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Optics Programs

Choose from two certificate tracks: Optical Engineering or Optical Instrument Design

Celebrating 10 Years of Optics Course.

Read the article in Photonics Spectra.

Overview

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 Engineering track addresses the growing demand for skilled professionals who can conceptualize, design, and manufacture optical components and systems. This track emphasizes lens design, radiometry (sources, optics, and detectors), and optical systems engineering.

The Optical Instrument Design track places more of an emphasis on the optomechanical design and manufacturing of components 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 Engineering track gives students the skills and experience needed to enter this growing field. The program will benefit entry and mid-level professionals who need to broaden their knowledge and improve their career options in this high-demand area.

The Optical Instrument Design track also benefits entry and mid-level professionals, with an emphasis on a wider range of optomechanical and instrument design skills.

In addition, UCI also offers elective courses to provide an opportunity to develop specialized skills related to professional needs or personal interests.

Career Insight

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

147,913
Annual Job Openings
(2019)
7.9%
Projected Growth
(2019-2029)
$96k
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $155k)

Program Benefits

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

Course Schedule

Required Courses

TitleWinterSpringSummerFall
EECS X493
Introduction to Lens Design (3.00 Units)
EECS X493
  to be scheduled   Online
EECS X493.1
Advanced Lens Design (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.1
Online   to be scheduled  
EECS X496
Optical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
EECS X496
      Online
EECS X498
Optical Instrument Design (3.00 Units)
EECS X498
Online      
EECS X499
Optomechanical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
EECS X499
Online      

Elective Courses

TitleWinterSpringSummerFall
Elective Courses
EECS X497
Optical Mechanical Component Design (3.00 Units)
EECS X497
    to be scheduled  
EECS X493.55
Introduction to Lasers (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.55
  to be scheduled    
Prerequisite Course
EECS X496.55
Geometrical and Physical Optics (3.00 Units)
EECS X496.55
  to be scheduled    
Elective Courses
EECS X493.56
Introduction to Fiber Optics (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.56
to be scheduled   to be scheduled  
EECS X493.58
Vibration Control for Optomechanical Systems (3.00 Units)
EECS X493.58
  to be scheduled    
EECS X494.1
Introduction to Radiometry: The Propagation and Measurement of Optical Radiant Energy (3.00 Units)
EECS X494.1
Online      
EECS X496
Optical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
EECS X496
      Online
EECS X499
Optomechanical Systems Engineering (3.00 Units)
EECS X499
Online      

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

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Academic Calendar

Event Fall 2020 Winter 2021 Spring 2021 Summer 2021
Registration Begins (after 2pm PT) Jul 16 Oct 22 Jan 21 Apr 22
Courses Begin* (week of) Sep 21 Jan 4 Mar 29 Jun 21
Courses End* (week of) Dec 14 Mar 15 Jun 7 Sep 7
Parking Permits Expire Dec 31 Mar 31 Jun 30 Sep 30
Administrative Holidays Nov 11, Nov 26-27, Dec 24-25, Dec 31 Jan 1, Jan 18, Feb 15 Mar 26, May 31 Jul 5, Sep 6

*Actual dates may vary by program.

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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.

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.

How To Earn the Optical Engineering Certificate:

A certificate is awarded upon the completion of 5 total courses with a grade of “C” or better in each course (3 required and 2 elective courses). To become an official candidate in the program, students pursuing the certificate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy for Optical Engineering 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.

How To Earn the Optical Instrument Design Certificate:

A certificate is awarded upon the completion of 5 total courses with a grade of “C” or better in each course (2 required and 3 elective courses). To become an official candidate in the program, students pursuing the certificate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy for Optical Instrument Design 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.

How To Earn Both Certificates:

Both certificates are awarded upon the completion of 8 total courses consisting of 3 required in the Optical Engineering track, 2 required in the Optical Instrument Design track, and 3 electives (excluding EECS X496 Optical Systems Engineering and EECS X499 Optomechanical Systems Engineering) with a grade of “C” or better in each course. To become an official candidate in both programs, students pursuing the certificate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy for both Optical Engineering and Optical Instrument Design with a non-refundable $125 application fee for each program. Students are encouraged to declare candidacy as soon as possible, but no later than after the third course in the program. To receive both digital certificates after completing all program requirements, students must submit a Request for Certificate.

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 5 total courses 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 kheck1@uci.edu.
  • If I am interested in earning certificates in both Optical Engineering and Optical Instrument Design, can these programs share electives?
  • Yes, when pursuing both programs, you can share a maximum of two elective courses between the two programs. Since EECS X496 and EECS X499 are both required courses in each program, they may not be used to count toward an elective for either programs and you will need to complete another elective. 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. 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 kheck1@uci.edu.
  • 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 uciesl@uci.edu 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 kheck1@uci.edu or (949) 824-7648.

Advisory Committee

  • 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
  • Joshua S. Jo, Ph.D., Senior Staff Optical Engineer, KLA Corporation
  • Keith J. Kasunic, Ph.D., Technical Director, Optical Systems Group LLC
  • Gregory Klotz, Opto-Mechanical Design Engineer, nanoPrecision Products
  • Brian Monacelli, Ph.D., Optical Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Photonics Instructor, Irvine Valley College
  • Adam Phenis, Optical Engineering Services AMP Optics, LLC
  • 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.
  • Desiré Whitmore, Ph.D., Senior Physics Educator, Exploratorium

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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