Optical Technologies

MScOptical Technologies

Why this course?

The course explores the versatile field of optical technologies which supports many aspects of modern society. Optical technologies are expected to be a key enabling technology of the 21st century.

The course is based on the strong record of optical technologies across research divisions in the department of physics and the collaborating institutions:

You can choose classes relevant to your career interests from a wide range of topics including:

  • photonics and photonic materials
  • nanosciences
  • optics at the physics-life sciences interface
  • laser-based plasma physics
  • quantum optics and quantum information technology

You’ll put the knowledge gained in the taught components to use in a cutting-edge research project.

The course gives you the opportunity of exploring and mastering a large range of optical technologies. It enables you to put devices in the context of an optical system and/or application.

Who’s the course suitable for?

It’s suitable for those with a science or engineering background wanting to gain a vocational degree or to obtain a solid foundation for an optics-related PhD programme.

It’s also appropriate for those who’ve worked in industry and want to consolidate their future career by further academic studies.

You’ll study

The course consists of two semesters of taught classes followed by a three- month research project.


This course is run by the Department of Physics. The department’s facilities include:

  • well-equipped optical labs for semiconductor photonics, semiconductor spectroscopy and fluorescence lifetime analysis.
  • the Ultrafast Chemical Physics lab with state-of-the-art femtosecond laser systems for multi-dimensional IR spectroscopy
  • cutting edge high power laser research with SCAPA, the highest power laser in a UK university
  • a scanning electron microscopy suite for analysis of hard and soft matter
  • access to top-of-the-range high-performance computer facilities
  • industry standard cleanroom in the Institute of Photonics

Course content

Compulsory classes

Research Skills

This course introduces core skills needed to obtain research funding and successfully manage the resulting research in both an academic and a commercial environment.

Project Training

This course develops your transferable skills (communication skills, literature survey) in preparation for the project undertaken on the course.

It also helps you in developing an understanding of the management of projects in an industrial setting and preparation for successful working in technological industries.


You'll undertake a cutting edge research project in either one of the research groups of the Department of Physics or with collaborating departments and institutions (Chemistry, Institute of Photonics, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Centre for Biophotonics).

Elective classes

Introductory Nanoscience

The course addresses basic concepts relating to nanoscale physics before progressing to the techniques associated with production and characterisation of nanomaterials/nanostructures, and their potential impact in engineering, energy and healthcare.

Topics in Photonics: Laser & Nonlinear Optics

The course provides an introduction to laser physics, laser optics and nonlinear optics as required for the work in many photonic labs.

Optical Design

The course provides an introduction to lens design and the characterisation and optimisation of system performance including practical exercises with Oslo software.

Experimental Quantum & Atom Optics

The course provides an introduction to basic phenomena and experimental techniques in quantum and atom optics with a focus on laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation.

Advanced Topics in Photonics: Ultrafast Physics & Plasmas

The course provides an introduction to laser-plasma interaction, in particular with very high power and ultrashort pulses, and the resulting applications in radiation sources from the terahertz to the X-ray region, laser fusion and laser-based particle acceleration.

Device Microfabrication-Principle & Practice

This course introduces the principles, facilities and processes for device fabrication and cleanroom operation underpinning modern semiconductor photonics and other optical technologies.

Photonics Materials & Devices (topics in solid state physics)

The course provides an introduction into semiconductor physics, semiconductor electronics and semiconductor photonics with an outlook on micro and nano-structures and current hot topics.

Advanced Photonics Devices

This introduces advanced photonics devices including their principles and applications (quantum confinement, waveguide optics, photonic and electronic bandgaps, photonic crystals).

Theoretical Quantum Information

The course provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum information processing.

Quantum Optics, Nonlinearity & Open Quantum Systems

The course provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum optics, open quantum systems and nonlinear optics.

Optical Communication (Photonic Systems)

This module enables you to develop a basic conceptual understanding and working knowledge of fibre optic communications systems and their component parts addressing basic principles, engineering, design and performance limits.

Learning & teaching

Our teaching is based on lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory experiments, and research projects.


The assessment includes written examinations, coursework, presentations and a talk, oral examination and report presenting and defending the research project.

Entry requirements


First or second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in physics or a related subject.

English language

IELTS 6.0 (no individual score below 5.5) is required for all non-English speakers.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £5,000

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £6,000


  • 2017/18 - £18,000

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


The course gives you a thorough basis for a successful job in the photonics, optical and life sciences industries. It provides the basis to excel in more interesting and challenging posts.

The course can also be an entry route into an optics-related PhD programme.

Over the years, many of Strathclyde’s optics and photonics graduates have found successful employment at the large variety of local laser and optics companies as well as with national and international corporations.

Contact us


Optical Technologies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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