Robotics Thesis Option - Handbook


The thesis option is the most traditional Master’s degree track in which a student will perform research, develop and write a thesis, and defend their ideas in a dissertation. This track is ideal for students wishing to continue for a Ph.D. degree.

This schedule summarizes the requirements and due dates for the MS Degree – Thesis Option. Students who have not completed requirements or submitted required forms to the Graduate Coordinator by the due dates may be dropped from the program. Students should graduate in the semester in which 30 hours of coursework are completed. All students who are on visas must be registered for at least 9 credit hours of coursework in every semester (excluding summer), including their final semester, unless they receive permission from the Department Graduate Committee prior to the beginning of the semester.

Requirement Process Due Date
Supervisory Committee 3 members

The chair of the committee must be a regular ECE faculty member

The chair is chosen by the student; the two remaining members are assigned by the department.

Submit a Request for Supervisory Committee Form.

To amend, resubmit form.

Full time: drop deadline of second semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of third semester of study

*Please note that international students must be full-time students.

Candidacy (Program of Study) 30 semester hours of coursework beyond B.S. degree in ECE including:

  • 2 hours of Robotics Seminar
  • 4 Core Robotics Courses
  • 10+ hours of ECE 6970 Thesis Research (must meet with Graduate Coordinator to register)
  • At least 18 hours of ECE coursework must be at the 6000- or 7000-level classes
Submit a Program of Study Form

In preparation to submit a Program of Study form, it is recommended that students use it is recommended that students use the MS Robotics Checklist and/or meet with the Graduate Coordinator.

Full time: drop deadline of second semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of third semester of study

If making an amendment: Changes must be made before an added class is taken; classes cannot be dropped after they have been completed

Proficiency Requirement Yes, students with a non-EE/ECE B.S. degree must complete additional steps to satisfy the ECE proficiency requirements Submit Fulfillment of Proficiency Requirements Form Full time: drop deadline of third semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of fourth semester of study

Residency Requirement At least 24 hours must be in resident study
Research Comprehen-sive Exam (Thesis Proposal) Pass a Research Comprehensive Exam administered by the supervisory committee (including defense of a written formal thesis proposal) Notify the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office at least four weeks prior to the date of the exam No later than third semester of study (may not be taken in the same semester as the thesis defense)
Final Exam (Thesis Defense)
Must be enrolled in at least 3 credits of ECE 6970 Thesis Research at the time of defense. Notify the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office at least four weeks prior to the date of the exam Defend the thesis at the end of coursework requirements

Program of Study

After consulting with the approved supervisory committee chair, the student must plan a program of study. They must complete and submit the Program of Study Form by the drop deadline of the second semester of study. After approval of the Department Graduate Committee, the program of study is submitted to the Graduate School for their approval. In preparation to submit a Program of Study form, it is recommended that students use the MS Electrical Engineering checklist and/or meet with the Graduate Coordinator.

Modifications to the Program of Study may be made by re-submitting a Program of Study Form for approval prior to registering for added courses with the supervisory committee and obtaining required approval before enrollment in any added courses. Completed courses cannot be removed from the program of study. Credit towards obtaining a degree will not be granted for classes taken prior to approval of the form, unless the student is changing degree status.

Requirements

Master of Science Electrical Engineering students should graduate in the semester in which 32 hours of coursework are completed. All students who are on visas must be registered for at least 9 credit hours of coursework in every semester (excluding summer) unless they receive permission from the Department Graduate Committee prior to the beginning of the semester.

All coursework is to be completed within four consecutive calendar years. Coursework listed on the program of study must total a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework including:

  • 2 hours of Graduate Seminar (ECE 6900/6910) required in first year
  • 2 hours of Robotics Seminar (CS 7939) for all new students in the first year
  • 4 Core Robotics Classes (see table below)
  •  2 courses taken from the Pre-Approved Robotics Electives List (see table below)
  • A minimum of 18 hours of ECE courses must be at the 6000 or 7000 level
  • Up to 12 credit hours of 5000-7000 level allied courses will be accepted (Math, Science, or other College of Engineering courses)
  • 6-10+ hours of ECE 6970 Thesis Research
    • Students may only register for Thesis Research after they have set up a supervisory committee and met with the Graduate Coordinator.

Additional Criteria

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on coursework listed on the program of study with no grade lower than C- is required for graduation. A student who receives a grade lower than C- in a course listed on the program of study must repeat that same course and receive a higher grade. Courses cannot be removed from the program of study after they are taken.
  • Students who receive an “Incomplete” grade in a class must complete the class by the following semester, even if the semester is the summer semester.
  • Coursework cannot be used for more than one degree on the same level.
  • Cross-listed courses must be registered through the ECE course numbers.
  • A course taken for 5000-level credit cannot be taken again for 6000-level credit.
    • Where a course has both a 5000- and 6000-level number, the 5000-level version is intended for undergraduates and the 6000-level version for honors and graduate students. The two versions of the class will meet together, but extra work will be expected of honors and graduate students.

Robotics Areas of Emphasis and Courses

CATEGORY CORE COURSES
Take 1 from each category
PRE-APPROVED ROBOTICS ELECTIVES
Thesis: Take 2 courses from 2 categories
Mechanics
  • ECE 6650 Intro to Robots (3.0)
  • CS 7310 Mobility and Manipulation (3.0)
  • CS 7320 System Identification (3.0)
Control
  • ECE 6651 Intro to Robot Control (3.0)
  • ME EN 6200 Classical Control Systems (3.0)
  • ECE 6652 State Space Control (3.0)
  • ME EN 7200 Nonlinear Controls (3.0)
  • ME EN 7210 Optimal Controls (3.0)
  • ECE 6570 Adaptive Control (3.0)
  • ECE 6670 Control of Electric Motors (3.0)
Cognition
  • CS 6370 Motion Planning (3.0)
  • CS 6300 Artificial Intelligence (3.0)
  • CS 6350 Machine Learning (3.0)
Perception
  • CS 6640 Image Processing (3.0)
  • CS 6320 Computer Vision (3.0)
  • CS 6353 Deep Learning (3.0)
  • CS 7640 Advanced Image Processing (3.0)
  • ECE 6530 Digital Signal Processing (3.0)
Human-Robot
Interaction
  • ME EN 7240 Haptics (3.0)
  • CS 6360 Virtual Reality (3.0)
  • ECE 6654 Neural Eng. & NeuroRobotics (3.0)
Robot Design
  • ME EN 6240 Advanced Mechatronics (3.0)
  • ECE 6780 Embedded System Design (4.0)
  • ECE 5960 Spec. Top: Robotic Millisystems (3.0)

A student’s supervisory committee will guide the student’s graduate program and must be selected by the beginning of the second semester of study. If a student does not choose a committee, they will be placed with the default supervisory committee.

A supervisory committee consists of three faculty members. The chair of the committee is chosen by the student, and the two remaining members are assigned by the Graduate Committee.  Typically, the other members include one member from the Graduate Committee and the Department Associate Chair.

Any regular Electrical & Computer Engineering faculty member may serve as a supervisory committee chair. After the faculty member has agreed to chair a supervisory committee, the student should submit a completed Request for Supervisory Committee. The form can be re-submitted if an amendment needs to be made to the committee. The Graduate Committee approves all supervisory committee forms; final approval is granted by the Graduate School.

After consulting with the approved supervisory committee chair, the student must plan a program of study. They must complete and submit the Program of Study Form by the drop deadline of the second semester of study. After approval of the Department Graduate Committee, the program of study is submitted to the Graduate School for their approval. In preparation to submit a Program of Study form, it is recommended that students use the MS – Robotics Checklist and/or meet with the Graduate Coordinator.

Modifications to the Program of Study may be made by re-submitting a Program of Study Form for approval prior to registering for added courses with the supervisory committee and obtaining required approval before enrollment in any added courses. Completed courses cannot be removed from the program of study. Credit towards obtaining a degree will not be granted for classes taken prior to approval of the form, unless the student is changing degree status.

Students must be registered for at least 3 credit hours in the semester in which they take an exam. The Research Comprehensive Exam and Final Oral Exam (oral thesis defense) may not be done during the same semester.

Research Comprehensive Examination (Thesis Proposal)
M.S. candidates must take a Research Comprehensive Examination (thesis proposal) to be administered by their supervisory committee at a time determined by that committee, but no later than the third semester of study.

The candidate writes a proposal on their research in the NSF or NIH format which would include only the technical proposal and the vita sections. The page limit for the proposal should be 10 pages for M.S. students. The choice of which format to use would be based on the area of research. The faculty advisor would help the student choose. The following are the links to the NSF and NIH websites for their format information.

This proposal should be submitted to the members of the candidate’s supervisory committee at least 2 weeks before the comprehensive exam.

Students must notify the ECE Graduate Coordinator at least four weeks before they are going to take the Research Comprehensive Examination. The Graduate Coordinator will inform the Graduate School after the exam has been taken.

Final Exam (Thesis Defense)

The Final Oral Examination (oral thesis defense) is conducted by the supervisory committee according to Graduate School regulations. A student will be passed only if the committee is satisfied that the thesis research and documentation are unquestionably of the quality that will bring distinction to the candidate and the department. The committee may request further work of the candidate before a final decision is made.

All students must understand that they are responsible for ensuring that the submitted thesis meets the requirements of the Graduate School for proper format. Ample help is available from the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Editor in the form of a Handbook for Theses and Dissertations as well as seminars. Theses with improper format will be rejected. When students send a draft to their committee, they must also upload their thesis for Preliminary Review to the Graduate School.

The student must contact the ECE Graduate Coordinator at least four weeks prior to the exam for assistance to schedule the date, time and location with the student’s Supervisory Committee. At least one week before the exam the student must provide the Graduate Coordinator with a copy of the abstract and title of the thesis. A Report of the Final Oral Examination and Thesis for the Master’s Degree form will be completed by the Graduate Coordinator for approval signatures during the defense and then submitted to the Graduate School.

Thesis Requirements

The supervisory committee must give preliminary approval of the thesis prior to the defense. The defense can be scheduled after this approval. The student must provide one copy of the thesis to the chair of the supervisory committee at least three weeks before the defense, and one copy to each of the other committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense.

After successfully defending the thesis, the student must upload the final version of their thesis to the Graduate School. You will be required to know the UNIDs of each of your faculty members. If you do not have these, you can contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Detailed policies and procedures concerning the thesis are contained in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations published by the Graduate School.

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Robotics Area of Emphasis and Courses

CATEGORY CORE COURSES
Take 1 from each category
PRE-APPROVED ROBOTICS ELECTIVES
Coursework: Take 3 courses from 2+ categories
Project/Thesis: Take 2 courses from 2 Areas
SUPPORTING ELECTIVES
Mechanics
  • ECE 6650 Intro to Robots (3.0)
    Only Offered Fall
  • CS 7310 Mobility and Manipulation (3.0)
  • CS 7320 System Identification (3.0)
  • CS 6340 Natural Language Processing (3.0)
  • CS 6540 Human/Computer Interaction (3.0)
  • ECE 6540 Estimation Theory (3.0)
  • ECE 6652 Linear Systems and State-Space Control (3.0)
  • ECE 6960 Convex Optimization (3.0)
  • ME EN 6035 Design of Experiments (3.0)
  • ME EN 6100 Ergonomics (3.0)
  • ME EN 6410 Intermediate Dynamics (3.0)
  • ME EN System Dynamics (3.0)
Control
  • ECE 6651 Intro to Robot Control (3.0)
    • Pre-reqs: ECE 6650 Intro to Robots / ME EN 6200 Classical Control Systems
    • Only Offered Spring
  • ECE 6570 Adaptive Control (3.0)
  • ECE 6652 State Space Control (3.0)
  • ECE 6670 Control of Electric Motors (3.0)
  • ME EN 6200 Classical Control Systems (3.0)
  • ME EN 7200 Nonlinear Controls (3.0)
  • ME EN 7210 Optimal Controls (3.0)
Cognition
  • CS 6300 Artificial Intelligence (3.0)
  • CS 6370 Motion Planning (3.0)
  • CS 6350 Machine Learning (3.0)
Perception
  • CS 6320 Computer Vision (3.0)
  • CS 6640 Image Processing (3.0)
  • CS 6353 Deep Learning (3.0)
  • CS 7640 Advanced Image Processing (3.0)
  • ECE 6530 Digital Signal Processing (3.0)
Human-Robot
Interaction
  • CS 6360 Virtual Reality (3.0)
  • ECE 6654 Neural Eng. & NeuroRobotics (3.0)
  • ME EN 7240 Haptics (3.0)
Robot Design
  • ECE 5960 Spec. Top: Robotic Millisystems (3.0)
  • ECE 6780 Embedded System Design (4.0)
  • ME EN 6240 Advanced Mechatronics (3.0)

Additional Questions?

One of our program contacts will happily answer any additional questions or concerns you may have.

John Bolke

Phone: 801-581-6943

Email: john.bolke@utah.edu

Office: MEB 2110D