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Optical Sciences & Engineering: Optics Track

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Optical Sciences & Engineering: Optics Track

BS in Optical Sciences & Engr

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The major provides a broad background in optics and optical engineering. Students work with lasers, optical detectors, optical instrumentation, optic fiber communications, optical design, and optical fabrication and testing. Traditionally, job opportunities for this major are good, with virtually all students having one or more job offers upon graduation. Marketability is further enhanced for students with backgrounds in complementary fields such as mechanical, biomedical or electrical engineering; materials science, physics, or astronomy. The program is part of the College of Optical Sciences.

Major Details

College: College of Engineering
Admissions Requirements:

This major has additional admission criteria. Please see the College of Engineering website for more information.

Math Required:


    This strand involves skill and facility with calculus. The S-strand begins at one of two calculus options - MATH 124 (Calculus I with Applications) or MATH 125 (Calculus I). Students who successfully complete the S-strand may continue on to MATH 129 (Calculus II), MATH 223 (Vector Calculus), or beyond. Those who choose but are not ready to begin the S-strand will be required to take preparatory work.
Second Language Required:


  • This major doesn't have Language Requirements.
Fees: Yes
Pre-Major: No
Available at:
  • Main Campus

Four-Year Plan

Archived plans are available on Degree Search 2011-2016 for many degree plans. These are sample plans. Please work with your academic advisor for more specific and up-to-date requirements.

Select a year:

UA Course Requirements Units
1st Semester
MATH 122A 5
MATH 122B 4
CHEM 151 - General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 101 - First Year Composition 3
ENGR 102 - Introduction to Engineering 3
Tier I General Education 3
2nd Semester
MATH 129 - Calculus II 3
PHYS 141 - Introductory Mechanics 4
MSE 110 4
ENGL 102 - First-Year Composition 3
Tier I General Education 3
3rd Semester
OPTI 201R - Geometrical and Instrumental Optics I 3
OPTI 201L - Geometrical and Instrumental Optics I Lab 1
MATH 223 - Vector Calculus 4
PHYS 241 - Introductory Electricity and Magnetism 4
Tech Elective 3
4th Semester
OPTI 202R - Geometrical and Instrumental Optics II 3
OPTI 202L - Geometrical and Instrumental Optics II Lab 1
OPTI 240 - Physics & Lasers 3
OPTI 280 - Computer Programming 1
MATH 254 - Intro to Ordinary Differential Equations 3
ECE 220 or 207 3
5th Semester
OPTI 310 - Physical Optics I 3
OPTI 380A - Intermediate Optics Lab I 1
MATH 322 3
Tech Elective 3
Tech Elective 3
Tier II General Education 3
6th Semester
OPTI 330 - Physical Optics II 3
OPT 340 - Optical Design 3
OPTI 370 - Lasers and Photonics 3
OPTI 380B - Intermediate Optics Lab II 1
Tech Elective 3
Tier II General Education 3
7th Semester
OPTI 406 - Radiometry 3
OPTI 421 - Introductory Optomechanical Engineering 3
OPTI 471A - Advanced Optics Lab 2
OPTI 430 - Optical Communication Systems 3
ENGR 498A 3
Tech Elective 3
8th Semester
OPTI 415 - Optical Specifications, Fabrication, and Testing 3
OPTI 471B - Advanced Optics Lab 2
ENGR 498B 3
Tech Elective 3
Tier I General Education 3
Tier I General Education 3

AZ Transfer Pathways

This page is designed for in-state transfer students who plan to attend the University of Arizona. The information presented lists the most accurate course equivalencies and may not include all possible requirements. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to use this site for reference only and not for self-advising.

Transfer students should work with their community colleges and UA advisors to develop an individualized plan for transfer, and visit

  • All posted Pathways (except for Bachelor of Applied Science Pathways) fulfill an AGEC and most also fulfill an Associate Degree
  • Following a Pathway does not guarantee admission to the UA nor admission to a college/major/program at the UA
  • Use Pathways in consultation with advisors from your community college and the UA
  • Pathways are subject to change at any time

Which college/university do you attend?

Career Planning

In addition to coursework in mathematics, optics, and optical engineering, students in the Optical Sciences and Engineering major gain experience working with lasers, optical detectors, optical instrumentation, optic fiber communications, optical design, and optical fabrication and testing. Graduates are well prepared to work as engineers, researchers, testers, project managers, and salespeople in industries such as aerospace, computer technology, and medical instruments manufacturing.

Potential Career Areas

  • Design
  • Fabrication
  • Research
  • Testing
  • Telecommunications
  • Computer technology
  • Project management
  • Aerospace technology
  • Sales

Sample Employers

  • Observatories
  • Colleges and universities
  • Optical products manufacturers and testers
  • Medical supply companies
  • Computer manufacturers
  • Consumer electronics firms
  • U.S. Military
  • Research institutes
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sample Job Titles and National Salary Range

Job Title Salary Range
Optical Engineer $49,270 - $92,680
Photonics Engineer $44,000 - $93,500
Sales Engineer $42,000 - $86,163
Photonics Technician $39,478 - $60,560
Engineering Instructor, Postsecondary $35,670 - $92,670
Optical Manufacturing Engineer $44,000 - $113,000
Engineering Manager $64,000 - $146,000
NASA Engineer $31,209 - $118,957
Design Engineer $32,840 - $98,790
Aerospace Technologist $29,821 - $57,375
Nondestructive Tester $28,200 - $50,520