ME Optical Engineering

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

Between 2014 and 2016 Ireland outpaced the EU28 in the industrial sector of Computer, Electronic, Optical and Electronic Equipment, with an increase of over 56% in net sales value from an already high base. Optical technologies play key roles in many areas including biomedical imaging, astronomy, quality control, security, sensing and telecommunications. The ready availability of multi-camera mobile phones paves the way for new applications as computational approaches integrate with traditional optical design. Very exciting innovative technologies are rapidly emerging, driven by the ability to display and capture large amounts of real-time optical data.  Optical engineers are involved in identifying and designing these systems, with the aim of improving people’s lives, generating  employment and creating new business opportunities.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

  • Delivered by a highly research-intensive School composed of many internationally high-profile academics including five IEEE Fellows. This  two-year programme provides 6-8 months of professional work experience as an embedded element of the programme.
  • You will gain an advanced understanding of a broad range of areas within optical engineering, such as biomedical signal processing, optoelectronics and biomedical imaging.
  • Research project topics are spread across a wide range, but related to and drawing on the topics covered in the taught modules. Similarly, your work placement can involve a variety of roles in a range of different companies in the electronic and computer engineering field.

Hello, My name if Professor John Sheridan.  I head the Masters in Optical Engineering program here in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin.

The reason UCD decided to set up this masters program was because of repeated requests, from colleagues in universities and industry, to supply graduates capable of tackling the challenges arising in today’s cutting edge man/machine interfaces. 

You are all certainly familiar with mobile phone technology, and virtual, mixed and augmented reality systems.

All of these necessitate the solution of problems involving image capture, processing and display. 

Understanding how optical systems work and how we can interact optimally with such systems will dominate much of the next 20 years of engineering activity.

Currently companies such as Apple, Google, Huawei and Microsoft have dedicated international teams of engineers working on how best to integrate smart optical systems with AI and cloud-based computing to achieve improvements in healthcare provision, driverless cars and robotics.

We would like you to want to be part of this revolution, a revolution that will affect the lives of every person on this planet and one having significant economic potential.

Your two years masters program includes lectures from leaders in the fields of optics, electronics, physics, computer science and bio-engineering. 

You will undertake both core modules and be helped choose from a range of interdisciplinary module so you can tailor your educational experiences to your desires and need.

As part of your masters degree you will work on a project supervised by a leading researcher.  It is our aim that your project work be of sufficient quality to be presentable at an international conference. 

With our assistance you will apply for and be interviewed to work for up to 6 months as an intern in a company in Ireland or abroad. 

We will provide you with every assistance to become the very best and the most successful you can be.


  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of the mathematics, sciences, engineering sciences and technologies underpinning optical engineering with a special emphasis on Fourier optics.
  • The ability to identify, formulate, analyse and solve complex engineering problems.
  • The ability to perform the detailed design of novel systems and processes using analysis and knowledge of advanced optical systems.
  • The ability to design and conduct experiments, and apply and evaluate a range of standard and specialised research tools, analytical techniques and methods of enquiry.
  • The ability to work effectively as an individual and in teams, together with the capacity to undertake lifelong learning, thus offering a foundation for entry into advanced research programmes.
  • The ability to communicate effectively on complex engineering matters with the engineering community and with society at large.

There are excellent job opportunities for optical engineers in the display, lighting, virtual reality, robotic and drone areas. It is a large and expanding area. Established employers in Ireland include both multinationals and indigenous companies, e.g. Andor, Carl Zeiss, Huawei, Intel/Movidius, Qualcomm, and Sensl, to name but a few.

ME Optical Engineering (T319) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 8410
nonEU    Year 1 - € 26400
EU          Year 2 - € 8410 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 25600 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2022 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2021/22
***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see

The College of Engineering & Architecture also offer scholarships for non-EU students, for more information see:

The Professional Work Experience (PWE) module is incorporated into the two-year Masters of Engineering Programme and is designed to integrate a student’s academic and career interests with practical work experience for a 6-8 month period. 

The module provides students with the perfect opportunity to gain increased experience and understanding of their chosen field, assess where their strengths and weaknesses lie and maximise their knowledge of the available career possibilities. The practical skills acquired during this placement will give graduates a competitive advantage when applying for positions upon graduation.

  • An honours undergraduate degree (NFQ Level 8 ) with a minimum upper second class honours or international equivalent in an Electrical, Electronic, Computer or Optical Engineering programme is required.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  •  Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD’s International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information:
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Student Profile - Jesvin Jimmy

"My first encounter with Optics was in the Electronic Engineering bachelor’s module – Electromagnetic Waves. I remember being so intrigued to discover the wide range of applications that harnessed the properties of light. Also that summer I had the opportunity to complete a research internship in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exposure there aided me greatly in realising the expanding potential of this career path as it is already revolutionsing solutions in sectors such as communications, health, automobiles and computing. Upon my return, I had an extensive range of module options offered by the schools of physics, chemistry, radiology and medicine. The master’s structure suited me perfectly as I didn’t want to settle with the traditional engineering modules. My current placement in Maxim Integrated is also proving to be an invaluable experience as I am able to delve deeper into core areas such as power electronics. The perfect blend of modules and experience is already proving to be a great advantage and differentiator."

Modules are taught by faculty-engaged, leading-edge research, working in collaboration with nationally and internationally known industrial and academic researchers.

The following entry routes are available:

ME Optical Engineering FT (T319)
2 Years
Full Time