Taught course

Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices

University of St Andrews · School of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

Candidates should hold a good honours degree (2.2 or better), or its equivalent, from a British or overseas university, but lesser qualifications linked to appropriate experience may be acceptable. Applications from company employees are also welcomed.

Months of entry


Course content

Course highlights

  • Students have access to well-resourced teaching laboratories which allow hands-on experience to explore a wide range of laser devices and optoelectronic technologies.
  • The programme is offered in collaboration with Heriot-Watt university and run by Schools known for pioneering work in lasers and optoelectronics.
  • The School helps students to find an optional placement with an optoelectronics company, allowing you to gain vocational training in the optoelectronics and laser industry alongside your studies.

Teaching format

The MSc in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices is a 12-month taught programme run jointly by the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which makes available to students the combined diversity of research equipment and expertise at both universities.

Students take modules at St Andrews in Semester 1 and Heriot-Watt in Semester 2, followed by approximately 3.5 months working on a project, which is usually with an optoelectronics company.

Teaching comprises lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Lecture classes are relatively small, ranging from about 30 students down to groups of just a few. Lecture modules are assessed largely through examinations at the end of each semester whereas the laboratory work is assessed continuously. The lecture and lab modules develop important skills and knowledge that can be used in the summer project. The project is an on-the-job investigation or development of some aspect of photonics, often in a commercial setting.

Well-equipped teaching laboratories allow you to explore the science of photonics and interact directly with academic staff and the School’s early-career researchers. Teaching staff are always accessible to students and enjoy explaining the excitement of physics and its applications.

Students are also encouraged to attend relevant research seminars and departmental discussions given by research staff from other universities and specialists from the industry.

Information for international students

A minimum of IELTS 7.0 or equivalent. English language courses are available during the summer prior to course commencement.

Fees and funding

UK students
contact Heriot-Watt University for details
International students
contact Heriot-Watt University for details


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations40
Written coursework / continuous assessment27
Dissertation33 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0) 1334 463103