Optical Engineering

The Physics and Optical Engineering Department offers a terminal master's degree in Optical Engineering which prepares students for jobs in industry. A bachelor of science in science or engineering is required for admission to this program. The program of study includes five core courses in Optical Engineering, four elective courses, a thesis project, and an oral thesis defense. The thesis project will, as far as possible, address a "real-world" problem that would be of mutual interest to an industrial sponsor, the student, and the student's advisory committee chairperson. Normally, it takes a student five quarters to complete the requirements for the M.S. (Optical Engineering) degree.

The objective of the Master of Science in Optical Engineering program is to prepare graduates for early career advancement in the field of Physics or Optical Engineering by building upon their undergraduate training with advanced coursework and concentrated study of problems and topics relevant to the field.


Master of Science in Optical Engineering Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate technical expertise in one or more specialized subjects of optical engineering.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize advanced mathematical, computational, and/or experimental skills to solve complex problems in the area of optical engineering.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate technical ideas, design concepts, or research results.

Master of Science in Optical Engineering requirements

  • 36 credit hours of course-work (24 credit hours of required courses and 12 credit hours of elective courses) 

  • 12 credit hours of thesis-work

  • Students are required to submit their plan of study for approval by their thesis advisor and their advisory committee. 
  • Students are required to successfully defend their M.S. thesis  

Required Courses (unless already taken*)  

OE 520 Principles of Optics**   

OE 570 Special Topics in Optics   

OE 580 Optical Systems Design   

OE 592 Fourier Optics & Applications   

OE 585 Electro Optics and Applications   

OE 595 Optical Metrology   

OE 594 Integrated Optics  

* Required credits must be replaced by 400- or 500-level OE/PH/EP courses.  

** Unless have already taken PH292, OE280 and OE295  

Elective Courses  

Students are required to choose elective courses listed in the graduate studies web page

Dr. Duree poses with his book Optics for Dummies.

Dr. Galen Duree

Dr. Duree, head of the Department of Physics and Optical Engineering, joined the faculty of Rose-Hulman in 1999. His areas of expertise include photorefractive phenomena, nonlinear optics, laser physics, ultra-short pulse laser phenomena. He authored the book Optics for Dummies an "approachable introduction to optical science, methods, and applications."

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Contact Us

Department of Physics & Optical Engineering
Moench Hall CL106
5500 Wabash Avenue
Terre Haute, IN 47803

Admissions, Programs of Study, and Courses

Our graduate program offers a variety of courses and programs taught by passionate and experienced professors to help you achieve your academic and professional goals. Learn more about our admissions process, and the programs and courses we are proud to offer.


There are a variety of options for both traditional and non-traditional students at Rose-Hulman. Learn more about how to apply for graduate school.


Rose-Hulman offers graduate studies in eight different programs. Some programs offer evening classes off campus to make it possible for professionals to continue to work fulltime while earning their graduate degree.


A number of courses have been approved by the Graduate Studies Committee for credit toward graduate degrees. 

Research Facilities

There are seven research facilities on our campus all operating with the dual mission of providing education, as well as performing research and development. Projects at the facilities reflect faculty and student interests, as well as industry needs. As part of the graduate program at Rose-Hulman, you will likely participate in thesis research in one of our facilities.

Exterior view of Myers Hall

John T. Myers Center for Technological Research with Industry

This 40,000-square-foot facility is devoted to student and faculty project work. The center provides space and specialized instrumentation for students and faculty to engage in engineering design projects for external clients. There is ample laboratory space for project-based education.

Group of students talk while sitting at their desks with computers

Rose-Hulman Ventures

Rose-Hulman Ventures is a program that brings together students and technology-based companies. For students, the program provides the best engineering professional practice experience possible. In turn, this provides businesses with prototypes, refinements to the design of existing products and expansion in current engineering capabilities. The facility is on the south campus of Rose-Hulman.

Female student wearing goggles works with apparatus

JRSI Laboratory

In this lab, you will have the opportunity to work side by side with surgeons, faculty and engineers to design, execute and present scientific investigations in an effort to develop engineering solutions to clinical problems. Mechanical testing in the lab is conducted utilizing a state-of-the-art biaxial materials testing machine.

Dr. Craig Downing

Dr. Craig Downing

Dr. Craig Downing is the Director of Graduate Studies, Interim Dean of Lifelong Learning, and Head of the Department of Engineering Management. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering, mathematics and statistics, manufacturing systems and workforce education and development.
Rose-Hulman campus map

Contact Us

Graduate Studies
5500 Wabash Avenue
Terre Haute, IN 47803
Phone: 812-877-8403
Fax: 812-877-8061
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