Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Photonics

In the twenty first century the technology of light will continue to open vistas never envisioned by the electronics revolution of the century gone by. Einstein's thought experiment of science "riding the light wave" which opened the twentieth century is now fulfilled in the research into technologies ranging from communications to medicine. Innovations in designing and fabricating materials at atomic dimensions allow farther and faster telecommunications as well as the precision control in building nanostructures atom by atom. Scientists create and study new materials and how they generate light; they study how light propagates through and interacts with these materials. In a word, the electronics of the twentieth century is being replaced by photonics. Photonics crosses all disciplines to include physicists, electrical engineers, chemists, and material scientists.

At Oklahoma State University the Ph.D. in Photonics, drawing on the resources of the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical Engineering, offers advanced graduate training in a multidisciplinary doctoral program which prepares the graduates to assume leadership roles in research and development in the Photonics industry. This program is unique in not only including courses from the various disciplines but also providing an innovative set of newly designed photonics lab courses to introduce the student to a wide variety of techniques in nanoscience and photonics. A Biophotonics Ph.D. option is also available, which includes graduate courses in the biological sciences and veterinary medicine. The Ph.D. program is focused upon a research project carried out in collaboration with a faculty advisor from one of the Departments. The research interests of the faculty cover a broad spectrum, from nanotechnology and the optical material sciences of glasses, through the investigation and development of semiconducting lasers for opto-electronic applications, to terahertz radiation phenomena for communications and information technology. The Photonics Faculty Page lists faculty members, along with their research interests, and we invite you to visit their home pages and see some of the innovative photonics research being carried out at Oklahoma State University. If you are interested in developing your talents in science and engineering to become one of tomorrow's leaders in photonics research we invite you to join us to follow Einstein's vision and "ride the light wave" into the future.

Within the first year after admission to the Photonics Ph.D. program a student forms a Preliminary Advisory Committee (PAC) to guide him through the initial stages of his coursework and prepare him for the Preliminary Examination which must be completed by the end of his second year. The student should have completed at least one course in each of Areas I - IV (see below) before taking the Preliminary Exam. With the successful completion of the "Prelims" the student may form a Graduate Research Committee which finalizes his Plan of Study and administers the Qualifying Exam for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. The Qualifying Exam should be taken within a year after passing the Preliminary Exam and must be completed at least six months prior to the dissertation defense. The student conducts research under the guidance of his chosen faculty research advisor and presents a Ph.D. dissertation which he defends before his Graduate Research Committee.



A list of faculty from the departments of Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics who emphasize research problems and student involvement in areas related to Photonics can be found on the Photonics Faculty Page.


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study of a Photonics Ph.D. student should include coursework as suggested below. Additional coursework approved by the student’s Advisory Committee along with research credits directed by a particular faculty member will also appear on the Plan of Study. The Photonics Ph.D. program requires 72 credit hours past the baccalaureate degree (60 hours past the Masters degree). At least thirty credit hours must be in multidisciplinary course work with the remaining hours in Doctoral Dissertation Research credits (PHYS 6000).


Course Requirements

  • Mathematical Methods (PHYS 5453 Methods of Theoretical Physics)
  • 1 course form Area I
  • 1 course from Area II
  • 2 courses from Area III
  • 1 course from Area IV
  • 4 courses from Area V


Area I: Electromagnetics
  • PHYS 5313 Electromagnetic Theory
  • ECEN 5613 Electromagnetic Theory
Area II: Lasers
  • PHYS 5163 Lasers
  • ECEN 5080 Design of Lasers and Systems
Area III: Optics
  • PHYS 5123/ECEN 5803 Geometrical Optics
  • PHYS 5303/ECEN 5823 Physical Optics
Area IV: Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 5613 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 6313 Introductory Quantum Mechanics II
Area V: Advanced Topics
  • Optoelectronics
    • ECEN 5853 Ultrafast Optoelectronics
  • Spectroscopy
    • PHYS 5133 Laser Spectroscopy
  • Quantum and Nonlinear Optics
    • PHYS 6413 Nonlinear Optics
    • PHYS 6423 Quantum Optics
  • Solid State
    • PHYS 5663 Solid State Physics I
    • PHYS 6243 Semiconductors I
    • ECEN 5333 Semiconductor Devices
  • Photonics Systems
    • ECEN 5833 Fiber-Optic Communication Systems
  • Electromagnetics
    • PHYS 6713 Advanced Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Bio/Nano Photonics and Special Topics
    • For students pursuing the bio/nano photonics option additional courses from departments other than ECEN and PHYS may be included. Special Topics courses are occasionally offered under PHYS 5110, PHYS 6010, ECEN 5080, and other course numbers.
  • Additional Laboratory Courses
    • PHYS / ECEN 68X0 Photonics Lab courses: Topics Vary (Lab)
    • ECEN 5843 Microelectronic Fabrication