Program in Cyber-Physical Systems

Program Overview

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are engineered systems where functionalities and salient properties emerge from the networked interaction of computational and physical components. CPS provide the foundations for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet (II), technology platforms that bring advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services in multiple domains. Future applications of CPS will bring about more transformative changes than the IT revolution has accomplished in the past three decades. One forecast estimates the impact to the global GDP as high as $15 trillion by 2030.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.)

Degrees are offered through the Graduate School and require a combination of coursework and a thesis.

Master of Engineering

Non-thesis based degree is offered through the School of Engineering.

CPS is a high priority interdisciplinary research area at both the national and international levels. The scientific and technological significance as well as its potential impact to various sectors critical to U.S. security and competitiveness are described in the December 2010 report of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) titled Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology. Dynamic interdisciplinary education and training have been identified as main challenges and strategic opportunities in the CPS Vision Statement  published in 2012 by the federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) CPS Senior Steering Group, the group that coordinates CPS R&D activities across federal agencies.

Building and sustaining a workforce capable of developing, innovating, and operating CPS and creating new IoT and II applications is a strategic opportunity critical to accelerating progress and realizing the envisioned societal impacts.

Vanderbilt University is a global leader in CPS research and education and is in a unique position to offer a well-recognized interdisciplinary graduate program in this area.

  • Vanderbilt is a national and international leader in CPS research receiving substantial research funding in CPS and making significant impact in academic and industrial research.

Examples of high-profile recent projects include: (1) NSF CPS Large: Science of Integration for Cyber-Physical Systems, (2) NSF CPS Frontier: Foundations of Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems (FORCES), (3) DARPA Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM), (4) DoD: Science of SecUre and Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems (SURE), (5) NSF: Self-Sustaining CPS for Structural Monitoring, (6) NSF: Robust Distributed Wind Power Engineering CPS, (7) NSF CPS: Synergy: Integrated Modeling, Analysis and Synthesis of Miniature Medical Devices, (8) NSF CAREER: Lifesaving Capsule Robots, (9) NIH: A magnetic capsule endoscope for colonoscopy in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, (10) NIST: Uncertainty Quantification in Smart Manufacturing Systems, (11) NIST: CPS Simulation Framework.

  • The Vanderbilt University and School of Engineering strategic plans provide synergistic and complementary opportunities to an interdisciplinary graduate program in CPS.
  • CPS related research at Vanderbilt has been truly interdisciplinary integrating efforts across multiple departments and institutes and includes foundational research on the Science of CPS as well as multiple application domains (defense, transportation, energy, and healthcare).
  • Vanderbilt researchers significantly contributed to the formation of the CPS research agenda, are leaders in the CPS community including leadership positions in steering committees, editorial boards, professional organizations, and conferences, and have a large influence in the future direction of the field.
  • Vanderbilt hosts the CPS Virtual Organization (CPS-VO) – the national hub and portal for CPS research.  Among the various hosted activities, the CPS-VO manages undergraduate student competitions in various CPS areas. Currently, the site has over 10,000 users from academia, government, and industry.

Cyber-physical systems is one of nine intellectual neighborhoods in the School of Engineering where cross-disciplinary faculty are encouraged to collaborate around this core strength. Such collaboration leads to expanded research and teaching opportunities for faculty and graduate students both on and off campus.


Application deadlines are: 
Fall admission:June 15
Spring admissionNovember 15

To submit an application visit:

For more information: 
To submit an application visit:  


Entering students generally are expected to have baccalaureate degrees in engineering, mathematics, or the physical sciences. Admission requirements include an online application, academic performance in previous degree program(s), resume or CV, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and, if applicable TOEFL score. An Admissions Committee with representative faculty from the involved departments will evaluate and recommend for approval or disapproval all applications for admission to the M.Eng. degree program in CPS. Admission will be competitive and students will be selected on the basis of their scholastic preparation and intellectual capacity.

The evaluation criteria for admission will be similar to the criteria used for admission in existing M.Eng. and M.S. degree programs offered by the School of Engineering.

CPS Curriculum Plan

The program curriculum is inspired by the NSF CPS Research and Education model shown below which consists of the CPS core extending to multiple technology areas and support various applications sectors.

Figure 1. National Science Foundation CPS Research and Education Model

The program follows the existing requirements of the M.Eng. degree awarded by the School of Engineering (30 credit hours). A model curriculum includes:

  1. CPS foundations (9 hours) - Select from CPS Foundations
  2. CPS Engineering (6 – 9 hours) - Select from Engineering Design of CPS and Dependable and Trustworthy CPS
  3. CPS Applications (6 - 9 hours) - Select from Embedded Systems, Control Engineering, Robotics, Transportation Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering
  4. Project Management and Leadership (3 hours) - Select from Project Management and Leadership
  5. Capstone Project (3 hours) - One of CS 8390, BME 7899, CE 7899, EECE 7899, ENVE 7899, or ME 7899

We have a flexible academic curriculum that cuts across multiple departments and allows students to tailor their studies to their professional interests and goals by selecting courses from different concentrations. Courses that can be used for fulfilling the degree requirements (organized in concentrations related to CPS) include:

CPS Foundations 
CS 6375Discrete-Event Systems: Supervisory Control and Diagnosis
CS 6376Foundations of Hybrid and Embedded Systems
CS 6377Topics in Embedded Software and Systems
CS 6388Model-Integrated Computing
EECE 6311Systems Theory
EECE 6321Cyber-Physical Systems
EECE 6343Digital Systems Architecture
EECE 6354Advanced Real-Time Systems
Engineering Design of CPS 
CE 5240Infrastructure Systems Engineering
CE 5999Data Analytics for Engineers
CE 6300Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design
CE 6305Engineering Design Optimization
CE 6310Uncertainty Quantification
ME 8353Design of Electromechanical Systems
Dependable and Trustworthy CPS 
CE 5300Reliability and Risk Case Study
CE 5999Risk and Decision Analysis
CS 5285Network Security
CS 6315Automated Verification
CS 6386System-Level Fault Diagnosis
Embedded Systems 
EECE 5218Microcontrollers
EECE 5376Embedded Systems
Control Engineering 
EECE 5257Control Systems I
EECE 5358Control Systems II
ME 5236Linear Control Theory
ME 8351Adaptive Control
ME 8352Non-linear Control Theory
EECE 6356Intelligent Systems and Robotics
ME 5271Introduction to Robotics
ME 8331Robot Manipulators
Transportation Engineering 
CE 5500Transportation System Design
CE 5510Traffic Engineering
Biomedical Engineering 
BME 5200Principles and Applications of BioMEMS
BME 5301Therapeutic Bioengineering
BME 7310Advanced Computational Modeling and Analysis
BME 7390Smart Health Technology
BME 7410Quantitative Methods
Project Management and Leadership 
ENGM 6500Engineering Leadership and Program Management

Financial Information

Tuition for M.Eng. students is charged at the same rate as tuition in the graduate school (for 2023/2024 at the rate of $2,281 per semester hour with a minimum tuition charge of $200 per semester). Tuition and fees are set annually by the Board of Trust and are subject to review and change without further notice.

Payment of Tuition and Fees

Tuition, fees, and all other university charges incurred prior to or at registration are due and payment must be received by August 31 for the fall semester and December 31 for the spring semester. All charges incurred after classes begin are due and payment must be received in full by the last business day of the month in which they are billed to the student. If payment is not made within that time, your classes may be canceled. Visit  for payment options.

Students/Guarantors will be responsible for payment of all costs, including reasonable attorney fees and collection agency fees, incurred by the university in collecting monies owed to the university. The university will assess a $25.00 fee for any check or e-payment returned by the bank and reserves the right to invoke the laws of the State of Tennessee governing bad check laws.

E-Billing and Access to a Student’s Vanderbilt Account

Vanderbilt exclusively uses convenient and secure electronic billing (e-bills) for student account charges. Students may need to take action to enable parents, guardians, and other “invited payers” to receive e-bill notices and access to the e-bill website. Students may access their online invoices from their YES landing page at Once they have signed in to YES, they may view invoices under the Billing Portal link.

Students are responsible for granting access to parents, guardians, or other payers who should receive email billing notifications. To do this, students log in to YES and click the “billing portal link.” On your CashNet Account page, click “Add New” in the “Other Payers” section. Enter the information that is requested, and click “OK.” (You must enter the “login name” that your authorized payer will use as a username—the logon and password will be sent to your authorized payer in an email.) Tutorials are located online at . Any month in which there is activity on the student’s account, an e-bill will be generated and an email notification sent to the student’s Vanderbilt email address, as well as to the email addresses of others they have invited. The email notification will have the subject line “Your E-Bill Is Now Available for Viewing” and will contain a link to the secure e-bill website. Payments may be made electronically, or for those wishing to mail a payment, a payment coupon can be printed. When an electronic payment is made, a confirmation email will be sent. It remains the responsibility of the student to ensure that bills are paid on or before the due date.

The Office of Student Accounts can be contacted at (615) 322-6693, toll-free at (800) 288-1144, or via email at For additional information, please visit the Student Accounts website at .

Refunds of Tuition Charges

University policy for the refund of tuition charges provides a percentage refund based on the time of withdrawal. Students who withdraw officially or are dismissed from the university for any reason may be entitled to a partial refund in accordance with the established schedule below. Fees are nonrefundable.

Withdrawal / Refund Schedule:

The schedule to withdraw from courses and the tuition refund schedule for the M.Eng. program is the same as that used for the undergraduate students and can be found on the Student Accounts website at

Payment Options

Direct Payment: Tuition, fees, and all other charges are paid directly to the university. Payment for the fall semester is due by August 31. Payment for the spring semester is due by December 31. Students can pay online after viewing their e-bill at . There is no further action required for this option.

Interest-Free Monthly Payment Plan: Students can spread payment over five monthly installments for each semester (fall and spring), interest free, by enrolling in the VANDYPlan, currently administered by Higher One. Details and important dates can be found at:  For further information, please contact the Office of Student Accounts at (615) 322-6693 or (800) 288-1144.

Late Payment of Fees

All charges not paid by the specified due dates will be assessed a late payment fee of $1.50 on each $100 owed (minimum late fee of $5).

Financial Clearance

No transcript (official or unofficial) will be issued for a student who has an outstanding balance. Diplomas of graduating students will not be released until all indebtedness to the university is cleared.

CPS Faculty


Xenofon Koutsoukos, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Eric Barth, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Franz Baudenbacher, Associate Professsor, Biomedical Engineering
Sankaran Mahadevan, John R. Murray Sr. Professor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Douglas Adams, Daniel F. Flowers Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Julie A. Adams, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Theodore Bapty, Research Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Eric Barth, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Franz Baudenbacher, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Gautam Biswas, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Abhishek Dubey, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Aniruddha Gokhale, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Taylor Johnson, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Gabor Karsai, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Xenofon Koutsoukos, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Akos Ledeczi, Professor,Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Sankaran Mahadevan, John R. Murray, Sr Professor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Sandeep Neema, Research Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Caglar Oskay, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Craig Philip, Research Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
William H. Robinson, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Nilanjan Sarkar, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Douglas Schmidt, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Janos Sztipanovits, E. Bronson Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Robert Webster III, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Jules White, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Karl Zelik, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Contact Information

For inquiries and more information, please contact: 

Graduate Recruiter: 
Gabriel Luis  

Program Manager: 
Joanne Wang, Ed.D. 

Program Director: 
Xenofon Koutsoukos, Ph.D. 
Professor of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Electrical Engineering