Postgraduate Programs 2020/21
Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Programs in Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Award Title

Master of Philosophy in Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Doctor of Philosophy in Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Program Short Name

MPhil(ROAS)
PhD(ROAS)

Mode of Study

Both full- and part-time

Normative Program Duration

MPhil
Full-time : 2 years
Part-time : 4 years

PhD
Full-time: 3 years (with a relevant research master’s degree), 4 years (without a relevant research master’s degree)
Part-time : 6 years

Offering Unit

Robotics and Autonomous Systems Thrust Area

Systems Hub

Program Advisor

Program Director:
Prof Michael WANG, Chair Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Robotics is a transdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. An autonomous system is a system that performs tasks with a high degree of autonomy (without external influence). Designing and managing Robotics and Autonomous Systems requires diverse skills from various engineering disciplines such as electronics, mechatronics, control and signal processing together with state-of-the-art computer science such as software architecture, algorithms and data structures or artificial intelligence.
 

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Programs in Robotics and Autonomous Systems aim to provide well-rounded education as well as rigorous research training to prepare students to become versatile and knowledgeable professionals, with the broad fields of robotics engineering as a major focus, together with connections to theoretical and applied mechanics, optimization, communication, information theory, machine learning, computing, mathematics and signal processing.
 

MPhil graduates should be able to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in design, construction, operation, and management of robots, and develop innovative solutions required by the emerging global industry in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (ROAS), and across many other sectors where ROAS skills are applicable.
 

PhD graduates should be capable of conducting high-quality original research, creating new knowledge, deriving valuable insights, and making tangible impacts on academia and the field.

On successful completion of the MPhil program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Acquire broad knowledge of programming and algorithms, systems development techniques, as well as digital technology that form the basis for designing computers and embedded systems;
  2. Analyze and model systems that contain both software, hardware and mechanics;
  3. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of their areas of specialization and convey the results of their research in a clear and effective manner;
  4. Conduct original research in the field of robotics and provide scientific contribution to the discipline;
  5. Translate and transform fundamental research insights effectively into practical applications; and
  6. Equip themselves with interdisciplinary skill-sets that help them develop into capable independent researchers for academia and industry.

 

On successful completion of the PhD program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Gain an in-depth understanding of programming and algorithms, electronics and sensors, digital technology, control systems, and mechanisms used in robotics;
  2. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of computer architecture and digital systems, management and analysis of robotics systems, and how machines can interpret surroundings, act intelligently and adapt;
  3. Construct and control robotics systems that integrate different software, hardware and mechanics, and programing in different languages for different applications;
  4. Design and conduct high-quality independent research and make an original contribution to knowledge in the field of robotics;
  5. Communicate the results of their research to others in a clear and effective manner;
  6. Teach courses in the areas of specialization at the undergraduate level; and
  7. Equip themselves with interdisciplinary skill-sets that can evolve over time to suit the ever-evolving industry.
  1. Minimum Credit Requirement

    MPhil: 15 credits 
    PhD: 21 credits 
     

  2. Credit Transfer 

    Students who have taken equivalent courses at HKUST or other recognized universities may be granted credit transfer on a case-by-case basis, up to a maximum of 3 credits for MPhil students, and 6 credits for PhD students. 
     

  3. Cross-disciplinary Core Courses

2 credits
 

IIMP 6010
IIMP 6020
IIMP 6030
IIMP 6040

 

All students are required to complete either IIMP 6010 or IIMP 6030. Students may complete the remaining courses as part of the credit requirements, as requested by the Program Planning Committee.

 

  1. Hub Core Courses

4 Credits

 

Students are required to complete at least one Hub core course (2 credits) from the Systems Hub and at least one Hub core course (2 credits) from other Hubs.

 

  Systems Hub Core Course

SYSH 5000

 

  Other Hub Core Courses

FUNH 5000
INFH 5000
SOCH 5000

 

  1. Courses on Domain Knowledge

MPhil: minimum 9 credits of coursework 
PhD: minimum 15 credits of coursework 
 

Under this requirement, each student is required to take elective courses to form an individualized curriculum relevant to the cross-disciplinary thesis research. To ensure that students will take appropriate courses to equip them with needed domain knowledge, each student has a Program Planning Committee to approve the courses to be taken soonest after program commencement and no later than the end of the first year. Depending on the approved curriculum, individual students may be required to complete additional credits beyond the minimal credit requirements.
 

  Sample Course List

To meet individual needs, students will be taking courses in different areas, which may include but not limited to courses and areas listed below.
 

ROAS 5100
ROAS 5200
ROAS 5300
ROAS 5400
ROAS 5500
ROAS 6000
ROAS 6010
AESF 5311
COMP 5211
COMP 5421
ELEC 5600
ELEC 5640
orMECH 5561
ELEC 5650
ELEC 5660
ELEC 5670
orCOMP 5223
IEDA 5230

 

  1. Additional Foundation Courses

Individual students may be required to take foundation courses to strengthen their academic background and research capacity in related areas, which will be specified by the Program Planning Committee. The credits earned cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

 

  1. Graduate Teaching Assistant Training
PDEV 6800


All full-time RPg students are required to complete PDEV 6800. The course is composed of a 10-hour training offered by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI), and session(s) of instructional delivery to be assigned by the respective departments. Upon satisfactory completion of the training conducted by CEI, MPhil students are required to give at least one 30-minute session of instructional delivery in front of a group of students for one term. PhD students are required to give at least one such session each in two different terms. The instructional delivery will be formally assessed.

 

  1. Professional Development Course Requirement
PDEV 6770


Students are required to complete PDEV 6770. The 1 credit earned from PDEV 6770 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.


PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed PDEV 6770 or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from taking PDEV 6770, subject to prior approval of the Program Planning Committee.

 

SYSH 6780


Students are required to complete SYSH 6780. The 1 credit earned from SYSH 6780 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.


PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed SYSH 6780 or other equivalent professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from taking SYSH 6780, subject to prior approval of the Program Planning Committee.

 

  1. English Language Requirement
LANG 5000

 

Full-time RPg students are required to take an English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) Speaking Test administered by the Center for Language Education before the start of their first term of study. Students whose ELPA Speaking Test score is below Level 4, or who failed to take the test in their first term of study, are required to take LANG 5000 until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation. The 1 credit earned from LANG 5000 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.
 

LANG 5001
LANG 5002
LANG 5010

 

Students are required to take one of the above three courses. The credit earned cannot be counted toward the credit requirements. Students can be exempted from taking this course with the approval of the Program Planning Committee.
 

  1. Postgraduate Seminar
ROAS 6800


MPhil: 

Full-time students must take and pass ROAS 6800 at least twice, and present at least one seminar during their study, in addition to the oral defense of their MPhil thesis. Part-time students must take and pass ROAS 6800 at least once, and present at least one seminar during their study, counting the oral defense of their MPhil thesis.

 

PhD: 

Full-time students must take and pass ROAS 6800 at least four times, and present at least two seminars during their study, in addition to the oral defense of their PhD thesis. Part-time students and students entering with an HKUST MPhil degree must take and pass ROAS 6800 at least twice, and present at least one seminar during their study, counting the oral defense of their PhD thesis.

 

  1. PhD Qualifying Examination

PhD students are required to pass a qualifying examination to obtain PhD candidacy following established policy.

 

  1. Thesis Research
ROAS 6990
ROAS 7990

 

  MPhil:

  1. Registration in ROAS 6990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the MPhil thesis.

PhD:

  1. Registration in ROAS 7990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.


 

Last Update: 10 August 2020

To qualify for admission, applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Admission is selective and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

 

1. General Admission Requirements of the University
  • Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification;

  • Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution; or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years.

2. English Language Admission Requirements

Applicants have to fulfill English Language requirements with one of the following proficiency attainments:

  • TOEFL-iBT: 80*

  • TOEFL-pBT: 550

  • TOEFL-Revised paper-delivered test: 60 (total scores for Reading, Listening and Writing sections)

  • IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.5 and All sub-score: 5.5

* refers to the total score in one single attempt


Applicants are not required to present TOEFL or IELTS score if

  • their first language is English, or

  • they obtained the bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution where the medium of instruction was English.