Autonomy, adaptability and network integration are characteristic features of complex IT systems. Conventional control systems and architectures are no longer adequate to realize the potential of these technologies completely, nor are they sufficient to master the complexity of such systems. The solution is to design selected components as 'autonomous systems' which can act mainly on themselves without external control most of the time.

In this context, autonomous mobile and biomimetic robots form the forefront of development. The international program 'Autonomous Systems' offers multi-faceted training in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, spanning a whole range of issues involved in the field. The four-semester program aims to challenge talented, motivated and dedicated students, and involves course work as well as project work.

A large portion of the program, including the preparation of the master's thesis, involves research and development projects. The project work portion takes the form of an 8-month R&D project and a final thesis project. The program's affiliation with the Fraunhofer Institute, one of the leading research institutes in Germany and the largest organization for applied sciences in Europe, provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to pursue extensive practical training in projects at the cutting edge of the field. These projects may also be carried out in a number of other broader research efforts at the university. This helps to ensure a high-quality education in the field, and also offers problem-oriented training in soft skills such as project management and presentation.

Presentations by leading international guest speakers are scheduled regularly and help to further expose the students to the state of the art in a wide variety of robotics-related fields. The number of seats per semester is limited to only 25 candidates, thus ensuring the admitted students a high quality education. An extraordinary level of commitment, pro-activeness, self-discipline and the ability to work well under pressure is expected of candidates.

The program is fully accredited by ASIIN, the German accreditation agency for study programs in engineering, informatics, and natural sciences. ASIIN is a member of the Washington Accord for the international recognition of accredited degree programs and, as such, the program's accreditation is recognized worldwide. The Master's program in Autonomous Systems is offered by the Applied Sciences Institute at the Bonn-Aachen International Centre for Information Technology (B-IT) which is based on cooperation between two renowned German centers of excellence: the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) and the Department of Computer Science of the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS).

MAS Course Structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters. The program covers four semesters (two years) in which a total of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) points are accumulated. Individual mentoring characterizes the program, where students are guided through independent scientific work and through interdisciplinary cooperation in research and development projects.

The first semester consists of various compulsory courses and a seminar in scientific working. Students are introduced to several fields of robotics. They can then choose areas of interest where they want to acquire advanced skills and knowledge.

The second and third semesters contain taught courses as well as research and development projects which each account for 15 ECTS credits per semester. The projects are concluded by a written report plus an oral presentation. Another 15 ECTS points will be gained by exams at the end of each lecture period.

Examinations and proof of academic achievement take place during the studies. Examinations may be conducted in German or English, at the student's request. It is important to stress that other than public holidays, there are no "semester breaks", but rather lecture-free time, where students are expected to work full-time on their R&D project work. An extraordinary level of commitment, pro-activeness, self-discipline and the ability to work well under pressure is expected of candidates.

Lectures and Seminars (Overview)

(Please also see the current curriculum for more details on all modules.)

Compulsory Courses
  • Advanced Software Technology
  • Autonomous Mobile Robots
  • Mathematics for Robotics and Control
  • Artificial Intelligence

These courses help the students to successfully carry out the R&D project and colloquium.

  • Introduction to Scientific Working
  • Advanced Scientific Working
Lab Classes

These classes provide students with valuable skills to help with their research work.

  • Scientific Experimentation and Evaluation
  • Software Development Project
Examples of Electives
  • Adaptive Signal Processing
  • Advanced Mathematics for Robotics
  • Evolutionary Computation Theory and Application
  • Fault Detection and Diagnosis
  • Learning and Adaptivity
  • Mobile Manipulation
  • Multiagent and Agent Systems
  • Neural Networks
  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Probabilistic Reasoning
  • Robot Manipulation
Examples of Elective Consecutive Courses
  • Computer Vision
  • Nonlinear Control
  • Robot Perception
  • Robust Control

Additionally, one R&D project must be completed.

Finally, a master's thesis project and colloquium must be successfully completed.

Preparatory Courses

Any preparatory courses which may be needed will be individually directed and will total up to 30 ECTS points. These courses would serve to bring the student up to par on basic principles that are required to start the master's course of studies.

Study Abroad

Study abroad is possible and encouraged.