MSc by Research Robotics

Entry year
Course code
Engineering Design and Mathematics
One year full-time; two years part-time
Full-time, part-time, starts September and January
Programme leader
Professor Manuel Giuliani

Please note that new student recruitment to this course has been suspended for the September 2020 and January 2021 intakes. Applications for 2021/22 should be made from October 2020. If you would like information about our alternative courses, please visit our Engineering page.

Page last updated 16 July 2020


Supporting specialist learning through research, and providing the tools and techniques needed by those conceiving, designing and developing robotic products and systems for the fast-paced service robotics market. You will have access to the Bristol Robotics Laboratory for your research project.

MSc by Research Robotics is a fast-developing discipline that combines long-established areas of electronic and mechanical engineering with the latest innovations in computing and life sciences. It's also behind a revolution in industry. Robotic devices now play a part in most sectors, particularly in defence and manufacturing, with emerging applications in personal care, medical intervention and entertainment.

A bright future for you and robotics

This course helps you to apply your creativity and knowledge to design and develop intelligent robots. It will provide you with the critical insight and practical skills to do exactly that, and is also fantastic preparation for a PhD in Robotics.

You'll already have a solid background in design tools, simulation techniques, software development, research methods, and the role of design in a business context. You'll also be familiar with computer-based systems for intelligent product design, development and optimisation.

You will apply your existing knowledge, understanding and creativity towards the context of your project, alongside significant independent study and using appropriate software. The course is designed to guide you towards new ways of working along with critical thinking, analysis, evaluation and problem solving skills.

UWE Bristol's research centres, including the internationally renowned Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) we created in partnership with the University of Bristol, provide the practical research training and supervision.

UWE Bristol is highly regarded nationally and internationally for its teaching and research covering robotics, artificial intelligence and embedded systems.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



You will study:

  • Research Investigation, Planning and Methods for Change (15 credits): An introduction to various approaches to research methodology in an engineering and technology environment. You will develop the ability to formulate research proposals, select appropriate methods of analysis and prepare and present research outcomes

You choose another three modules from the range available in the Faculty, or potentially more widely from across the University, depending on your research project's theme and how you want to expand your background knowledge. Essentially, your choice of modules builds your knowledge to support your supervised research. This is the key part of your course, and will have been agreed as part of your application.

Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

You will study a range of core modules designed to enhance what you learn in your practical research training in our research centres. You'll learn through a combination of outside scheduled lectures and tutorials. You will also be encouraged to attend BRL seminars and workshops and to interact with researchers and students on other relevant robotics courses.

You will gain essential practical and professional skills, including:

  • Developing robotic designs for specific applications
  • Understanding and designing electronic circuits and systems
  • Developing software
  • Using real and virtual methods to develop and optimise design concepts

In addition to your module choices, you'll also need to undertake a considerable amount of independent learning through reading and using appropriate software to supplement and consolidate your knowledge.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Full-time: one year, part-time: up to five years.

The flexible nature of this course is ideal for those who wish to study part-time whilst remaining in full-time employment. We would expect your project proposal to be supported by your employer and that your research will be of direct benefit to them. Furthermore, your employer will benefit from your developing knowledge and critical insight into modern robotic applications, as well as the expertise brought to your research by your project supervisor.


We normally assess the taught component of the course through project work, assignments and examination.

The research project is assessed through a written report, your behavioural system or robot, and through presentation and discussion with a panel of experts.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

You will have access to Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) for your research project. BRL is a multi-million pound partnership between UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol, and is the largest research facility of its kind in the UK. It is nationally and internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for advanced robotics research.

BRL is helping us understand and develop robotic devices that can behave intelligently, without human supervision and intervention, and that can be used in a wide range of applications to help humans perform otherwise dangerous or unpleasant tasks. For instance, robots already clear landmines, unblock pipework, and gather data from ocean floors; the possibilities are endless. It is also currently investing in infrastructure for biomedical robotics and neurologically inspired control systems. The lab and its facilities and expertise are available to you for your research project.

You will also be invited to attend BRL seminars, with talks and forums led by experts in a range of robotics disciplines. BRL doctoral students and research staff are among the course tutors and supervisors.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer


Careers / Further study

The course provides an excellent route into this increasingly important area of industry, and is ideal preparation for PhD routes in robotics. We enjoy an excellent international studentship, and our alumni are active in related academic and professional roles all over the world.

The partnership between UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol has created a unique centre of excellence for engineering, in the heart of one of the UK's most important hubs for engineering industry especially in the aeronautical and electronics sectors. Bristol is a major base for companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard, with both universities enjoying close links.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

You could also go into research by progressing onto MSc Robotics or studying a PhD at Bristol Robotics Laboratory.


Supplementary fee information

For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.

For information about funding options visit our postgraduate funding and scholarships pages.


Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2.1 or above in Electronic or Electronic Engineering, or in other engineering disciplines including Product Design, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Robotics, or similar.

With your application you should submit a draft project proposal.

You may be invited to informal interview, where your proposal will be discussed and appropriate optional modules selected. International students who are not able to attend an informal interview will be interviewed electronically and by telephone.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

For further information