A Valuable Tool for a Career in a Burgeoning Market

Photonics, the study of light-based technology and other applications of optical science, is rapidly expanding. But the supply of qualified workers is inadequate to fulfill industry hiring needs, particularly personnel involved in assembly, quality control, testing, repair and technical work. 

This certificate program – offered by the Stonehill-Bridgewater Partnership for Integrated Photonics in collaboration with MIT’s Knowledge and Innovation for Manufacturing Initiative – is designed to equip program participants with the skills and experience needed to thrive in this burgeoning market.

This certification is a 15-month, 27-credit program to prepare students – with little or no background in the field ­– for careers as technicians in the integrated photonics industry.

Backed by the Support of the U.S. Office of Naval Research

The Certificate program offered by the Stonehill-Bridgewater Partnership for Integrated Photonics is supported by a $770,000 sub-grant as part of a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research grant to  MIT’s Knowledge and Innovation for Manufacturing Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A Distinct Advantage in a Growing Field

The certificate program will benefit traditional college students who could earn both an academic degree and a technical certificate in integrated photonics, a big advantage when seeking employment after graduation. The program also holds promise for students at community colleges and vocational high schools as well as workers seeking retraining, veterans entering the private sector and underrepresented populations.

  • Part-time
  • Complete program in as little as four semesters
  • Attend both Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University (BSU), known for advanced optics and photonics labs
  • Experience the unique MIT boot camp over the course of several one-day field trips
  • Exceptional courses include: Fiber Optics, Optics and Lasers, Digital Fundamentals, Electricity and Electronics, Tools and Testing Equipment, Tools for Advanced Manufacturing and Photonics, Statistical Process Control and Automation, Photonic Integrated Circuits, and a Capstone Project
  • Design components for semiconductor and optical devices
  • Design efficient fabrication processes
  • Problem solving, technical communication and safety in Photonics and Optics technician workplace
  • Electronics (basic theory, application including measure and test) in the Photonics and optics technician workplace
  • Learn to define a photonics project or problem clearly
  • Learn to conduct applied work in a timely fashion
  • Learn to communicate the results of a project

Sample Courses

Tools and Materials for Advanced Manufacturing and Photonics

PHOE 150
This course, which includes lab, online, and in-class components, provides a hands-on introduction to the mechanical and thermal aspects of materials and mechanical systems. Applications include belt drives, gear systems, hydraulic control systems. Also covered are the mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic properties of materials relevant to photonic systems and photonic fabrication processes.

Introduction to Optics

PHOE 160
Students will develop advanced experience with lasers, optics and optical systems that are commonplace for the photonics and optical technician based on SPIE Photonics publications. Laser fundamentals, safety and operation will be covered along with basics of geometric and wave optics theory. Optical system set up, including alignment, interferometers and test and measurement (component and system characterization) will also be covered.

Photonic Integrated Circuits

PHOE 164
This course, which includes both online and in-class components, provides an introduction to the basic concepts and methods of integrated photonics. Integrated photonics integrates the optical components: waveguides, waveguide bends, Y branch, grating couplers, interconnect, detectors, and so on. This course will teach students how to design, fabricate, and test an integrated photonic circuit and conduct a data analysis cycle, and will include the design and testing of an integrated circuit as a final project.

Apprenticeship Provides Experience and Connections

The three-month apprenticeship requirement lasts the entirety of the final semester. Through a concurrent capstone project, students gain practice at applying the skills learned in previous courses and develop workplace experience and industry contacts helpful when it comes time to move into the workforce. Apprenticeships help to guarantee that students are leaving graduate school with skills that employers desire.

Why You Should Apply

  • Access faculty at three academic institutions in one of the few photonics technician programs in the U.S.
  • Gain skills that increase marketability in other technical fields, e.g. robotics, electronics and materials
  • Work one-on-one with an established mentor in industry
  • Learn in a cutting-edge optics and photonics lab with equipment used in industry – including a femtosecond laser
  • Benefit from a 10-week apprenticeship requirement that delivers valuable workplace experience

This integrated program is consistent with the partner schools’ deep commitment to high-impact, experiential learning. It incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to physics, business and/or engineering. Students will apply their training in a capstone project of their choice to create or improve a relevant product or process.

Our students are already working in the field across Massachusetts, including exciting start-up ventures. Here, you get the hands-on experience and know-how in everything you will need to gain well-paid positions in the fast-growing photon- and light-based economy.

Contact Information