Prospective Masters Students

We are actively recruiting masters students to work on a variety of cutting-edge research projects! Prospective masters students should apply through the Electrical Engineering graduate programs. The majority of students apply through the ECE department and then enroll in the interdepartmental graduate program in robotics and take courses with an emphasis on neurorobotics and neural engineering. Masters students can also be considered through the Biomedical Engineering graduate programs and the Mechanical Engineering graduate programs. Students must be accepted to a graduate degree program before they can receive an offer to join the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab. Masters students are typically self-funded or receive funding as a teaching assistant.

Here's how to apply to the ECE MS program:

  1. Review the deadlines and documents that are required for your application.
  2. Review the list of ongoing trainee projects in the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab.
  3. Update your resume to list specific skills related to ongoing projects in the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab.
  4. Tailor your personal statement to specifically mention your interest in the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab and working with Dr. George, as well as any specific research projects you would like to pursue and your previous research experience.
  5. In your application, select Robotics as your research interests and list Dr. George as your faculty interest.
  6. Once you've been admitted to the program, follow the instructions on the right for current masters students.

Current Masters Students at the U

We are always looking for new talented students to join our research team! We work with students completing project masters, thesis masters and coursework (non-thesis) masters. Typically students volunteer in the lab for a short period of time to ensure the lab is an appropriate fit for them, and then they enroll in an independent study or thesis credits. Most new masters students start by pursuing the coursework (non-thesis) option and then transition to the project option after they have identified a research lab and research project. If the research project goes well, students are encouraged to transition to the thesis option and publish their research.

Current masters students at the U can apply to work in the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab by completing the prospective trainee application on the Trainee Projects Page. In the application, please specify the project(s) you are interested in working on. Once you've completed the application, email Dr. George and let him know you've completed the application. Include a copy of your CV/resume in your email.

In most cases, masters students will be advised to enroll in Dr. George's NeuroRobotics course (offered in Fall) and to use that course as an introduction to Dr. George's lab. Most MS students enter the lab during the spring after completing NeuroRobotics course. The final project within the NeuroRobotics course often serves as the basis for the independent masters research project.

The University of Utah is an ideal place to pursue your Masters!

Work-Life Balance

Utah has been consistently rated as the best state for work-life balance. Salt Lake City in particular offers numerous recreational activities. For example, there are 10 ski resorts within one hour from the city (several are less than 30 minutes!) that feature excellent hiking, biking, and skiing trails. There are also 5 breathtaking national parks within the state and an additional 46 state parks for endless outdoor recreation. Salt Lake City is also a major city with a buzzing night-life, multiple cultural exhibits, several major sports teams, and an international airport just 5-minutes from the downtown. Students at the University of Utah get free access to an excellent public transit system, numerous intramural sports, multiple museums and music venues, as well as discounts on ski passes, outdoor events & gear, and major sporting events. Check out the News Page to learn more about the ongoing events in the lab!

University Prestige & Job Prospects

The University of Utah became the leading University in the field of neural engineering with the development of the Utah Electrode Array in the 1990s and the Center for Neural Interfaces in 1995. The Utah Electrode Array is now the industry standard for high-density single-unit neural recordings from the brain and peripheral nerves, and it's manufactured at the local neurotech company, and University of Utah Spinoff, Blackrock Microsystems. Numerous other neurotech companies (e.g., Ripple Neuro, IRIS Biomedical, Epitel) have been created by University of Utah alumni thanks to it's excellent technology commercialization efforts. The University of Utah was named the No. 1 research institution for starting technology companies based on university technology (Association of University Technology Managers)!

In addition to a world-leading Neuro Tech community, the University of Utah is also home to a thriving Robotics community. The Robotics Center is home to 19 different research labs all collaborating within the field of robotics! The Robotics Center also provides shared research and learning space to students and offers cutting-edge coursework leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Robotics. The extensive robotics research in Salt Lake City has also lead to an vast robotics and AI industry, featuring companies like Sarcos, NVIDIA, and Motion Control.

The University of Utah Medical Center (UUMC) is also the only major academic health care system in the Intermountain West, serving individuals from Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and western Colorado. Accordingly, UUMC serves over 10% of the healthcare needs of the continental US and provides care for a diverse patient population. UUMC is ranked in the top 40 for research among US academic medical centers, and there is a blooming med-tech community surrounding the hospital. There's an emphasis on prosthetic and orthotic devices (e.g., Fillauer) and well as AI-driven medical treatments (e.g., Recursion).

Join our Annual Ski Retreat!

Research Space

The NeuroRobotics Lab is also located within the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital. This state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital, which opened to patients in Summer 2020, serves as the preeminent destination in the Mountain West for patients recovering from and adjusting to life-altering injuries such as stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation or traumatic brain injury. The 150,000-sqft, 6-story hospital houses 75 inpatient rooms, two in-patient rehabilitation centers, an indoor track, a neuropsychology clinic, the PM&R clinic, administrative offices, multiple research labs, staff support space, a cafeteria, and a direct connection to the University of Utah’s main hospital. The entire building features Smart Room integration that allows patients to control doors, lights, and elevators with remote applications – easing their ability to move between inpatient rooms, rehabilitation clinics, and research labs – and providing endless potential to integrate brain-computer interfaces into the Internet of Things.

In the midst of all of the clinical and administrative spaces, is a massive 2,500-sqft shared research space, consisting of multiple benchtops and computer workstations for personnel, a complete motion capture lab (with an instrumented treadmill, embedded force-plates, overhead support, and a Vicon camera system), and multiple zones for various functional assessments (2-min walk test, 10-meter walk test, etc.). There are also two isolated human research testing spaces for validating new neurorobotic technology with patients. The hospital also has a dedicate room for graduate student offices and features a fully capable machine shop and fabrication lab. The machine shop and fabrication lab has dedicated Mills, water jets, dozens of high-caliber 3D-printers, a PCB printer, and dedicated electronics and mechanics workspaces!

Example Program of Study

The University of Utah offers a unique program of study at the intersection of Robotics, AI, Neural Engineering and Rehabilitation. An example program of study for a MS in the ECE Robotics Program. This is just one of many possible options. There are also supplemental coursework options available in Entrepreneurship, Clinical Trials, and Clinical Investigation.