European Master of Science in Photonics

The European MSc. in Photonics is an English-taught multidisciplinary programme of two years (120 ECTS) which leads to a joint degree from Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

”The programme provides you with an analytical skillset that is far above average. In combination with the very valuable focus on industrial photonics applications, you will be prepared to go the extra mile and tackle challenging problems in your future career.”

Bridging physics, engineering and photonics

This multidisciplinary master offers a challenging engineering programme with skills development like laser engineering, optical communication, optical materials, microphotonics and optical sensors.  Next to the fundamental science of photonics, students receive an in-depth training in engineering of light-based phenomena and systems from a dedicated team of professors with an impressive track record in photonics and optics research.

As a student you will be prepared for the most wanted jobs in innovative industries and research domains such as biotechnology, health care, green energy, ICT and Industry 4.0.

have a look at VUB Photonics Innovation Center



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Any questions?

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Programme structure


  • Core and advanced photonics courses complemented with electronics, physics, optics and engineering
  • Strong focus on hands-on training in highly equipped research labs
  • International experience and exchange opportunities with 20 partners
  • Dynamic link with industry through lectures and internships

The first year you can develop your skills in laser engineering, optical communication, optical materials, microphotonics and optical sensors.  The first semester is devoted to the fundamental basics of photonics, while the second focuses on engineering skills and photonics applications. As this master is organised by two leading universities in Belgium, you have the possibility to follow courses entirely at VUB or to choose specific courses at UGent. 

The second year opens the international gateway. Enrich your experience by taking up courses or an internship, or write your master thesis at an international partner. 

International mobility

International experience keeps you ahead. During your second year, you can choose to follow courses or do your master dissertation at one of our qualified international university partners. You can take your first steps in the work field by taking up a 10-weeks internship in research institute or photonics company. You define the extent of your stay abroad which allows you to benefit from the enriching expertise of our network with excellent partners, both in academia and industry with large international companies or SMB. 

Study credits

ECTS (European Credit Transfer System): 1 credit represents 25-30 hours of study activity

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe the intended knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that you must master after completing your studies. Do you want to know more about the specific learning outcomes of this programme? Click here for more information.

Photonics Student experience

Next to internships that connect students with industry,  different events give students the chance to mingle with co-students, professors and alumni and become part of the photonics community. At VUB the SPIE Brussels Student Chapter works closely with B-PHOT Brussels Photonics research group for following events: 

  • Light Nights: mixing professional flavor with a touch of social networking, this event brings together master students, professors, researchers and alumni in an informal way
  • Photonics Event: Connecting Companies, Students and researchers. Innovative companies specialized in photonics meet up with students and researchers.
  • Photonics Summer Symposium:  at the end of each academic year, this 2-day event in June welcomes all master students. Students of the second year present their master thesis for a jury of experts and for all master students. Further  international speakers join for inspiring lectures and there are also ocial activities such as a BBQ, quiz, …


Professional perspectives

The European MSc. in Photonics has all the right ingredients to prepare you for a bright future. The valuable internships with industry and research institutes abroad enhance your employability significantly. 

As consultant, engineer or researcher you might find yourself in the driver seat working domains as life sciences, biotechnology, telecommunications, sustainable energy, agrifood or Industry 4.0.



The VUB helps you to make your first step in the job market with workshops, networking events, job fairs, tips ‘n tricks for job interviews. All an ambitious student needs!

First step in the market


If you want to continue your academic career, you can apply for a PhD position at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. All you need is a promoter, research subject and sufficient funding. Are you up for this challenge?

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Language requirements

Prospective students can provide proof of sufficient knowledge of English as language of instruction by meeting one of the following criteria: 

- having successfully completed one of the following language proficiency tests:

  • TOEFL: minimum level: 213 for the computer-based test (CBT); 87 for the Internet-based test (IBT); 570 for paper-based test
  • IELTS: minimum level academic module 6
  • Cambridge-ESOL English First (FCE)


The programme is open to applicants with a bachelor or master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, (Applied) Physics, Materials Sciences or equivalent. Students in their last year of such programmes will also be considered. Applicants holding a bachelor or master degree in another field of engineering are welcome to join the programme through a personalised preparatory programme. This preparatory programme can be combined with a specific bachelor or master programme. 

For more details on admission requirements and application

Apply here

International experience

When you study the European Master of Science in Photonics, you join a strong network of academic and business partners. We have firm partnerships with top universities in and outside Europe, all of them excellent in photonics, and each with their specific research focus. Depending on the focus you want to pursue, you can choose to study at one of the universities with which VUB has an agreement. Frequent visited destinations are Sweden, Russia, Spain, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, China and Taiwan. 

Start your application right now

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Application deadline

We accept and review applications on a rolling basis, and aim at sending the decision within three weeks from the receipt of the complete application.

Applications can only be submitted through the online application form, we advise candidate students to apply as soon as possible, even if they have not yet obtained their degree.

  • All non EEA students and EEA students need to apply before 1 June. We recommend non EEA students to apply as early as possible with regards to VISA administration.

Language requirements for international students: 

  • a TOEFL-TEST, taken as recently as within the last two years, showing a score of at least 570 (paper-based) or 87 (internet-based)
  • an original “test report from” (TRF) from IELTS, issued as recently as within the last two years, with a minimum overall band score of 6.0
  • Cambridge-ESOL: First certificate in English (FCE)
  • Holders of a diploma of secondary or higher education by a recognised institution in the Flemish Community are exempted from submitting a proof of language proficiency.
  • You are also exempted from language test when you ave successfully completed a minimum of 1 year (60 credits), be it secondary or higher education, where the medium of instruction was English (an official certificate must be submitted).
  • Note: if the proof of English proficiency or APS certificate is not ready before the deadline, you can always submit it later instead of missing the deadline.

Tuition fees

The general tuition fee for our master program is €922.30/year. A detailed overview of the tuition fees can be found here 

International students experiences? Check out this video!