Oct 25, 2020  
Graduate Catalog | 2020-2021 
    
Graduate Catalog | 2020-2021

Optical Science and Engineering, M.S.


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The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Optical Science and Engineering are interdisciplinary, involving primarily five science and engineering departments (Departments of Physics & Optical Science, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Science) and four centers (Center for Optoelectronics & Optical Communications, Center for Metamaterials, Center for Freeform Optics, and Center for Precision Metrology).  The program is administered through the Department of Physics and Optical Science.  The purpose of the program is to educate scientists and engineers who will develop the next generation of optical technology.  The program emphasizes basic and applied interdisciplinary education and research in the following specialties of optics:

  • Micro-optics and nanophotonics
  • Fiber and integrated optics
  • Optoelectronic materials and devices
  • Biomedical optics
  • Optical interferometry and metrology
  • Optical fabrication
  • Nanoscale imaging and spectroscopy
  • Adaptive optics
  • Optical communication
  • Novel light-matter interactions
  • Quantum optics
  • Optical sensors and measurements

A complete description of the research activity within the Optical Science and Engineering program can be accessed online at optics.uncc.edu.

Admission Requirements


All applicants seeking admission into the M.S. in Optical Science and Engineering program must fulfill the University’s general requirements for graduate admission at the Master’s level.  Additional requirements for admission into the program are:

  • A baccalaureate or master’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Engineering, Optics, or a related field
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in the major
  • A minimum combined score of 293 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE revised General Test
  • Positive letters of recommendation
  • Students may be required to take undergraduate courses determined by the Interdisciplinary Optics Program Committee on an individual basis; such courses will be specified at the time of admission into the program

Documents to Submit for Admission

  • UNC Charlotte online application for graduate admission
  • Official GRE scores
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score from international applicants whose native language is not English, unless the previous degree was from a country where English is the official language
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to the application (Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts)
  • A minimum of three letters of reference
  • A Statement of Purpose essay detailing the applicant’s motivation and career goals

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Degree Requirements (Non-Thesis Option)


The Master of Science degree with non-thesis option in Optical Science and Engineering is awarded for completion of formal coursework and demonstration of competency in the core curriculum.  

The minimum requirement for the M.S. degree with non-thesis option is 32 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree.  Each candidate for the M.S. degree with non-thesis option must complete the following and prepare a plan of study detailing how they intend to satisfy the 32 credit hour requirement.

Core Curriculum (15 credit hours)


All graduates of the program must demonstrate competency in the core curriculum.  Students may do so by completing 15 of the 21 available credit hours of core courses with a grade of B or above in each course.  The course makeup of the 15 credit hours, changing the course makeup, or withdrawing from a core course must be approved by the academic advisor or program director.  Competency is typically demonstrated by the end of the 3rd semester in the program.  With program director approval, students may demonstrate competency by passing a core competency exam.  Credit hours that would have been earned if the student had taken the course may be replaced by approved credit hours.

Select from the following:

Plan of Study


After successful demonstration of competency in the core curriculum, students should prepare a plan of study which shows in detail how the student will meet the degree requirements.  The plan of study must be approved by the optics program director.

Elective Courses (15 credit hours)


Elective courses must be approved by the academic advisor and may include courses having a prefix of OPTI, PHYS, ECGR, MEGR, and NANO.  Other courses may be considered as well.  M.S. students should enroll in 6000-level courses when possible.

Seminar Course (1 credit hour)


To be taken during the Fall semester of the first academic year in the program:

Colloquium Course (1 credit hour)


To be taken during the Spring semester of the first academic year in the program:

Comprehensive Examination


Each student in a program of study with the non-thesis option will participate in the written and oral comprehensive examination administered by the optics faculty no later than the semester following the successful demonstration of competency in the core curriculum. 

Degree Total = 32 Credit Hours


Degree Requirements (Thesis Option)


The Master of Science degree in Optical Science and Engineering with thesis option is awarded for completion of scholarly research that advances the knowledge base in the field and is demonstrated by a successful thesis defense.

The minimum requirement for the M.S. degree with thesis option is 32 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree.  Each candidate for the M.S. degree with non-thesis option must complete the following and prepare a plan of study detailing how they intend to satisfy the 32 credit hour requirement.

Additionally, for the thesis option, students must:

  • Select a thesis advisor and form an advisory committee
  • Successfully submit an M.S. research proposal
  • Successfully defend the M.S. thesis

Core Curriculum (15 credit hours)


All graduates of the program must demonstrate competency in the core curriculum.  Students may do so by completing 15 of the 21 available credit hours of core courses with a grade of B or above in each course.  The course makeup of the 15 credit hours, changing the course makeup, or withdrawing from a core course must be approved by the academic advisor or program director.  Competency is typically demonstrated by the end of the 3rd semester in the program.  With program director approval, students may demonstrate competency by passing a core competency exam.  Credit hours that would have been earned if the student had taken the course may be replaced by approved credit hours.

Select from the following:

Plan of Study


After successful demonstration of competency in the core curriculum, students should prepare a plan of study which shows in detail how the student will meet the degree requirements.  The plan of study must be approved by the optics program director.

Elective Courses (6 credit hours)


Elective courses must be approved by the academic advisor and may include courses having a prefix of OPTI, PHYS, ECGR, MEGR, and NANO.  Other courses may be considered as well.  M.S. students should enroll in 6000-level courses when possible.

Seminar Course (1 credit hour)


To be taken during the Fall semester of the first academic year in the program:

Colloquium Course (1 credit hour)


To be taken during the Spring semester of the first academic year in the program:

Thesis Requirements


Thesis Advisor and Advisory Committee

Each student in a program of study with the thesis option must have a thesis advisor and an advisory committee.  The program director serves as the academic advisor for each student in a program of study with the thesis option until the student selects a thesis advisor.  The student selects the thesis advisor by submitting a Thesis Advisor Form.  The student should select the advisor before the end of the first year of residency.  The student and advisor determine the advisory committee by agreement.  The advisor serves as chair of the advisory committee and must be a member of the Optics Faculty and a regular member of the Graduate Faculty at UNC Charlotte.  The advisory committee must have at least 3 members, one of whom is the chair.  All members of the committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and a majority must be members of the Optics Faculty.  Composition of the advisory committee must be approved by the optics program director.

Thesis Research Proposal

After successful demonstration of competency in the core curriculum, a student in a program of study that includes the thesis option will prepare a written research proposal.  This should be completed within two years following admission to the program.  The research proposal, also called the thesis topic proposal, must be approved by the advisory committee.  The research proposal demonstrates the student’s knowledge of the relevant literature and the specific research problems and methods of study that, if successfully completed, will lead to an acceptable thesis.

Thesis Research (9 credit hours)

Each student in a program of study that includes a thesis option will complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of thesis research.  The student must submit a written thesis for final review to the advisory committee three weeks before the defense date.  The student must defend the thesis before the advisory committee at a presentation which is open to the University community.  Upon approval of the written thesis and oral presentation by the advisory committee, the student has successfully completed the thesis requirement.  The thesis must be written using a format acceptable to the Graduate School.

Degree Total = 32 Credit Hours


Grade Requirements


Students in the M.S. program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all coursework attempted for the degree.  An accumulation of two C grades will result in suspension from the program.  A grade of U earned in any course will result in suspension from the program.  An accumulation of three C grades or two U grades will result in termination from the program.

Application for Degree


Students should submit an Application for Degree at the beginning of the term in which they anticipate graduating.  Adherence to Graduate School deadlines is expected.

Assistantships


Support for beginning graduate students is usually a teaching assistantship.  Continuing students are often supported by research assistantships.

Residency Requirement


The student must satisfy the residence requirement for the program by completing 12 credit hours of continuous enrollment in coursework/thesis credit.  Residence is considered continuous if the student is enrolled in one or more courses in successive semesters until 12 credit hours are earned.

Transfer Credit


Up to 6 credit hours of approved coursework may be transferred from a master’s and/or doctoral program from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body.  Only courses in which the student earned a grade of B or above (or its equivalent) can be transferred.  Credit for thesis research cannot be transferred.

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