Program of Study
The main emphasis of the Ph.D. program is the successful completion of an original and independent research thesis. The degree requirements are designed around this goal.
- Completion of 36 semester hours of courses with a letter grade
- Passing a comprehensive qualifying exam with written and oral components.
- Successfully conducting, documenting, and defending a piece of original research culminating in a doctoral thesis.
Ph.D. Robotics Degree Requirements – 36 semester hours with a letter grade
|Intro to Robotics Research||A new course CS/AE/ECE/ME 7785, Introduction to Robotics Research.||3|
|Foundation Courses||Three foundation courses, each selected from distinct core areas: Mechanics, Controls, Perception, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).||9|
|Elective Courses||Three targeted elective courses, each selected from the same three core areas used for the foundation courses.||9|
|Multidisciplinary Robotics Research||Two new courses CS/AE/ECE/ME 8750 and CS/AE/ECE/ME 8751, Multidisciplinary Robotics Research I and II.||6|
|Courses Outside the Major||Three courses outside the major area to provide a coherent minor in accordance with Institute policies.||9|
*A maximum of two classes (6 semester hours) at the 4000 level may be used to satisfy the 36 semester hour requirement.
Prior to completing all of these requirements, Georgia Tech defines the Ph.D. Candidate milestones. Admission to candidacy requires that the student:
- Complete all course requirements (except the minor);
- Achieve a satisfactory scholastic record;
- Pass the comprehensive examination;
- Submit and receive approval naming the dissertation topic and delineating the research topic.
(Georgia Institute of Technology 2006-2007 General Catalog, p. 122)
Core Area Courses
The following courses are in the robotics core areas of Mechanics, Control, Perception, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). They are used to select three foundation courses and three targeted elective courses.
Foundation courses are marked by an asterisk (*).
|Autonomy||Discontinued—No longer offered to begin in Fall 2016.|
|Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)||
HRI includes two core courses. Students are encouraged, but not required to take both HRI core courses. Students taking both core courses may use their second core class in place of an HRI elective course.
|* Indicates foundation course|
Required Fundamental Courses
Three required fundamental courses are designed specifically for the Robotics Ph.D.:
Introduction to Robotics Research
Provides students with a familiarization of the core areas of robotics including Mechanics, Control, Perception, Artificial Intelligence, and Autonomy. Provides an introduction to the fundamental mathematical tools required in robotics research. (3 credit hours).
The desired learning outcome is to provide a strong theoretical foundation for students on the multidisciplinary subject matters found in robotics. This is accomplished by:
These courses form a two semester sequence with similar “laboratory-rotation” formats. Each course requires the student to complete a semester-long research project under the guidance of at least two faculty members from distinct participating schools (AE, BME, CoC, ECE, or ME). The courses are designed to expose students to the discipline of research in a structured way and to encourage novel ideas in a multidisciplinary context.
The desired learning outcome is to foster a multidisciplinary research approach in the student by:
The evaluation component includes:
All deliverables will be graded by both faculty advisors as well as reviewed to comply with the evaluation criteria set by the Robotics Program Committee.
Minor Field of Study
The Robotics Ph.D. Minor consists of three related courses (nine semester credit hours) outside of robotics that forms a coherent field of study in accordance with the Institute’s policies. The minor courses must be distinct from any of the robotics core areas (i.e., are not listed under any of the 5 core areas on this website) but can be taken from the student’s home school as long as they are distinct from robotics courses (e.g., ECE-ROBO student can take ECE circuits courses or ME students can take fluid mechanics courses).
The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to:
- Assess the student's general knowledge of the degree area
- Assess the student's specialized knowledge of the chosen research area
The comprehensive examination provides an early assessment of the student's potential to satisfactorily complete the requirements for the doctoral degree. As such, it requires that fundamental principles be mastered and integrated so that they can be applied to solving problems relevant to robotics.
After three regular semesters (fall or spring) from entering the Ph.D. program, the student must take the comprehensive examination at the next scheduled offering, usually during the fourth regular (i.e.; fall or spring) semester. If the comprehensive examination is failed, the student may have one additional opportunity at the next scheduled offering. The examination will be offered at least once every year.
The comprehensive exam is a written and oral examination and is administered by a faculty committee consisting of Core Area Chairs and the Program Director. Students are required to declare two areas of focus from three core areas when they register for the qualifying exam. A student’s advisor is allowed to sit in on the oral exam as a silent observer.
Mandatory Quals Appeals Process
If a student fails the qualifying exam on his or her second attempt, he or she goes through a mandatory appeals process. Ultimately, this process results in a decision to either designate the student as fully qualified and in good standing, in spite of the result of the qualifying exam, or to proceed with the expulsion of the student from the Robotics Ph.D. program. For exceptional circumstances, the Robotics Ph.D. Committee may make a positive decision to designate a student as fully qualified prior to the full committee meeting. Any outcome that would result in expulsion of a student must be made at a full committee meeting with an agenda comparable to the this template.
The Ph.D. dissertation describes the results of a research project and demonstrates that the candidate possesses powers of original thought, talent for research, and ability to organize and present findings.
Dissertation Advisory Committee
The student presents and defends a written Ph.D. proposal to a Dissertation Advisory Committee of at least five faculty members approved by the Robotics Program Committee. The Dissertation Advisory Committee consists of five or more members where:
- At least three members must be faculty affiliated with the Robotics Program or from the student's Home School (CoC, AE, BME, ECE, ME).
- At least two members must be from outside of the student’s Home School
Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal
The objective of the Ph.D. Proposal is to allow an early assessment of your chosen topic of research for the satisfactory completion of the doctoral degree. The proposal should delineate your specific area of research by stating the purpose, scope, methodology, overall organization, and limitations of the proposed study area. The proposal must include a review of the relevant literature and indicate the expected contribution of the research.
The proposal should be organized as follows:
- Summary - limited to 200 words.
- Table of Contents
- Project Description - a clear statement of the work to be undertaken. Limited to 15 pages single spaced (30 pages double spaced) and including all graphic elements and tables.
Pages should be of standard size (8½" x 11"; 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm) with minimum 1" or 2.5 cm margins at the top, bottom, and on each side. The minimum type font size is 10 to 12 points.
The dissertation, when completed, must be publicly defended before an Examination Committee approved by the Graduate Studies office. In most instances the Examination Committee is expected to be the same as the Dissertation Advisory Committee. If a candidate should fail to pass the final oral examination, the Examining Committee may recommend permission for one additional examination. It is expected that the dissertation results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and conferences.
Details on preparing and submitting a dissertation according to institute guidelines are available on the Graduate Admissions website.
“Doctoral students must spend at least two full-time semesters in residence at the Georgia Institute of Technology and ordinarily must complete research for the dissertation while in residence.” (Georgia Tech 2009-10 General Catalog)