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MSc in Biophotonics

Laser beam path in an optical parametric oscillator.

Laser beam path in an optical parametric oscillator.

Cardiff’s MSc in Biophotonics is a ground breaking course for biologists and chemists who want to explore the challenges and fundamental insights that can be gained from crossing into the world of physics.

The MSc in Biophotonics is the first course in the UK that has been designed to take biology and chemistry graduates to the forefront of fields including optics, light spectroscopy and laser physics. The aim is to produce a generation of researchers that can develop and apply cutting edge optical techniques to fundamental questions in bioscience and medicine.

Why have a cross-disciplinary Biophotonics MSc?

Historically, major breakthroughs in science have occurred at the boundaries between fields due to the perspectives and insight that cross-disciplinary scientists gain from their different backgrounds. These advantages are particularly seen in the development and application of new technologies. Recent developments of optical biosensors, nano-optics and novel modes of microscopy are evidence of a revolution in Biophotonics techniques that will be required in the post-genome era of biological research. Progress in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Biophotonics is reflected in a numerous high quality publications (For example, see [1, 2]).

What will be taught?

This programme is jointly taught by expert scientists in the Schools of Physics and Bioscience. The course will use world-class research and teaching facilities to cover topics including advanced light microscopy, laser-based analysis, nanoparticles as optical bio-labels, biosensors, and medical applications. A detailed course structure is available on request. Introductory courses will ensure students have a grounding in the mathematical tools required for advanced work in optics and the fields of quantum dots, confocal / 2-photon microscopy and evanescent field biosensors. A key aspect of the MSc will be a four month research project in which the student will get the opportunity to carry out cutting edge bioscience research using optical tools.

Who should apply?

Optical coherence tomography.

Optical coherence tomography.

The course is ideal for cell biologists, biochemists, physiologists and pharmacologists who need to understand the fundamental principles behind techniques such as confocal microscopy, optical coherence tomography, surface plasmon resonance and optical probing with quantum dots.

Students will be exposed to both academic and industrial practice and will be well prepared to engage in commercial or basic research. Whether you are an emerging researcher or plan a future in a biophotonics-related industry, we can provide the fundamental understanding and hands-on experience necessary for work in this rapidly developing field.

What do past students think of the course?

Jemma Theobald

"This was a very rewarding masters program with a 3 month placement at BBI Solutions. This course has made me a more attractive candidate for employment within the academic and industrial sectors, both in the UK and internationally" - Jemma Theobald MSc


Chad Whilding

"The range of topics acquired during this course and industrial experience at GE Healthcare has developed my biophotonics and transferable skills, which are valuable in both industry and research" - Chad Whilding MSc


Angharad Curtis

"I would certainly recommend this course as the student support here at Cardiff is second to none" - Angharad Curtis MSc

Funding opportunities

The University has recently announced a new scholarship scheme for MSc programmes at Cardiff. For more information, please visit the course page on Coursefinder.


Industrial partners

External summer projects are hosted by our industrial partners:


BBI Solutions logo

GE Healthcare logo

Huntleigh logo

Related publications

1. Michael J Rust, Mark Bates, Xiaowei Zhuang Nature Methods 3, 793 - 796 (2006) Sub-diffraction-limit imaging by stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM).

2. Andrea M. Armani, Rajan P. Kulkarni, Scott E. Fraser, Richard C. Flagan, Kerry J. Vahala Label-Free, Single-Molecule Detection with Optical Microcavities Science Vol. 317. no. 5839, pp. 783 - 787 (2007).


Further information

For general information, funding, and how to apply, please see the MSc Biophotonics Coursefinder page.

Please also see the MSc Biophotonics website at the School of Physics and Astronomy.


General enquiries

Please direct all general enquiries to Dr Daniel Read