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Georgia Tech Offers Doctoral Degree In Robotics

The program will draw from curricula in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, aerospace, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Georgia Tech will offer the first American interdisciplinary doctoral degree in robotics, the College of Computing at Georgia Tech announced Wednesday.

The program will begin next fall. It will draw from curricula in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, aerospace, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

"We are pleased to offer the first truly interdisciplinary robotics Ph.D. program in the country," Dr. Henrik Christensen, KUKA chair of Robotics for the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, said in a statement. "Exposing our students to course work from multiple disciplines early on prepares them to think about robotics from a holistic approach once they enter the workforce. True to our mission in robotics at Georgia Tech, our program will recruit and educate outstanding students who will provide leadership in a world that is increasingly dependent on technology."

The degree program, developed through Georgia Tech's new Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, (RIM@Georgia Tech), aims to prepare researchers for the global robotics market. Industry groups in North America and Japan expect that market to expand significantly over the next five years, with advances in service and personal robotics.

"Over the next five to ten years, robotics technologies will become more integrated throughout various industries that directly impact human activity and culture, such as health care, food processing, logistics and others," Christensen said. "At Georgia Tech, our doctorate students will be guided through their research by at least two faculty members from distinct participating schools, providing more insight and expertise into a specific industry sector or focus area."

RIM@Georgia Tech faculty focus on personal and everyday robotics, as well as the future of automation. They developed the doctoral degree program to help students understand and drive the role of robotics in society and industry. The college plans to admit about 15 candidates annually at first, and then expand the program for 60 enrolled students.

Students in the new doctorate robotics program must first be admitted to a participating academic unit. Then they will complete 36 semester hours of core research and elective courses. They will be required to pass a qualifying exam with written and oral components. Finally, they will have to complete, document, and defend original research culminating in a doctoral thesis.

Georgia Tech currently has over 30 faculty actively engaged in robotics research.

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