Where to Study Marine Robotics

So you are interested in furthering your education in marine robotics… we are stoked to hear it! There are various programs and resources available, so we’ve done the legwork to compile a list to help guide you along the way. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is marine robotics?

While we dive into marine robotics more thoroughly here, the quick version is the use of vehicles such as ROVs (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles), AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles), and USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels) to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, from inspecting shipwrecks to monitoring ecosystems to recovering missing objects to mapping the seafloor.

Programs vs. Centers

An academic program, whether it be undergraduate or graduate, comprises the core, required, and elective courses that lead to a degree or certificate. An academic center is a non-degree granting educational unit of the university engaged in research and instruction. An academic center is defined by its mission and scope, not its title, and may be described as a center, institute, or laboratory..

University Programs



  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimMaster in Marine and Maritime Intelligent Robotics – Master in Marine and Maritime Intelligent Robotics (MIR) combines robotics, artificial intelligence and marine environment. The master’s program trains on state-of-the-art applied robotics targeted at enhancing the efficiency, health, safety and environmental performance of, among other things, the offshore industry and maritime operations.

United Kingdom

  • The University of PlymouthPlymouthMarine Technology – The University of Plymouth’s integrated masters programs are undergraduate programs that contain an extra year of study at postgraduate level. Combining undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single continuous program. Marine Technology is designed to start the journey to becoming a qualified professional marine engineer. Their engineering courses rely strongly on practical work and developing design skills throughout the course.

United States

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MassachussettsOcean Engineering – All the efforts at Oceans at MIT depend on devising the tools and techniques necessary to study and make use of the oceans. Their engineers are continually seeking better ways to observe the ocean.
  • Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, New JerseyMasters of Operational Oceanography – The Rutgers University’s Center for Ocean Observation Leadership are technology innovators with their students benefitting from individualized attention and small course numbers, career planning assistance, and experience with one of the worlds most advanced and longest operating ocean observatories in the world.
  • Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station and Galveston, TexasThe Department of Ocean Engineering – The mission of the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University is to conduct research, serve the public and educate students in a broad program encompassing traditional and emerging areas of ocean engineering. The objectives of the department are to contribute to a better understanding of ocean engineering through applied and fundamental research and support the education and development of students.
  • The University of Rhode IslandKingston, Rhode IslandOcean Robotics – The Ocean Robotics program at the University of Rhode Island is an active and exciting research group with projects spanning many facets of marine science and technology. Application areas include seafloor mapping and imaging, mid-water physics and biology, ocean acoustics, and hadal science.

University Centers, Research, and Labs

United Kingdom

  • The University of EdinburghEdinburghEdinburgh Ocean – The University of Edinburgh has a long and proud tradition of ocean research leadership dating back to 1872. Today, marine and ocean sciences remain to be a strong component of the University of Edinburgh’s research portfolio across all three of the University of Edinburgh’s Colleges.
  • The University of SouthamptonSouthamptonMaritime Robotics Laboratory – The Maritime Robotics Laboratory at the University of Southampton is seeking to develop the next generation of ocean going robots. Robotic systems provide unrivaled opportunities to increase understanding of the oceans, capable of exploring locations that are too dangerous or remote for manned vehicles.

United States

  • Duke UniversityDurham, North CarolinaMarine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab – The Duke Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS) has been using drones since 2015, studying everything from blue whales to oysters. The lab’s team incorporates biological, ecological, engineering, and computational expertise while supporting student work.
  • Northeastern UniversityBoston, MassachusettsMarine Science Center – The Marine Science Center is part of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences. Students who co-op at the MSC work hands on with state-of-the-art technology in areas ranging from research, lab technicians, and marine robotics.
  • Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, New JerseyCenter for Ocean Observing Leadership – The Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership (RUCOOL) is creating knowledge of our ocean planet by pushing the limits of science and new technologies while inspiring future generations of ocean explorers. RUCOOL develops and operates state-of-the-art ocean sensor technologies, integrating their data products together to get the most comprehensive 3d view of the ocean possible. RUCOOL is also innovating education practices to enable all humanity to be active explorers of their ocean planet, and to develop the next generation of ocean scientists & engineers.
  • Scripps Institute of Oceanography at The University of Southern California, San DiegoSan Diego, California – The Coastal Observing Research and Development Center – Marine Robotics – The Coastal Observing Research and Development Center (CORDC) focuses on the development of new technologies and their application to basic and applied sciences. As a sea-going research group, the Center serves as an interface between research and technology development within local, state, and federal government agencies as well as industry partners. CORDC specializes in robotic systems, sensors, autonomy, and data analytics. The marine robotics research addresses the engineering (software, mechanical, electrical, autonomy, communications), and operating environment challenges associated with mainstreaming state-of-art unmanned systems.
  • The University California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CaliforniaBerkeley Marine Robotics – NSF Funded University Spin-off Venture for R&D in Autonomous Swarm Systems and Underwater Wireless Communication to help ships lower fuel-CO2 emissions and to help ports protect marine ecosystems.
  • Virginia Tech UniversityBlacksburg, VirginiaCenter for Marine Robotics and Autonomy – The Center for Marine Robotics at Virginia Tech is an interdisciplinary organization that spans multiple academic departments including the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Accomplishments range from advances in fundamental theory to novel marine robotic solutions.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)Falmouth, MassachusettsCenter for Marine Robotics – To speed development of robotic technologies, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has created the Center for Marine Robotics. The goal of the Center is to collaborate with industry, academia, and key government agencies to change the way people and machines work together in the marine environment.

Underwater Robotics Competitions

There are also underwater competitions for university-level students. Check out our guide to learn more about which one is right for you!

What are we missing?

If you know of any programs, centers, or resources we are missing, please let us know! We expect this list to continue to grow!