MSE Master of Science in Engineering

The Swiss engineering master's degree

Photonics and Laser Engineering (Pho)

Lidar systems are revolutionising the mobility of the future, NIR technology is optimizing the agriculture and food industry, microscopy and spectroscopy form the basis of modern medical diagnostics, lasers are used to process materials of every conceivable kind with a high degree of efficiency, and fibre optic technology forms the basis of modern data communications and many laser processing machines. Industry 4.0 and IoT as well as quantum computers are based on photonic technologies. The future belongs to photonics. Be part of this future with the MSE Master’s in Photonics and Laser Engineering.

Outline of profession

Photonics makes possible numerous applications, making it an “enabler” of major cross-sectional technologies such as image processing and metrology, medical technology and life sciences, additive and subtractive manufacturing, communications and sensing. At the basis of all of these technologies are the generation, control, detection, and interaction of light.
Graduates of the Photonics profile know and understand key photonic components, light-based processes and measurement methods. They use and combine them for novel applications, know how to design photonic systems and how to combine them with electrical and mechanical systems. Photonics engineers research novel technologies and implement them in applications. Furthermore, graduates with a master’s degree in Photonics and Laser Engineering are interdisciplinary allrounders. They are prepared for leading positions with management responsibility in the areas of research and development, intelligent manufacturing, industrial process and quality control, product development as well as automation and digital factories (Industry 4.0).

Profile content

With a master’s degree in Photonics and Laser Engineering, you will acquire in-depth knowledge and skills in the following subject areas:

  • Modern laser-based precision manufacturing 
    • Basics and applications of laser-material interaction
    • Optics, imaging and beam guidance in industrial manufacturing processes 
    • Laser welding, cutting, drilling, marking and sintering
    • 3D additive/subtractive processes 
  • Optical metrology and image processing
    • Imaging systems: microscopy, vision-based systems for quality control, biomedical imaging
    • Spectroscopy for the highly sensitive detection of chemical compounds for environmental and process monitoring and colorimetry
    • Interferometry for dimensional metrology or optical coherence tomography
  • Optoelectronics and electro optics 
    • Light sources: lasers, LEDs, OLEDs, thermal emitters, displays 
    • Detectors
    • Electro-optic modulators
  • Design and modelling of photonic systems 
    • Simulation: ray tracing, wave optics simulation, thin-film design, CAD, and FEM simulation
    • Prototyping, testing, measuring, validating and optimizing of photonic components, modules, or systems
    • Fibre optics, integrated optics, and optical microsystems
  • Micro-technologies 
    • Lithographic processes in combination with etching technologies 
    • Replication methods
    • Thin film technology
    • Photonic packaging

Professional skills

With the MSE in Photonics and Laser Engineering, you will acquire a basic understanding of the physical principles and processes of photonics. You will be a professional in the use of light and lasers in a wide range of applications from lighting technology to production engineering, from measurement technology to medical technology. You will be able to design and implement photonic sensor systems for automation and production. You will have the capacity to numerically simulate multidisciplinary systems with photonic elements and to combine light-based technologies with mechanical, micromechanical and electro-optical systems.
Photonics and laser engineers have the ability to solve complex problems using the most suitable methods. They can quickly gain an overview of the current state of the art, evaluate existing scientific approaches and apply them accordingly. Photonics and laser engineers can assess the feasibility and market benefit of novel photonics systems. They are predestined to lead multidisciplinary project teams and are able to communicate, collaborate, and interact with other fields such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, medical and biotechnology, computer science or data sciences.

Entry skills and enrolment process

Specific qualifications are required to enrol in this profile. Students holding one of the following bachelor’s degrees with above-average marks generally fulfil these entry requirements.

  • BSc in Electrical Engineering
  • BSc in Mechanical Engineering/Machine Technology
  • BSc in Microengineering
  • BSc in Materials and Process Engineering
  • BSc in Systems Engineering
  • BSc in Photonics
  • BSc in Medical Engineering
  • BSc in Data Science

Assessment of entry qualifications is part of the enrolment process of each school. Students who do not hold one of the above-mentioned bachelor’s degrees will be individually assessed for their suitability by the relevant University of Applied Sciences.

Recommended theory modules

The theory modules comprise 30 out of 90 ECTS. The modules are taught by professors from all over Switzerland at various locations. You will take these modules together with other MSE students. You can find the recommended theory modules for the MSE in Photonics and Laser Engineering (Pho) here. 

Additional skills relative to Bachelor of Science

The MSE Master's programme offers a scientific approach that enables you to develop comprehensive knowledge in your field and to design new solutions. The Master's programme concentrates on distinctive profile topics from the various universities of applied sciences and benefits from the interdisciplinary basic knowledge acquired during the Bachelor's programme. In this way, you will have all the necessary qualifications to lead projects in an industrial environment and to work on questions relating to current research topics.

Discover more

Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) offering the Photonics and Laser Engineering profile are shown below. Find out more about the courses of study at the individual UASs.

Study language

Specialisation studies in German or French (Biel) or German (Burgdorf), theory modules in English, German or French

Main focus

  • Micro material processing with ultrashort laser pulses
  • Modification of the properties of surface layers by heat or laser treatment
  • Material and surface analysis

Check profile at BFH

Study language

German and English

Main focus

  • knowledge of optical and optoelectronic components and light-based processes and measurement methods
  • numerical simulation and programming
  • the physical principles of lasers and their application in industrial processes

Link to profile at FHGR

Study language


Main focus

Graduates of the MSE Photonics profile are interdisciplinary all-rounders. They know and understand technologies and tools of photonics, their processes and their analysis.

  • Laser systems and laser applications
  • Optical engineering and metrology
  • Thin film technology

Typical areas of application are medical technology, biotechnology, additive and subtractive manufacturing, telecommunication, sensor technology and renewable energies.

Check profile at FHNW

Study language

English only or a mix in English and German 

Main focus

  • Focus on optical and optoelectronic components, light-based processes, measurement methods, and their combination for specific applications.
  • Designing of Photonic systems and the interface with electrical and mechanical systems.
  • Physical principles of lasers and their application in industrial processes.
  • X-ray computed tomography, method development, imaging applications and image analysis.

Go to profile at HSLU

Study language

English only or mix in English and German

Main focus

  • Wide range of industrial projects for specialization
  • Optical metrology and machine vision (incl. Machine Learning)
  • Fiber sensors and Integrated optics: design, fabrication, characterization
  • Laser based manufacturing: Selective Laser Etching (SLE) and laser polishing
  • Optical thin films in cooperation with Rhysearch

Check profile at OST

Study language


Main focus

  • Key enabling technology in: medical technologies, biotechnology, sensing, metrology, light generation, additive-subtractive processes.
  • Professional skills: understanding physical principles and processes in photonics, laser-light application, optical systems design and development, numerical simulation.

Go to profile at SUPSI

Study language


Main focus

  • Photonics is an interdisciplinary enabler technology for image processing, displays, metrology, medical technology, additive and subtractive manufacturing, communications and sensing
  • Learn to design optoelectronic devices (Lasers, LED, organic LED, detectors, electrooptical modulators) and photonic systems

Check profile at ZHAW