M.S. in Optical Sciences Requirements

Time Limit

  • Six years. Extensions of time will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. The average time to 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 and Ph.D. in Optical Sciences programs at the College of Optical Sciences, with approval from the associate dean for academic programs.

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 form to be approved by the associate dean during their first semester. Transfer courses are to be entered in the transfer section of the plan of study by the student's second semester in residence.

Coursework

Suggested Coursework

The M.S. in Optical Sciences program has no core curriculum and students are not required to strictly follow the suggested coursework. Students may complete any optics course of their choosing to fulfill M.S. degree requirements.

Thesis Option

With the thesis option of the M.S. in Optical Sciences degree program, 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 eight or nine academic courses and enroll for an additional eight units of thesis credit.

With approval from the department, up to six units of credit for appropriate graduate courses may be transferred from other universities.

Please note that OPTI 597B: Technical Writing and Communication does not count toward fulfilling the units required for the M.S. in Optical Sciences thesis.

For students who select the thesis option of the M.S. in Optical Sciences degree, the final examination is an oral exam based primarily on the content of the thesis.

Nonthesis Option

A minimum of 35 units of University of Arizona graduate credit in optics or optics-related courses is required for the nonthesis option of the M.S. in Optical Sciences degree, including at least two units of optics laboratory courses. Up to seven units of credit for appropriate graduate courses may be transferred from other universities with approval from the college.

The student must demonstrate competence in written communication by successfully completing an appropriate graduate course in technical writing or by writing an acceptable master's report in OPTI 909, for which three units of credit are received. OPTI 597B: Technical Writing and Communication or the UA graduate course PHCL 595B: Scientific Writing Strategies, Skills and Ethics may satisfy the nonthesis option in lieu of the master's report.

OPTI 599: Independent Study units must meet Graduate College policy, and they must be approved by the associate dean for academic programs. Generally, three units of OPTI 599 are approved.

For those selecting the nonthesis option of the M.S. in Optical Sciences, the final oral examination is based primarily on course subject matter. However, by mutual agreement between the student and the examination committee, the student's master's report can serve as the focus of the exam.

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: