The Master programs in Photonics, offered by a joint educational initiative between Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent, have been evaluated by an audit panel installed by the Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad (VLIR) in the course of 2010. Recently the panel has presented its findings in an extensive report in which all quality criteria of the educational programs received “positive” to “excellent” scores. This very positive evaluation will lead to a continued accreditation of these photonics engineering programs, in which B-Phot has a substantial role.
The Master programs in Photonics in the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - jointly with the Ghent University (UGent) - offers three Master of Science degrees in Photonics. The Master in de Ingenieurswetenschappen: Fotonica is a Dutch-taught two-year program and leads to a joint engineering degree from VUB and UGent. Students can opt to study either in Brussels or in Ghent. The Master of Photonics Science and Engineering is an English-taught variant of the former program. The Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics is an international English taught two-year program, coordinated by Ghent University, in collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan (KTH) in Sweden, University of St Andrews in UK and National Taiwan University in Taiwan. It is organized in the context of the Erasmus Mundus program of the European Union.
The audit panel
The panel was chaired by prof. Ignas Niemegeers of TU Delft and consisted of six professors from The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland and also included one student member. The panel has evaluated all three Master programs in Photonics. The same panel also evaluated the Electrical Engineering Masters of all Flemish universities, the Master in Nuclear Science and Engineering Physics at UGent and the Nanoscience Master of KU Leuven.
The findings of the panel
The panel has followed a protocol defined by the VLIR and has evaluated the objectives of the three Masters, the program details, the quality of the staff, the quality of the infrastructure and of the study guidance mechanisms, the internal quality control and the overall results achieved with the programs. The complete report can be found at http://www.vlir.be/media/docs/Visitatierapporten/2010/VLIR-visitatierapportElektrotechniek-2010.pdf (page 137-176). On page 49-50 all programs evaluated by the panel are compared in an overview table. The table shows that the Master programs in Photonics are very good and among the best of the evaluated programs.
The panel had particular praise for the tuning of the programs to the needs of industry and to the development of research skills. Also the quality of research done by the research groups involved in the program as well as their international reputation was found to be excellent. The panel expressed explicit appreciation for the well-thought cohesiveness of the Erasmus Mundus program in spite of the involvement of five different institutions and for the quality of the Master thesis projects in this program.
One of the major recommendations of the panel for future improvement is to internationalize the staff and to try to attract internationally recognized scientists from outside the respective partner institutions. Another recommendation is to involve the industry more in the further evolution of the program.
To find out more about the photonics Master programs
The English-taught Master programs target an international audience of students. More information about these programs can be found at http://www.vub.ac.be/infoover/onderwijs/bama/m-opleidingen.html#exacte and at www.master-photonics.org . The application deadline for international students starting in the fall of 2011 is April 1, 2011. Students with a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering or Applied Physics from a Flemish University are obviously also welcome in either of the three Master programs.
Prof. Roel Baets
Coordinator Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics