Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices (MSc) 2017 entry

This MSc provides postgraduate vocational training in lasers, optics, and semiconductors tailored to the needs of those seeking to enter photonics-based industry and university research. Students benefit from classes using the expertise at St Andrews and Heriot-Watt universities, followed by a 3.5 month project, often with a UK photonics company.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course duration

Twelve months full time

Entry requirements

A strong 2.2 Honours degree in physics, applied physics, electronic engineering, or equivalent qualifications. Lesser qualifications combined with relevant industrial experience may also be suitable. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

For 2017 entry, admission to the Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices MSc is administered by Heriot-Watt University, and queries regarding fees should be directed to them.

Application deadline

Applications are requested by the end of July but may be considered later.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate
  • letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

If you started this programme in 2016, you can find information about 2016 entry on the 2016 Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices MSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Apply for this course

Course information

The MSc in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices is a 12-month taught programme run jointly by the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which makes available to students the combined diversity of research equipment and expertise at both universities.

Highlights

  • Students have access to well-resourced teaching laboratories which allow hands-on experience to explore a wide range of laser devices and optoelectronic technologies. 
  • The programme is offered in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University and run by schools known for pioneering work in lasers and optoelectronics. 
  • The School helps students to find a summer placement usually with a photonics company, which can allow students to gain vocational training in the optoelectronics and laser industry alongside their studies.

Teaching format

Students take modules at St Andrews in Semester 1 and Heriot-Watt in Semester 2, followed by approximately 3.5 months working on a project, which is usually with an optoelectronics company. 

Teaching comprises lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Lecture classes are relatively small, with typically around 20-30 students in a class. Lecture modules are assessed largely through examinations at the end of each semester whereas the laboratory work is assessed continuously. The lecture and lab modules develop important skills and knowledge that can be used in the summer project. The project is an on-the-job investigation or development of some aspect of photonics, often in a commercial setting.

Well-equipped teaching laboratories allow you to explore the science of photonics and interact directly with academic staff and the School’s early-career researchers. Teaching staff are accessible to students and enjoy explaining the excitement of physics and its applications.

Students are also encouraged to attend relevant research seminars and departmental discussions given by research staff from other universities and specialists from the industry.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

The lecture modules in this programme are delivered through lectures combined with tutorials, discussions and independent study; they are assessed through examinations and, in some cases, coursework. In the two lab modules, which are continuously assessed, students explore practical photonics for three afternoons a week.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2016–2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.

Semester 1 modules (at St Andrews):

  • Laser Physics: presents a description of the main physical concepts upon which an understanding of laser materials, operations and applications can be based.
  • Photonics Laboratorygives training in experimental photonics and allows students the opportunity to explore photonics practically in a series of chosen open-ended investigations.
  • Displays and Nonlinear Optics: covering the physics of polymers and liquid crystals as well as the physical ideas and application of second and third order nonlinear optics. 
  • A photonics application: choose one from two or more application areas, for example Biophotonics or Applications of Quantum Physics.

Semester 2 modules (at Heriot-Watt):

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2016–2017 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Project

The summer research and development project, which is often hosted by a UK company, is an ideal introduction to the optoelectronics and laser industry. It represents a great opportunity to get hands-on research and development experience in a commercial environment, working on a project that is important to the company concerned.

The project placement occupies 12 to 14 weeks from late May to August and is assessed in September through the submission of a dissertation (up to 15,000 words) and an oral exam. 

The programme coordinator aims to find host companies for students on the programme. Companies who have recently hosted projects for our students include BAE Systems, Elforlight, SELEX Galileo, STMicroelectronics, M-Squared Lasers, Silixa and Unik Lasers.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Next visiting day
November 2017

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Conferences, events, resources and visiting speakers

The Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices programme invites a number of industrial experts to speak with students throughout the year. 

The School usually organises visits to one or two relevant companies in the first semester.

Our Industrial Advisory Committee contributes to course design, and our industrial partners provide summer placements.

Zemax provides their optical design software as part of their Educational Support Program.

Funding

Tuition fee scholarships

At least three students from Scotland and non-UK parts of the European Union should be able to gain a scholarship from or via the University of St Andrews covering their full tuition fees for the programme. Details of the application process can be found on the SFC funded places page, and information will also be provided directly to relevant applicants.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.  

Industrial support

STMicroelectronics, a semiconductor company, is offering financial support to UK and European students as well as summer internships.

Most of our students undertake their summer project in industry. Some of our industrial partners provide a stipend for their placement students.

After the MSc

Research degrees

Some of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews, Heriot-Watt or elsewhere. For appropriate candidates, there are opportunities for fully funded PhD or EngDoc research projects are available in research fields within the School of Physics and Astronomy at St Andrews and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.

The School awards PhD scholarships funded by the UK Research Councils (EPSRCSTFC and NERC) which can cover both fees and stipend. 

PhD in Physics

Careers

The Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices MSc course aims to produce graduates with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to go on to be successful in the photonics area. ome of our recent graduates are featured in our graduate profiles. In addition to employment in companies, some MSc graduates have found long-term employment in universities worldwide. Some of the locations where our MSc graduates have obtained employment include:

  • BAE Systems
  • Cascade Technologies
  • Edinburgh Instruments
  • Gooch and Housego UK Ltd
  • M-Squared Laser
  • Silixa
  • STMicroelectronics
  • Taylor Hobson
  • Unik Lasers.

Contact

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of St Andrews
North Haugh
St Andrews 
KY16 9SS
Scotland, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1334 463103 
Email: physpg@st-andrews.ac.uk

Physics and Astronomy website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)