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MSc Creative Robotics

Close up image of student working with computational equipment, wires and light bulbs
Finn Weaver working with computing components, 2021, UAL Creative Computing Institute, Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
UAL Creative Computing Institute
Start date
September 2024
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

We are no longer accepting applications from students for 2023/24 entry to this course. Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

Expand your creative technology practice into the field of robotics and critically explore the role that robots will play in our future.

Why choose this course at UAL Creative Computing Institute

  • Advanced robotic skills: Learn how to translate creative direction into robotic design using a range of applications. A skill that is highly sought after in the professional robotics industry.
  • Critical engagement with robotics: Develop a critical perspective of creative robotics and shape both your practice and the future of robotics.
  • Robots as cultural objects: Understand robotics in both a technical and cultural sense. This will enable you to challenge dominant ways of deploying robotics and explore the potential of robots across society.
  • Technical and creative teaching: Different methods for learning will help you develop a solid understanding of robotics technologies through a creative lens.

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Course overview

The MSc Creative Robotics course is an exciting mix of robotics and creative practice set in the context of a world-renowned creative university. The course combines machine learning, physical computing and robotics with a strong emphasis on creative applications and the ethics and impact of robotics in society. 

You will learn to design and build creative robotics including constructing machines that make music and art or performances. You will also develop advanced skills in robotic coding such as in Python and C++, and robotic open development frameworks such as ROS, MoveIt and Unity. 

Furthermore, you will learn creative mechanics such as digital fabrication, 3D printing of robotic parts and program open robots use in industry and creative industries such as robotic arms and humanoids. 

You will explore how concepts of embodiment from philosophy, neuroscience and cognitive science have influenced the design of a robot’s body and mind in tandem. This will enable you to develop critical thinking and build a deep understanding of design and research methodologies in the field of human-robotic interaction.

What to expect 

  • Advanced robotics skills: develop advanced skills to both translate creative direction into robotic design and deliver creative robotics projects.
  • Extend your practice: the course is designed to give practitioners form different academic and creative disciplines the change to extend their practice into the robotic domain.
  • Research informed robotics teaching: the course is informed by CCI’s research themes and research on human-robotic interaction and design research in creative, social, and evolutionary robotics.
  • Critical engagement with robotics: as a postgraduate student you will develop a critical understanding of robotic development and explore the role of robotics in producing the future.

Industry experience and opportunities   

You will learn using industry standard tools and frameworks, ensuring you are ready to progress to a wide range of roles across the technology sector. You will benefit from industry talks and have the opportunity to meet industry representatives during your studies.

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Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Term 1

Coding 1: Advanced creative robotics coding

This unit introduces you to advanced programming languages most commonly use in robotics, such as C++ and Python. 

You will explore programming fundamentals such as object-oriented programming, fundamental logical structures and geometry. This will allow you to implement and experiment with basic algorithms for working with images, audio and electro-mechanical systems. 

This unit has the explicit aim of equipping you with an advanced programming foundation to tackle creative robotics programming and the rest of the course.

Critical robotics: Studies and research methods

This unit introduces the key aspects of the research process and interdisciplinary methodologies for creative robotics research. 

You will approach qualitative, quantitative, visual and applied methods from the fields of computer science, critical and speculative design. You will explore the history of robotics and human-robot interaction. 

Taking a design thinking approach, you will also engage with critical thinking and coherent robotics proposals. 

Creative making: Advanced physical computing

The unit will explain and demonstrate how the environment can be seen as data measured by sensors. 

You will explore the intersection of the interface with the body by building systems. This unit encompasses the fundamentals of mechanics and electronics, and how they connect through programming and software engineering. 

Practical exercises and workshops will equip you with the skills needed for designing and building interactive physical devices and the electronic parts of creative robotics.

Term 2

Coding 2: Advanced frameworks

In this process-based unit, you will explore advanced techniques for robotic interactivity and creativity. 

Through experiment driven iterations, you will examine how algorithms are used to make robots interact with humans and the world. You will also learn how they are used to create novel art and music. 

Advanced topics in creative robotics such as computer vision, natural language processing, generative drawing and composition are also covered in this unit.

Critical robotics: Studies and research methods

Continuation from term 1.

Creative making: Advanced creative robotics

This practical class introduces students to innovative approaches to designing, executing, and implementing robotic interventions. 

Students will explore advanced physical computing techniques such as advanced mechanical principles, digital fabrication, 3D printing, advanced mechanics, soft robotics and sensors and actuators integration into the development of robotic proposals for creative applications. 

Term 3

Coding 3: Machine intelligence and social robots

This advanced unit introduces machine learning approaches, concepts and methods through direct examples and core technical training for robotics applications. 

Fundamental concepts such as classification, clustering and regression are developed through practical problem-solving exercises. This includes data driven approaches to computer vision, gesture recognition and tracking, natural language processing for human-robot interaction and designing personalities.

Creative making: Advanced creative robotics

Continuation from term 2.

Term 4

Creative robotics: MSc advanced project

This unit gives you the opportunity to develop an advanced creative robotics project and write an associated thesis. 

This project is expected to be an advanced application of robotics approaches to creative practice and an exposition in writing of both the technical development of the project and its creative aims. 

Prior to the summer break, you will undertake a project proposal phase which includes agreeing the creative ambitions and the technical scope of the project. Significant waypoints and demo stages will support you throughout the process. This can be an individual or group project.

Research option

You may have the opportunity to complete your advanced project as a research assistant for an Institute professor/researcher on a specific project. 

The submission requirement will be the same and the proposal stage will need to outline the proposed activity at a similar level of detail. 

Due to the availability of suitable research projects this option will be subject to a competitive process if demand outstrips supply.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Coding workshops and lab sessions
  • Collaborative teamwork
  • Experiential team and seminar learning
  • Independent study
  • Industry engaged learning with external speakers and company visits
  • Panel discussions in a debate environment
  • Physical computing, 3D printing robots and robot mechanics workshops 
  • Practical design briefs and projects
  • Theoretical and technical workshops 

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Fees and funding

Home fee


This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee


This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • An honours degree in a relevant subject such as Computer Science, Data Science, Computing, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering, Joint Computer Science / Arts, Humanities programme.
  • OR an honours degree from a creative discipline with substantial computational practice such as interaction design, computer science, digital design, product design, mechanical or electric engineering, design engineering.
  • OR a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree in a design-related or creative engineering discipline.
  • AND typically, at least Grade B/Grade 6 at GCSE Mathematics.

English language requirements

·      IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

All classes are taught in English. If English isn’t your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English language ability when you enrol. For further guidance, please check our English language requirements.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit, but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria:

  • An ability to code.
  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience in a specialist subject area or potential to be able to successfully complete the course.  
  • An academic or professional background in data and computer science or a related subject area.
  • Willingness to work both independently and as part of a team. 
  • A strong case for how the course could be applied to your ambitions, especially if your current knowledge and experience is in a different subject area.

After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. Following a review of the application documents, successful applicants will be invited to upload a digital portfolio.

Digital portfolio

Your portfolio should be up to ten pages comprising of work showing your skills and thinking. You can create the pages in any layout (For example: presentation boards) but they should be uploaded as jpeg images.

For more portfolio advice please visit:

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.


Developing your skills

Computing graduates are highly sought after across sectors and our degrees facilitate progression to a wide range of careers in both industry and academia. Graduates can join large companies or start their own business using their engineering skills and their knowledge of computational innovation.

Career paths

Graduates can become:

  • Robotic engineers for large and small robotics technology companies
  • Robotic engineers for theatre, film and television production industries
  • Creative technologists
  • Artists and designers
  • IT professionals
  • Founders of robotic technology start-ups

Opportunities for further study:

  • PhD level study both within the CCI and at other institutions nationally and internationally