MSc Optics and Photonics
Start date: October 2017
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits
Optics is of key importance to many industrial sectors including medicine, ICT and high-tech manufacturing, and Imperial is one of the largest centres for optics-based research and application in the UK.
About the course
Imperial has offered an advanced course in optics for over 80 years and the current MSc in Optics and Photonics draws on our experience as one of the largest centres for optics-based research and application in the UK.
The programme includes substantial laboratory and project work, often based within industry. There is also a chance to undertake a self-study project in an area of your choice. You finish with a four-month, full-time project, which may be in industry, an academic research group, or abroad.
Graduates of this course are well qualified to apply their knowledge in a wide range of industrial contexts, as well as in a research environment. They find employment with a variety of careers in industry and many move on to doctoral studies at leading universities in the UK and abroad.
Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.
The course lasts one year full-time and begins in October. A part-time course lasting two years is also available for students working for an appropriate organisation in the optics field.
We offer a wide range of core and optional courses, taught by experts in the field, allowing you to develop specialist knowledge across a wide range of optics.
The main coursework (i.e. lectures and laboratory work) takes place in the first two terms. The first term consists of foundation modules and laboratory work. In the second term, you choose further lectures from the optional modules available, and there is a laboratory project to design and build a working optical system.
Laboratory skills are recognised as an important element of the course and you will be required to undertake a total of approximately 160 hours of labwork.
Throughout the course, seminars will provide examples of both technical/scientific innovation and of entrepreneurship in research and industry.
A self-study activity in the second term is an introduction to project work (over approximately 50 hours) and is designed to encourage initiative and self-sufficiency in the learning process. It is assessed by a written report and oral presentation. This is one of several activities focused on developing your transferable skills.
You will spend the months of May to September on a major project, which is often carried out in industry.
Written examinations are held in January and April/May, whilst the laboratory work is continually assessed during the course. The final project is assessed by oral presentations and a dissertation submitted in September.
A Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma are not available on this programme.
- Optical communications / Information Theory or Plasmonics and metamaterials
- Optical measurement and devices
- Laboratory work
- Self-study project
- Four-month research project
- Advanced topics in nanophotonics
- Biomedical optics
- Laser optics
- Laser technology
- Non-linear optics
- Fibre technology
- Optical design
- Optical design laboratory
- Optical displays
- Optoelectronic components and devices
- Photonics structures
Note: optional modules are subject to change
Imperial College works closely with employers and industry, including Industrial Advisory Panels, to design Master’s courses which provide graduates with technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills and to encourage students to take internships and placements. All Master’s courses are designed with employer needs in mind with some Master’s courses accredited by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies. Most Master’s courses offer an opportunity to carry out research projects in industry.
Minimum academic requirement
2:1 Honours degree in physics, mathematics or electrical engineering, or evidence of appropriate qualifications.
The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.
We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.
If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.
English language requirements
All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.
For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification.
For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.
Fees and funding
Home and EU students
- £9,600 full-time
- £4,800* per year part-time
Islands and overseas students
- £25,000 full-time
- £12,500* per year part-time
* Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.
The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.
If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.
Funding from Imperial
We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.
For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.
How to apply
All applicants must apply online. For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.
You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.
Most of our postgraduate courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full. We therefore recommend applying early to avoid disappointment, especially students who will also be applying for funding or applying for a visa.
You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.
Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.
An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.
For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.
Find out more about the MSc in Optics and Photonics, including more detailed course content.