Dr Charles Fox - Programme Leader
Dr Charles Fox researches agricultural and transportation robotics, including autonomous robots for weed control and applications of game theory to self-driving cars. He studied Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Engineering at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Oxford. He worked as a quantitative hedge fund trader in London, a researcher at the Sheffield Center for Robotics, and as a fellow at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, before joining the UK's largest agri-robotics team at Lincoln. His robots have featured in The Times, on the Discovery Channel, and on BBC Radio 4.Academic Staff List Make an Enquiry
Welcome to MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems
The MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems is designed to equip students with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to develop the innovative solutions required by the emerging global industry in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), and across many other sectors where RAS skills are applicable. These may include robotics and automation in agriculture, food processing, transport, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and nuclear. The programme can also prepare students to continue their study in a research capacity, allowing them to further specialise and focus their interests. Lincoln hosts the UK's - and one of the world's - largest concentration of agricultural robotics researchers, and is a major hub of UK agribusiness. Many though not all students choose to specialise in this area, including by collaborating with local companies who have existing R&D relationships with our research.
Course content is informed by research carried out at the University of Lincoln, especially in the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems. This aims to ensure that content remains consistently underpinned by the latest thinking.
The programme is an extension Master's. It assumes that students will have already completed a computer science or similar technology-based degree, and will want to extend that knowledge in depth and with specialist focus on Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS).
The programme gives students the chance to enhance and apply existing knowledge of computer programming and mathematical frameworks through laboratory workshops, lectures, debates, and independent research.
The course assumes a familiarity with programming concepts and the supporting mathematical framework, while presenting advanced concepts relating specifically to the computing domain.
How You Study
Students on this programme can experience a blend of different teaching and learning approaches. The programme aims to enable the development of skills through practical workshops in the laboratory, and academic knowledge through debate, lectures, discussion, and personal research.
Modules assume a familiarity with programming concepts and the supporting mathematical framework, while presenting advanced concepts relating specifically to the computing domain.
Each module typically consists of 12 weeks of study. This time includes a supporting lecture programme, a series of supported laboratory sessions, and time for the completion of assignment exercises and examinations. Weekly contact hours on this programme may vary depending on the individual module options chosen and the stage of study.
The programme is also supported by online access to lecture material and related information.
Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.
For more detailed information please contact the Programme Leader.
An Introduction to Your Modules
† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.
Technical resources for Robotics and Autonomous Systems include research facilities and laboratories, a computer engineering workshop, workstations with flexible development software platforms and equipment. This also includes a fleet of diverse mobile and social robots, advanced compliant robotic manipulators, a swarm of micro-robots, and state-of-the-art agricultural robots.
How you are assessed
The programme is assessed through a variety of means, including in-class tests, coursework, projects, and examinations. The majority of assessments are coursework-based, reflecting the practical and applied nature of computer science. The final stage research project enables students to further specialise and complete a piece of work of significant complexity.
The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly - usually within 15 working days of the submission date.
An informal interview by video call with the Programme Leader may also be required to make sure candidates have the right background for the course. This informal contact may also include requests for samples of self-directed project work involving a significant element of software and/or systems development.
Entry Requirements 2023-24
There are two requirements and students will need to provide evidence of both of them in their application:
(1) A first or upper second class honours degree in computer science or a related discipline. This could include engineering, mathematics, or other numerate science and technology subjects.
(2) Competence in computer programming, roughly to the level of being able to write a basic video game such as Pong in any language. Acceptable forms of evidence of this skill to include in your application include, but are not limited to: (a) academic degree transcript showing 2:1 level scores in two or more programming classes; (b) a copy of a university, employment, or hobby project report detailing programming work; (c) a link to a source code site such as gitlab or github containing samples of your code. (d) a certificate of completion of an online programming course and exam such as https://www.udemy.com/course/the-complete-python-developer-certification-course/ or https://www.udemy.com/course/learn-basics-of-c/
If you have a good numerate degree but no programming experience then you may be able to satisfy the requirements by self-studying programming and passing a programming test online, such as through the above links. This may take a few weeks or months of part-time study depending on your previous knowledge. It is quite common for students to apply in this way.
If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications:
Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:
If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study:
Fees and Funding
For eligible students, there are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, UK students can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study. Learn how Master's and PhD loans, scholarships, and studentships can help you fund your studies on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
Programme-Specific Funding and Bursaries
For prospective MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems students with an outstanding educational background and keen relevant interests in pursuing a PhD in Agri-Food Robotics, our new ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics may be able to provide studentships to support these studies.
For further details please refer to the online application form at:
Programme-Specific Additional Costs
With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and they will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that they are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will be responsible for this cost.
Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional, students will normally be required to pay their own transport, accommodation, and general living costs.
This course aims to develop the skills required for employment in the emerging Robotics and Autonomous Systems industry, and across many other sectors where these skills are applicable. These can include agri-food, transport, industry 4.0, healthcare, and logistics. Some graduates may choose to continue research at doctoral level.
Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Agri-Food Robotics
In addition to our relatively broad MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, the University of Lincoln has launched the world's first Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Agri-Food Robotics, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded £6.6 million for the new Centre which will deliver and increased influx robotics expertise at a vital time for the agri-food industry. Over its initial funding lifetime, the CDT will provide funding and training for at least 50 doctoral students, who will be supported by major industry partners and specialise in areas such as autonomous mobility in challenging environments, the harvesting of agricultural crops, soft robotics for handling delicate food products, and ‘co-bots' for maintaining safe human-robot collaboration and interaction in farms and factories.
The CDT supplements our wide-ranging MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems by providing a dedicated route leading to further doctoral studies in Agri-Food Robotics.
Applications for studentships at the Centre for Doctoral Training can be made via:
Find out more about how postgraduate study can help further your career, develop your knowledge, or even prepare you to start your own business at one of our postgraduate events.Find out More