The doctoral program is designed to prepare its graduates to carry out independent creative research in an industrial, academic, or government setting. Admission to the Ph.D. program is very competitive, with approximately 12 to 15 students admitted each year.
Ph.D. students spend the first two semesters of their studies taking courses that cover a broad range of areas in optics. This coursework requires no prior experience with Optics, but assumes a level of mathematical and scientific preparation consistent with a B.S. degree in Physics, Applied Physics, or Electrical Engineering. With this preparation the students are then able to make a knowledgeable choice of specialization for thesis research.
During the second term students talk to various faculty members and join a research group, beginning work in the summer. At the beginning of the second year students take a written preliminary examination covering the first-year coursework as well as other important topics. Then, the remainder of the second year is spent in taking advanced specialized coursework, fulfilling the one-year teaching assistant requirement, and doing research. The range of possible research topics is very wide as can be seen from reading through the research description in our website.
The Institute is a particularly stimulating environment to carry out research. There are regular research seminars and visits by internationally known optics researchers. Also, the sheer concentration of optics at The Institute of Optics, elsewhere at the University of Rochester, and throughout the Rochester community, means that there is a resident expert consultant for almost any conceivable question in optics.
If you are interested in applying to the Optics Ph.D. Program, please click here.