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B.S. Optical Engineering

We See Your Future in Optical Engineering
Be on the frontlines of science with a Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering focused on leadership and creativity.
Norfolk State University
Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering

Light is all around us. It is essential for life to flourish. Yet we are still learning how it works and how we can use it in consumer products and health care technologies to improve lives around the world.

Norfolk State University’s Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering degree will prepare you to push the boundaries of scientific discovery further every day as you design and build new technologies using the power of light.

As you earn your optical engineering degree at NSU, you’ll learn how to solve both common and complex problems by designing and building devices that generate, transmit, manipulate and detect light.

Your NSU degree will equip you to enter many fast-paced research and professional settings in which you can earn very good optical engineering salaries while furthering scientific inquiry.

Join one of the most respected optical engineering schools in the country

NSU’s optical engineering degree program has been accredited by ABET since it was created in 2004. ABET accredits engineering and science programs that meet its high-quality standards for excellence. This means that you’ll earn an optical engineering degree that is renowned across the country and can lead to a huge variety of careers and academic paths for you.

B.S. in Optical Engineering Degree at a Glance

  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
  • Formats Offered: In Person
  • Total Credit Hours: 130

Program at a glance: Printable Flowchart of courses (pdf format)

View Optical Engineering plans of study  | Request more information  | Apply now 

Why Study Optical Engineering at NSU?

We are proud to offer one of only five accredited optical engineering programs in the country, and the only optical engineering degree program offered at an HBCU. From the expertise of our distinguished faculty and the close-knit community of students and peers to our experience-driven curriculum, you’ll receive an exceptional educational experience and build foundational knowledge and skills to excel in a number of growing industries. The field offers great job security, along with optical engineering salaries that are highly competitive with those of other engineering fields.

Work with professional faculty

Thanks to our remarkably small student-to-faculty ratio, you’ll get to work alongside nationally recognized leaders in optics, space science, advanced materials and photonics. You’ll also get many opportunities to participate in faculty-guided research projects throughout the academic year — helping you make connections while building a robust resume.

Get hands-on experience in your field

Our optical engineering degree courses include intensive hands-on experience with the tools, hardware and software you’ll use throughout your career as an optical engineer. Still wondering, “what is optical engineering?” Step into our state-of-the-art labs and learn firsthand using laser systems and virtual and augmented reality learning tools.

Join a thriving optical engineering community

In addition to the collaborative opportunities that you’ll have in your classes, you’ll also get to meet and work with peers in our many organizations and societies for engineering students, including the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. Our strong community of students and faculty makes us one of the leading optical engineering schools in the country.

What Courses Will I Take as an Optical Engineering Student?

As you earn your optical engineering degree at NSU, you’ll build a solid foundation in topics such as biomedical engineering, optical materials, semiconductor processing, data science and photonic systems — including lasers and fiber communications.

The optical engineering degree requires a minimum of 130 credit hours of core and engineering courses — culminating in a senior project in which you will plan and design an engineering project incorporating realistic and diverse constraints of technical, budgetary and social aspect

Some of the courses that make us one of the top optical engineering schools in the country include.

  • Physical and Instrumentation Optics
  • Optical Communications
  • Lasers and Photonics
  • Geometric and Instrumentation Optics

View the full optical engineering degree curriculum

Where Will My Optical Engineering Degree Take Me? 

Are you still wondering, “What is optical engineering and what kinds of careers can I get with a degree in it?” Well, as an optical engineer, you’ll be prepared to work in a diverse range of fields and industries as a leader and team member.

Past optical engineering students have gone on to work in prestigious companies and organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Micron Technologies, the Naval Surface Warfare Center and Norfolk Naval Shipyards.

Students have also been accepted into advanced optical engineering programs at institutions such as the University of Arizona, the University of Rochester and the University of Central Florida to continue their education and increase their potential for higher optical engineering salaries.

Career outlook for Optical Engineering majors

Nearly 100% of our optical engineering graduates are employed or in a graduate program within a few months of graduation. The many successes of our optical engineering graduates are what help us remain one of the most respected optical engineering schools in the country.

How Do I Get Started in the Optical Engineering Program at NSU? 

Do you have questions about applying to Norfolk State University? Want to learn about what financial aid options are available to you? Wondering “what is optical engineering and how can I enter into it?” Maybe you want to learn more about how we help students earn great optical engineering salaries after graduation?

Our dedicated team of knowledgeable and caring advisers and counselors is here to answer all your questions and help you as you begin your journey at one of the best optical engineering schools in the country.

Learn more about the requirements for the B.S. in Optical Engineering program. 

“GO FOR IT!! The optical engineering program at NSU is one-of-a-kind. There is no doubt that the coursework and professors will prepare you for real-world applications. The hands-on experiences offered in lab classes alone will set you apart from others after graduating.”
– Chelsea Duncan ’17, Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering

Degree Programs Related to Optical Engineering

Accreditation for Optical Engineering at NSU

The Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering at Norfolk State University is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which grants accreditation to engineering and science programs that align with its high standards for the student experience in the sciences.