Associate Dean's Welcome

Welcome to the College of Optical Sciences, home of the world’s finest teaching programs in optics, where we educate more students in optical sciences than any other institution in the U.S. We focus on providing students with a broad education in all areas of optics and on educating outstanding students with practical experience and highly competitive technical skills. Our graduates become professors, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs; they work in academia, in government, in industry and in defense at national and international levels.

If you have any questions about the education available at the College of Optical Sciences, please email Associate Dean for Academic Programs R. John Koshel.

Academic Program Goals

Our students receive a broad education in the fundamentals of geometrical, physical, quantum and mathematical optics. Students can select from more than 90 specialized courses in optical sciences, including optical design, nonlinear optics, remote sensing, medical optics, image processing, integrated optics, optical data storage, optical detector systems and many others. Our very generous research budget enables students to do master's degree and doctoral research in a wide variety of subfields, ranging from basic optical physics to applied optical engineering. It also provides outstanding opportunities for baccalaureate degree students to gain practical experience by assisting with research projects and for graduate students to make meaningful contributions to cutting-edge research programs and gain valuable scientific and administrative experience while working toward their degrees.

Distance Learning

To complement the Master of Science in Optical Sciences and Master of Science in Optical Sciences and MBA Dual Degree programs, our graduate offerings include distance learning options. Our Professional Graduate Certificate in Optical Sciences program is a unique opportunity for post-baccalaureate students to earn professional certification and build a foundation toward a future M.S. in Optical Sciences degree. We continue to offer our very well-received M.S. distance learning program in which students can complete courses by video or by Web and, if they wish, transfer six or seven units from other institutions. The program is extremely flexible and can be completed entirely online.


Optics education is never confined to the classroom or research lab, and doesn't end at the Ph.D. Our alumni and all members of the optics and scientific communities are always welcome to join our students and faculty members at our Thursday afternoon Colloquium series. The series is a dynamic forum for the rapid and widespread interchange of ideas, techniques and research in all areas of optics. We schedule an impressive list of academic scholars and industry leaders to lead discussions and open the program to questions and comments. We also sponsor numerous seminars, special speakers and informal presentations open to the entire optics community as well as to colleagues and students on the University of Arizona campus.

K-12 Activities

Our pre-college outreach activities continue to bring the world of optics to youngsters of all ages and interests. Specially tailored programs include optics for nursery-schoolers, summer programs for grade-school and junior-high students, classes aimed at recruiting girls and young women into science and technology and guest lectures at grade schools, middle schools and high schools throughout Arizona.

Optics Professional Societies

Professional societies offer access to a variety of specialized resources including continuing education, publications, employment services and networking opportunities to individuals within the field. Optics professional societies actively recruit student members and may offer unique benefits to students in addition to the regular benefits accorded other members of the optics community.

The Optical Society (OSA) promotes the generation, application, archiving and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics.

SPIE serves the international technical community as the premier provider of education, information and resources covering optics, photonics and their applications.

It’s an exciting time for optics education at all levels. Please join us.