Virginia Tech®home

Mechanical Engineering Robotics and Mechatronics Major

Robotics Major

This major fuses together skills including controls, automation, coding, electrical engineering, and more. From assistive medical devices to robots used in space, consumer electronics to virtual reality, graduates of this program will find multiple paths available after they finish their degree.

TREC lab

Program Outcomes:

We expect our students to have the following skills, knowledge, and behaviors by the time of their graduation. We want our students to obtain:

  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  • An ability to apply the engineering design process to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration for public health and safety, and global, cultural, social, environmental, economic, and other factors as appropriate to the discipline.
  • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  • An ability to recognize the ongoing need to acquire new knowledge, to choose appropriate learning strategies, and to apply this knowledge.
  • An ability to function effectively as a member or leader of a team that establishes goals, plans tasks, meets deadlines, and creates a collaborative and inclusive environment.

 

The Robotics and Mechatronics major differs from the general ME degree in the Junior 2nd semester. Two courses are required for the RMBT major that are not required for general ME students:

  • ECE 3254- Industrial Electronics:
    INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS Fundamentals of electronics, including basic device principles. Include digital, operational amplifier, and analog analysis for industrial applications and magnetic circuits. For students in the Mechanical Engineering program or by permission of the ECE Department. Pre: 2054. (3H,3C)
  • CS 1044- Introduction to Programming in C:
    INTRODUCTION TO PROGRAMMING IN C Fundamental concepts underlying software solutions of many problems. Structured data, statement sequencing, logic control, input/output, and functions. The course will be taught using a structured approach to programming. Partially duplicates 1344. (3H,3C)

Some students may find that they can take these two courses earlier than Junior 2nd semester. That is ok as long as the student is able to distribute their course load in a manageable way. These courses must be taken before senior year as they are pre-reqs for required fall classes. CS 1044 may be taken at VT or a community college very easily. ECE 3254 is not available, to our knowledge, elsewhere.

Senior year courses that differ from the general ME degree:

  • RMBT students are not required to take ME 4124 (CAD of Thermal Fluids)
  • ME 4524 Robotics and Automation:
    INTRODUCTION TO ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION Automation, robot technology, kinematics, dynamics, trajectory planning, and control of two-dimensional and spatial robots; robot programming; design and simulation of robotic devices. Pre: 2004, 3524, 3534. Co: 4584. (3H,3C)
  • ME 4744 Mechatronics: Theory and Application:
    MECHATRONICS: THEORY AND APPLICATION Electromechanical design and control applications. Theory, modeling, simulation, analysis, design and building of electronic interfaces and controllers; sensors and actuators; software development, micro-controller technology, and applications. Design Lab/Studio. Pre: 3534, ECE 3254, CS 1044. (3H,2L,4C)
  • ME 4584 Robotics Lab:
    ROBOTICS LABORATORY Develop, compile, and test algorithms for serial and mobile robots. Robot forward and inverse kinematics, task planning, velocity kinematics, force rendering, control, haptics, mapping and localization, computer vision and path planning. Co: ME 4524 or ECE 4704 (3L,1C)
  • ME 4734 Robotics and Mechatronics Seminar:
    ROBOTICS & MECHATRONICS SEMINAR Topics in robotics and mechatronics. Invited lectures from industry, government organizations and universities. Recent research results, developments and challenges, providing a global and social context for the topics. Pre: 3534, ECE 3254. (1H,1C)

Major FAQs

The curriculum requirements for the degrees are the same until junior 2nd semester. At that point, RMBT students begin taking courses that specialize in the robotics and mechatronics industry. Students in the RMBT major have priority when adding RMBT courses. It is possible that a general ME students may not be able to take robotics and mechatronics course work if they do not major in RMBT.

We recommend that students who major in RMBT are sure that they want to pursue a job in the robotics and mechatronics industry. Pertinent course work mixed with work experience in robotics and mechatronics related jobs are the two most important factors for a student pursuing a career in the industry. RMBT is still a relatively broad field so it’s most important that students have an interest in robotics but they should still explore career options to determine what kind of work they want to do upon graduation. If you are not sure what kind of career you want to pursue with an RMBT degree, please speak with an ME Advisor and/or a Career and Professional Development Advisor for career exploration.

CRA (Controls Robotics and Automation) studies circuits design whereas RMBT studies structural design. We focus on creating mechanical parts and CRA is focused on electrical programming. If you have questions about the CRA major, you should contact an Advisor (https://ece.vt.edu/undergrad/advising) in the ECE department. They can provide more detail about their major requirements which may help you decide between RMBT and CRA. You may also want to speak with an ME Advisor about the RMBT major.

Yes, you can. However, you may need to delay graduation in order to fit in all of the requirements for the two degrees. You will need to participate in a senior design project that meets requirements for both majors which means your options may be limited.

If you are interested in double majoring, you should set up a meeting with your ME Advisor to discuss your course plan.

Yes, to determine which courses from the RMBT major will double count for undergraduate and graduate coursework, you can speak with an ME Graduate Advisor.