The Institute of Optics

Undergraduate Program


The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester has been a leader in the training of optical scientists and engineers since 1929. It is the oldest academic optics program in the country. More than half of all optics degrees awarded in the US have been granted by the Institute, and three of the twelve most cited books in physics were authored by Institute faculty.

As of Fall 2015, approximately 29% of optics majors are international students, 24% are women, and 5% belong to minority groups.

Learn more about the Institute and find out what optics is by visiting our about us and what is optics pages.

For specific program information, check out the Institute of Optics undergraduate handbook, degree program objectives and degree program outcomes.

Enrollment and graduation information for the BS degree in Optics and Optical Engineering can be found at

Prospective Students

The Institute of Optics has several pre-college programs for prospective high school students. Interested students can also contact Daniel Smith, the Institute’s undergraduate program manager, to visit the Institute.  Follow Optics Undergrad News on Facebook.

Hot Science

If you've ever used a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s rays on a summer day, you know that solar energy can produce surprisingly high temperatures. What if you gather that energy and focus it on a pot of popcorn? Would it pop the popcorn, just like on a stovetop? Watch the video below to find out!