vehicles), humanoid robots, advanced manipulators for compliant control and novel robot designs
  • obtain access to staff from leading research groups to mentor their development and guide their research projects

On this degree you will be offered flexibility in the courses you study so that you can specialise in specific domains of robotics application. Check the course details section below for more information.

Why study Robotics?

Robotics and AI are seen as key technologies for the future and the subject of massive commercial investment.

There is a rapidly growing worldwide demand for graduates with the technical skills and industry awareness to create an innovation pipeline from academic research to global markets in the field of robotics. Key application areas include manufacturing, assistive and medical robots, offshore energy, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, defence, and support for the aging population.

Apple, Google, Uber, Amazon and Facebook all have major ongoing research programs in robotics. In the UK, Dyson, 5AI and a plethora of SMEs and start-ups are trying to grasp the huge market opportunity that is foreseen. Predictions of the worldwide economic impact of Robotics and Autonomous Systems range from US$1.7 trillion to US$4.5 trillion by 2025.

A centre of excellence in Robotics

Heriot-Watt University is an international centre of excellence in Robotics. Our MSc Robotics draws on a well-established programme in postgraduate study.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CDT-RAS) is leading in the UK effort to realise the potential of Robotics and AI technology, by producing a new generation of highly skilled researchers, trained to take a central role through technical skill coupled to industry and market awareness. 

National Robotarium

Heriot-Watt hosts the UK National Robotarium, a place for interactions between research and teaching where the upskilling of existing workforce and the provision of new graduates in the field of robotics and AI will be prominent. The multimillion pound hub, being built in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, opened on Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh campus in 2022. It is the UK's leading innovation hub for robotics and autonomous systems, delivering leading-edge research and support for business creation and growth, as well as data skills.

Course duration

The full-time course lasts one year. The course can also be taken as a 9 month Postgraduate Diploma.

January 2023 entry

The application deadline for January 2023 entry is 1 December 2022 for EU and overseas applicants, and 18 December 2022 for UK applicants. We guarantee to consider any completed applications received prior to the deadline. Unfortunately, we will not be able to consider any applications received after these deadlines for January intake.

September 2023 entry

The deadline for applications from UK students is 31 August 2023. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1 August 2023.

Sara Cooper, Robotics graduate wearing a facemask and lanyard at an event with one of our robots

There is not a place like the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics, joint centre of Heriot-Watt and University of Edinburgh. They have so much expertise, so many robots and facilities. I could learn a bit of everything - from AI, foundation of robotics, Internet Of Things to, most interesting for me, social robotics.

Sara Cooper, MSc Robotics, Robotics Software Engineering PAL Robotics, Spain

Course content

Semester 1

Mandatory courses

  • Robotics Systems Science
  • Intelligent Robotics

Optional courses

  • Embedded Systems
  • Sensors, Actuators and IoT
  • Biologically Inspired Computation
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning
  • Human Robot Interaction
  • Scalable Inference & Deep Learning

Semester 2

Mandatory courses

  • Multi-Disciplinary Group Project
  • Robotic Mechanical Systems

Optional courses

  • Embedded Software
  • Critical Analysis and Research Preparation
  • Conversational Agents and Spoken Language Processing
  • System Thinking & Analysis
  • Image Processing
  • Scalable Inference and Deep Learning II
  • Research Methods and Project Plan

Semester 3

  • MSc Project

The contact hours for the taught part of the MSc are in the region of 16 to 20 hours per week with a similar amount of additional self-study and research required.

Entry requirements

A first class or upper second honours degree in mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science or other relevant disciplines with a numerate background and sufficient computer programming experience. Equivalent overseas qualifications will also be considered.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time
UK £9760
Overseas £24520


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.