Photonics Certificate Program

Hannah Guilbert aligns optical systemThe Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke University offers a Photonics Certificate, open to any graduate student at Duke. The goal of the program is to provide a venue for students to learn more about photonics as a path to interdisciplinary research and technology development.

The Pratt School of Engineering also offers a dedicated Master of Engineering in Photonics and Optical Sciences degree program.


  • For all certificate candidates:
    • Complete four photonics courses from the approved course listing, of which one course must be a qualified “Introductory Survey Course.” (See Certificate Course List)
    • Present research at a Fitzpatrick Institute Student Group meeting (includes FIP Friday Breakfast Poster Presentation).
    • Attend 1 semester of Optics and Photonics Seminar Series
      BME 609/ ECE 549/ PHY 549
  • For Ph.D. candidates: Ensure at least one member of the FIP is on the student's Ph.D. dissertation committee.

Certificate Course List

The following is a list of approved certificate courses. This list is subject to change over time as new courses are offered, including special topics offerings. Please consult with the certificate DGS for guidance and approval. Courses marked with an asterisk qualify as an introductory survey course.


  • *BME 552/ECE 541/PHY 621 Advanced Optics 
  • *BME 555/CHEM 630 Advances in Photonics
  • BME 436L Biophotonics Instrumentation
  • BME 550 Modern Microscopy
  • BME 590 Biomedical Optics
  • BME 590 Machine Learning in Imaging
  • BME 551 Biomedical Optical Spectroscopy
  • BME 436L Biophotonics Instrumentation
  • CHEM 890-4 Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging
  • ECE 545 Nanophotonics
  • ECE 546 Optoelectronic Devices
  • ECE 523/PHY 627 Quantum Information Science
  • ECE 571 Electromagnetic Theory
  • ECE 573 Optical Communications Systems
  • ECE 675 Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy
  • ECE 590 Nonlinear Optics
  • ECE 722 Quantum Electronics
  • ECE 676 Lens Design
  • ME 555 Optical Properties of Nanostructured Materials
  • PHY 671 Quantum Optics
  • PHY 562 Fundamentals of Electromagnetism
  • PHY 719 Advanced Electromagnetism
  • PHY 732 Advanced Quantum Optics
  • ECE 574 Waves in Matter

Process to Earn the Certificate

    1. Apply to the certificate program by completing this form.
      1. Mail form to Attn: Ms. August Burns, Box 90271, Durham, NC 27708 or you mail email the application to:
      2. Students are encouraged apply for the certificate program early and to consult the DGS for guidance on courses. Application must be made at least one semester prior to the student's scheduled graduation date.
    2. Must file with Duke Graduate School your Intent to Receive Degree Form and indicate that you want to receive the Photonics Graduate Certificate.
    3. Complete the requirements of the certificate and meet with DGS at least one month prior to graduation to provide the following information:
  • Graduate transcript indicating completion of four courses from the approved certificate course list, including an introductory survey course.
  • Title and date of the seminar given by the student.
  • Ph.D. dissertation title and abstract (if applicable).
  • List of Ph.D. dissertation committee members (if applicable).
  • Date of Ph.D. thesis defense (if applicable).

Certificate Program Contacts:

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) : Professor Adam Wax