The University of Southampton

MSc Optical Fibre Technologies (1 year years)

This one year Masters degree in Optical Fibre Technologies will allow you to work in world class facilities, exploring specialised areas including fibre design and fabrication, passive fibre devices, and fibre lasers and their application in diverse areas such as optical sensing, manufacturing, medicine, defence and telecommunication.

Introducing your degree

This MSc is the latest Masters programme within the renowned Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC). It offers students access to an excellent range of photonics equipment and materials technologies within a vibrant community of researchers, led by some of the leading figures in the field of optical fibre technology and optical fibre related photonics.

Overview

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) has a leading international reputation for its research in optical fibre technologies. Our research in these areas range from specialised fibre design and fabrication, passive fibre devices, fibre lasers, and application of these fibre based technologies in areas as diverse as optical sensing, manufacturing, medicine, defence and telecommunication. This MSc programme offers an advanced postgraduate education covering many of the fundamental concepts of these optical fibre technologies, and their application in real-world settings. Notable features of the programme includes that students will gain experience of working in our advanced optical fibre research laboratories, including the new Mountbatten Clean Room complex, and that students also have the possibility of following optional courses in the Southampton Business School on how best to link research with enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Programme Structure

The program consists of eight taught modules over the first two semesters of the year, and a research project in the third semester. 

Each module included in the programme consists of weekly lectures and tutorials by the module lecturers. Teaching methods include; directed reading, lectures, problem-solving activities and private/guided study. There are also practical laboratory sessions to directly demonstrate and put into context the taught technologies, including live demonstrations of eg fibre preform manufacturing and fibre drawing. The final project will involve hands-on training and working on your chosen topic area of optical fibre technology. More business-related modules will involve external visits to local companies and direct learning from, and interaction with, entrepreneurs and company executives.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. Visit our how to apply pages for more information. Please note that we belong to the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (FPSE).

The deadline for new applications to this course is 31 July each year.

Key Facts

Research from the Optoelectronics Research Centre was included in the University’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering research entry in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014)

We lead the UK for the volume and quality of Electrical and Electronic Engineering research (REF 2014)

97% of our Electrical and Electronic Engineering research outputs are rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)

The Guardian University Guide 2018 shows the University of Southampton second in the UK for Electronics and Electrical Engineering

Southampton is ranked in the top 51-100 universities for Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the 2017 QS World Rankings

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Mature Applicants:

Applications from mature students (over 21 years in the October of the year of entry) are welcome. Applications will be considered on an individual basis.

English Language Requirements:

If your first language is not English, we need to ensure that your listening, written and spoken English skills would enable you to enjoy the full benefit of your studies. For entry onto this programme, we require the following International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores or an equivalent qualification approved by the University.

Reading: 6.0
Writing: 6.0
Listening: 6.0
Speaking: 6.0
Overall: 6.5

Honours Degree:

Our normal entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree or higher (or equivalent) in a related discipline such as physics, electronics, engineering, materials science or mathematics.

English Language Requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each competency. For information on other accepted English language tests, please visit www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions_language.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office website. Please note we are part of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (FPSE).

Selection process:
All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. 
 
Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

Modules

Part I

Typical course content

The program consists of eight taught modules (four per semester) over the first two semesters of the year, and a laboratory based research project in the third semester. During the first semester, three of your taught modules are compulsory and the fourth is an optional module to be chosen from a course within the area of basic physics/photonics, or a course on Entrepreneurship and Innovation studies offered within the Southampton Business School. The second semester has two compulsory modules covering more advanced concepts of fibre telecommunication and fibre sensor technologies, and two optional modules to be chosen from a laser technology based module, a module on MEMS based sensors and modules on global entrepreneurship and the basic aspects of innovation and technology transfer methods. The compulsory modules in Semester 1 cover the key concepts of optical fibre technology, which are central to all areas of modern fibre optics, including the key concepts of signal propagation in, and design and fabrication of optical fibres, fibre amplifiers, fibre lasers and fibre telecommunication systems, together with a practical course on optical laboratory skills and techniques.
The optional modules available include parallel photonics technology concepts together with specialist modules on how to start and run a business in the field. The compulsory research project makes use of our world-class fibre laboratories and cleanroom resources of the ORC.

Programme details
The programme has a number of compulsory and optional taught modules. Each successfully completed module is worth 15 CATS credits. The MSc requires you to complete 120 credits of taught modules. You then undertake a research project leading to a dissertation worth a further 60 credits.

The normal pattern of study is as follows:

Semester 1: Three compulsory modules covering the basics of optical fibre technologies together with laboratory and study skills training. Assessment is through a mixture of laboratory sessions, coursework and written examinations. There is also one optional module to be chosen between a module discussing the key elements and the basics of new business venturing and the entrepreneurship process, or modules covering more fundamental aspects of the light and matter, lasers and silicon photonics.

Semester 2: There are two compulsory modules providing deeper understanding of two specialist areas of optical fibre technology being fibre telecommunications and optical fibre sensors. These modules are assessed mainly through coursework and a written examination. There are also optional modules some of which focusses on parallel laser and sensor technologies, and on commercialisation aspects of optical fibre technologies.

Semester 3: Following the successful completion of the taught component in the first two semesters of the programme, you will undertake a research project lasting around 15 weeks, involving cleanroom and optical laboratory work. This project is assessed by a 15,000 word dissertation and a conference-style group presentation.

Examinations are held at the end of Semester 1 (January) and at the end of Semester 2 (May) together with a conference-style presentation on the topic of your research project at the end of Semester 3 (Mid-September).

Your research project will enable you to explore in-depth some aspect of optical fibre technologies. The project builds on the taught courses and hands-on practical sessions from Semester 1 and 2. It provides training in methodology, techniques and skills essential for carrying out independent research and development tasks.
Towards the end of Semester 2, you will be allocated a project supervisor with whom you will meet and agree a project brief and plan. These must be submitted to, and agreed by, the project coordinator. During the summer you will have weekly meetings with your supervisor or, if your supervisor is unavailable, a delegated deputy.
Your dissertation is due by the middle of September and late submissions will be penalised, unless an extension to this deadline has been agreed beforehand in writing by the project coordinator. Immediately following the submission of the dissertation you will present the main achievement of your research project work to your fellow course student colleagues in a conference-style setting.

Students who have successfully completed 60 or 120 CATS credits worth of taught material may exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma respectively.

The programme regulations are given in the University Calendar (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/) and summarised in the student handbook.

It should be noted that it may not be possible to run some optional modules if the number of students registered on the module is very small. It should also be noted that optional module choice can be restricted by the University Timetable, which varies from year to year: some optional modules may clash with other optional or compulsory modules. Please be aware that many modules are shared between different cohorts; the class size depends on cohort size, which varies from year to year.

Core
OPTO6012
Project - 60 credits
The topics of research projects will cover different concepts in photonic materials and in design, fabrication and testing of device-oriented applications in photonic technology.

Each student will work under a supervision of a senior research/academic ... 
Compulsory
OPTO6008
Optical Fibre Technology I - 15 credits
Knowledge of basic principles of fibre optics will make up a significant part of the necessary skill base for students on the Optical Fibre Technologies MSc. In-depth knowledge of optical fibres as the light guiding medium is vital for understanding most ... 
OPTO6009
Optical Fibre Technology II - 15 credits
Active optical fibres, including lasers and amplifiers, form a central part of optical fibre technologies today. This module will cover this important area of optical fibre technology covering the fundamental aspects of active fibre technologies including... 
OPTO6010
Advanced Fibre Telecommunication - 15 credits
Communications is arguably the most widespread application of fibre optics, and naturally forms an essential part of an MSc Programme specialising on fibre technologies. This module will cover topics ranging from the more general (aimed at students with a... 
OPTO6011
Optical Fibre Sensors - 15 credits
Optical fibre sensor technology is playing an increasing role in modern-day life with a range of applications emerging in areas spanning civil engineering, defence and the life sciences. This module focuses on a key area of ORC expertise that has develope... 
OPTO6023
Photonics Laboratory and Study Skills - 15 credits
The course is devoted to carrying out a series of experiments from the area of photonics and related technologies. The experiments have been selected to underpin and illustrate some fundamental concepts in laser and fibre science and offer an opportunity ... 
Optional
ELEC6203
Introduction to MEMS - 15 credits
The student will gain a basic understanding of current MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology and industrial instrumentation systems, with particular emphasis on smart sensors and actuators. The course introduces the fundamental of measurement s... 
ELEC6208
MEMS Sensors and Actuators - 15 credits
The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the emerging Micro-system-technology (MST) and its applications. Students will gain an insight in the design of MST micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and an understanding of the physics of differen... 
ELEC6218
Signal Processing - 15 credits
This module aims to introduce to the students signal processing techniques, including analogue and digital filter design and systems design theories. The module also introduces the concepts of statistical signal processing including estimation and detecti... 
ELEC6219
Wireless and Mobile Networks - 15 credits
The module consists of the following 8 components:
1. Introduction;
2. Data link layer;
3. Medium access control sublayer;
4. Network layer;
5. Queueing theory and queueing models;
6. Cellular wireless networks;
7. Wireless local area networ... 
OPTO6002
Solid State and Ultrafast Lasers - 15 credits
The operating principles of a wide variety of lasers in these two areas will be covered, as well as practical implementations and uses. Solid state and Ultrafast lasers are used in many branches of science and technology, and are an important sub-field wi... 
OPTO6007
An Introduction to Silicon Photonics - 15 credits
The course will present an introduction to guided waves, optical modes, and propagation characteristics of photonic circuits, using Silicon Technology by way of example. 
PHYS3003
Light and Matter - 15 credits
The course provides an introduction to modern optical physics to arm students with a basic knowledge of light-matter interactions, electro-optics and nonlinear optics. It aims to provide a fundamental base for understanding the techniques and technologies... 
PHYS6024
Lasers - 15 credits
Lasers and photonic techniques are used in all branches of science and technology. The principles of laser operation will be discussed, with reference to commonly used laser systems. The course provides knowledge of the laser as a fundamental tool of cont... 

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Career Opportunities

In completing an MSc degree at the ORC, you will work alongside some of the world’s leading optical fibre technology scientists, and spend time conducting novel research in our state-of-the-art facilities, keeping up-to- date with current research-trends in optical fibre technology and photonics. Our students receive a solid grounding for their future careers in photonics related topics; over 600 ORC alumni work in strategic positions in the Photonics industry worldwide. MSc students are ideally suited to continuing in research PhD studies, or moving directly into the growing photonics industry, some of which you will experience directly during the Industry Showcase event and optional modules in the Southampton Business School as part of your MSc training.

In completing an MSc degree at the ORC, you will work alongside some of the world’s leading optical fibre technology scientists, and spend time conducting novel research in our state-of-the-art facilities, keeping up to date with current research-trends in optical fibre technology and photonics.

Our students receive a solid grounding for their future careers in photonics related topics; over 600 ORC alumni work in strategic positions in the Photonics industry worldwide. MSc students are ideally suited to continuing in research PhD studies, or moving directly into the growing photonics industry, some of which you will experience directly during the Industry Showcase event and optional modules in the Southampton Business School as part of your MSc training.

 

Through an extensive blend of networks, mentors, societies and our on-campus startup incubator, we also support aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build their professional enterprise skills. Discover more about enterprise and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Learning & Assessment

Teaching and learning methods

The program consists of eight taught modules over the first two semesters of the year, and a research project in the third semester. Each module included in the programme consists of weekly lectures and tutorials by the module lecturers. Teaching methods include; directed reading, lectures, problem-solving activities and private/guided study. There are also practical laboratory sessions to directly demonstrate and put into context the taught technologies, incl. live demonstrations of e.g. fibre preform manufacturing and fibre drawing. The final project will involve hands-on training and working on your chosen topic area of optical fibre technology.

More business related modules will involve external visits to local companies and direct learning from, and interaction with, Entrepreneurs and company executives.

Assessment methods

The taught material will typically be assessed via a number of fortnightly problem sheets covering the material in each module, via group presentations, via a written examination of 2-2.5 hour duration at the end of each semester, via case-studies following visits to offsite companies and businesses (typically ~3000 words) and short reports (~1500 words), and via a final project dissertation (~15000 words) and conference-style final project presentation to all the students on the programme.

Student support

Associated with your programme you will be able to access:

• Tutorials - you will have a personal tutor whom you can meet on request for advice on your programme and choice of options, or for pastoral support.
• A mentor (usually a postgraduate student who has previously taken the course) that sees you weekly.
• Laser labs, and optical fibre clean room, and other research facilities, with a range of manuals.
• A website for each taught module, typically with teaching materials.

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

Type Description
TextbooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.

Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies.
Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and Photocopying CostsIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here: [insert link to relevant page].
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day- to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
Approved CalculatorsCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.

In some cases you’ll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Location

Highfield Campus

Highfield is our main campus and the heart of the University. Set in beautiful green surroundings, it’s easily accessible from the city centre. University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ.

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