The University of Newcastle, Australia

Photonics Major

Why study a photonics major at the University of Newcastle?

The University of Newcastle pioneered the establishment of a major in photonics, where you learn about the science of producing, manipulating and detecting light.

This field incorporates the study of optical fibres and their use in modern communications technology, which is the only apparent solution for the growing societal demand for bandwidth.

Our photonics major reflects the latest developments happening in the world including the National Broadband Network currently being rolled out across Australia.

In the first year of your Bachelor of Science photonics major you will receive an introduction to physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and laboratory skills. You will build on this knowledge through your three-year program and undertake your own research project in photonics with university or industry researchers in your third year.

Our facilities are fully equipped and continually developed to ensure you have access to the latest training tools and software, including computer interfacing and instrument control.

When you study the major in photonics you will complete your degree over three years of full-time study (or part-time equivalent) at our Newcastle campus. There is an opportunity to take an additional Honours year after completing your degree, with Master and PhD programs also available.

There are a wide range of possible careers in photonics. As a graduate you will have a versatile skill set and can find employment in all areas of technology such as:

  • astronomical telescope detector manufacture
  • defence research and the air force
  • laser supply companies
  • multi-national telecommunications companies
  • optical fibre design and device development
  • the petrochemical industry and medical physics

Suitable for science students with:

  • An interest in understanding how light is produced, manipulated and detected.
  • Goals to pursue research in optical fibre technology, communications and electrical engineering.
  • A commitment to studying electromagnetism, to understand electric and magnetic fields.

What do you learn in a photonics major?

By studying a major in Physics you will develop an understanding of matter, energy, space and time. Students learn about the components that hold our universe together, as well as core scientific theories related to the study of Physics:

  • Physics Theory: Students will study the fundamental theories of Physics to gain an understanding of mechanics and kinematics.
  • Fibre Optics: Studying courses in advanced optics will teach you about waves of light. Students will learn about polarization, interference, diffraction and devices that use light within their mechanics.
  • Optical Communications: After studying the basic principles, methods and devices in analog and digital communication, students will have the option to learn about optical communications. Studying this area will teach you how and why messages and channels are sent through optical cables. The ramifications of optical communications for the future of the internet will also be considered.
  • Electromagnetism: An understanding of electric and magnetic fields is essential to the study of photonics. Students will study how these fundamental components of television and radio operate, and how electromagnetic phenomena can be investigated.

Which degrees include this major?

The Bachelor of Science and associated degree programs allow you to study a Photonics major:

The photonics major within the Bachelor of Science is only available at our Newcastle campus.