Physics Major | Optics EmphasisOptics Photo

The physics major with an optics emphasis allows students pursuing a physics degree to concentrate a portion of their studies in the area of optics. Upon graduating, students can either enter the work force or pursue graduate studies in physics and engineering in the area of optics and lasers. Over ten of our former students have pursued graduate studies in the Optical Sciences and Optical Engineering at a number of the leading institutions in the nation including the Optical Sciences Center, University of Arizona; the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester; the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), the University of Central Florida; and the Center of Electro-Optics, University of Dayton.

This degree is an ideal preparation for students pursuing a career in optics and seeking a position in industry, at a university or national laboratory. Students develop a solid understanding of electronics, quantum optics and lasers. This emphasis is also an excellent alternative to obtaining a standard engineering degree.


40 credits

Including: PHY 103 or 203, 104 or 204, 250, 302 (Optics), 303 (Optics Lab), 311, 321, 332, 334, 343, 401, 476 (Advanced Optics with Lab), three credits of 498 with a project in optics and electives in physics at the 300/400 level.

UW-L Optics Links

Publications, Awards and Accomplishments - Here is a list of publication, awards and accomplishments students have received while in the optics emphasis program at UW-L.

Optics Emphasis Graduates - Here is a list of students who have graduated with a physics major in the optics emphasis program at UW-L.

Accomplishments - Here is a list of awards and accomplishments students have received after graduating from the UW-L optics emphasis program.


PHY 498, Physics Research in Optics is a course designed to introduce and incorporate students into some of the research opportunities the Department offers in optics. Drs. Sudhakaran and Zink, together with undergraduate students, conduct research in a variety of areas of experimental optics, including experimental studies in optically pumped molecular lasers, laser frequency measurements, laser Stark spectroscopy, and Laser Magnetic Resonance.


The Department's instructional laboratories are well-equipped to perform a number of standard and modern optics experiments. Some of the experiments include topics in lenses, microwave optics, spectrometers, diffraction, interference, holography, polarization and lasers. The instructional Optics laboratories are located on the second floor of Cowley Hall in Rms. 206, 208 and 210.

In addition to instructional labs, research in optics is an integral component to an undergraduate's education at UW-L. The Department of Physics has over 1 million dollars in equipment for Optics research. Currently this equipment is housed in approximately 2500 sq. ft. of laboratory space on two floors in the Cowley Hall of Science (Rm. 21 and 109).

Graduate Schools in Optics

OSC Arizona - The Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona.

Institute of Optics - The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

CREOL - The Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

EOP Dayton - The Electro-Optics Graduate Program at the University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio.