GRADUATE STUDIES AT THE INSTITUTE OF OPTICS
Why study at the Institute of Optics?
- Founded in 1929, The Institute of
Optics was the first academic department devoted to Optics in the United States
- More than half of all the degrees in optics in this Country have been granted by the Institute of Optics
- Our alumni/ae include the founders and CEOs of many successful companies, Heads
of Department at prestigious universities, and outstanding researchers in
academia, national laboratories and industry.
- Over thirty of our faculty and
alumni/ae have served as presidents or chairs of professional societies like the Optical
Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society’s Division of Laser
Science (APS DLS), the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and
the International Commission for Optics (ICO).
- Many more have served as editors
of highly-ranked scientific journals.
- Three of the twelve most cited books in
Physics were authored by faculty of The Institute of Optics.
Job opportunities in optics are many and constantly growing given its increasing role in industrial research and development. As many academic physics and electrical
engineer-ing departments are placing more emphasis on research and teaching in
optics, demand is growing for faculty who are well educated in this area.
Recent graduates have joined the faculties of major universities, taken research positions at industrial and governmental laboratories, or have started or joined companies.
The process of admission to the Graduate Program at the Institute of Optics is very competitive. However, once in the program, our goal is for every student to succeed in his or her studies. We strive to create an environment of collaboration and collegiality amongst our student body. Upon admission, our students become members of a close knight community that includes not only the current students , faculty and staff, but also the many alumni working in industry locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as researchers in government labs and faculty in academia. These connections create possibilities for research interactions while in the program, as well as job opportunities following graduation.
In addition to the faculty at the Institute of Optics, our students have the opportunity to work with a large number of faculty members at the University of Rochester working in optics or closely related areas within the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, as well as the University of Rochester's Medical Center and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Through events including the biannual Industrial Associates meeting and events organized by the local OSA and SPIE chapters, our students also establish links with the thriving local optics industry. Students can also participate in the research carried out as part of the interdisciplinary research groups within the university, such as the Center for Medical Technology and Innovation, the Center for Freeform Optics, and the Center for Coherence and Quantum Optics.
Typical profiles of applicants to the Graduate Program in Optics
Students may choose to enter The Institute of Optics for
- Students of physics may wish to continue their physics
education at the graduate level, with a strong emphasis on optics. A wide range
of courses in optical physics is offered. Additional courses in subjects such
as statistical mechanics, relativistic quantum theory, and condensed matter
physics are available in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
- Students of electrical engineering may wish to continue
their EE education at the graduate level, with a strong emphasis on optics.
Many exciting topics involve an interaction between electrical engineering and
optics: subpicosecond electro-optic sampling, image recognition and processing,
remote sensing, hybrid electrical-optical computing, and optical communication.
- Students with either science or
engineering backgrounds may wish to pursue a graduate education in the area of
optical system design and instrumental optics. This area of engineering is now
rapidly expanding into virtually all segments of industrial research and
product development. It includes the development and use of new optical
materials such as gradient index glasses, as well new techniques for the
design, fabrication and testing of optical systems and devices for applications
ranging from medical diagnosis to astronomical observation.
Of course, not all students fall neatly into one of these
categories, which are themselves strongly overlapping. For the student who is
not certain of which area would be the most rewarding, The Institute of Optics
can be the ideal place.
Graduate Degrees offered at The Institute of Optics
- The M.S.
program in Optics offers great flexibility, both in duration and scope. This program can be completed in two, three,
or four semesters of full-time study (or over a longer period of part-time
study). M.S. students can choose to pursue a broad education in optics, or to
specialize in areas such as Medical Optics, Image Science, Optical Design,
Fabrication and Testing, Optical Communications, Electro-optics, Nonlinear
Optics, Optical Materials, Laser Engineering, or Business Administration.
- The Ph.D. program in Optics prepares students for high-level research in academia, industry, or national laboratories. During the first two semesters, students are exposed to a broad
range of areas within this field, through class work, special seminars
presented by the faculty, and individual meetings in which students and faculty
members can discuss their interests. This exposure allows the students to make
educated choices of what path to follow for the rest of their Ph.D. studies. By the end of the second semester, students join a research group and begin working towards a doctoral thesis.