Master of Science in Photonics


Program Description

Studying world-class photonics

This Master program is highly international, fully taught in English, and provides a multidisciplinary coverage of the field of optics and photonics.

We highly appreciate and strongly encourage applications from students who have obtained or are about to obtain a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification in Physics, Natural Sciences, or Engineering.

Why Photonics?

The invention of the laser in 1960 paved the way for a new research era in optics and photonics. With optics and photonics acting as enablers and catalysts, the invention of photonic technologies has far-reaching consequences, triggering a revolution in many fields of science, medicine, and technology.

Prominent examples which have been affected are microscopy and imaging, spectroscopy, medical treatment, life sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and communication technologies. Electronics, the dominant technology of the 20th century lost its position to optics and photonics in the 21st century, which is frequently termed the "century of light". Great challenges in fundamental research and a huge market for optically dominated products drive the evolution in optics and photonics.

Nowadays, photonics is one of the key enabling technologies to address great challenges of the 21st century, e.g. in the fields of energy, mobility, health, communication, environment, and security. There are few technologies, which rule and govern in our everyday life as much as photonics.


Why Jena?

Jena is the cradle of modern photonics! There is no other city where photonics is so deeply immersed in every aspect of the society and everyday life. Jena has a long-standing tradition characterized by the symbiosis between academic research and a quickly developing optical industry including the high potential for innovation already documented by those Jena pioneers Carl Zeiss, Otto Schott and Ernst Abbe. In fact, Jena has been a source of innovation in humanities and science since the 17th century. This multidisciplinary approach common among Jena researchers, Jena's international reputation in top research areas, world-leading companies in the photonic technologies, as well as an extremely high liveability distinguishes Jena from every other place in the world.

Abbe School of Photonics in Jena

A broad academic education at the highest international level within a modern research environment provides a profound up-to-date knowledge in a variety of fields - from fundamental sciences and laser physics to material sciences and life sciences - that's our Abbe School of Photonics. State-of-the-art laboratories at highest international standards offer optimum conditions for research at the frontiers of photonics.

A cornerstone of our philosophy is to regard and value our Ph.D. and doctoral candidates as true scientists in all respects. Thus, we offer an individually adjusted and highly flexible program to meet each candidate's scientific background and interests. This guarantees an optimum level of preparation for key and leading positions in science, industry or governmental positions.


Our Master Graduates

Our alumni program enables long-term professional connections with our teachers and principal scientists. It is designed to allow the alumni to receive first-hand information on the most recent developments in academia. Lifelong learning and the creation of networks are essential prerequisites be up-to-date on quickly changing trends in science, technology and education. Have a look at our Master graduates here:


Your Master of Science in Photonics from Jena

  • Our Master program is based on decades of experience in photonics education at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the internationally reputed Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
  • At the same time, the program is embedded in the modern research environment of the Abbe Center of Photonics, a leading European center in photonics science, and the local photonics institutes of the world-known German research associations Fraunhofer, Leibniz and Helmholtz.
  • The Master program is part of an entire education program at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena specialized in photonics, starting for the Bachelor level (BSc in Physics), continuing in the Master program, and culminating in a structured Ph.D. programme (Graduate Research School in Photonics). Each module is specifically designed to provide the students with the skills necessary to fill adequate positions in industry and academia.
  • We offer special scholarships covering full financial support for the best applicants.
  • The Master program is linked with renowned international universities from all over the world, supported by various programs funded by the European Union. Thus, our students can spend up to one year of their studies at one of the partner universities. The long list of these partners includes, but is not limited to, Australian National University Canberra and University of Sydney (both Australia), CREOL – University of Central Florida, University of Arizona, University of Rochester (all USA), University of Toronto, INRS – Université de Rechèrche in Montréal, Université Laval in Québec City (all Canada), and Massey University in Wellington (New Zealand).


Program Structure

The Master's degree program comprises four educational stages and is complemented by German and English language courses as well as ASP training courses:

  • I - Adjustment: This stage provides students with the necessary background knowledge in optics, structure of matter and in condensed matter physics.
  • II - Fundamentals: This stage provides students with a solid background in the following important topics dealing with optics and photonics: laser physics, optical metrology and optical design. It also provides hands-on experience in the optical laboratory.

  • III - Specialization: This stage allows students to acquire specialized knowledge selected from about 20 advanced courses.

  • IV - Practical photonics training and Master's degree thesis: An 8-week industrial internship is scheduled for each student after the second semester of study. According to their specialization, students perform a nine-month research project based on a current topic of research. At the end of the program, the students carry out an advanced scientific laboratory course in photonics and document their results in a Master's degree thesis.


The Master's degree program is complemented by German language courses, intercultural training, application training, training in good scientific practice, as well as specialized lectures and courses provided by internationally renowned guest professors.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

The Abbe School of Photonics (ASP) provides and coordinates the graduate studies in optics and photonics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, promoting their academic careers and providing job e ... Read More

The Abbe School of Photonics (ASP) provides and coordinates the graduate studies in optics and photonics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, promoting their academic careers and providing job experience in the photonics industry. The School's interdisciplinary education programs are embedded within the framework of a world-class, cross-fertilizing research environment. Offered graduate degrees are our distinguished Master's degree programs (M.Sc. Photonics and M.Sc. Physics with focus on photonics) and a broad-based doctoral (PhD) program in optics and photonics. In the current Academic Ranking of World Universities, the so-called Shanghai ranking, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena ranks among the 300 best Universities worldwide. In the 2017 ranking, the University of Jena belongs to the 22 best German universities. Jena is traditionally one of the most important and famous places in the world for optics and photonics. Read less