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European Master of Science in Photonics Engineering

Course Description

About the programme

The Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics is an international English-taught course programme with a duration of 2 years set up in the context of the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Union since 2006. This master programme is offered by three leading European universities in the field of photonics: Ghent University (acting as coordinator), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and St-Andrews University (UK). Furthermore the consortium has added Associated Academic Partners (NTU - National Taiwan University, Taiwan, EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, DTU - Technical University of Denmark, Denmark - Royal Institute of Technology - KTH, Stockholm (Sweden) and UPV - Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain) to the programme to offer all students a thesis in their field of specialization.

Core and advanced photonics courses

Two universities in Belgium (Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent, programme coordinator), two in Scotland (St.-Andrews University and Heriot-Watt University) and one in Sweden (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm) have jointly organised the Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics since September 2006.

This Master offers:

- A specialization in photonic materials, components and systems. Lasers and LED's, optical fibres and liquid crystals, optical sensors and detectors will reveal all their secrets to you.
- A wide variety of elective courses in ICT, electronics, business aspects of photonics, multimedia etc.
- An industrial internship which will give you the opportunity to get in touch with the Photonics Industry
- A multi-disciplinary training in Photonics and Photonics-related subjects, organized
by four European universities that are all at the top of the innovative world of Photonics
- The opportunity to broaden your knowledge and skills in other domains, such as ICT, biosciences, physics and chemistry of materials, industrial management etc.

The graduates of this programme receive a joint UGent-VUB Master of Science degree in Photonics


Core and advanced photonics courses:
The first year will be devoted mainly to a programme of core photonics courses with essentially the same content at all institutes, complemented by a number of advanced photonics courses as well as several courses in related disciplines and transferable skill courses.

Move to another location:
In the second year you will move to another location where you will continue to take advanced photonics, multidisciplinary and transferable skill courses and where you will carry out your master thesis (30 ECTS) in a photonics sub-field of their choice. In addition to the regular courses, all students will attend a two-week summer school at the end of the first and second year of the programme.

International opportunities

This Master's programme offers both EU and non-EU students the opportunity to enroll in an international programme and to spend a year in two of the three countries mentioned above. It’s a multi- disciplinary programme covering electrical engineering, basic physics, material technologies, electronics and applications in different fields.

Contact with different European cultures and languages:
In addition, they will be brought into contact with several European cultures and languages and will get the chance to live in different European capitals (Brussels and Stockholm) and/or European cities (Gent, Edinburgh and Saint Andrews), cities with a rich cultural heritage.

For your master thesis you can travel to the following EMMP partner institutions who excel in photonics research:
- Overseas partnership: National Taiwan University (R.O.C. Taiwan)
- Associated European partners: Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Denmark), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain)


Available on http://studiegids.ugent.be/2013/EN/FACULTY/E/MABA/EMEMMP/EMEMMP.html

Admission requirements

Visit the European Master of Science in Photonics Engineering page on the Vrije Universiteit Brussel website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Alvaro Casas Bedoya

2843.png “I can describe the UGent-VUB Master in Photonics as the perfect mixture between high educational levels, cultural interchange and excellent management; these links prepare professionals in the photonics field with high performance capabilities. Surprisingly for me, the researchers, who are writing the science right now, were my professors; I had access to facilities and experiments which are related with the photonics industry everyday this experience is simply indescribable in just few lines. After this program the opportunities are huge. We as scientist/engineers are always looking new possibilities to do research or where to apply our knowledge, i.e. sources of job or PhD studies. In my opinion is just matter of being organized enough to take the right train. The UGent-VUB Master in Photonics is surely one of the best options for any photonics aspirant...”

(Student Profile)

Hamdam Nikkhah

2844.png "Studying and living in Belgium, the heart of Europe, for two years of my Master program was an interesting experience in my life. The program contains good fundamental courses which gave me a strong and solid knowledge in photonics which was needed to be successful in the next steps of my study. The joint program between VUB and UGent makes the program more interesting, as students have the opportunity to experience two universities during their Master studies. Different events help the students feel more comfortable and have a close and friendly relation with their classmates. Studying in Belgium in Photonics program taught me many things and made me stronger toward achieving my goals."

(Student Profile)

Tanbir Hasan

2845.png "VUB and UGent’s distinct niche in the frontier of photonics research and education encouraged me to apply to this master program in photonics. Availability of rich and diverse course curricula, state-of-the-art lab facilities, and professors with pioneering research experiences in photonics, in fields ranging as diverse as from photonic integrated circuits to biophotonics, has made this program singular on its own merits. Having mingled with some of the best minds dedicated in advancing the photonics, this program prepared me to understand, not only the subtlety of the subject matter, but also how industries view the role of photonics in shaping their business. These proved quite invaluable later when I joined the development & engineering department of ASML, a leading provider of optical lithography in the world. I feel proud to be part of this program."

(Student Profile)

Aaron Kaplan

2846.png “Besides the fact that the courses prepare the students for both an academic career as a career in Photonics industry, the greatest asset gained was the growth of my professional network. The professors recognize that success in industry relies just as much on who you know, as what you know.”


VUB Scholarships for European Master of Science in Photonics - 5 Awards

For the academic year 2017-2018 the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will grant 5 full scholarships to students of the European Master of Science in Photonics at VUB. A monthly amount of 800,00 EUR per scholarship is foreseen to cover cost of living inherent to studying in Brussels.

Value of Scholarship(s)

800 EUR/month


Every application will be screened on the basis of excellence and motivation.

Application Procedure

All candidates enrolling at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will have the opportunity to show proof of their technical knowledge during the application interview preceding the final admission. The scholarships will be awarded by the VUB program chair.

Further Information



EMSP Excellence Grants - No. of awards TBC

The grant scheme in the EMSP is as follows:
- 4 Entry Grants of 1000 Euro, at the beginning of the first semester. The recipients are the 4 best ranked students according to our selection criteria.
- 4Continuation Grants of 1500 Euro, at the start of the second semester. The recipients are the top 4 students according to the academic performance after semester 1 (so both the recipients of the Entry Grant and all other students will be taken into account).
- 2 Excellence Grants will be awarded, worth 5000 Euro, at the start of the the second year of the MSc.

Value of Scholarship(s)

1,000-5,000 Euros


Both the Photonics Research Group (Ghent University) and the B-Phot research team (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) finance one or more EMSP Excellence Grants. The candidates who receive the Excellence Grant must commit themselves to do a MSc. thesis at the group who finances the grant.

Application Procedure

The EMSP Program Board awards grants on a competitive basis among all accepted EMSP students. All students who apply for this program are therefore eligible to be awarded a EMSP Excellence Grant (no separate application procedure is required).

Further Information



Master Mind Scholarships (from the Flemish Government of Belgium) - 20+ Awards

The Government of Flanders has launched a new scholarship programme in 2015, Master Mind Scholarships. For the academic year 2017-2018, it awards up to 45 scholarships to outstanding Master students from all countries. The programme aims to promote the internationalization of the Flemish Higher Education, as stated in the Action Plan for Student Mobility, Brains on the Move (September 2013).

Value of Scholarship(s)

7,500 Euros/year


The applicant applies to take up a Master degree programme at a higher education institution in Flanders (hereafter ‘Flemish host institution’).
- The applicant should have a high standard of academic performance and/or potential.
- He/she meets all academic entrance criteria, including relevant language requirements, for entering the Master programme in question offered by the Flemish host institution.
- All nationalities can apply. The previous degree obtained should be from a higher education institution located outside Flanders.
- Students who are already enrolled in a Flemish higher education institution cannot apply.

Application Procedure

Students cannot apply directly. Applications need to be submitted by the Flemish host institution. For more details please contact International Relations - [email protected]

Further Information


Entry Requirements

the applicant needs to be in possession of a bachelor degree in Electrical engineering, in (Applied) Physics, Materials Science or an equivalent of this to be directly admitted to the program. Students in their last year of such a programme will however also be considered.Students in possession of another bachelor degree might need to follow a preparatory program. The educational board will make the final decision whether to accept the application or not. In order to be admitted, you need to be proficient in English.

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