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Optical Instrument Design

Celebrating 10 Years of Optics Course.

Read the article in Photonics Spectra.


An increasing amount of today’s consumer, industrial and business products incorporate optomechanical systems. These are essential to virtually every industry including defense, medical, clean energy, nanotechnology, automotive, electronics, communications, entertainment, computers, and consumer products. The Optical Instrument Design Certificate Program builds on optical systems engineering skills gained in the Optical Engineering Program and address the growing demand for skilled professionals who can conceptualize, design, and manufacture these optical and optomechanical components, systems, and instruments.

15% Discount

Register for a membership with the Optical Society of Southern California to receive 15% off REQUIRED courses.

Who Should Enroll

The Optical Instrument Design Program provides advanced study options for experienced optical engineering professionals allowing them to address a wider range of optical and optomechanical design issues. The elective courses provide an opportunity for students to develop specialized skills related to their professional needs or personal interests.

Career Insight

Occupational summary for engineers in the US. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $155k)

Program Benefits

  • Gain useful insights and practical skills for designing and engineering optomechanical components and instruments
  • Explore the latest technologies in optical engineering including new optomechanical materials and the latest cost effective manufacturing techniques
  • Develop skills with industry standard optical and mechanical software tools
  • Discover innovative approaches for optical instrument design and analysis
  • Learn through hands-on design courses which provide skills in manual design, computer simulation, and the art of creating optical instruments
  • Understand and effectively communicate details of optical & optomechanical technical specifications to manufacturer’s and quality control personnel
Haluki shares how getting an Optics certificate has helped advance his career.

Course Schedule

Prerequisite Courses

EECS X496.55
Geometrical and Physical Optics (3.00 Units)
EECS X496.55

Required Courses

Optical Instrument Design (3.00 Units)
to be scheduled      
Optomechanical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
to be scheduled      

Elective Courses

Optical Instrument Design
EECS X496.53
Optical Metrology and Interferometry (OFFERED AT IVC - Irvine Community College)
EECS X496.53
to be scheduled to be scheduled    
Optical Mechanical Component Design (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.55
Introduction to Lasers (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.55
EECS X493.56
Introduction to Fiber Optics (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.56
EECS X493.58
Vibration Control for Optomechanical Systems (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.58
Optical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
      to be scheduled
EECS X494.1
Introduction to Radiometry: The Propagation and Measurement of Optical Radiant Energy (3.00 Units)
EECS X494.1

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full certificate.

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Academic Calendar

Event Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Fall 2020 Winter 2021
Registration Begins Jan 24 Apr 24 Jul 17 Oct 23
Courses Begin* (week of) Mar 30 Jun 22 Sep 21 Jan 4
Courses End* (week of) Jun 8 Sep 7 Dec 14 Mar 15
Parking Permits Expire Jun 30 Sep 30 Dec 31 Mar 31
Administrative Holidays Mar 27, May 25 Jul 3, Sep 7 Nov 11, Nov 26-27, Dec 24-25, Dec 31 Jan 1, Jan 18, Feb 15

*Actual dates may vary by program.


Learn How To Earn Your CertificateCertificate Eligibility and Requirements

Candidates should complete EECS X496.55 Geometrical and Physical Optics or possess equivalent experience or education.

A certificate is awarded upon the completion of 15 credit units (6 required and 9 electives credit units), with a grade of “C” or better in each course.

To become an official candidate in the program, students pursuing the certificate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy with a non-refundable $125 application fee. Students are encouraged to declare candidacy as soon as possible, but no later than after the third course in the program. To receive the digital certificate after completing all program requirements, students must submit a Request for Certificate. All requirements must be completed within five (5) years after the student enrolls in his/her first course. Students not pursuing a certificate are welcome to take as many individual courses as they wish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does the program cost?
  • Fees for each course vary from $450 - $725 based on unit value. There is also a one-time candidacy declaration fee of $125, to be paid after your second class. Therefore, the entire program costs $5,565. Note that you pay for each class as you enroll, as opposed to the entire tuition sum at once. Please keep in mind that this cost does not include textbooks, which some of our instructors do require. Textbook information for specific courses can be found on our website on the enrollment page. Students may purchase textbooks from the vendor of their choice. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • How long will it take me to complete the entire program?
  • It depends on how many classes you can take at once. A certificate is awarded upon completion of 15 total units, the 9 required courses and minimum of 6 elective credit units, each with a letter grade of “C” or better. On average you can complete the program in 12-18 months. Most students who work full time take one or two classes per quarter, depending on their work schedules and other obligations. You can take as many courses as you wish simultaneously, but we strongly recommend starting with one or two to ensure you have the necessary time to devote to the course(s).
  • Do I have to take the prerequisite if I have equivalent educational or work experience?
  • Basic calculus and physics are needed for the program as well as this prerequisite: EECS X496.55 Geometrical and Physical Optics. If you feel you have prior experience due to a course you previously completed or personal work experience we can do a background verification. Please share transcripts and/or resume outlining your work experience to
  • If I am interested in earning Certificates in both Optical Engineering and Optical Instrument Design, can these programs share electives?
  • Yes, you can share up to six units or two electives courses between the two programs. You must take all the required courses between the two programs. Please note that you will also need to apply for candidacy into both Certificate Programs to earn both certificates.
  • Do I have to apply and be accepted before I start?
  • No. This is an open-enrollment program, and you will not have to provide transcripts or prove prerequisites before you begin.
  • Where can I find the course schedule? Do I have to take the classes in order?
  • The course schedule can be found here. You may take the classes in any order that you like. We recommend, starting with the required courses as they build the foundation of the program and then moving onto the elective courses. Additionally, basic calculus and physics are needed for the program as well as this prerequisite: EECS X496.55 Geometrical and Physical Optics. This can be waived if students possess equivalent work experience or education, please email
  • Can I complete the entire program online?
  • Yes, this is a fully online program.
  • I've never taken an online class. How does it work? Is it self-paced?
  • No, the classes are not self-paced. Our online classes take place in an asynchronous online environment, meaning there will not be a day of the week or time of day that you will need to be online. You can log in when you have time to do so. However, the courses are structured week-to-week, from Monday to Sunday, and you are expected to log in multiple times during the week to keep up with class discussions and assignments. Some instructors may hold optional synchronous sessions which happen in real time. These sessions will be recorded and posted in the course for all students to access.
  • I am an international student / I am located overseas – am I able to enroll?
  • Yes. As an open-enrollment program, international students are welcome in the program. Please note that if English is not your native language, enrollment in this program assumes that you have a working proficiency in English to allow you to engage in high-level academic discourse without any additional language coaching. If you are interested in taking the program fully online, you may enroll in courses via the Continuing Education website at your convenience and on a quarter by quarter basis. You are not required to have a student visa while taking online courses from your home county.

    If you wish to apply for an F-1 student visa to study in person at UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), you must formally apply to UC Irvine DCE's International Programs and request an I-20. Please keep in mind that not all evening certificate programs are available to F-1 student visa holders based on the availability of classes that meet on campus. We cannot issue an I-20 for fully online programs. Please visit International Programs or email for more information.
  • Do you offer job placement at the end of the program?
  • No. While UCI DCE does not offer placement services, our certificate certainly puts you in a good position to find employment. Additionally, the networking to be done in the class can also be invaluable. Our advisors, instructors, and a good number of our students, are current professionals in the industry, and are an excellent resource for hiring trends and opportunities.
  • Is UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education an accredited institution?
  • Yes. We are affiliated with the University of California system of schools, and are accredited through WASC. DCE programs are all approved by the respective school within UCI. For more information, please visit UCI Accreditation.
  • What is the “declaration of candidacy”? When do I have to complete it?
  • The declaration of candidacy can be thought of as declaring your major for the certificate program. This lets our student services know that you intend to complete the entire program, and puts you on track for the certificate when you have completed all requirements. We strongly recommend that you complete the declaration of candidacy and pay the applicable fee before enrolling into your third class.
  • Are there scholarships or financial aid available for this program?
  • Since UCI DCE is the continuing education unit of the university, we do not offer/accept any federal financial aid or scholarships. If you take courses through us, you may apply directly to private lenders like Wells Fargo for funding. It is recommended that you begin the loan application process early as UCI DCE does not enroll students in courses until payment is received, and applying for a loan does not reserve a space in the course. For more information, please visit Student Loan Programs. If you have any questions regarding student loans, please contact Student Services at 949-824-5414. For more financial information, please go to Financial Information.
  • I can't find the answer to my question.
  • If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Kadie Heck at or (949) 824-7648.

Advisory Committee

  • Jonathan W. Arenberg, Chief Engineer, Space Science Missions, Northrop Grumman
  • Ed Arriola, Chief Engineer, II-VI Optical Systems
  • Derek Dunn-Rankin, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine
  • Mark Gallagher, Ph.D., J.D, Partner, Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP
  • Keith J. Kasunic, Ph.D., Technical Director, Optical Systems Group LLC
  • Brian Monacelli, Ph.D., Optical Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Photonics Instructor, Irvine Valley College
  • Reza K. Nezhad, Principle Engineer II, Surgical Laser Platforms and Optical Imaging Systems R&D, Alcon
  • Donn M. Silberman, M.S., Founding Director, Optics Institute of Southern California, Technical Services Manager, Starrett Kinemetric Engineering
  • James D. Trolinger, Ph.D., Co-Founder, MetroLaser, Inc.

On-site Training Available

Our Corporate Training specialists can deliver this program or customize one that fits your organization’s specific needs. Visit Corporate Training or call (949) 824-1847 for information.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.

Optical Engineering & Optical Instrument Design Information Session
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