Advanced Optical Technologies (MAOT)

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Apr 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:1793 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate

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Seven topics:
  • Optics in Communication: optical communication system technology is one of the most rapidly evolving fields pushed by an ever-increasing demand for higher data transport capacity and longer transmission length. Many exciting challenges for the development of the next generation of optical networks arise from these demands. The module Optics in Communication and IT provides the knowledge required to face these challenges.
  • Optical Metrology: light is an excellent tool for gaining remote information without any contact with the object. Besides their contactless mode of operation, optical measuring techniques owe their rapid spread into technology and science to their measuring accuracy and their high spatial and temporal resolution.
  • Optical Material and Systems: novel optical materials and efficient light sources provide the basis for optical systems design. Tailor-made optical materials and elements with engineered optical functionality have benefited from the technological progress in micro- and nanostructuring.
  • Optical Material Processing: light as a tool has revolutionised industrial manufacturing. Within the last decade the laser in particular has changed automotive construction, micro and nanotechnology. It has nearly replaced traditional manufacturing methods such as spot welding and has become a standard tool. The rapid progress experienced in computer technology has only been possible thanks to modern optical technologies.
  • Computational Optics: numerical simulations and computer-based techniques are an essential tool in optical technologies. The vast field of applications includes image-based modelling and rendering, multi-dimensional data visualisation, computer vision as well as simulation and optimisation of optical systems, lasers or optical fields in nanostructures. The dramatically increased power of today's computer systems makes it possible to solve tasks that only a few years ago seemed unfeasible. The module Computational Optics provides the basic knowledge necessary for the generation and implementation of such computer-based methods and simulations.
  • Optics in Medicine: laser and optical technology in general are an essential part of diagnostics and therapy in modern medicine. In order to understand the interaction between light and biological tissue it is necessary to have fundamental knowledge of both.
  • Physics of Light: the fundamentals of optics are deepened in the fields of geometrical optics, wave optics, technical optics, quantum optics, and Fourier optics.

Educational organisation

The programme integrates lecturers from Engineering Thermodynamics, Manufacturing Technology, Quality Management, Computer Science, Electrical, Electronic and Communication Engineering, Material Sciences, Medicine and Physics.

First semester
All students start with a thorough education in fundamentals of optics and laser.

In the second and third semesters, students must study nine lectures and two lab courses from the topics described above. Two topics must be chosen as major topics.
The educational programme of each topic combines lectures with practical courses.
A report about a mini-project (300 h) in one of the major topics is also an essential part of the programme. A voluntary internship in a research institution or a company can deepen students' practical experience.

Fourth semester
The fourth semester is dedicated to the Master's thesis, which focuses on one of the chosen major topics.

The technical courses can be voluntarily supplemented by training in scientific key qualifications (presentation, publishing). Students can also attend academies or workshops in the SAOT doctoral programme to deepen their knowledge in their specialised field.
  • All courses are taught in English and in small groups of typically not more than 10-15 students.
  • Three tutors (each responsible for two topics) work exclusively for MAOT and provide extensive support.
  • Lectures are adapted to the needs of students.
  • The MAOT office helps with all administrative issues (visa, health insurance, accommodation, etc.).

Study abroad unit(s)

Doing an internship or a research project abroad is encouraged and financially supported, but not compulsory.

Forms of assessment

Oral and written exams, reports, presentations, assignments for work in the lab or at the computer (simulations)

Language requirements

Sufficient English language skills, proven by suitable documents (e.g. high school leaving certificate, TOEFL, etc.). TOEFL 80 iBT / 216 CBT / 552 PBT or IELTS 5.5 or an equivalent score in any internationally recognised test is desirable, but not compulsory. Language skills will be checked in a telephone interview during the application process.

Academic requirements

Good Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in physics or a relevant engineering subject (for example electrical engineering, mechanical engineering)

Enrolment fees

The contribution to student services currently amounts to 42 EUR per semester. An additional charge of 65 EUR per semester covers the mandatory basic "semester ticket", a transit pass that provides students with unlimited access to public transport in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg from 7pm to 6am on weekdays and at all times at weekends. (For an additional optional charge, the validity of the pass can be extended to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

Costs of living

The cost of living can only be approximated very generally, as the needs and living conditions of every student are different.
Rent: 250-600 EUR per month
Health insurance, doctor, medicine: approximately 70 EUR per month
Food: approximately 165 EUR per month
Study materials: approximately 30 EUR per month (depending on the subject)
Transport: minimum 65 EUR per semester
Student services: 42 EUR per semester
For more information, see:
General information on the average cost of living in Germany is available online:

Job opportunities

Many jobs as scientific assistants are available at the institutions involved in the programme. Students may work in these jobs between eight and nineteen hours a week. Payment is from 9 to 11 EUR per hour, depending on the degree already held by the student.

Funding opportunities within the university

Up to five students per year can be provided with a scholarship by the Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies SAOT. The scholarship holders will work in a SAOT research group while studying MAOT.

Arrival support

MAOT representatives pick up students at the the airport/railway station on the day of their arrival and offer support during the first days/weeks in Germany and advice on all necessary administrative issues (how to open a bank account and get health insurance, how to enrol at FAU, how to obtain a residence permit, etc.). International students will receive help in planning and organising accommodation. Contacts with current students who have already gone through this process will also be established. A comprehensive students' guide and introductory events provide students with a lot of background information.

Services and support for international students

The Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) will provide you with detailed information on all important topics relating to your studies (study courses, subject combinations, application requirements, support with organising your study programme and complying with all assessment/examination requirements) and on settling in at the beginning of the semester (coping with particular difficulties, changing subjects or suspending studies). For more information, see
The Career Service of FAU will provide you with information on career opportunities and the specifics of an application procedure in Germany. For information, see:
The Student Service Centres (SSC) and student advisers in the faculties will provide you with further advice on your particular course of study. Programme coordinators organise subject-related orientation events and guide you through the entire study period.
The Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) will provide you with detailed information on accommodation, visa issues, and scholarship possibilities. In cooperation with the IBZ, it also organises information events and general orientation courses for first-semester-students.
The Alumni network provides students with many topics and events for professional advancement. See:


Erlangen and Nuremberg are attractive cities with a historic flair and modern infrastructure. Therefore, the housing market is quite tight. FAU will do its best to assist new students in finding accommodation.
Student halls in Erlangen and Nuremberg can only provide accommodation for a small number of students. Another option is the private housing market. If you extend your search to neighbouring towns, such as Fürth and Forchheim, your choice of accommodation is much larger and rents are lower, while the well-developed local public transport system ensures that you're never far away from the university. In addition, there is the option to sublet a room, or you can share a flat with other students. This option not only saves you money but also helps you settle in quickly and make friends in your new home. You can find information to help with your housing search on specialised websites and the university's notice boards.
Detailed information on finding accommodation is available at
If you need further assistance, you can also turn to the Accommodation Service of the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA). E-mail:
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