Taught course

Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices (MSc)

University of St Andrews · School of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

A strong 2.2 Honours degree in physics, applied physics, electronic engineering, or equivalent qualifications. Lesser qualifications combined with relevant industrial experience may also be suitable.

Months of entry


Course content

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.


  • Tailored to balance fundamental understanding with industrial relevance.
  • Gain an understanding of the fundamental properties of optoelectronic materials and devices with vocational training in modern optics, laser physics and semiconductor physics. You also gain practical experience in the operation of a wide range of laser devices and optoelectronic technologies.
  • Develop an appreciation of the widespread practical applications of coherent light sources in communications, material processing and testing, optical processing, medical treatments and diagnostics, and environmental monitoring.

Teaching format

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, with typically around 20-30 students in a class. 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 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.


The lecture modules in this programme are delivered through lectures combined with tutorials, discussions and independent study; they are assessed through examinations and, in some cases, coursework. In the two lab modules, which are continuously assessed, students explore practical photonics for three afternoons a week.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see our website; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
EU: £9,450 Overseas: £23,090

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0)1334 46 3103