Experimental setup for high harmonics generation.

Doctoral/PhD program

The Abbe School of Photonics doctoral program offers complementary educational modules during your doctoral studies, including additional skills training, guest lectures and specialization courses.
Experimental setup for high harmonics generation.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Our program, our philosophy, our promise

Lichtwerkstatt-Workshop at the German Photonics Academy 2019 in Jena.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

The Abbe School of Photonics (ASP) is committed to the advancement of highly qualified students and their promotion to early-stage researchers. Our doctoral program strongly supports the development of individual science careers in optics and photonics, provides professional course opportunities, and contributes to individual skill development. A broad academic education at the highest international level and a modern research environment offer profound, up-to-date knowledge in many fields - from fundamental sciences and laser physics to material and life sciences. State-of-the-art laboratories provide optimum conditions for research at the frontiers of optics and photonics. One important cornerstone of our philosophy is to regard and value our doctoral candidates as scientists in all respects. The ASP offers an individually adjusted program to meet each candidate's scientific background and interests. This guarantees an excellent level of preparation for a high-profile career in research or industry.

Specialized photonics education units - individual for everybody

ACP optics design seminar by Prof. Herbert Gross.
Image: Dorit Schmidt

In addition to the regular courses that make up the ASP program, a variety of special lectures and workshops is offered by our world-renowned guest professors. Furthermore, our open photonics makerspace at the Lichtwerkstatt JenaExternal link always welcomes young, creative people and encourages their ideas. Moreover, master's degree students (M.Sc.) and doctoral candidates benefit from the close collaboration between ASP and some of the world's leading companies in the field of optics and photonics via our local cluster partner OptoNet Jena e.V.External link, which includes ZEISS, ASML, TRUMPF, SCHOTT or JENOPTIK, among others.

Photonics experts made in Jena

Laser lab setup.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Jena owes its exceptional scientific community and its specialization on optics and photonics to the breakthroughs of Ernst Abbe in the late 19th century. Since then, numerous doctoral graduates of the Friedrich Schiller University, inspired by his example, proceeded to become indispensable contributors to the field of optics and photonics. In recognition of our unique and rich historical background, the ASP doctoral program (comparable to a US-american PhD program) continues to incorporate the traditions from which our modern institution developed and strives to sustainably structure the education and networking of our students. The ASP doctoral program has been distinguished by a constantly growing number of doctoral students, reflecting the successful acquisition of numerous funding for photonics research by the principal scientists of the Abbe Center of Photonics.

Interdisciplinarity and transferable skills

Blackboard studies in theoretical optics.
Image: Christoph Worsch (University of Jena)

Interdisciplinarity is an inherent part of our philosophy. ASP provides a variety of courses that help students acquire additional knowledge in complementary sciences, as well as essential transferable skills, e.g., project management, leadership, or developing a scientific career. ASP students also fully benefit from the large choice of skill courses offered by the University's Graduate Academy de. In addition, workshops and courses on intercultural competences, the German language, job application training, and good scientific practice are specifically designed to accommodate our international students quickly to their new environment in Jena.


Application of multicolor holograms in the lab.
Image: Thomas Ernstling/ Gruner & Jahr.

Scientific publications are not meant to be everything in a PhD life - but they can be a springboard for a career in academia. In our school, each doctoral candidate publishes on average a minimum of two or three peer-reviewed papers as a first author, along with at least two participations in international conferences. Some doctoral students, of course, achieve many many more, both as first and co-authors. Scientists from our school publish on average 400 peer-reviewed papers per year. An up-to-date selection of some highly-ranked journal publications can be found here.