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FDT3304 Topics in Social Robotics 3.0 credits

This course focuses on the latest research and state-of-the-art developments in social robotics. Social robotics involves the design, development, and programming of robots that can interact with humans in social and collaborative ways. Through reading and discussing the latest and most influential research papers, students will gain insight into the current state of the field and explore the latest trends and approaches. Topics include robot perception, behavior generation, natural language processing, and human-robot interaction. By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of what social robotics entails and will be better equipped to become a better researcher in the field.

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus FDT3304 (Spring 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

This course covers a broad range of topics related to social robotics, including at least 1 paper from ethics and sustainability and at least 9 from areas such as robot perception, behavior generation, natural language processing, human-robot interaction, affective and cognitive sciences for social robots, social robots software architectures and hardware design, robot applications in education, entertainment, and gaming, robots that can adapt to different users, robots to assist the elderly and persons with disabilities. The content will be drawn from various sources such as the international conference on social robotics, the ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Robotics: Science and Systems, as well as international journals on the same topics. By the end of the course, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the latest trends and approaches in social robotics.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Analyze, discuss and evaluate research papers on the design, development, and evaluation of robots that can interact with humans in social and collaborative ways.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to contribute to discussions and debates on the latest trends and approaches in social robotics.
  • Enhance the ability to present and communicate research ideas and findings to a diverse audience, both in person and through online channels.
  • Identify and evaluate ethical and sustainable considerations in the development and use of social robots, including issues related to privacy, security, autonomy, and environmental impact.

Course disposition

Every two weeks, a seminar is arranged where one or two students present an article they have chosen on the topic of social robotics. The article choice is shared with the other students ahead of time, and the other students must hand in at least 1 discussion topic or question on the paper before the seminar. 

After the student(s) have presented their chosen paper, a 20-minute presentation at most, discussion topics and questions are pulled from the Canvas submissions until time runs out. The aim is for 1-hour seminars or slightly more if two papers are presented (which may be required if more students sign up than there are slots in the schedule). The student(s) that presented a paper is also responsible for handing in a set of 3 multiple-choice quiz questions that will be used at then end of the course as part of the examination for all students. A final pass/fail quiz in Canvas (10/12 points to pass) samples a question from each seminar day to better ensure they have assimilated the content throughout the course. 

The presentations and discussions will be done in a hybrid setting, both in person at TMH (KTH main campus) and through a Zoom call or equivalent. This is to encourage even those who can't participate in person every week and those who do not work from the KTH main campus to participate. 

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Students must have been admitted to a PhD programme.

Recommended prerequisites

Participants must be doctoral students, but in the interest of attracting early-stage PhD students and those from other universities, we do not require any specific prerequisite courses. 


The course needs access to scientific articles for the students and to seminar rooms with a good setup for hybrid meetings.


This course requires students to read and analyze at least 12 scientific articles relevant to social robotics.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • EXA1 - Examination, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Assessment in this course is based on active participation, including a minimum of 10 seminar discussions where the student contributes with questions and topics of discussion, as well as one presentation at the seminars. Each student also is responsible for co-designing a set of quiz questions that are used to create a final quiz exam that has to be taken by all. By actively engaging with the course materials, students will demonstrate their understanding of the latest research and trends in social robotics and be well-prepared to contribute to ongoing discussions in the field.

Other requirements for final grade

Each student will have to discuss at least one paper related to each of the topics listed in the course contents, including ethics and sustainability.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FDT3304

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


André Tiago Abelho Pereira (

Supplementary information

One of the main goals of this course is to connect students from different departments and divisions at KTH and other Swedish universities that are interested in the topics of Social robotics. This is extremely important for networking and to get a good headstart in this highly multidisciplinary field.

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at EECS/Speech, Music and Hearing