PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems


Program Description

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 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program in Robotics and Autonomous Systems aims 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.

Ph.D. 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.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the Ph.D. 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 programming 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.

Admission requirements

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

i. 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.

ii. 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.

This program is for HKUST(Guangzhou) Pilot Scheme Admission.

For more program information, please refer to

Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Situated at the heart of Asia, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a young and distinguished research university in Hong Kong. Ranked No. 27 in the World in the QS World Univ ... Read More

Situated at the heart of Asia, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a young and distinguished research university in Hong Kong. Ranked No. 27 in the World in the QS World University Rankings (2020), HKUST offers a wide selection of research postgraduate studies in Science, Engineering, Business and Management, Humanities and Social Science, Environmental Studies, and Public Policy leading to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. All programs are taught in English. Read less