Robotics and Autonomous Systems Engineering MSc

Become an expert in the fast-evolving world of Robotics, and equip yourself for a job in the industry of the future.


Robots and autonomous systems are adopted into our daily lives and have important roles in a range of modern engineering disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering. Robotics and autonomous systems engineering is a multidisciplinary scientific and technological field applying complex systems (robots) to perform tasks done traditionally by human beings.

The importance of robots and autonomous systems lies in their strong economic contribution across diverse global market sectors. This exciting Masters course offers students the opportunity to study the most exciting aspects of Internet of Things, mechanical design, electronics and communication and apply them to the design and manufacture of smart autonomous systems. The programme comprises a mix of core principles of this emerging field of autonomous systems. It provides a broad coverage of all of the major disciplines in automation, process industry and network analysis. 

Typical entry points to this course are in January and September. Please enquire for more information.

Student in front of a robot

Mode of Study:



1 years

Start date:


Course details

This exciting course is suitable for engineering, computing and physical science graduates who are interested to work in areas where robots are used for many important applications including industrial manufacturing, transport, logistics, automobile manufacture, autonomous driving, space exploration, surveillance, emergency and rescue, education and health care. The adoption of robots in industries worldwide has increased significantly in recent years. With current innovations and the rate of growth, we will likely see robots replace many manual tasks and generate opportunities for more qualified jobs.

This course is technology-focused and will create several opportunities for acquiring and applying technical skills and expertise in robotics and autonomous systems. This one year postgraduate degree will equip its graduates with skills that will be of immediate use and will also develop them for senior technical and research leadership roles in future. With the growing demand for highly skilled professionals within worldwide market manufacturers, successfully completing this course will provide a distinctive skill set that graduates will find useful in securing employment globally.

This MSc will cover two major aspects (hardware and software) of robotics and autonomous systems. The two core modules (Wireless Sensors and Mobile Communications and Automation and Robotics) aim to cover  three components autonomous robots: sensors, controllers and actuators. The other two core modules (IoT and Autonomous Systems and Advanced Embedded Systems) aim to cover the theoretical fundamentals and practical applications of decision-making, problem-solving, and learning abilities in software tools used for robots.

This course consists of five compulsory core modules and two optional modules.   

Core Modules: 

Automation and Robotics (MEC11107) 
Wireless Sensors and Mobile Communications (ELE11119) 
IoT and Autonomous Systems (ELE11118) 
Advanced Embedded Systems (ELE11120)
MSc Project (ENG11100)

Optional Modules:  
Two modules to be selected from the following list. 

Human-Robot Interaction (CSI11102) 
Modelling and Computation for Smart Places (ELE11117) 
Network Security (CSN11111) 
Research Through Design (CSI11101) 
Mechatronic Systems (MEC11114) 
Research Skills and Project Management (MEC11117)

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    How you’ll be taught

    There are two trimesters of taught modules, followed by an individual MSc project during the third trimester. You will study six taught modules. A standard module is equivalent to 200 hours of learning and on successful completion of each module you will achieve 20 credits towards your chosen award.

    This is a full-time course and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September.


    • September starts: 12 months
    • January starts: 15 months with a three-month break over the summer (after the first taught trimester) 
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    A wide range of assessment methods are used, including traditional exams, coursework, oral presentations, critical self - assessments, scientific literature and group projects. Coursework provides opportunities for independent study, enhancing student knowledge and experience, and analysis and problem solving. These activities are supported by tutorials, seminars and class projects. The MSc project integrates a range of transferable skills and engineering knowledge and expertise.
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    The School has well-equipped laboratory facilities to deliver the course especially for the automation and robotics, mechatronic systems and wireless sensors and IoT modules. 


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Advanced Embedded Systems ( ELE11120 )

The module content will be based on three main areas of embedded systems. The first section will consider the use and application of modern smart sensing devices to cover a range of measurements. These will then be used in distributed systems to put together complete instrumentation systems. The final stage will be the integration of instrumentation systems into the control of industrial plant.

Further information

Automation and Robotics ( MEC11107 )

The work covers the various aspects of automation and application of robots in industry in particular in the area of automatic assembly.
Dedicated and Flexible automation systems; criteria for selection of automation systems;
Robotics : Mechanical elements ; co-ordinate systems; drive mechanisms.
Robot programming and control; software function; interfaces to controller; position /motion/ hybrid control.
Programming robots: On -line using proprietary robot programming languages e.g. VAL3 directly and using the teach pendant emulator; Off - line programming languages e.g. GRASP.
Applications: choice of robot; robot tooling; ancillary equipment; performance specifications.
Use of sensors in automation; sensor types contact, proximity, force, vision systems.
Dedicated automation systems: materials handling; analysis and control functions.
Assembly: Part feed systems; orienting devices e.g. vibratory bowl feeder; tooling; Materials handling devices e.g. indexing devices; conveyors.
Placement devices: Pick and place;
Workheads: Fixing methods
General: Line balance of assembly systems; Reliability in automation; Cost justification of automation; Job analysis; Implementation of automated systems

Further information

Introduction to Human-Robot Interaction ( CSI11102 )

With the growing presence of automation, machine learning, and personal assistants, the engagements with intelligent machines are ubiquitous (i.e., Yuksel, Collisson, Czerwinski, 2017, Brooks, 2019).
The module is focused on introducing Human-Robot Interaction as a relevant and important field of study within current computing and User Experience trends. It aims to create an understanding of the relationships between humans and robots, to facilitate smooth integration and better experience during interaction in both, private and public contexts. This multidisciplinary research area draws from Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Psychology, understanding of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

Further information

IoT and Autonomous Systems ( ELE11118 )

Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging network of physical objects that connects various sensors, software, and other technologies to the Internet. The aim of this module is to learn about design and development of IoT systems, including embedded architecture of IoT, technologies and autonomous systems. On this module you will learn concepts, practical aspects and applications of sensors, wireless technologies, robotic systems, data collection (and related processing technologies) for remote control of objects. The following topics will be covered: Introduction to Internet of Things, basic concepts and the state of the art technology used in IoT systems. Transducers and sensors Drones and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) Autonomous systems sub-components : Sensors, motion control and intelligent decision making (i.e. an introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Techniques).

Further information

MSc Project ( ENG11100 )

The student will learn about important elements of project management, such as planning, control, cost, problem solving skills, report writing and defend the outcome during a viva session. The project is normally completed during 13 weeks of full time research or part time equivalent, 26 weeks.

Further information

Mechatronic Systems ( MEC11114 )

The mechatronic approach will be stimulated and rewarded by applying it to the design of a practical product or process that would offer some enhanced performance compared with other alternatives.Mechatronic design process:Definitions of Mechatronics, advantages of microprocessor system control, Mechatronic design process: product and process design applications, advantages of Mechatronic design approach. Evaluate current technology developments that have improved mechatronic design of products or processes.Design a product or process using a Mechatronic design methodology: Conceptual design: user requirement specification, embodiment design, standards, safety regulations: selection of measurement system, controller hardware and software, actuator system, signal conditioning, human-machine interface; design of application program; integration of components.Evaluate a Mechatronic design application: Reliability, accuracy, speed of response, productivity, robustness, ease of maintenance, minimisation of capital and running costs, ease of manufacture, product quality. Evaluation of design procedure.

Further information

Modelling and Computation for Smart Places ( ELE11117 )

• Mathematical modelling, the scientific method and programming• Applied linear algebra• Differential equations• Engineering Applications of Numerical Methods

Further information

Network Security ( CSN11111 )

The aim of the module is to develop a deep understanding of advanced areas related to security and digital forensics that will allow graduates to act professionally in the design, analysis, implementation, and reporting of network security strategies. An outline of the main areas includes:

• Introduction. Networking Concepts; Network Security Concepts; Network Threats and Attacks; Network Defense - Perimeter, Defence in Depth

• Firewalls. Concepts; Types - Host, Network; Technologies - Static packet filtering; Stateful packet filtering; Multilayer firewall; Architectures; Polices; and Implementation and Deployment.

• Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS). Concepts; Types; Alert Monitoring and Sensor Tuning; behavioural analysis, in-line/out-of-line.

• Access Control and Authentication. Concepts: Trust and Identity; Attacks; Models - Access Control Models; Network Device Access Control; AAA, Layer 2; Device Hardening.

• Remote Access and VPNs. Concepts; Cryptography; Types - L2, L3 and L4/5; Technologies; IPSec and SSL.

• Wireless Security. Wireless Overview; Attacks; Encryption; Authentication.

• CCNA Certification - Concepts. CIA; Attacks on CIA; Data Classification; Law and Ethics; Network policies; Risk Management and Secure Network Design; Security in the SDLC; Cisco self-defending network; Secure Administration.

• CCNA Certification - Secure Infrastructure and Extending Security. Cisco Layer 2 Security; Cisco IOS Firewalls. Cisco IOS IPS; Cisco VPN and Cryptographic Solutions; Digital Signatures and PKI.

Further information

Research Skills and Project Management ( MEC11117 )

- Managing a research project: selecting, planning and execution
- Team work.
- Information searching, information sources.
- Data: organising, processing and presenting.
- Reports: evaluation and review, structuring and writing.
- An overview of project management.
- Quality management.
- Time management and cost control.
- Performance monitoring and difference resolution.
- Project implementation, completion and evaluation.

Further information

Research Through Design ( CSI11101 )

In this module you will be introduced to research through design approaches that can offer rich insights that impact the process of innovation and design. You will be encouraged to empathise and understand user needs requirements in relation to day to day activities/tasks/experiences. You will be responsible for your learning through discovery and delivery of a project based on evidence and rigour to research and a target user group understanding. Research through design approaches encourage exploring uncertainty and developing curiosity to trust your expertise and professional competence.

Further information

Wireless Sensors and Mobile Communications ( ELE11119 )

A. Fundamentals of wireless systems: Major components, Block diagrams.

B. Antennas (component 1): Fundamental antenna parameters, Antenna performance and design metrics, Antennas as part or wireless systems, Transmitting and receiving antennas in point-to-point communications and Friis transmission formula.

C. Propagation channels (component 2): Propagation mechanisms, Path loss modelling (including Friis transmission formula), Shadowing-statistical modelling, Multipath propagation-stochastic modelling.

D. Digital modulation and signalling (component 4): Baseband and passband signals, Nyquist theorems for signal interference and reconstruction, Digital modulation techniques, Demodulation and detection performance.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Robotics and Autonomous Systems Engineering?

The entry requirements for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above with a background in Engineering, Physical Sciences or Computer Science.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Robotics and Autonomous Systems Engineering based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the Postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,930 £7,280
Overseas and EU £17,090 £18,800
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


What can you do with a MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems Engineering degree?

From manufacturing units to experimental robotics for medical, military and automotive industries, the future of robotics finds tremendous opportunities for its budding professionals. Robotics Engineering is considered a high-end professional career worldwide. You could be potentially working in the following sectors: 

  • Manufacturing plants
  • Laboratories
  • Medical fields
  • Mining
  • Automation sector
  • Life sciences
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Agricultural engineering

There is a great demand for robotic engineers in the gaming industry and manufacturing units as well. This field can offer jobs like service and repair as well as designing and creating the interfaces and systems. It’s a multi-disciplinary field with growing opportunity as the industry expands.

Throughout the course, you will delve into a wide range of topics, from IoT and autonomous systems to network security and mechatronic systems. Through hands-on projects and practical exercises, you'll gain experience working with state-of-the-art robotic platforms and developing innovative solutions to real-world challenges in fields such as manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation.

This MSc can provide career opportunities, including jobs in the automotive industry, aerospace industry, medical robots, offshore energy and advanced industrial quality control. This course also provides outstanding research opportunities, such as doing PhD in different fields related to Robotics, IoT and Autonomous systems.

After completing this degree, you will emerge as a highly skilled and visionary robotics engineer, ready to push the boundaries of what's possible in the field of robotics and autonomous systems.

What does a Robotics Engineer do?

As a Robotics Engineer, you will be able to use passion for innovation and problem-solving to shape the future of robotics and automation. In this role, you'll design, build, and deploy robotic systems that revolutionize industries ranging from manufacturing and healthcare to agriculture and space exploration.

You will be collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to develop robots that can navigate complex environments, manipulate objects with precision, and perform tasks with human-like accuracy. From mechanical design and electronics integration to software development and sensor calibration, your days will be filled with creativity and collaboration as you bring robots to life.

As a Robotics Engineer, you will push the boundaries of what's possible with robotics. You will be leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sensor technology to create robots that are smarter, safer, and more versatile. Whether you're developing autonomous drones, surgical robots, or robots for rehabilitation, your work will have a transformative impact on society, revolutionizing industries and lives all around the world.

Research Student working on the helicopter project