Institute of Optics
Students normally apply for admission to the Institute of Optics at the end of the sophomore year by submitting a major approval form to their advisor or to the chair of the Undergraduate Committee. Admission requirements are as follows:
- an overall grade point average of at least 2.0
- a grade point average of at least 2.0 in PHY 121, 122, and 123, or 141, 142, 143, or in those courses taken to fulfill the physics requirement
- a grade point average of at least 2.0 in MTH 161, 162, 163 or 165, and 164, or in those courses taken to fulfill the math requirement
- a grade of "C" or better in each of OPT 241 and 261
- completion of WRT 105 with a grade of "C" or better
For graduation, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is necessary for all courses taken in the Institute of Optics, as well as an overall average of 2.0. Additionally, students must have at least 130 credit hours completed for either degree.
The faculty of the Institute of Optics recognize achievement among our graduates by noting those who graduate with distinction based upon their average grades in their core optics courses. In particular, students who have a GPA of 3.85 or higher in the core OPT courses receive their degrees with Highest Distinction; those with GPAs between 3.60 and 3.84 are noted to have achieved High Distinction; and those who have GPAs between 3.25 and 3.59 receive Distinction.
BS in Optics or BS in Optical Engineering
Prospective students and undergraduates considering optics as a major are encouraged to write or to visit the Institute of Optics for more information and individual counseling.
|MTH 1611||MTH 1621|
|CHM 131 or PHY 141||PHY 121|
|WRT 105||Cluster or WRT 105 (if closed out |
in fall semester)
|EAS Course||CSC 160|
|MTH 1641||MTH 163 or 1651|
|PHY 122 or 142||PHY 123 or 143|
|OPT 241/OPT 197||OPT 261/OPT 1982|
|Cluster or elective course||Cluster or elective course|
|OPT 242/OPT 1993||OPT 262|
|OPT 224||OPT 287|
|MTH 281||ECE 210|
|Technical or cluster course||Technical or cluster course|
|OPT 223||Technical/cluster/elective course|
|OPT 2562||OPT 226|
|OPT 3103 or OPT 3204 (2 cr.)||OPT 3113 or OPT 3214|
|Technical/cluster/elective course |
1. An alternative approved sequence is MTH 171, 172, 173, 174 for those
considered eligible by the Department of Mathematics or MTH 141, 142, 143, 163, or 165, 164.
2. OPT 261 with OPT 198, and 256 fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.
3. OPT 310 and 311 are required for the BS in optical engineering.
4. OPT 320 and 321 are required for the BS in optics.
Outstanding students are encouraged to take the physics sequence recommended for physics majors—PHY 141, 142, 143.
There is an electronic circuits requirement which may be satisfied by ECE 210, and a computing requirement which may be satisfied by CSC 160 or comparable course. Individual circumstances may vary.
Mastery of prerequisite courses is essential to ensure successful performance in subsequent courses. For cases in which students have not achieved a “C–’’ or better in the prerequisite course(s) for a given optics course, special permission of the Optics Undergraduate Committee is required before the students are allowed to register. Optics courses may be retaken only once (without special permission). Students so advised are asked to seek guidance in planning their future program from their faculty advisors.
In accordance with the Rochester Curriculum, students must complete one cluster from the humanities division or one cluster from the social sciences division plus one course from the remaining division ("one cluster plus one course"). Minors in these areas also satisfy this requirement.
Two technical electives at the 200 level are required. These courses in combination with one course from the major should provide a deeper mastery or skill level of a particular area of optics. Students consult their faculty advisor to select appropriate courses in optics, other engineering or science disciplines, or math.
Minor in Optics
Students interested in completing a minor in optics should meet with a faculty member of the Institute of Optics to plan a focused program of study. Optical sciences and technologies have great importance in a range of fields and applications, and a stronger grasp of the field is a desirable option, particularly for majors in other science and engineering disciplines.
The requirements for a minor in optics are satisfied by earning grades of "C" or better in five optics courses, one of which must be laboratory-based. Two courses are required: OPT 241 and 261. The lab component may be satisfied by OPT 197, 198, 199, or 256, or by independent research for credit. The remaining two courses can be chosen among those offered by the institute at the 200 level or above.
Students interested in the optics minor should note that most 200-level optics classes have prerequisites in math and/or physics that must also be satisfied, unless permission of the instructor is obtained.
Upper-Level Writing Requirement
OPT 261 with OPT 198, and 256 fulfill the upper-level writing requirements.
BS-MS Program in Optics
The 3-2 program allows undergraduate students to complete both a bachelor's degree in optics or optical engineering and a master's degree in optics in an integrated five-year program of study. (It should be noted that optics offers a standalone one-year MS degree in optics. As such, the 3-2 program is not a mechanism for saving time in completing the two degrees, in contrast to some other departments and at other schools.) The 3-2 program assumes the completion of all undergraduate bachelor's requirements and some of the graduate requirements in the first four years. The fifth year is devoted solely to graduate courses.
- Students with significant AP or transfer credit who wish to do research or desire a MS degree in optics should definitely consider the 3-2 program.
- Students planning on the 3-2 program should get faculty advice on course scheduling prior to junior year, to facilitate proper course selection.
- Aspiring 3-2 students must find an optics faculty MS advisor before applying. The MS advisor advises the students regarding graduate coursework. The 3-2 application must contain a specific proposal for MS essay or thesis, agreed to by the advisor. The faculty advisor helps design the strategy for and specifics of the students' program of study. (A program of study form must be submitted to the College before the first term of graduate matriculation, usually in the fourth year).
- Aspiring 3-2 students are strongly encouraged to take one or more 400 level courses as part of their undergraduate degree coursework. Students should not take both the 200 and 400 level versions of any course in the BS/MS program.
- 3-2 students must finish all undergraduate requirements by the end of the fourth year at which point they will receive the bachelor's degree.
- Applying to the 3-2 program: Read over the Information
for Prospective Graduate Students: www.optics.rochester.edu/academic_programs/requirements.html and apply through the link on that page, with these differences:
- GREs are not required for qualifying GEAR students
- Of the minimum three letters of recommendation, one may be from the MS advisor
- The application should be submitted by February 1 of the junior year