MPSP Program: The Study Phase

The preparatory MSc program

During the study phase, MPSP candidates undergo a full-time master's program at one of the three internationally recognized universities within the Max Planck School of Photonics network:

  • M.Sc. Advanced Optical Technologies - MAOT program in Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • M.Sc. Photonics - ASP program in Jena
  • M.Sc. Optics and Photonics - KSOP program in Karlsruhe

Our teaching universities are world heavyweights of academic and science-related education, as well as epicentres of photonics research.

Beside the university courses, study phase candidates also participate in courses aimed at the development and advancement of scientific and social skills via e-learning or workshops, such as practical laboratory skills training or scientific writing seminars.


At all three locations, our study phase candidates can decide between courses on a wide range of topics in the field of photonics and thus convey profound theoretical knowledge and practical training as a foundation for their first research projects or even become an expert in a specific research field.

Towards the end of the two years master’s program, the MPSP study phase candidates carry out an internship at one of the network institutes and write their master thesis. The master thesis is written under the supervision of one of the scientists within the MPSP network (so-called "Fellows"). Fellows also assist the PhD candidates in identifying potential research topics for the subsequent research phase of the program.

Spring and Autumn Schools

The MPSP organizes spring and autumn schools in which all PhD candidates from different locations get to know each other and exchange experiences and research ideas. We provide different expert and soft skill courses to prepare the PhD candidates for their research and their professional lives.  Moreover, spring and autumn schools aim to connect the study phase candidates with MPSP Fellows who match their research interests and could act as PhD supervisors. All study phase candidates are encouraged to conduct their curricular internships and master theses at the various locations within the MPSP network.

If you want to know what a MPSP Spring School looks like, take a look here! 



Study programs at the three teaching universities


ERLANGEN – M.Sc. Advanced Optical Technologies

Erlangen is a university city located in northern Bavaria, close to the city of Nuremberg. The Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg (FAU) is Bavaria's second largest university, hosting some 40,000 students. Erlangen has a long tradition in optics research and teaching and is home to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

The graduate courses are organized within the context of the "Master Program in Advanced Optical Technologies" (MAOT), jointly between the physics department and the departments of the faculty of engineering. Optics and optical technologies are a key research priority at the FAU.

In this two-year master’s program, the curriculum starts with the foundations in physics and finishes with state-of-the-art applications. Learn about exciting topics such as Bell's inequalities, photonic crystals, optical communications, quantum computation, and many others!

For more information on the Master's program in Erlangen, please check the university's website here.

JENA – M.Sc. Photonics

Jena, also known as the "City of Light" is located in the Free State of Thuringia and is a centre of education and research. Optics and photonics are the leading technologies in Jena’s industrial sector.

The international Photonics Master at the Abbe School of Photonics (ASP) of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is based on theoretical fundamentals of optics, electrodynamics and atom and molecular physics. It focuses on the fields of laser physics, optical instrumentation, optic design, biophotonics, and nano- and quantum technologies.

Students in the second and third semester of this master’s program can specialize in a certain area or accumulate knowledge on a broader scale by choosing courses from a wide range of elective courses and then specialize later in their masterthesis.

The master’s program further includes Laboratory training, starting in the first semester, education in language and soft skills as well as internships, which can be done at one of the ASP’s collaborating industries.

For more information on the Master's program in Jena, please check the university's website here.

KARLSRUHE – M.Sc. Optics and Photonics

Karlsruhe is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

The Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics (KSOP), graduate school at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, provides a multidisciplinary master’s program in optics & photonics taught in English. The educational concept is designed to qualify students for accelerated careers at world leading academic institutions and in high-technology industries.

Students benefit from collaborations with the optics industry. Partnerships with global corporations as well as with small and medium-sized enterprises facilitate their first career steps for those who are heading towards the industry.

Additionally, KSOP provides its students with additional career training, networking events, free language courses and state of the art labs.

For more information about the Master's program in Karlsruhe, please check the university's website here.




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