Master of Science in Optical Sciences Industrial Track


NOTICE:  The Industrial-track Master of Science (iMS) in Optical Sciences shares the same application as the MS in Optical Sciences program. If you are interested in being considered for the iMS program, complete the MS in Optical Sciences application (or the Optomechanical Engineering sub-plan application) and indicate your interest for the iMS program when prompted under the Supplemental Questions section.

The College of Optical Sciences has a long tradition of research and innovation in the science and applications of optics with strong impact on the regional, national and global marketplaces.  The Industial-track Master of Science (iMS) program aims to enhance this impact by blending the world-renowned academic rigor of our traditional Master’s program with real-world, industrial experience in a laboratory setting. This program is currently only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents for industrial experiences at facilities in the U.S. 

The university and academic requirements of our traditional MS with thesis program are the same  for the iMS program. However, upon successful completion of first-year course work, students accepted into this program will have the opportunity to be placed into a credit-bearing paid position for their second year with partner companies. Many of the College of Optical Science’s Industrial Affiliates, along with other companies, have expressed interest and willingness to engage in this program. Positions are not guaranteed and it is anticipated that placement in partner companies will be a highly competitive process. Interested students have two stages of qualifications and interviews – first by submitting material and being matched up with potential partner companies by College personal to be accepted into the program and then with potential partner companies. These qualification and interview steps will occur in the Fall semester in most cases. Students should allow flexibility in working with a prospective employer related to timing of events in regards to the second year of the program. Upon successful completion of courses and the thesis defense at UA, students will be awarded a Master of Science in Optical Science, and will have 8-12 months of relevant work experience completed.

Numerous market conditions affect the ability of a given partner firm to participate in this program in any given year, and as a result positions will be offered at the sole discretion of the partner companies. As such The University of Arizona and the College of Optical Sciences make no commitment, either expressed or implied, about the availability, composition, or duration of such internships. Those students who are not offered a partner company position will still be students with the MS in Optical Sciences program, with either the thesis or non-thesis options. For all cases, a faculty advisor from the College of Optical Sciences must be established. 

The following is a basic overview of the program timeline:

  • Fall-admission application deadline for MS program: July
  • Start of the first year (on Campus): August
  • College iMS qualifications submission and expression of interest: mid-September
  • Partner company proposals submission deadline: mid-September
  • Company Interview Event (on campus) for Industrial Affiliates (upon request): Fall IA event
  • Company Interviews otherwise: throughout the Fall and possibly Spring semesters
  • End of first year on Campus: May of the first academic year
  • Cohort Departs Campus to begin position at company (arranged individually between the student and company): May-July of first academic year
  • Start of second year in iMS program, at partner company: August, following the first year in the MS program
  • Research and potential distance-learning courses (at company): August-May of second academic year
  • Thesis Defense (on campus): spring semester, second academic year
  • Graduation: May, second academic year


For more information about the iMS program, please submit inquiries to