Photonics, M.Sc. | Online (optional) | Friedrich Schiller University Jena | Jena, Germany
24 months
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This international Master's program in Photonics is designed for students of different backgrounds and all nationalities. It is taught at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Students will learn the theoretical basics, experience practical lab courses and undergo research-oriented internships for scientific research and for technological application in the industry.

Visit the official programme website for more information


This highly international Master's program in Photonics which is taught fully in English, provides a multidisciplinary approach to the field of optics and photonics. Students enrolled in the two-year program are trained for technical or scientific positions in the photonics industry or academia.

The MSc Photonics program was conceived as an on-campus study course. We believe that our School is one of the best places in the world to study research-oriented, hands-on photonics in high-end, research-grade laboratories - and we hold ourselves to this standard. Yet, we acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has a long-lasting effect on global academia. Thus, on-campus teaching combined with hybrid streaming is the new standard at our school:

  • Starting in autumn 2023, a limited number of online-only study slots for the duration of the first and second semester exist as well. Thus, the program can be studied entirely remotely during the first year of studies, and all 60 necessary credit points (CPs) can be earned during that period of time. 
  • However, in order to advance to the third semester and to finally obtain the Master's degree, each first-year online student has to move to Jena at some point before the start of the third semester. It is mandatory for all students to study on-campus during the third and fourth semesters. 

In both cases you will be awarded the academic degree of Master of Science in Photonics (M.Sc. Photonics) upon succesful completion of the program. The application is identical for both options, however, during the application procedure, you will be asked to express your preferences to study on-campus or online. Once accepted, we will guide you through the enrollment process at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena .

Why Photonics?

The invention of the laser in 1960 paved the way for a new research era in optics and photonics. With these two research areas acting as enablers and catalysts, the invention of photonic technologies has had far-reaching consequences, triggering a revolution in many fields of science, medicine, and technology.

Prominent examples which have been effected are microscopy and imaging, spectroscopy, medical treatment, life sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and communication technologies. Electronics, the dominant technology of the 20th century, was replaced by optics and photonics as the dominant technology of the 21st century, which is frequently termed the "century of light". Great challenges in fundamental research and a huge market for optically-dominated products drive the ongoing evolution in optics and photonics.

Nowadays, photonics is one of the key technologies in addressing great challenges faced in the 21st century, e.g. challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, health, communication, environment, and security. There are few technologies which rule and govern our everyday life as much as photonics.

Why Jena?

Jena is the cradle of modern photonics where it is deeply immersed into society and everyday life. It has a long-standing tradition of symbiosis between academic research and a quickly developing optical industry, including promising advancement of innovation already detailed by Jena pioneers Carl Zeiss, Otto Schott and Ernst Abbe. In fact, Jena has been a source of innovation in various areas of research in the humanities and science since the 17th century. Jena is distinguished from cities all over the world through its  multidisciplinary approach, its international reputation in top research areas, its world-leading companies in photonics technologies, and its high standard of living. 

Abbe School of Photonics in Jena

The Abbe School of Photonics is an academic instutition of high international acclaim, providing profound up-to-date knowledge in a variety of fields within a modern research environment - from fundamental sciences and laser physics to material sciences and life sciences. State-of-the-art laboratories at the highest international standard offer optimum conditions for research at the frontiers of photonics.

A cornerstone of our philosophy is to regard and value our PhD and doctoral candidates as true scientists in all respects. Thus, we offer an individually adjusted and highly flexible program to meet each candidate's scientific background and interests. This guarantees an optimum level of preparation for key positions in science, the industry or the government.

Your Master of Science in Photonics from Jena

  • Our Master's program is based on decades of experience in photonics education at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the internationally reputed Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
  • At the same time, the program is embedded in the modern research environment of the Abbe Center of Photonics, an academic center at the forefront of European photonics science, and the local photonics institutes of the world-famous German research associations Fraunhofer, Leibniz and Helmholtz.
  • The Master's program is part of an education program at the University of Jena's Faculty of Physics and astronomy, specializing in photonics. It starts at Bachelor level (BSc in Physics), continues on the Master's level, and culminates in a structured PhD programme (Graduate Research School in Photonics). Each module is specifically designed to provide the students with the skills necessary to fill adequate positions in the industry and academia.
  • We offer special scholarships covering full financial support for the most promising applicants.
  • The Master's program has partnerships with renowned international universities all over the world and is supported by various EU-funded programs. Thus, our students can spend up to an entire year at one of the many partner universities  including (but not limited to) the Australian National University Canberra and the University of Sydney (both Australia), CREOL – University of Central Florida, University of Arizona, University of Rochester (all USA), University of Toronto, INRS – Université de Rechèrche in Montréal, Université Laval in Québec City (all Canada), and Massey University in Wellington (New Zealand).

Programme Structure

The Master's program comprises four educational stages:

  • Stage I, Adjustment: this stage provides students with the necessary background knowledge in optics, structure of matter and condensed matter physics.

  • Stage II, Fundamentals: this stage provides students with a solid background in the following important topics dealing with optics and photonics: laser physics, optical metrology and optical design. 

  • Stage III, Specialization: this stage allows students to acquire specialized knowledge by choosing from about 20 advanced courses (e.g. biophotonics, computational photonics, micro- and nanotechnology, nanooptics, digital image processing, nonlinear optics, nanomaterials, optoelectronics, quantum optics)

  • Stage IV, Practical photonics training and Master's thesis: an 8-week industrial internship is scheduled for each student after the second semester.


Our graduates are regularly appointed to key positions in science, industry or government in Germany and all over the world.


Our faculty has decades of experiences in teaching and educating students at the highest international standards. Some selected lecturers are listed here:

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines


IELTS admission requirements IELTS
TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT


120 ECTS


On Campus, Blended, Online

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

IELTS admission requirements IELTS
TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT

Other requirements

General requirements

Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification in physics, natural sciences, or engineering with significant exposure to physics fundamentals. The following documents are required for the online application:

  • Bachelor's certificate (Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng.) or Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.)) 

  • a comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV)

  • a letter of motivation (500 words at most)

  • a transcript of records with marks

  • a proof of proficiency in English, unless language exemption apply (please check official program website) 

  • if applying for a scholarship, two letters of recommendation from professors 

    a copy of your passport / ID card

Work experience

Working experience is not required.

Technological requirements

Apart from the Bachelor's degree, there are no strict requirements regarding technical skills for admission. However, to strengthen your application, please list all your skills and expertise (e.g. practical experience in optics and clean room labs, IT and programming skills, etc.) in your CV.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 0 EUR per semester during 24 months.
  • National

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 0 EUR per semester during 24 months.
  • Semester contribution  € 266,10

Living costs for Jena

730 - 1100 EUR /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Students at the Abbe School of Photonics can apply for one of our scholarships during the regular application procedure. These scholarships are based on criteria of academic excellence and are granted for 24 months, thus covering the entire two-year Master's degree program. We offer scholarships that comprise a stipend of up to 860 EUR per month and additional German language courses. Approximately 10 scholarships are available per year.

For more information on our various scholarship programs, please visit

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Friedrich Schiller University Jena


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