Summer Program for Automation, Robotics, and Coding (SPARC) | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Summer Program for Automation, Robotics, and Coding (SPARC)

A hands-on intro to the basics of robotics, mechatronics, and programming the machines of the future.

students working on robotics


Applications Open December 16, 2022

STOP: Before applying, make sure to fully read through NYU’s policies and COVID 19 safety protocols. The Center for K12 STEM follows the University's safety protocols and vaccination requirements for COVID-19 throughout all programs.

Automation, Robotics, and Coding will be offered in-person for Summer 2023. We will remain flexible in our response to developments related to COVID-19 and plans can of course change. The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and our visitors is NYU's first priority, and you can read about the University's responses and reopening. If we are unable to conduct this program on campus as planned, changes to program format will be communicated promptly.

The cost for tuition is $2,500.00 USD for approximately 50 instructional hours (scholarships and financial aid are not available.) ***NOTE - This does not include cost for housing, meals and possible materials fees.



NYU Tandon's Summer Program for Automation Robotics and Coding (SPARC) is a two-week, full-day summer program for introducing rising 9th through 12th high school students to the basics of robotics, mechatronics and programming on the NYU Tandon Downtown Brooklyn campus. SPARC is best suited for academically strong students with an interest, but not necessarily experience in robotics.

SPARC has been designed keeping in mind that learning by doing is the best way to teach newtext on a screen display concepts. Throughout the program, our focus will be on providing extensive hands-on experience to students through a series of activities, tailored especially for challenging young minds and encouraging ‘Out of the Box’ thinking.

Curriculum Overview

After creating and jumpstarting numerous successful STEM programs for students and teachers, NYU Center for K12 STEM Education has used its experience to develop an extensive program in exploration in the field of Mechatronics. The workshops will be conducted by experts in the field who have been teaching extensively and addressing audiences worldwide.

wheeled robots line Students will learn how to use micro-controllers, interface sensors and actuators through the components provided in the robotic kit. Along with practical implementation, they will be given an insight into the history of robotics, and a glimpse of what the future holds for the automation industry and those who are a part of it.

In the first week, SPARC attendees learn about building blocks of robotics through short introductory instructional modules followed by hands-on activities. 

Day 1 - Is devoted to learning about basic electrical components, circuits, and circuit configurations. 

Day 2 - Continues with basic electrical circuits and introduces a microcontroller’s anatomy, features, and programming environment. 

Day 3 - Focuses on building skills in microcontroller programing, including learning about key programming constructs, e.g., variables, conditionals, loops, data representations, etc. Moreover, attendees learn and practice how to interface various electrical and electronic components with the microcontroller and how to perform serial and parallel communication. 

Days 4 and 5 - Are devoted to learning about how to interface various analog and digital sensors and actuators with the microcontroller and how to acquire measurements from sensors and how to command the actuators under program control. Having learned the basic building blocks of robotics, in the second week, attendees begin to assemble their robotic vehicles. Moreover, they endow them with appropriate sensors and actuators, and program them to perform various tasks — all while applying their learning from week one. 

Day 6 - SPARC program, attendees learn about the theory and applications of motor drivers and assemble a “Car Robot” to perform infrared remote control.

 Day 7 - Continues with the car robot for which attendees learn to perform remote control with Bluetooth as well as line tracking and obstacle avoidance, and they complete an assigned robot challenge. 

Day 8 - The attendees build and assemble a “Mobile Manipulator”, i.e., a differential drive robot with a manipulator arm, and program it to operate under infrared control. 

Day 9 - The mobile manipulator is instrumented and programmed to be commanded through Bluetooth and perform line following and obstacle avoidance tasks. 

Finally, Day 10 is devoted to a mobile manipulator challenge.

Who Can Apply?

  • Rising 9th through 12th grade students 
  • Academically prepared, highly motivated students who are willing to take initiative
  • Applicants with a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math

*International students are welcome to apply but should be aware they are required to submit proof of English language proficiency and a Student Visa. For more information, check our Informational Page.  


Program Details

Program Sessions

Choose one of the following sessions when you apply *

  • Session 1: June 20 - June 30
  • Session 2: July 10 - July 21
  • Session 3: July 31 - Aug 11

*Orientation for all sessions will be the Thursday before at 3pm.

Applications accepted on rolling basis, preferred April 20th deadline. 


students working on a robot

Program Costs

  • Tuition: $2,500 + Materials Fees ($TBD) + $100.00 activity fee (special events and activities) per two-week session 
  • Additionally, there is a $25.00 non-refundable application fee for each application.
  • Housing is available at an additional cost of $608.00 for 2 weeks ($304.00 per week)
    • You will need to complete a separate application for housing after you apply to the program. This will be sent to you in an email.
    • Note: A $500 deposit is required to hold your placement in housing.
  • A meal plan is available at an additional cost of $360 (10 meals/week for two weeks) and is required with housing.

Questions? Check our our FAQ below, our Tandon Summer Program Blog or Contact us at or 646.997.3524 


Program Questions

Robotics can be considered a “mashup” of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science concepts that can be used to solve real world problems through automation and technology.

Nope! No past experience is necessary!

Yes! Our talented instructors are working on a curriculum that allows for differentiation of skill level, so that everyone will be participating and learning something new.

No, there is no minimum GPA! 

Applications accepted on a rolling basis, preferred April 20th deadline. 

Our programs are overseen by Tandon faculty, and we recruit current engineering and computer science students to serve alongside these experts as teachers and mentors. Every classroom will have a minimum of one graduate student instructor, and at least one additional instructor will be assigned to each class of (maximum) 24 students.   

For Additional Information:

For additional information including tips and tricks on navigating NYC and more details about on-campus facilities and services, check out our Tandon Summer Programs Informational Page.

International Student Information

International Students interested in Tandon Summer Programs are required to have...

1. A student visa such as the F-1 of J-1. B-1/B-2 or ESTA visas are not permitted. NYU’s Office of Global Services will be able to assist incoming students with obtaining their visas. (see Visa Information)

2. Proof of English Language Proficiency (see English Testing Requirements)

If English is not your native language, you may be asked to show your proficiency by taking one of the following tests (results must be from the last two years):

  • TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test)

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System)

  • PTE Academic (Pearsons Test of English Academic)

  • C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency)

  • iTEP (International Test of English Proficiency). We will accept results from the in-person or online version. 

  • Duolingo (Duolingo English Test) 

We do not accept results from the IELTS Indicator, the TOEFL ITP Plus for China, TOEFL Essentials, or the PTE Academic Online.

Scores can be self-reported on the application or sent directly from the testing agency. If you are sending scores from the testing agency, follow the below instructions:

For the TOEFL iBT, use NYU's code 2562.

For the IELTS Academic, search for "New York University" and release results to Undergraduate Admissions as opposed to one of our schools or colleges. Similarly, for the PTE Academic, C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency, select "New York University" as opposed to one of our specific NYU schools or colleges. Searching for "NYU" will not return any results; you must search using our official name.

For the Duolingo English Test, please follow the instructions outlined in Duolingo's "How do I send my Duolingo English Test results to institutions?" documentation to send your score to NYU for free.


Who is exempt from English language proficiency testing?

Exemptions will be given in the following circumstances: 

  • English is your first/primary language

  • You already completed (at the time of application submission) three or more consecutive academic years in a curriculum where the only language of instruction was English

If the last option applies to you, you will be able to submit a copy of a transcript that shows at least 3 full years of instruction at a school taught solely in English as part of your application. 

If you are currently residing in the U.S. and attend an English-speaking school, you qualify for the programs, even if you are not a U.S. citizen.


Do you have a minimum score requirement? 

We do not have any minimum test score requirements, but competitive applicants will receive:

  • 100 and above on the TOEFL iBT 

  • 7.5 and above on the IELTS Academic 

  • 70 and above on the PTE Academic 

  • 191 and above on the Cambridge English Scale 

  • 4.5 and above on the iTEP

  • 125 and above on the Duolingo English Test

Please note that NYU advises against a B-1/B-2 visa or Visa Waiver (ESTA) for international students. If you require NYU sponsorship for a visa, only F-1 or J-1 is advised. International students who are admitted will receive further instructions about applying for an I-20 in order to secure their student visa via email after accepting their spot.

Please note that international students currently studying in the US (at NYU or at another academic institution) who currently are in a F-1 or J-1 visa status are not required to submit additional visa documentation in order to participate in an NYU summer program, unless they need to transfer their SEVIS record to NYU.  Please contact OGS at directly if this is the case.

Upon arrival in the United States, all international students must participate in an International Student Check-In with the NYU Office of Global Services (OGS), which may be virtual or in-person, in order to be in compliance. Prior to the start of your program, you will receive information from OGS about the check-in process.  

At NYU, Student Health Insurance is required for F-1 and J-1 students. International students receiving a student visa from NYU are automatically enrolled in and billed for NYU’s health insurance plan. Students participating in a program on the Washington Square campus are enrolled in the comprehensive health insurance plan, but have the option to downgrade to the basic policy if eligible.

To downgrade your Health Insurance plan, students must contact the NYU Student Health Center to see if they are eligible. For more information, they can also visit the Student Health Center website. Please note that the deadline to downgrade coverage for the summer will be on or around June 5, 2023.

Insurance fees are listed below under the additional fees section. 

In addition to tuition and living expenses, international students on an NYU-sponsored visa will also be assessed the following charges.

  • SEVIS Fee: This is a $180-$200 charge assessed by the US government as part of the application process for a I-20 or DS-2019. 

  • International Student Fee: This is a $90 charge assessed per semester or term and is part of the cost of attending NYU. 

  • Health Insurance: All students in F-1 and J-1 status are automatically enrolled in and billed for the NYU-sponsored student health insurance plan. The cost of insurance varies depending on the plan and duration of your program.

Health Insurance Fees for Tandon Programs (Program Duration: Fees)

  • 1 week: $36
  • 2 weeks: $72
  • 3 weeks: $108
  • 4 weeks: $144