1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Robotics and Autonomous Systems

The world of robotics is exciting and fast paced – revolutionising the way we live, work and play.

This course is for you if you’re a non-engineering graduate wishing to work for engineering companies. This MSc will give you the skills needed to work for employers developing or applying:

  • devices or systems for robotics and automation
  • smart systems with autonomous capability
  • ubiquitous and wearable computing.

You build on your individual responsibility, critical awareness and creative thinking, and examine issues such as:

  • project management, planning and scheduling
  • resourcing
  • documentation and communication.

We also offer this MSc with an industrial placement year, making it a two-year course, or with a Masters industrial placement.

Key facts

  • 88% of our research outputs and 90% of our research impact is categorised as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • We have strong links with industry, well-equipped research and teaching laboratories, and we help you with your professional development.
  • You’ll be supervised by research-active faculty and become part of our vibrant international community.

How will I study?

You’ll study an introduction to the course in the autumn term, with some tests and practical robotics projects. In the spring term you take taught modules.

Across the spring and summer terms you’ll work on your MSc project, either at the University or at a company.

Modules are assessed via:

  • hands-on projects
  • reports and essays
  • unseen examinations.

The project is assessed by a report, presentation and dissertation.

MSc project

You’ll complete a substantial MSc project, which is often practical as well as theoretical. You may have opportunities to work with an industrial partner.

Some of our previous students’ project work has led to journal and conference publication, giving them a head start in their careers.

The project demands individual responsibility and promotes skills deveopment in:

  • project management and planning
  • resourcing and scheduling
  • documentation and communication
  • critical awareness and creative thinking.

Project assessment can include interim reports, presentations and a dissertation. Some projects are undertaken in groups and replicate the type of professional teamwork expected in industry. Topics are generated from the academic research and industrial collaborations in our Department. A member of faculty supervises the project.

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.

For details about the part-time course, contact us at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • MSc Project (Robotics and Autonomous Systems)

      60 credits
      All Year Teaching, Year 1

      This module is designed to expose you to a real-life engineering problem, to which you can apply the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the areas of robotics, mechatronics or autonomous systems.

      Your work must be completed within budget, using available resources, by a specified deadline - and presented to an audience that isn't necessarily directly familiar with the work undertaken.

      The project requires a holistic approach that brings together what you learn and the engineering skills you develop on the course.

      Your project will demand individual responsibility, critical awareness and creative thinking. It involves working as an individual on a particular area of activity relevant to the course, with the goal of meeting a specific set of objectives, supervised by a member of faculty.

      The specific objectives depend on the nature of your project. However, it is typical for a project to involve:

      • specification
      • development of concepts
      • detailed design
      • hardware and/or software implementation
      • testing
      • analysis
      • evaluation
      • documentation
      • communication
      • project management
      • resourcing
      • planning
      • scheduling.
    • Build Test Projects

      0 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Your studies in this module involve the knowledge, practice, and understanding of fundamental robotic sensors, such as:

      • potentiometers
      • optical shaft encoders
      • line trackers
      • on-off switches
      • ultrasonic range finders
      • light sensors
      • jumpers.

      In this module, you become familiar with microcontroller programming using dedicated software, by learning programming language syntaxes and its structure, by taking into consideration the design and physical capabilities of the robot.

      You also solve a set of realistic robotic challenges by programming an autonomous robot - employing a combination of different sensors.

    • Control Engineering

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module offers an introduction to control systems, mathematical modelling and system identification, feedback control, and commonly used controllers (i.e. PID control), the study of sensors and actuators and their role in control systems.

      It prepares students to use software commonly used for control in industrial applications (Matlab, Simulink, and Labview), and it will use these computational tools in practical applications. Additionally it introduces concepts from control logic and state machines which could be used in future modules or projects.

    • Layperson Perspective of the Course

      0 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you are presented with an overview of the whole Robotics and Autonomous Systems course.

      The importance of each module of the programme is emphasised, showing examples of Robotics and Autonomous Systems and their applications.

    • Mechanics of Mechanisms and Robots

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover the analysis of motion of solid bodies under the action of forces.

      Starting with Newton’s laws, the motion of particles, solid bodies and assemblies will be analysed.

      The study of the fundamental types of motion of free solids will form the basis for the analysis of motion of mechanisms.

      Relative motion in an assembly will be studied from the perspective of relative trajectory, velocity and acceleration in systems typical to robotic systems.

    • Programming for Engineers

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module is for postgraduate students to learn programming in MATLAB and C that are highly relevant to engineering applications.

      It prepares you to write clean, efficient and well-documented programs. Problem-solving skills are to be developed using engineering examples and solving engineering problems.

    • Prototyping: Theory and Practice

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module you will learn prototyping techinques incorporating traditional techniques, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture. It explores idea feasibility through drawing and paper prototyping, to 3D prototyping.

      The module teaches how to carry feasible ideas forward into digital prototyping that may incorporate physical computing (Microcontrollers), software and/or 3D modelling in Solidworks, 3D construction (3D printing, CNC, laser cutting, etc.), emphasising the unique characteristics offered by each prototyping method.

      It will develop an understanding of appropriate usage of prototypes of robots and mechatronic devices, and how to utillise prototypes to achieve goals from functionality to usability.

    • Reawakening Mathematics

      0 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you revise fundamental mathematic topics that you will use throughout the course modules.

      Your studies in this module cover:

      • functions
      • linear algebra and matrix algebra
      • calculus
      • differential equations
      • numerical integration
      • data handling (experimental methods).

      Through a series of examples and exercises, this module reawakens your mathematical skills, as you start to use them in engineering applications.

    • Embedded Systems and Sensors

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will provide a wide-ranging introduction to embedded systems and sensors, using development tools and demonstrating how they can be applied to rapidly produce successful embedded and sensor designs.

      If you are a non-engineering student you will be given full support, with a series of carefully constructed concepts and exercises which will start from basic principles and simple projects, and move towards more advanced system design.

    • Industrial Automation Mechatronics

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module involves the knowledge and understanding of key mechatronic concepts including mechanics, pneumatics, electrical, electronics and informatics.

      It focuses on industrial applications, hence on the study of on-off control, programming using Programmable Logical Controllers (PLCs), control of robotic arms, and machine vision.

      The module considers mechatronics systems as an integration of various subsystems, and you will be able to analyse, model, design, program and cost automated manufacturing systems via the integration of such subsystems.

      You will also be familiarised with interpretation of technical information including representation of components using diagrams and circuits, and general safety of operating with/around robotic/mechatronics equipment.

    • Robot Design and Implementation

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This is a hands-on, intensive project-based module that exposes you to the design and implementation of robotic mechanisms from scratch.

      You will form teams and propose, construct, and test a physical prototype of a robotic system that aims to achieve a function requirement for solving a real-world problem/task.

      Throughout the module, you will apply kinematic, dynamic, tolerance, and structural analyses to your designs; implement novel fabrication techniques; programme embedded controllers to interact with actuators and sensors; and acquire practical knowledge of project management – all fundamental skills for the development of your Master’s individual project.

      The module utilises learning from each Term 1 module.

    • Strategic Management - Engineering module

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module explores various aspects of the strategic planning process, including environmental scanning, strategy formulation and implementation, and strategy evaluation and control. Through case study analysis, you will explore how leading firms use strategy to gain competitive advantage, and how they relate strategy with technological and engineering projects and operations.

Entry requirements

This course is designed for non-engineering graduates. It is suitable for students with a lower second-class (2.2) undergraduate honours degree or above in subjects including and related to mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, agricultural engineering, and those subjects where graduates have developed logical analytical skills which may include, for example, economics, experimental psychology, and physical geography.

Applicants will also be interviewed as part of the selection process.

Students will be required to successfully complete an introductory course in the first two weeks of the degree.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £9,250 per year

EU: £9,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £9,250 per year

Overseas: £18,300 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Falah Ali
    Reader in Digital Communications

    Research interests: Mobile and wireless communications, Vehicle communications, Wireless sensor networks

    View profile

    Prof Julian Dunne
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    Research interests: Automotive Applications, Dynamic systems, Neural networks, Nonlinear systems, Optimal Control, Vibration (Mechanical)

    View profile

    Dr Andy Philippides
    Reader in Informatics

    Research interests: computational biology, Computational Neuroscience, Computer Vision & Image Processing - Pattern Recognition, Evolutionary Computation, insect navigation, navigation, Robotics

    View profile

    Dr Luis Ponce Cuspinera
    Lecturer in Mechatronics

    Research interests: Control Engineering

    View profile

    Dr Daniel Roggen
    Reader In Sensor Technology

    Research interests: Activity recognition, Ambient intelligence, Applied machine learning, Assistive Technologies for Rehabilitation, context awareness, Context recognition, Embedded systems, Human-Computer Interactions, Mobile Computing, Mobile Robots, Sensor technologies, Smart Sensors, Ubiquitous Computing, Wearable computing

    View profile

    Dr Zhengguo Sheng
    Lecturer in Advanced Networks and Communications

    Research interests: Cloud computing, Communication and signalling, Internet of things, Machine-to-Machine, Mobile and wireless communications, Power line comunications, Vehicle communications, Wireless Communications, Wireless Sensor Networks (Comms)

    View profile

    Dr Spyros Skarvelis-Kazakos
    Lecturer in Power Electronics

    Research interests: Batteries for Energy Storage, community energy, Dist'n of alternative energy vectors, Distributed Energy Resources, Distributed Power Generation, Electric Vehicles, Energy, Energy - Marine and Hydropower, Energy Hubs, Energy network simulation, Energy Storage, HVDC, Intelligent Control, Intelligent Power Systems, multiple energy carriers, Power Electronics, Reliability: Energy generation, Renewable Energy, Small Scale/Domestic Wind Energy Systems, Smart Grids, Sustainable Energy Networks, Virtual Power Plants, Wave Energy, Wind Power

    View profile


An MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems could be your passport to a career in a wide range of established and rapidly developing areas that are changing our lives including:

  • smart technologies
  • driverless vehicles
  • vehicle design
  • renewable energies
  • film and television
  • car production
  • space or underwater exploration
  • commercialised agriculture
  • medical diagnosis
  • remote and minimally invasive surgery
  • crime prevention.

Graduate destinations

100% of students from the School of Engineering and Informatics were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Engineering students have gone on to jobs including:

  • technician, Draeger
  • RF engineer, Elebram Systems
  • researcher, University of Oxford.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work