1 programme, 2 universities

Bridging physics, engineering and photonics

The European Master of Science in Photonics is an English-taught 2-year master programme (120 ects) that leads to a joint degree from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University. We offer students a challenging engineering programme that combines core photonics courses with a whole range of photonics electives and multidisciplinary modules, e.g. Electronics and Information Technology, Physics and Materials, Business Engineering, Modelling, Measurement and Control and Life Sciences.

This multidisciplinary approach combined with high-level training in labs and a strong international component has proven to boost the employement prospects of our graduates to a maximum in innovative industries and research domains such as biotechnology, health care, green energy, ICT and Industry 4.0.

Standard study plan

The model learning track of the European Master of Science in Photonics consists of 120 ECTS:

In the first year of the model learning track:
- 52 ECTS of Compulsory General Courses
- 8 ECTS of Advanced Photonics Electives

In the second year of the model learning track:
- 4 ECTS of Compulsory General Courses
- 8 ECTS of Advanced Photonics Electives (or 4 ECTS if the student is enrolled for the International Internship in Photonics)
- 18 ECTS of Multidisciplinary Engineering Electives (or 12 ECTS if the student is enrolled for the International Internship in Photonics)
- a Master Thesis Project (30 ECTS)

At least 10 ECTS must be dedicated to internationalization as:
- an international internship (10 ECTS)
- a master thesis abroad (30 ECTS)
- Erasmus+ exchange courses abroad (30 ECTS)
- Internationalization@Home: strong international component in master thesis (6 ects) + other UGent/VUB courses with strong international component (4 ECTS)

In total, this academic plan comprises 120 ECTS credits.



Photonics Innovation Center

Have a look at our Photonics Innovation Center

More about next academic year?

Check out the latest updates



More info

Any questions?

Don’t hesitate to write us an email. We’d be happy to help you on your way!

Contact us

Visum-required applicants: deadline 01 April 2020

Apply now!

The world is at your feet

When you study photonics at VUB, in the beating heart of Europe, you will not just join a team of international students and researchers.

You will be trained by professors and professionals with an impressive track record in optics and photonics. The B-PHOT research group has over 30 years of experience in photonics research and its applications. A team of 60 researchers will submerge you in the fascinating world of light and show you how Photonics affects all fields of endeavor: internet, smartphone, road traffic, aviation, food safety, disease diagnosis, ... .

You will also have the opportunity to study courses and/or do your master dissertation at one of our preferred partner universities, get real-life work experience by doing an international internship in a research institute or photonics company, attend conferences and visit major photonics companies.

Dr. Volodymyr Koman (Ukraine), Alumnus European MSc in Photonics, Strano Research Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

“ There has been light from the beginning. But we hardly measure the importance of light in our daily lives. Light is nowadays used for everything from internet cables to low cost light sources. However, this is just a beginning and we have many more exciting discoveries to make and applications to invent. I have understood this as I was studying photonics at VUB in the framework of European MSc (Erasmus Mundus, at that time). As students, we were exposed to interdisciplinary curricula on how light aids in and interacts with various other disciplines. We also witnessed a number of close collaborations with various industries, which gave us a unique opportunity to understand how photonic inventions make their way to market. The gained knowledge helped and steered me tremendously as I continued on developing photonic sensors for biosystems during my PhD at EPFL and now inventing optoelectronic micromachines as a PostDoc at MIT. I can't stress enough how innovative and visionary this program is.

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.

Applications are now open!

Apply now!

International Mobility

Going abroad may be a life changing experience. The chance to spend time in different cities inside and outside of Europe, brings students in touch with different cultures, different languages and a wide variety of workplace environments.

The European Msc in Photonics gives you the opportunity to implement a strong international component in your programme. In master year two you can choose to [1] follow courses or do your [2] master dissertation at one of our preferred partner universities. Alternatively you can do an [3] international internship of 10-12 weeks. Students who want to spend 2 full years at VUB can follow the [4] Internationalization@Home track.

Ayman MORSY (Egypt), EMSP Class of 2018-2020

" Being a student at VUB opens doors to a wide range of opportunities to grow and excel in the field of photonics.
The programme is designed to prepare you for an academic and professional career through internships, business seminars, student networks and mobility tracks. In particular, my internship in Finland has helped me develop my skill set, engage in new cultures and expand my international network.

Furthermore, as a student I was involved in the activities of BEST (Board of European Students of Technology) where I learned how to interact and deal with companies, develop my soft skills and meet other technology students from all over the world.”

Mobility Tracks

  • Courses@partner institution: in semester 3 you can choose to study a course package (30 ects) abroad under the Erasmus+ Exchange umbrella
  • Masterthesis@partner institution: in semester 4 you can choose to do your master thesis (30 ects) at one of our partner institutions under the Erasmus+ Exchange umbrella
  • International Internship in Photonics (10 ects): the International Internship in Photonics focuses on the industrial and/or research engineering training of the student. You spend a period of at least 10 weeks to 12 weeks (preferably during the summer holidays) in a company or research institute outside of Belgium as a trainee with the objective of gaining practical experience in an international context
  • Internationalization@Home: finally we have also implemented the Internationalization at Home track. Students who prefer to follow this track will not take up any of the above tracks. Instead they will do 2 full years at VUB and as such they have to implement a strong international component in the master thesis work equivalent to at least 6 ECTS, through short research visits abroad, involvement of an international co-supervisor, ...


Kadir in Lund, Sweden for his Erasmus+ Exchange.

Applications are now open!

Apply here!

At VUB the SPIE Brussels Student Chapter works closely with B-PHOT Brussels Photonics research group for events where students, professors and alumni mix and mingle. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is a not-for-profit educational society organized to advance emerging light-based technologies. SPIE Brussels Student Chapter has the largest student members in Europe organizing events and supporting actively in outreach from B-PHOT such as the yearly Science Show attracting over 1000 students, which was also performed for the first UNESCO International Day of Light

Several events are organised making it easy to become part of the photonics community: 

  • 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, through workshops and hands-on experiments.
  • 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. International speakers join for inspiring lectures and there are also social activities such as a BBQ, quiz, …


What about after-student life? Job time!

The European MSc. in Photonics has all the right ingredients to prepare you for a bright future. We are proud to say that all our graduates find a relevant job within a few months timeframe at most, some in their own country and some building an international career. 100% employability is what we go for.

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. Next to an inspiring job in industry, you might also have interest in a research career at academic research group and become a professor yourself .

Have a look at SPIE career center, where you can find an overview of available jobs, employer type, different domains and functions. But first... graduate! 


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?

More info

Want to know more about our alumni

More info

follow the VUB

On LinkedIn


Read blogs and more from students!


Deadline visum-required applicants: 1 April 2020!

Apply here!

Want to know more about next academic year?

Check out the latest updates

Application info

  • candidates who require a VISA: 1 April 2020
  • candidates who don’t require a VISA: 1 September 2020 at VUB
  • students with a Belgian Bachelor should register before: 15 October 2020

The general tuition fee for our master program is €938.80/year*. A detailed overview of the tuition fees can be found here. The tuition fee includes full tuition (full course/lab access + exam participation), a student card and full access to the university and faculty infrastructure as a student (library, restaurant, online tools, etc.).

*subject to indexation

Degree requirements:

1. for international students

  • bachelor or master degree in (Applied) Physics/Electrical Engineering/Materials Science
  • bachelor or master degree in another scientific field will also be considered based on pre-knowledge

2. for belgian degree holders

  • bachelor or master degree in (Applied) Physics/Electrical Engineering/Materials Science have direct access
  • bachelor or master degree in Architecture, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, industrial Science - Electronics/ICT, Engineering Science or KMS Polytechnical Department can apply for the preparatory programme of 30 ECTS

Language requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT with minimum level: 79;
  • IELTS with minimum level: academic module 6.5;
  • ITACE with minimum level: B2;
  • Cambridge English Qualification Scale with the following minimal level: 170;

Certificates and other proof of language tests may not pre-date the first enrolment by more than five years


  • holders of a diploma of secondary or higher education by a recognised institution in the Flemish Community
  • if you have successfully completed a minimum of 1 year in secondary or higher education, where the medium of instruction was English (an official certificate must be submitted)

VUB Scholarships for European Master of Science in Photonics*/**

Each year the Vrije Universiteit Brussels grants several full scholarships of 10.000,- EUR/academic year for the European Master of Science in Photonics program based on excellence. Every international student applying at VUB is eligible for these scholarships, no separate procedure must be followed.

All candidates applying at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will have the opportunity to show proof of their technical knowledge during a scholarship interview preceding the final admission.

VUB B-PHOT Excellence Scholarships*/**

B-PHOT, the Brussels Photonics Research group at VUB, also offer scholarships to excellent students on a competitive basis. All students who register for the European MSc. in Photonics at VUB are eligible to be awarded a B-PHOT Excellence Scholarship of 5.000,- EUR/academic year by the research group without a separate application procedure.

The scholarships will be awarded by the VUB program board.

*all candidates who receive the VUB Scholarship or the B-PHOT Excellence Scholarship must commit themselves to do a master thesis at VUB

**none of these scholarship can be granted in combination with any other scholarship (with the exception of the Erasmus+ mobility grants)

Before you hit that 'Apply now' button make sure you have all the required documents (in.pdf) ready for upload, only complete applications will be reviewed! 


  • clear copy of ID
  • CV
  • motivation letter
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • official bachelor degree or official certificate of graduation
  • complete and official transcript of records BSc
  • official master degree or official certificate of graduation
  • complete and official transcript of records MSc
  • official language certificate
  • complete overview of bachelor courses content description

Applications are open, start here!

Apply now!