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Optics alumna and professor earn Nobel Prize

Donna Strickland '89 (PhD) and former optics professor Gérard Mourou shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

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Educating the next generation of optics leaders

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Studying light's generation, propagation, detection and interaction with matter

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Combining physics, engineering, chemistry and materials science

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Major & Minor

Pursue a degree or take courses in optics or optical engineering.

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Graduate Studies

We emphasize collaboration and collegiality in our master’s and doctoral programs.

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Optics Research

Research includes quantum optics, nanophotonics, optoelectronics, and more.

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Recent News

Katie Schwertz Elected as Director of SPIE

November 6, 2019

Katie Schwertz ’08 says she “didn’t really know anything about optics” until ...

2019 Hajim School Lifetime Achievement Award: James Fienup

August 27, 2019

In addition to remarkable research and teaching skills, this year’s recipient of the Hajim Sch ...

Rolland is 2019 Alumna of the Year at Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences

August 16, 2019

After graduating with a master's in optical engineering from the Ecole Superieure d’Optiq ...

Fennig receives Best Student Paper Prize

August 13, 2019

Eryn Fennig, a PhD candidate in the lab of Duncan Moore, Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Opt ...

Two awards recognize breadth of Agrawal’s contributions in physical optics

August 8, 2019

Two recent awards pay tribute to Govind Agrawal, the James C. Wyant Professor of Optics at the Insti ...

Matt Banet wins outstanding student paper award

July 24, 2019

Matthias (Matt) Banet won the Outstanding Student Paper award from the Optical Society (OSA) for his ...

Startup with strong ties to Institute is big winner at Luminate

June 28, 2019

The top finisher in this year’s Luminate competition is a startup company with strong ties to ...

Students illuminate the science of light at Lilac Festival

June 10, 2019

Amelia Nice may not have fully understood the science involved, but the 2-year-old was clearly intri ...

Industrial Associates

The IA Program provides training and informational benefits to participating companies and allows the Institute to learn more about industry needs and concerns. This exchange improves our partners’ ability to use modern optical technology while increasing our ability to educate individuals to assume key roles within their companies.

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Job Openings

View current openings for students/graduates and faculty.

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Graduate Programs

Now Accepting Applications!

Applications for the MS and PhD programs are open now through January 15, 2020.

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Biomedical engineering graduate student Tom Stoll, right, adjusts a virtual reality head-mounted display on assistant professor Ross Maddox.

Feature Story

New training in AR/VR tech gives Rochester doctoral students an edge

A $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation will establish a structured, well-rounded training program for University scholars applying augmented and virtual reality in health, education, design, and other fields.

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76620starting salary

The average starting salary for the Institute of Optics class of 2018 was $76,620.


Approximately 5 percent of the Institute of Optics class of 2018 went on to participate in programs such as the Fulbright Scholarship.

Career outcomes graph for a major in optics (class of 2018).
Thirty eight percent of the 2018 optics majors report they are working after graduation while sixty three percent are continuing their education.

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