PhD in Optics & Photonics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 6 Semesters
Germany Full Time
Dr-Ing or Dr rer nat Onsite

Optics and photonics are key technologies of the 21st century. They form, for example, the basis for today’s optical communications, environmental sensing, biomedical diagnostics in the life sciences, energy-efficient lighting, and solar energy harvesting. This is reflected in the fact that the average annual growth of the optics and photonics market has exceeded 10% over the past five years. With a worldwide overall volume of more than 250 billion EUR annually, the field of optics and photonics is one of the most important branches of the high-tech industry.

The Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics (KSOP) was founded in 2006 as a multidisciplinary graduate school of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology at the interface of the natural sciences and engineering disciplines. Future progress and growth rely on dedicated research and graduates trained in an interdisciplinary environment. Consequently, the KSOP has set up the KSOP research areas to cover many important aspects of optics and photonics. The five KSOP research areas are Photonic Materials and Devices, Quantum Optics & Spectroscopy, Biomedical Photonics, Optical Systems, and Solar Energy. All research areas are strongly interlinked and most institutes feature research projects in more than one of the research areas.

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Course Details:

To achieve valuable scientific results, talented Ph.D. students need to acquire knowledge and are also required to exchange knowledge and experience with other Ph.D. students in method-oriented working groups. Supervision by two advisers and one mentor accompanies the whole doctoral thesis work to ensure the constant quality of the work and its success. In order to achieve and maintain a high level of Ph.D. theses in general, a total quality management program is practiced and implemented by the managing administrator of KSOP.

The three-year, elite, and interdisciplinary Ph.D. thesis work comprises participation in at least five elite Ph.D. course modules with a minimum of one module in each of the four categories:

  • Technical modules (nanotechnology laboratory; laser laboratory work; advanced light microscopy in biological science; digital signal processing; computer-aided design of optical and photonic systems; LabView; MatLab/Simulink)
  • Scientific modules (Summer School; Karlsruhe Days of Optics & Photonics (KDOP); external conferences)
  • Management modules (international project management; human resource management; finance and business strategies; all modules are offered in cooperation with the HECTOR School of Engineering and Management, the Technology Business School of the KIT). There is also an optional MBA Fundamentals Programme, which is free for KSOP Ph.D. students. It is structured in six units with five days each.
  • Key competence modules (scientific writing and presentation; time and self-management in academic life; career planning)

Students present their results during the Karlsruhe Days of Optics & Photonics or the KSOP Summer School at least three times during the three years of studies. Furthermore, KSOP offers annual colloquia in cooperation with partners from the industry at which the Ph.D. students have the opportunity to present their work.

Enrollment Requirements:

Before starting the application process, we recommend that you have the following documents scanned and ready for upload:

  • Curriculum vitae*
  • High school diploma*
  • Bachelor’s/undergraduate certificate/diploma*
  • Master’s certificate/diploma*
  • Transcripts of records Bachelor’s degree*
  • Transcripts of records Master’s degree*
  • Letter of motivation*
  • Picture*
  • Letters of recommendation (may be sent in via e-mail, please check different access routes for exact requirements)
  • Other documents that prove your qualification (e.g., English language proficiency test certificate, etc., optional)
  • University entrance qualification (optional)
  • Ranking of graduates (in the final year, optional)
  • APS certificate (for applicants from Vietnam, China, Mongolia)
  • Abstract of research interest*
  • Acceptance as a doctoral researcher at the faculty (optional)
  • Cover letter (optional)

Teaching Language:


Costs/Tuition Fees:

Free of Cost

Level/Field(s) of Study:


Language Requirements:

English: TOEFL, IELTS or equivalent

About the University/Institution:

As “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) fully exploits its synergistic potential, which results from combining tasks of national research with those of a state university. To fulfill its three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation, KIT is organized into five divisions: Biology, Chemistry, and Process Engineering; Informatics, Economics, and Society; Mechanical and Electrical Engineering; Natural and Built Environment; and Physics and Mathematics. KIT has been successful in important rankings, for example, those of the Times Higher Education journal (THE).

Application Deadline:

Application is possible at any time.

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