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Undergraduate Degrees in Photonics & Optical Engineering

See the Light: Become an Optical or Photonics Engineer with a Bachelor’s in Photonics and Optical Engineering at BSU

The sky is the limit with photonics and optical engineering. Study and work with light energy and light information to design devices and create advances in laser manufacturing, communications, biomedical and chemical sensing, display technology, optical computing and transportation. With your Bachelor of Science in Photonics and Optical Engineering, you will join a next generation, fast-growing technologies industry with strong roots in Massachusetts.

While studying photonics engineering and optical engineering at BSU, you won’t have to wait long for exciting hands-on opportunities. We’ll introduce you to cutting-edge equipment early in your undergraduate studies. You may also conduct research and pursue internships as early as your sophomore year.

At BSU, you will find the photonics engineering and optical engineering program that works best for you. Through the Department of Physics, Photonics and Optical Engineering, you may choose a:

  • Photonics and Optical Engineering, BS: Prepare for a successful career in optics, photonics and other engineering, scientific or mechanical fields.
  • Photonics and Optical Engineering Minor: Complement another bachelor’s degree, from education to other sciences, with a photonics and optical engineering minor.

Photonics and Optical Engineering Program Highlights

Two BSU students running a demo in the physics lab

Work with state-of-the-art technology

Whether you’re working toward a bachelor’s in photonics and optical engineering or a photonics and optical engineering minor, you’ll gain experience using the latest tools and techniques in lasers, fiber optics and Photonics Integrated Circuit chips. 

Work with equipment like:

  • Menlo femtosecond laser
  • Chromacity OPO picosecond laser
  • 780 nm External Cavity Diode Laser (ECDL)
  • MAPLELEAF Optical and Electric Coupling Probe Station
  • Nonlinear crystal and single photon detectors
  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
A student working with equipment in the BSU photonics lab

Practice and learn in cutting-edge facilities

While you study photonics engineering and optical engineering at BSU, you’ll learn and practice your skills in our advanced labs. These include:

  • Semiconductor Laser Lab for quantum dot lasers with datacom and LIDAR applications
  • Ultrafast and Nonlinear Optics Lab for new laser materials, design and applications
  • Quantum Technologies and Cold Atom Lab
  • Single Molecule Biophysics Lab
Dr. Elif Demirbas working with a student in front of a large piece of equipment. The student is holding a small piece of blue plastic with a pair of tweezers

Gain work experience while you study

As a photonics and optical engineering major or minor, you won’t have to wait until graduation to work in the field. Work alongside faculty at BSU to conduct research, design your own research project, or work as an intern or part-time at an optics company. BSU also has a strong history of offering paid summer internships to undergraduate students in STEM.

Learn from experts in the fields of photonics and optical engineering

At BSU, your optics and photonics training and education are in expert hands. Our instructors have completed top doctoral programs and international research collaborations. Faculty members have also won more than six BSU Presidential Awards for outstanding teaching, collaboration and social justice.

Camaraderie to enhance learning

In BSU’s photonics and optical engineering degree programs, you’ll learn in classrooms with 10 to 20 students. Outside of class, you may join student organizations that connect you with other photonics, electrical and optical engineering students from around the world.

Career advising and academic support

Each faculty member in BSU’s Bachelor of Science in engineering and photonics program has fewer than 12 advisees. This will give you and your fellow photonics and optical engineering majors and minors the personal attention and guidance you need for everything from internships to research projects.

Program of Study for Photonics and Optical Engineering Students

Whether you plan to pursue graduate studies to become a photonics engineer or optical engineer, or work in the industry as a technician and beyond, your optical and photonics engineering training and education will give you the knowledge and preparation you need. Through our programs, you’ll learn about everything from manufacturing to using optical devices such as laser systems, photonic integrated circuits and more.

Through our photonics and optical engineering degree program, you will learn design principles and applications of lasers, optics, fiber optics, electronics and semiconductor materials. Coursework includes the study of:

  • Fiber Optics
  • Photonics Integrated Circuit Design and Characterization
  • Laser Design
  • Optical System Design and Applications
  • Semiconductor Devices

Should you choose to pursue a minor in photonics and optical engineering, you’ll apply basic physics and engineering ideas in your choice of optics, laser design or photonics integrating circuit applications.

Click any link below to reveal each program's course detail.

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Program details from 2022-2023 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog

Alex Medeiros, '16
“The combination of coursework in mathematical physics theory, practice through lab experimentation and hands-on experience in astronomy and optics research helped me develop a well-rounded foundation of understanding that enabled me to successfully execute in my career roles as an optical and photonic engineer.”
Alex Medeiros, '16
Physics, BS

Careers in Physics

The field of photonics is rapidly expanding, and demand is high for qualified professionals in assembly, quality control, testing, repair, technical work, research and more.

With photonics and optical engineering training and a bachelor’s degree from BSU, you could qualify to work in a variety of jobs, such as:

  • Laser or optical engineer
  • Photonics engineer
  • Optical or quantum technologist
  • Metrologist
  • Photonics integrated chip development and manufacturing
  • Calibration engineer

Our alumni have used their undergraduate studies to work in the industry at Plymouth Gratings Lab, Optikos, Forward Photonics, MIT Lincoln Labs, MediTech, the Navy Underseas Warfare Center and more.

Should you choose to minor in photonics and optical engineering you may apply your photonics technician education and skills as a technician or other science or engineering professional.

The demand is high for photonics engineers — so much so that an estimated


new jobs in the field are projected to be created by 2029, according to


Continue Your Education Beyond Your Photonics and Optical Engineering Degree

If you want to continue your studies beyond your undergraduate photonics and optical engineering degree, you can complete a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering in just 18 months at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Through BSU’s cooperative agreement with UMass Dartmouth, you could be accepted into the master’s program during your junior year. Through this program, two of your BSU classes can count toward your graduate degree at UMass Dartmouth. You’ll also be able to take graduate classes there before you graduate from BSU.