Teleoperated surgical robots can significantly improve the performance of minimally invasive surgeries. The performance of a master-slave robotic system depends significantly on the capability of its master device to appropriately interface the user with the slave robot. However, master robots currently used in the clinic present several drawbacks such as the mismatch between the slave and master workspaces and the inability to intuitively transfer the slave robot’s dexterity and joint limits to the user. In this paper, the “teleoperation manipulability index (TMI)” is introduced as a quantifiable measure of the combined master-slave system manipulability. We also demonstrate the application of the TMI in the design of master-slave robotic systems. By employing the proposed manipulability index, we are able to modify the design of a commercially available master robot that 1) enhances surgeon’s control over force/velocity of a surgical robot, 2) minimizes the master robot’s footprint, 3) optimizes the surgeons’ control effort, and 4) avoids singularities and joint limits of the master and slave robots. A simulation study is performed to validate the performance of the modified master-slave robotic system.