M.S. in Optical Sciences Industrial Track Requirements

Time Limit

The M.S. Industrial Track program requires that students follow a two-year duration for completion of the degree. The College of Optical Sciences will consider exceptions to this timeframe on a case-by-case basis. The University time limit for a Master’s degree is six years. Extensions of time will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. The average time for all forms of the M.S. degree for full-time students is 2.5 years.

Plan of Study

The plan of study must be filed by the end of the second semester in residence. With approval of the student's major professor, a C-graded course may be included on the plan of study as long as the student's GPA remains 3.0 or higher. However, the student and his or her major professor should carefully consider the value of retaking a course in the event of a C grade.

Ethics Courses

University of Arizona graduate-level ethics courses may count toward the M.S. in Optical Sciences Industrial Track in special circumstances. Approval of such coursework must be obtained from the associate dean for academic programs prior to enrollment in such courses.

Transfer Courses

If you are transferring units, please be aware that the time to completion limit begins with the year of your transfer units. Students must complete an evaluation of transfer courses by the Graduate College and then via a second form to be approved by the associate dean during their first semester. With approval from the College, up to six units of credit for appropriate graduate courses may be transferred from other universities.

Transfer courses are to be entered in the transfer section of the plan of study by the student's second semester in residence.



The student must complete a minimum of 32 units of University of Arizona graduate credit in optics or optics-related courses, including eight units of OPTI 910: Thesis and at least two units of optics laboratory courses. Most graduate courses are three units, so a typical student would take at least eight academic and laboratory courses and enroll for an additional eight units of thesis credit.

The M.S. in Optical Sciences Industrial Track final examination is an oral exam based primarily on the content of the thesis.

Example Course Schedule for an Industrial Track Student:

Cohort Year Fall Spring
First Year
- OPTI 501 (3 units)
- OPTI 502 (3 units)
- OPTI 512R (3 units)
- Optics Elective (3 units)
- OPTI 505 (3 units)
- OPTI 503 (3 units)
- OPTI 511R (3 units)
- Optics Elective (3 units)
Second Year - 910 Thesis (4 units) - 910 Thesis (4 units)

Note: An option is to move the Optics Electives of the first year to the respective semester of the second year.  This coursework would be completed via the College’s distance-learning program.

Laboratory Requirements 

All students must include at least two introductory optics laboratory courses as part of their plan. These classes should provide hands-on experiences to help the students learn the fundamentals that are taught in the core lecture classes. While two lab courses are required, additional laboratory courses are strongly recommended. Some students may qualify to have one lab requirement waived by the associate dean for academic programs. Waiver of a lab requirement does not reduce the overall total number of units required for the degree. The classes currently offered that satisfy this laboratory requirement are:

  • OPTI 502L: Fundamentals of Applied Optics Laboratory
  • OPTI 505L: Fundamentals of Physical Optics Laboratory
  • OPTI 511L: Lasers and Solid-State Devices Laboratory
  • OPTI 512L: Mathematical Optics Laboratory
  • OPTI 513L: Optical Testing Laboratory
  • OPTI 515L: Optical Specifications, Fabrication and Testing Laboratory
  • OPTI 521L: Introductory Optomechanical Engineering Laboratory
  • OPTI 523L: Optomechanical Engineering Laboratory
  • OPTI 524L: Optical Systems Engineering
  • OPTI 569L: System Programming for Engineers
  • OPTI 571L: Optical Physics Computational Laboratory
  • OPTI 586L: Polarization in Optical Design Laboratory
  • OPTI 587L: Photonic Communications Laboratory
  • PHYS 578: Laser Spectroscopy and Atomic Structure