Emilie Rusch

Mines to offer PhDs, master’s degrees, certificates in robotics

The demand for specialists trained in robotics, automation and autonomous systems is increasing due to the wide availability of drones, desire for more autonomy in vehicles
Student works with a humanoid robot in Xiaoli Zhang's lab

Colorado School of Mines is launching a new graduate program that will capitalize on the university’s deep expertise in field robotics and its niche in the geosciences and extractive industries.

Starting in Fall 2020, the Robotics program at Mines will offer graduate certificates, master’s degrees (thesis and non-thesis) and a PhD to prepare working professionals for the next step in their careers and researchers for solving the fundamental problems facing the field today.

The demand for specialists trained in robotics, automation and autonomous systems is increasing due to the wide availability of drones and their applications and the desire to put more safety features and autonomy into vehicles, such as self-driving cars and trucks, said Kevin Moore, vice provost for strategic initiatives and director of the Robotics program.

“Robotics is fundamentally about developing machines that can do dirty, difficult, dangerous and dull tasks. It is also about helping people do things they can’t do, such as developing an exoskeleton for someone with mobility challenges,” Moore said. “Technology has reached the point where many of the ‘science fiction’ ideas about what robots might do has become possible. As a result, the need for well-trained scientists and engineers who can contribute to realizing this promise is growing – and Mines will be there helping to fill that need.”

Provost Richard C. Holz says Mines is uniquely well suited to deliver these new programs.

“In addition to the unique application arenas available at Mines, our university has a great concentration of young robotics researchers who are experts in everything from the theory of how to design working robots and autonomous systems to how to apply them to a variety of applications to how to develop these systems so that they work well with people,” Holz said. “As it becomes more and more clear that robots are both helpers and co-inhabitants of our environment, this expertise puts us right at the cutting edge of the robotics research world and makes Mines the right place to launch this program.”

The Robotics core curriculum will focus on robotic perception, cognition, action and interaction, with students able to choose one of the four areas for additional depth. Technical electives will be offered in computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. 

For more information about graduate studies at Mines, go to


Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.