Photonics and optoelectronic graduates

There are a variety of possible graduate destinations for those who complete the Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices (MSc). While some graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes, others use their knowledge, skills and attitudes to find employment in the photonics area with companies are organisations around the world.

Examples of previous graduate destinations are showcased below. 

December 2017

Our picture shows MSc and PhD new graduates from the School at the December 2017 ceremony. Now (summer 2018), of the Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices MSc students:

  • Aine is working in fibre optic communications
  • Brandon is a graduate optical design engineer at STMicroelectronics
  • Darren is working in research and development at Optoscribe 
  • Emma is working in research and development at STMicroelectronics 

    "The MSc course has provided a useful checklist for the problem-solving tasks I have faced at STMicroelectronics. By applying knowledge gained on the course to the challenges in a project, I have been able to use more thought through debug techniques, which in turn leads to a faster and more efficient solution." - Emma

  • Nicholas is a research engineer in the EngD programme working at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics

    "The course covers a broad range of photonics topics in a lot of depth both in theory and practise, which gave me a really solid foundation to go on and do work in different areas with confidence. Additionally, the teaching staff and the programme itself are widely respected across both industry and academia, and a lot of previous graduates of the programme are well established in their careers now and know the value this course provides. I'm delighted to be doing a doctorate which I would definitely not be able to do without having done the POED MSc."- Nicholas

  • Max is working in data science 
  • Owen is at Canon Medical Research Europe as an EngD research engineer
  • Paddy is on Leonardo's graduate scheme 
  • Paul is working for Unik Lasers
  • Rowan is at Optoscribe as an EngD research engineer 

    "The POED course was invaluable in teaching me the necessary theory and skills required for an exciting and varied career in photonics. The industrial placement was a particular highlight, giving first-hand experience in an industrial environment. For me, this led directly onto an EngD placement with the company. This involves four years of industrial research for the sponsor company, which concludes with producing a thesis for a doctorate degree. It is the industrial equivalent of a PhD. I would highly recommend both the POED course and EngD route to an industrial career in photonics." - Rowan

  • Shan is studying for a PhD at Heriot-Watt University 

November 2015

Physics MSc postgraduates in 2015

Eight students graduated in November 2015 at the ceremony in St Andrews.

  • Angelos is now working at M-Squared Lasers.
  • Christoph is employed as an Optical Engineer by STMicroelectronics, where he had worked on his MSc project.
  • Dougie has started a PhD at the University of Durham in the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation for Astronomy.
  • Shivani got a placement at Selex during her studies and now has a position in a different role at the same company.

"The company summer placement project is something quite unique provided by this course and allows a taste of industrial experience to those who choose to work at a company. This was invaluable experience when deciding whether or not an engineering job was something I'd wish to consider in the future. Furthermore, it was interesting to be exposed to the research from two institutions renowned for their work done in the area of photonics." – Shivani

"Doing the MSc in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices was the best choice I could have made. It is challenging and intensive, but most enjoyable and organised by two excellent universities, St Andrews and Heriot-Watt, both well-reputed in this research field and both maintaining a strong connection to industry. I personally worked in Selex ES for my final project which was a valuable experience. I would highly recommend this MSc program to everyone who is interested in photonics and would like to gain an insight into the photonics industry." – Kim

  • Mihail has joined the Sandoghdar division at the Max Planck Institute for the science of light in Erlangen, Germany, to continue his studies.

"I conducted my research project at Heriot-Watt University under the supervision of Professor Daniele Faccio. The project was investigating the ability to image light-in-flight propagating through an optical crystal fibre using state-of-the-art single photon avalanche photo-diode arrays. The project was equally divided between experimental and theoretical work. The POED MSc combined with my previous BSc degree in Mathematical Physics had a big influence on my future career and led to the decision of conducting doctoral research incorporating both theoretical and experimental aspects." – Mihail


November 2013

Graduating postgraduate Physics students in 2013.

In 2013, there were 10 students on the Photonics and optoelectronics MSc.

After completing the MSc, many graduates choose to go onto further education or seek employment. In 2013, four graduates were hired by the company where they worked on their MSc summer project, one was hired by a Scottish lasers company, and five started or were in the process of applying for PhD studies.

Examples of graduate destinations include: 

  • M-Squared Lasers – Stuart is now working on the production and support of a high specification single-frequency, frequency-scannable, cw Ti:sapphire laser.
  • STMicroelectronics - Two students were hired by the multinational electronics and semiconductor manufacturer.
  • Silixa – Liam is working on fibre sensors.
  • Polytec – Oscar is working on optical measurement systems for underwater robotics at this company based in the Norwegian fjords.
  • The Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Systems Development – Jennifer is studying for her MRes at University College London, which she will follow with PhD research at Cambridge.

Calum Brown — five years after graduating in 2011

After completing the MSc, I spent two and half years working for a laser manufacturer, where my role was to build, test, ship and install the company’s principal laser system throughout the world. I was able to apply the knowledge and understanding gained throughout the MSc to an exciting and high-tech environment, practically and theoretically.

Since then, I have spent the last two years working for a surgical devices company in ophthalmology, testing, installing and providing technical support for surgeons and theatre staff in hospitals throughout Scotland. The MSc has been particularly helpful when working with the surgical refractive systems, where lasers are used to cut flaps in the cornea and reshape the cornea during corrective procedures.

The course in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices was superb. As well as the chance to study at two world-leading universities, it has given me exciting, interesting and varied opportunities so far in my career.

Calum Brown, 2011 graduate from the Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices MSc programme