M.S. Optics

The Master of Science degree program in optics is designed to provide students who have a strong undergraduate preparation in physics or engineering with the knowledge and skills to contribute to state-of-the-art optics research and development. A number of options are available within the general degree requirements to satisfy the needs of students with a variety of goals in mind:

Coursework M.S. (2 semesters) - Standard option

Students wishing to get a basic training in optics to enter an industrial or governmental laboratory can obtain that training in as little as nine months (two semesters) by taking 30 hours of coursework and writing a Final Essay (15 pages). These courses provide the student with broad knowledge of the field of optics and its applications.

Certified Specialty

Students interested in a particular area of optics can choose to specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Optical communications,
  • Electro-optics/Nonlinear optics,
  • Optical materials,
  • Laser engineering,
  • Medical optics,
  • Image science,
  • Optical design, fabrication, and testing,
  • Business administration.

The timeline is similar to that of the standard option, with some of the required courses replaced with courses specific to the specialty.

Thesis M.S. (3-4 semesters)

The student who wishes to get advanced training in research in some particular area of optics may pursue a research-based Thesis. This option generally requires 18 to 24 months and it allows the student to develop a high level of expertise in a specialized field.

M.S. Co-Op Program (4 semesters)

This option allows the combination of formal education with practical industrial experience. The students begin with one semester of coursework, and then spend one full year working in the industry, following which they return to complete the second semester of coursework. During the year in industry, the students are paid the normal salary for employees with similar levels of experience. The Institute of Optics will assist the student in securing a Co-Op position in the industry.

Coursework M.S. with summer residency (3 semesters)

This option allows the student to extend the coursework over three semesters while maintaining full-time status. The student can carry out a summer residency in a research group or in industry. Students can follow the standard coursework or pursue a certified specialty area.


This option is an attractive one for the engineer working in industry who desires to get advanced training in optics. Courses (either Standard or Certified Specialty) can be taken over a period of four or more semesters.

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Start Date
Sep 2019
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