Optics stands today as an area of major scientific and technological importance. It is not only an enabling technology for multi-discipline work, but is also widely recognized as a discipline in its own right. Optics is central in communication technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, information processing, storage, and display as well as in health care and life sciences, remote sensing, national defense and industrial manufacturing. For those students wishing to major in optics, a Ph.D. program in Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) was established at UAH in 1992. This unique program is multi-disciplinary and begins with a core of basic optics, followed by a wide variety of advanced course work and research in both fundamental and applied subjects. The program spans great diversity as it moves from the fundamental physics of light and its interaction with matter to the design and development of new optical systems for a wide variety of applications such as optical computing & communications, and space-based telescopes.

Most research in optics is housed in the four-story $10.6 million Optics Building (completed in 1991). The inner core (on its own separate foundation) contains all laboratory facilities and equipment. This core is surrounded by an outer perimeter of faculty and staff offices. In addition to the resources of the academic departments, the OSE program has access to, and utilizes the resources of the Center for Applied Optics (CAO) on the UAH campus, the National Space Science and Technology Center, and the Marshall Space Flight Center at the US Army Redstone Arsenal.

Because students will come into this program with strong but diverse undergraduate and graduate training, the multi-disciplinary curriculum has been structured on a common basis for all entering students, but will compensate for individual differences and provide depth in specific areas. A total of 48 semester hours of graduate course work and a minimum of 18 semester hours of dissertation research are required. The student will complete three study phases, punctuated by three program examinations, which include the Preliminary Examination, the Qualifying Examination, and the Final Examination. In addition, all requirements of Graduate School must be met to remain in good standing.

Graduate assistantships are available to qualified students. Employment prospects upon completion of the OSE program are excellent. Most graduates have job offers prior to their formal graduation.

Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) catalog material:

  • Graduate program description
  • PhD in OSE

Contact Us

Optics Building
OPB 300-E
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899