School of Computing and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Robotics

Whether you are interested in mechatronics, artificial intelligence or the possibilities for biosensors, the BEng Robotics will encourage you to push your limits. Our emphasis on high level robotics, including mobile and humanoid automation, and our focus on the electronics and hardware that support industrial and service robotics is complemented by the hands-on approach you'll develop in our specialist laboratories.

You will begin this course by understanding analogue and digital electronics and control engineering and progress onto designing and building robots and robotic systems. Building on this you'll study machine vision, behavioural computing and mobile and humanoid robots. You may also want to take the opportunity to develop your skills in a real world setting by taking an industrial placement during your studies.

UCAS tariff
UCAS course code
Institution code
3 years
(+ optional placement)
Start date
September 2014
Course type

Key features

  • Develop in a broad range of subjects ranging from analogue and digital electronics to software programming and artificial intelligence, all in the context of robotics. 
  • Advance your knowledge of electronics, microprocessors, and embedded systems forming the technological core of the course. This is supported by a thorough understanding of robotics concepts, such as control theory, sensors and motors. 
  • Learn by doing in our high specification electronics, communications and robotics laboratories.
  • Work in a world-class research environment with staff internationally renowned for conducting cutting-edge service and cognitive robotics research.
  • Take part in robot football and other robotics competitions offering invaluable opportunities for exciting and highly formative, practical sessions of intense study. 
  • Benefit from individual and group projects offering the possibility for you to consolidate your robotics knowledge by building and programming a variety of robots including small wheeled robots, industrial robots and humanoids.
  • Draw on unique opportunities to engage in world-class robotics research, and in a variety of activities (for example, in the humanoid robot football, Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) competition).
  • Capitalise on the opportunity to take a work placement in your third year, putting your robotics skills into action in the real world.
  • Join our Robotics Society and take the opportunity to assist robot development for international competitions such as the Robocup humanoid football league and robot athletics. 
  • Immerse yourself in a degree accredited by the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET), and meet the educational requirements for becoming a chartered engineer (CEng).
  • Benefit from free IET membership while you are on the course.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In year 1, you will use our well-equipped laboratories to develop your knowledge and practical problem solving skills, learning by doing in a practically focused environment from the outset. Group project work will enable you to develop your problem solving and communication skills, and structured design procedures for both hardware and software are brought together in an integrating robotics project.
    Core modules
    • ELEC141 Analogue Electronics

      This module provides an overview of analogue circuit characterisation, analysis and design, linking theory to practice. It will examine how common analogue systems are constructed from elementary components.

    • ELEC142 Digital Electronics

      This is a foundation module in digital electronics and computer control, which introduces digital devices and provides a background in the principles, design and applications of combinational and sequential logic circuits.

    • ELEC144 Electrical Principles and Machines

      This module gives an introduction to the electrical properties of materials, capacitance, Inductance, and electromagnetism. Basic circuit principles and their application in dc and ac circuit analysis are then applied to electrical machines, transformers and energy conversion.

    • ELEC143 Embedded Software in Context

      This module develops skills in elementary programming through the use of high-level programming languages and the use of the flowcharts to develop algorithms. The module has a strong practical bias where students are required to solve various problems by programming existing microcontroller hardware.

    • MATH183 Engineering Mathematics

      This module provides students with a number of fundamental mathematical skills and techniques which are essential for the analysis of engineering problems.

    • ROCO103 Robot Design and Build

      This module will introduce the students to practical skills needed to design and build a small robot. A number of hands-on tutorials on specific topics will provide the necessary knowledge. Most of the module will be organized around practical design-and-build exercises framed in the context of a robot competition.

    • BPIE100 Stage 1 Placement Preparation

      Focusing on assisting you in your search for a placement, this module will also help prepare you for the placement itself.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you will develop a greater understanding of underlying engineering principles and circuit design methods. Again, there's an emphasis on teamwork and you will have opportunity to do both group and individual presentations of your projects. You'll have the opportunity to use industrial standard software tools for design and simulation, data monitoring and control, which are good preparation for your final year individual project or for a placement year.
    Core modules
    • ROCO218 Control Engineering

      This module will introduce basic classic control theory, including Laplace transformation, root locus, Bode plot, Nyquist plot, PID controller design etc. Control design methods will be mainly introduced in frequency domain, while transient performance in time domain will also be covered. Simulation tools such as MATLAB control design toolbox and Simulink will be taught in seamless combination with control theories.

    • ELEC233 Digital Electronics and VHDL

      The module makes use of the VHDL language and industry standard tools designing, testing and implementation of complex digital electornics systems on a modern Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

    • ELEC230 Embedded Hardware and Software

      This module introduces the architecture of an embedded system and the engineering process to design, implement, program & validate them. Students will interface analogue and digital peripherals to a microcontroller and develop programming techniques to configure and control the processor to solve various real-time problems.

    • MATH237 Engineering Mathematics and Statistics

      This module provides an introduction to mathematical and statistical methods that are important in the study of electronic and communications engineering. The mathematical techniques (transforms) are central to the study of linear, time-invariant systems. As well as introducing descriptive statistics, basic probability distributions, the module also considers the more advanced topics of reliability and quality control.

    • ROCO215 Motor Control

      A systems level study of the principles and design requirements of modern electronic motor systems. Operating performances of various electrical machines are characterised in four quadrants and the requirements of the corresponding power electronic converter topologies are examined. Control strategies are investigated in terms of drive system performance.

    • ROCO216 Robotic Systems

      This module examines the history and development of robotics from a technical and sociological point of view, by looking at existing and potential applications of robot technology. As part of this, industrial standard robot kinematics and simulation are analysed and practically experienced through commercial tools.

    • BPIE200 Stage 2 Placement Preparation

      Building on the year one module (BPIE100), this module continues supporting you with your search for a placement and your preparation for the placement itself.

  • Optional placement year
  • Your optional work placement experience year gives you opportunities to put the theory into practice, grow your understanding of robotics in the real world and showcase your emerging expertise. We can help you find industrial placement opportunities in the UK, France, Germany or even Japan. Placements will complement your studies with on-the-ground experience and could lead to final year sponsorship. Many of our graduates are offered permanent jobs with their placement company.
    Optional modules
    • BPIE332 Electrical Industrial Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • Your final year is an exciting opportunity for an individual project, which will consolidate your knowledge, and encourage you to explore and evaluate new technologies. You'll demonstrate your communication skills in the oral and written presentation of your project and refine the independent learning skills vital for your continuing professional development in your chosen career path.
    Core modules
    • ELEC345 High Speed Communications

      A circuit and system design module covering analogue and high frequency techniques and their place in modern communications systems.

    • PROJ323 Individual Project

      The project presents the student with a design, experimental or investigative problem which relates the theoretical studies to a practical application. The project objectives will be based on problems originating from industry, commerce and current research programs. Students will also create a business plan in conjunction with their projects.

    • AINT308 Machine Vision and Behavioural Computing

      Providing an advanced knowledge of artificial vision systems for interactive systems guidance and control, this module is underpinned by current theoretical understanding of animal vision systems.

    • ROCO318 Mobile and Humanoid Robots

      This module examines the technology, control and modelling of mobile and humanoid robot systems. Mathematical analysis and computational algorithms underpin practical considerations and case studies.

    • ROCO316 Modern Control Design

      This module examines the state space approach in modern control design, in comparison to conventional control design in s-domain and z-domain. Programming and simulation of control systems are examined. Underpinning digital control design and application to practical systems.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

300 points (BBB) 300 points to include grade C at A level mathematics and grade C at a second science/technology subject. 

International Baccalaureate: 30 points with HL mathematics and a second science/technology subject.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM in engineering/science/technology.

Access course: pass an Access to HE course in relevant subject (ie engineering science) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 credits at merit in a relevant subject unit (engineering/science/technology), and 12 credits at merit in all maths units.

Some double awards and other qualifications accepted - please enquire for further details.

English language requirements

Fees & funding

Home/EU £9,000 International £11,500 Home/EU part time £750 per 10 credits
For more information about our fees and funding please visit

All our electronics and robotics courses are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Any student embarking on our courses is eligible to apply for a number of IET engineering scholarships. Amounts can vary between £1,000 and £3,000 per annum, and closing dates for applications are usually at the end of June. For more information on the different scholarships available, details on how to apply and confirmed closing dates for applications, please visit IET Awards and Scholarships.

Scholarships and Awards  

For 2015 entry, we have the following scholarship:

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Robotics Scholarship: students are eligible for a £500 automatic scholarship if they have a grade A* in A-level Mathematics and either of Physics or Electronics up to a total of £1,000. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must put us as their first choice before 1 August 2015. The scholarship is paid in term one of the first year.
  • There are additional prizes and awards to reward high marks in later years.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

Apply for this course on the UCAS website.

For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.


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Open days

A number of open day events are held each year, welcoming you to the campus to find out more about the University, accommodation, facilities and study opportunities.

Find out more from our open days section or register to come and see us using a short open day registration form.

Welcome to robotics at Plymouth

Dr Phil Culverhouse and some of our current students discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

Watch and discover more about studying robotics at Plymouth University.

Electrical and electronic engineering and robotics

Our department offers strong teaching and research and we're very proud of the support we offer our students. Our facilities are world class, with bespoke laboratories and workshops where you will put your learning into practice.

Our satisfaction ratings are among the highest in the UK and 78 per cent of our graduates are in professional or managerial roles after six months.

Further information on the National Student Survey


We have one of the best-equipped undergraduate laboratory suites in the UK, and all courses are highly practical, with an emphasis on design and build.

Dedicated robotics and communications laboratories, where students focus on industrial and intelligent robotic systems and high frequency electronics.

Find out more about the facilities


Our optional, paid placement year can be spent in a range of industries.

Develop your skills, knowledge and confidence and return better placed to meet the challenges of the final year.

Find out more about placements

Final year project

Our final year student project open day showcases the excellence of the engineering skills development and the high levels of achievement of our undergraduates.

Many of our prizes are sponsored by industry partners.

Free iPad mini

You will receive an Apple iPad mini to give you access to additional resources to support your modules, and to enable you to participate in interactive activities such as in-class voting and feedback.

Receive an Apple iPad mini to support your learning.


Your degree is strongly informed by our research in electronics and robotics. You will be taught by internationally recognised researchers, many of whom also have strong industrial links through our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).

We have conducted research with organisations ranging from the Bank of England to Honda and Aldebaran Robotics.

Find out more about our research

Robot football

Since 2005, we have been developing humanoid robots for teaching, research and international competition in both RoboCup football and FIRA athletics events.

We now have over 20 Plymouth humanoids used routinely for teaching, final year student projects and competitions.

Find out more about our robot football team

Joel Gibbard - graduate profile

During my final year project I’ve learnt a great deal about analogue electronics, signal processing, and mechanical engineering. The technical support is excellent. I was provided with financial support for the final year project which was brilliant.
Find out more about Joel Gibbard

Kabul Maharjan - graduate profile

I don’t think I would have been where I am today if I hadn’t decided to study at Plymouth University.
Find out more about Kabul Maharjan

Morgan Roe - graduate profile

I managed to get my name in the credits for the BAFTA winning film Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death.

Robotics Engineer at Engineered Arts.

Find out more about Morgan Roe

Jaroslaw Szostak - student placements

The work placement was very important to me, as I gained experience and confidence. Skills which were invaluable during my final year.

Spinnaker International Ltd, designing intelligent cash protection systems.