General Program Requirements
Each student in the HRI program will choose an advisory committee of at
least three faculty within the second year (at least two members have to
be faculty associated with the HRI program). The advisory committee will
be responsible for conducting and grading the written and oral exams.
One committee member will be designated by the student as "main advisor"
and as such be responsible for supervising the student's dissertation.
The main advisor must be associated with the HRI program.
Core Research Methods
All HRI Ph.D. students have to demonstrate competency before attempting
the oral qualification exam in four main research methods in HRI:
(1) statistics and mathematical foundations
(2) robot programming
(3) robot design
(4) experimental design
For (1), students have to demonstrate competence in the statistical and
mathemati- cal foundations relavant to HRI. For (2), students have to
demonstrate experience with programming at least two different robots.
For (3), students have to demonstrate experience in designing robots or
parts of robots relevant to HRI. And for (4), students have to
demonstrate that they have designed and carried out an HRI experiment.
The details for all competency requirements will be determined by the
HRI Steering Committee.
For (1), transcripts of previously taken relevant courses (at Tufts or
elsewhere) or papers authored by the student that demonstrate the
mastery of the techniques. For
(2)-(4) students may point to published peer-reviewed papers authored by
them that employ any of the required methods or get a letter from their
advisor that describes how they satisfied the requirements. The program
director then writes an evaluation of the materials which is forwarded
to Steering Committee for approval. In the case that the demonstration
is found insufficient and is thus not approved, the program director
will work with the student to suggest ways to obtain sufficient
documentation (e.g., by taking courses, writing research papers that
demonstrate sufficient preparation, participating in research projects,
Each Ph.D. student in the HRI Ph.D. program must take written and oral
qualifying exams in HRI, in addition to the examination requirements of
the student’s department.
- Written Qualifying Exam
The written qualifying exam in HRI consists of two research papers in two
separarte areas of HRI, which must be completed by the fourth semester and
sixth semester, respectively, at the latest, submitted for publication to
one of the HRI conference (e.g., the IEEE/ACM International Conference on
Human-Robot Interaction). The papers need to be submitted to the Steering
Committee for evaluation.
- Oral Qualifying Exam/Candidacy Exam
All HRI Ph.D. students are required to pass a candidacy examination during
which they propose their dissertation. Since the oral exam in HRI is at the
same time the candidacy exam, students will defend their dissertation
proposal and then be examined in the area of the dissertation (i.e., in only
one joint exam with their home department). This requirement must be met by
the end of the fourth year.
Foreign Language Requirement
There is no foreign language requirement in HRI.
All students enrolled in the HRI Ph.D. program are required to teach for one
semester as "Teaching Assistants" in their home departments or a department
associated with the HRI program. The teaching requirement is intended to
recognize the important role of teaching experience both for future academic
positions as well as for learning how to present complex materials well to a
possibly inexperienced audience (the process of preparing presentations often
has the added advantage that it generates improved understanding on the teacher
side). The academic advisors of students in the HRI program will work with the
Tufts Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), and the Graduate
Institute for Teaching (GIFT) to provide structured mentorship.
All HRI students are required to attend a novel HRI colloquium series to be
organized by the HRI Steering Committee at least for four semesters. The
colloquium series will feature speakers from Tufts as well as the local HRI
community in the Boston area as well as occasional outside speakers, exposing
students to cutting edge research in HRI. At the same time, the colloquium
series also has an important community-building function by bringing together
faculty and students (both graduate and undergraduate) interested in HRI,
providing an informal setting where students can interact with faculty and ask
questions. Ultimately, the goal is for it to become a forum for discussion and
exchanges of ideas that can lead to future research collaborations on campus.