Carnegie Mellon Offers Robotic Systems Development Degree Program for Training Technology Managers

Byron SpiceThursday, August 19, 2010

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is offering a new master's degree program in robotic systems development that will provide beginning and early-entry practicing professionals with the multidisciplinary skills and know-how needed to succeed in industry. Graduates of this program will be capable of operating at a higher technical/managerial level within a company, making them extremely desirable job candidates.

"We will be training the next generation of chief technology officers," said Hagen Schempf, a principal systems scientist in the Robotics Institute and director of the new master's degree program. "No matter how good their technical knowledge may be, people must be able to lead teams, which requires both technical and managerial skills, if they want to succeed as entrepreneurs or rise within a larger company."

Schempf said the master's degree in robotic systems development (MRSD) will be useful for anyone who seeks to be a high-tech manager, regardless of whether that position is in the robotics or automation fields.

"Robotics touches on all aspects of mechanical, electrical and software engineering," he explained. "That's what makes robotics such a great systems discipline and why the ability to manage a robotics development team is applicable to so many high-tech commercial settings," said Schempf, who founded the robot research, development and production firm Automatika Inc., and after its acquisition worked for QinetiQ North America.

The degree program, which will begin in fall 2011, includes two full-time semesters on campus followed by a seven-month internship with an affiliated industrial partner active in robotics or automation markets. The curriculum includes instruction in the broad array of robotic sciences and technologies, hands-on project courses and seminar-style business and management courses.

"Students will learn how to take an idea and turn it into a technology development plan, lead teams to execute the plan, and understand what it takes to go from prototype to a profitable product offering," Schempf said.

For further details on the program, please visit 

The Robotics Institute will accept applications for the program this fall. Candidates must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, computer science, physical science or applied mathematics, and one to three years of practical experience in industry or in a research laboratory is preferred. Applications information will be available at starting Sept. 15.

Since its creation in 1979, the Robotics Institute has been a pioneer in robotics education and research, offering the world's first Ph.D. program in robotics. With 350 full- and part-time employees and an annual research budget of $55 million, it is one of the largest organizations of its kind, with leading programs in such fields as autonomous navigation, mobile and field robotics, computer vision, human-robot interaction and quality of life technologies.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |