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MScIndustrial Photonics

Why this course?

Our research is rated No 1 (REF 2014 GPA Scores, Times Higher Education) in the UK

This course will train highly qualified physicists and engineers in the area of photonics, which is a key enabling technology, underpinning many areas of industry.

You'll have the opportunity to undertake a three-month research or development project based with one of our industrial partners such as M Squared Lasers.

We have a long tradition of cutting-edge photonics research, which supports our courses. Much of this work has resulted in significant industrial impact through our spin-out companies and academic-industrial collaborations.

You'll also have the opportunity to develop your entrepreneurial skills by taking courses delivered by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.

You’ll study

The course is made up of two semesters of taught classes, followed by a three-month research project based with one of our industrial partners. The majority of your classes are delivered by the Department of Physics and cover the following:

  • research and grant writing skills, which are valuable in both academic and commercial settings
  • project training, including entrepreneurial and innovation skills training and a literature survey preparing for the project in the company
  • topics in photonics, covering laser physics, laser optics and non-linear optics
  • optical design, where you will learn about advanced geometrical optics and apply this knowledge to the design of optical systems, through the use of modern optical design software
  • photonic materials and devices, focusing on semiconductor materials physics and micro/nano-structures
  • advanced photonic devices and applications, covering quantum well structures, waveguides and photonic crystals
These classes are complemented by two classes delivered by the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, which look at:
  • system engineering and electronic control which forms a key part of modern optical systems
  • photonic systems, where fibre optic communications systems and principles of photonic networks are discussed

Work placement

You'll be based with one of our industrial partners for a three-month project placement. This is your opportunity to experience how research and development operate within a commercial environment. It'll also give you a chance to form strong links with industry contacts.

The project is put forward by the company and supervised by both industrial and academic staff. Training on relevant skills and background will be received before and during the project.


Scotland has a world-leading position in optics and photonics industry.Your project will be carried out mainly in the excellent facilities of our Scottish industry partners. Projects elsewhere in the UK and with international companies may also be possible.

Advanced research facilities are also available in:

Our research is strongly supported in equipment and infrastructure. This includes a newly opened 3-storey wing in the John Anderson Building as part of a £13M investment programme in Physics. Furthermore, the IoP and FCAP have recently relocated into the University's Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) which at £90 million TIC is Strathclyde’s single-biggest investment in research and technology collaboration capacity. This new centre will accelerate the way in which researchers in academia and industry collaborate and innovate together in a new specifically designed state-of-the-art building in the heart of Glasgow.

Guest lectures

You'll attend the seminar series of the Institute of Photonics and Fraunhofer Centre of Applied Photonics with distinguished guest speakers giving a first-hand overview of the rapid development in applied photonics research.

Course content

Semester 1

Compulsory classes

Research Skills

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

Topics in Photonics: Laser & Nonlinear Optics

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

Elective classes

Optical Design

This class provides an introduction to lens design and the characterisation and optimisation of system performance including practical exercises with optical design software.

Photonics Materials & Devices (topics in solid state physics)

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

Optical Communication (Photonic Systems)

This class 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. It's taught across both semesters.

Semester 2

Compulsory classes

Project Training

This class develops entrepreneurial skills and helps you in developing an understanding of the management of projects in an industrial setting and preparation for successful working in technological industries. This component might be delivered in a weekend and six evening sessions or in the Easter break.

In addition, a project-specific literature survey will prepare you for the project and establish the connection to the industrial supervisor.

Advanced Photonics Devices

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

Systems Engineering Project

This class will provide the basic knowledge needed for both analogue circuit-based and digital chip-based control system control and engineering. The knowledge will be applied to a project in which the students integrate analogue electronics, software programming and digital processing to realise a practical engineering design that solves a research problem.

Semester 3

Research project
Cutting-edge research and development project at one of our industrial partners. This might involve developing or validating a test setup, characterising a product, raw materials, instrumentation or vendor parts, improving the performance of a product or process, or participating in research and development of a new technology or product.

Learning & teaching

In semesters one and two, the course involves:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • various assignments including a literature review
  • workshops where you'll gain presentation experience
The courses include compulsory and elective classes from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

Over the summer, you'll undertake a three-month project based on practical laboratory work in a partner company. You'll be supervised by the industrial partner and supported by an academic supervisor.


Assessment methods are different for each class and include:

  • written examinations
  • marked homework consisting of problems and/or essay assignments
  • presentations 

Your practical project is assessed on a combination of a written report, an oral presentation, and a viva in which you're questioned on the project.

Entry requirements

Minimum upper second-class honours degree, or international equivalent, in physical science or electronic or electrical engineering, eg Engineering Physics, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Material Science. Other qualifications may be considered for the MSc, including industrial experience.

You'll also need suitable references and acceptance by one of our partner companies to carry out the Masters project work with them.

Please also provide a CV and a statement detailing your interests and motivation and send these with your application. You may be invited for an interview.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with no component below 5.5).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.0. Please see ELTD for full details.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, 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.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding


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


  • £7,800

Rest of UK

  • £7,800


  • £18,750

How can I fund my course?

Financial support for Scottish and EU students may be available on a case-by-case basis which will be supported by the industrial partners. Selection will be based on an excellent academic record and/or industrial experience and the promise of a successful career in Industrial Photonics.

Please indicate that you apply for such a scholarship in the "Funding" section of the application form. You'll also need to provide a CV and a statement explaining your interests and motivation with your application. This will inform the decision on a possible scholarship.

For more information, just get in touch with the Department of Physics.

Please note

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


A degree in industrial photonics can set you up to work in a range of jobs in physics and positions in other industries.

Typically, it can lead you to photonic technologies in industrial corporate research and development units, production engineering and applied academic laboratories.

Work experience is key

Employers want to know you can do the job so work experience is key.

This course has a strong focus on the relationship between academia and industry. It's a great opportunity to enhance your skills and provides a direct transition from university to the work place.

We have an excellent record of graduate employment in the Scottish, national and international optics and photonics industries.

Doctorate study

If you're interested in practical work with impact but are also interested in a further academic qualification, you can move on to study an EngD or a CASE PhD studentship. These can lead to a doctorate within industry or in close collaboration with industry.

Job roles

Our Physics graduates from photonics related courses have found employment in a number of different roles including:

  • Medical Physicist
  • Optical engineer
  • Laser engineer
  • Optical and laser production engineer
  • Research and production engineer
  • Senior Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Spacecraft Project Manager
  • Defence Scientist
  • Oscar winner

Contact us


Industrial Photonics

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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