Ph.D. in Robotics

The dual degree PhD Program in Robotics is committed to preparing students to be world-class researchers, creating knowledge and artifacts that can impact our society. Graduates of the program will take a leading role in the research and development of future generations of integrated robotics technologies and systems. 

Admissions and Scholarships – 2020/2021 Applications are closed

For more information please contact us at apply[at]

The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University offers the dual degree Ph.D. Program in Robotics in conjunction with:


The dual degree PhD Program in Robotics program is inherently interdisciplinary, bringing together areas of research that would otherwise be spread across different departments or separate universities. 

Students are involved in every aspect of research – from initial problem formulation to the final publication of results. Research is conducted in the laboratories of the Robotics Institute under the supervision of faculty advisers and in collaboration with student colleagues. Students in the PhD program are awarded a yearly graduate fellowship, which includes tuition, activity fees, and a stipend, as long as they maintain good standing in the program. 

Read More about the Course of Study (PDF)


Requirements for the degree include coursework, a research qualifier, and submission of a thesis that describes original, independent research.

Upon completion of the coursework and other basic requirements (such as demonstrating writing and speaking skills, and TA’ing), students focus entirely on research, learning to work independently and collaboratively.

The following table indicates estimates for an appropriate distribution of effort in the Ph.D. program. It is based on actual student performance over the past few years; it also corresponds to the faculty’s judgment of realistic estimates of the time required by various components of the program. These figures are meant to be suggestive, not prescriptive. We present them so that all faculty and students can develop a shared image of the expectations of the program.

Course Structure

The course structure requirements and contents at CMU are available in the Robotics Institute website.


Students will need to have at least two co-advisers, one from CMU and one from IST.

Type of Degree

The student will be awarded with a dual degree Ph.D conferred by CMU and another by the Portuguese partner University. During the Ph.D., the student should comply with the regulations of both Universities.


5 years (full-time), with up to 2 years at CMU and up to 3 years at a Portuguese University.

Scholarships and tuition

The Ph.D. students enrolled in the dual degree Ph.D. program will receive financial support through an FCT - CMU Portugal Fellowship (includes tuition fees and a monthly stipend).

Application requirements

The dual degree Ph.D. program uses the School of Computer Science online application for admission to the CMU Portugal.
You must submit the following documents with your application:
• CV (.pdf)
• A statement of purpose — a concise one- or two-page essay describing your primary research interests, related experiences and objective in pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science
• Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores*
• If your native language is not English, then you must submit a TOEFL**
• Transcripts from each college and/or university you attended, even if no degree was granted (.pdf)***
• Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from faculty or recent employers

* GRE test: On the following website you can register for the GRE test. In Portugal, this test can be taken in Lisbon and Coimbra. To meet the application deadline, we recommend applicants to take the required tests by September. GRE Scores are valid for five years; older scores will not be considered.

** Fluency in English: The TOEFL is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. More information can be found on the following website.

*** Degree recognition: If the degree was obtained in a foreign institution the candidate must require the equivalence or the recognition of the degree according to the Portuguese law, through DGES or a Portuguese higher education institution. More information here.

For more on the application process, check out the Robotics Institute “how to apply” page.