The MSc Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices is a twelve-month taught Masters programme including a 3.5-month industrial project.

The course is run jointly by the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St. Andrews and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences here at Heriot Watt University.  We aim to give our students access to the broad and somewhat complementary range of photonics expertise at the two sites. The course provides postgraduate vocational training in lasers, modern optics and semiconductors, tailored to the needs of the optoelectronics and optical communications industries, as well as a providing a good training towards a research degree in this field.

Course Information

The photonics research groups in Heriot-Watt and St Andrews Universities are internationally renowned, and have many links with industrial and university groups around the world.  Major activities are based around optoelectronics, laser development, semiconductor physics, materials technology, ultra-fast phenomena, modern optics, and instrumentation. This expertise is brought to the teaching of our twelve-month taught MSc course.

Previously called Optoelectronic and Laser Devices, this MSc course has been updated and enhanced, recognising the explosive growth of the UK and global photonics industry, fostered by the world-wide expansion in the exploitation of optics.


The course material features lasers, nonlinear optics, semiconductor optoelectronics, modern optics, optical waveguides and optical communications, awareness of the photonics and optoelectronics industries, and a mix of theoretical and practical work.  Students spend one semester at each university, and then undertake a three-month research project, normally in a UK company. Companies participating in recent years include BAE Systems, Edinburgh Sensors, Cambridge Display Technology, Defence Science and Technology LaboratoryRenishaw, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Thales, Edinburgh Instruments, Selex (Leonardo-Finmeccanica), ST Microelectronics, M-squared lasers, and Taylor Hobson.

To find out more about this course please see our main POED information website at the University of St Andrews.