The Optics and Photonics PhD
program is intended for students with a bachelors or master’s degree in Optics,
Electrical Engineering, Physics, or closely related fields who wish to pursue a
career in research or academia. Students with degrees in related fields may be
required to take undergraduate articulation courses determined by the program
director on a case-by-case basis.
Students are required to pass a
qualifying examination, usually taken after 12 months in the program. About one
year after passing the qualifying exam, students must take a candidacy
examination, form a dissertation committee, and submit an approved program of
study before being admitted to candidacy doctoral status. The PhD core courses
are not absolutely required, but they have been designed to include a
significant portion of the material upon which the qualifying examination is
based. Consequently, students are strongly encouraged to include most of these
courses in their programs of study.
Additional notes on the
- A minimum of 39 hours of formal course work is required
of which at least 30 credit hours must be formal Optics (OSE) courses.
- Up to 30 credit hours of appropriate graduate courses earned in a master’s
program from accredited universities may be waived with approval from the
- Only courses with grades of “B” or better can be
Required Courses—21 Credit Hours
Core Courses—15 Credit Hours
- OSE 6111 Optical Wave Propagation (3 credit hours)
- OSE 5115 Interference and Diffraction (3 credit hours)
- OSE 5312 Light Matter Interaction (3 credit hours)
- OSE 6211 Imaging and Optical Systems (3 credit hours)
- OSE 6525 Laser Engineering (3 credit hours)
Research Methods/ Laboratory
Courses—6 Credit Hours
At least 6 credit hours of approved Optics and
related science/engineering research methods/laboratory courses are required
from the list below. At least one must be in Optics (OSE). One required
laboratory may be waived if the student can demonstrate an equivalent hands-on
proficiency in that laboratory specialization. These research methods/laboratory
courses count toward the formal graduate course work requirement.
- OSE 6234C Applied Optics Laboratory (3 credit hours)
- OSE 6455C Photonics Laboratory (3 credit hours)
- OSE 6526C Laser Engineering
Laboratory (3 credit hours)
- OSE 6615L Optoelectronic Device Fabrication
Laboratory (3 credit hours)
- Other graduate science and engineering labs
may be taken with college approval.
Elective Courses—36 Credit Hours Minimum
Restricted Electives—9 Credit Hours
addition to the required courses above, students will need to complete an
additional 9 credit hours to meet the 30 hours of formal Optics (OSE) course
work required. An additional three hours of optics course work will also be
required if the student waived out of one of the research methods/laboratory
courses above, or if one of the laboratory courses taken is not an OSE prefix.
Any formal graduate course with an OSE prefix may be an
elective with the approval of the adviser. In addition, the following courses
are also accepted toward meeting the Optics (OSE) course work requirement.
- EMA 5610 Laser Materials Processing (3 credit hours)
- PHY 5455
Modern X-ray Science (3 credit hours)
- PHZ 5505 Plasma Physics (3
A listing and description of courses offered by the
College of Optics and Photonics is found in the "Courses" section of the
Graduate Catalog Menu at the top of the page.
Credit Hours Minimum
A combination of formal course work and research
hours comprise the remaining unrestricted hours. At least 9 of these hours must
be formal course work, which may be graduate optics, science or engineering
courses. In addition to the 9 hours, 18 credits may be regular formal course
work, doctoral research hours, independent study, or doctoral dissertation
hours. The independent study hours are limited to a maximum of 3 credit hours. Any courses outside of the graduate optics, science or engineering
disciplines must be approved by the college associate dean.
Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum
- OSE 7980 Dissertation
Research (15 credit hours)
students are eligible to take the candidacy examination, they must pass a
written qualifying examination, which for full-time students is normally taken
at the end of the first year of graduate study. The purpose of the qualifying
exam is for the student to demonstrate mastery of the fundamentals of optics and photonics. The exam is administered by the doctoral qualifying
examination committee, which consists of several graduate faculty members
representing the appropriate disciplines, appointed by the director or designee.
The committee’s duties include the preparation and grading of the examination
material, and it may solicit input from other interested faculty. The exam is a
closed book written exam in the general areas of electromagnetic foundations of
optics, interference, diffraction, coherence, linear systems imaging, and light matter interaction. Students who do not pass the qualifying examination in two attempts will not
continue in the program.
required to successfully complete the candidacy examination before admission to
full doctoral status. The purpose of the candidacy exam is for the student to
demonstrate his or her readiness for the PhD program through preliminary
research work in the chosen field of study. The candidacy exam is comprised of
written and oral portions. The exam is administered by the members of the
student's dissertation advisory committee who are full faculty members of the
College of Optics and Photonics. External committee members of the dissertation
advisory committee are not appointed until after the student has passed the
candidacy exam. The exam is normally taken near the completion of required
course work. Students must pass the candidacy exam before registering for
doctoral dissertation hours (OSE 7980).
Admission to Candidacy
The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in
- Completion of most course work, except for
- Successful completion of the candidacy
- The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting
of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
of an approved program of study.
Dissertation Proposal and
Approximately one year after passing the general candidacy
examination, and after the student has begun research, the student will write a
dissertation proposal and present it to their dissertation advisory committee
for its approval. The proposal must include the research performed to date and
the research planned to complete the dissertation. The committee, which consists
of three graduate faculty members from the College of Optics and Photonics and
one faculty member from outside the college, must be approved by the director or
designee and will meet annually to review the student’s progress. The
dissertation advisory committee also administers the dissertation oral defense