2022 start September 

Semiconductor Photonics and Electronics

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Set yourself up for a career in the fast-growing field of modern optoelectronics and photonics engineering. If you're already working in the industry, this course will update your knowledge and skills so you can take your career to the next level.

Course description

This course covers the fundamentals and cutting-edge research in areas such as GaN materials and devices (behind the solid state lighting LED revolution), nanoscaled materials and devices, and photonic device manufacture. You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the materials and device theory plus practical experimental skills in extensive semiconductor cleanroom labwork, giving you a competitive edge in the jobs market.

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Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. You must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Opportunities exist for dissertation studies to be carried out in collaboration with other university research centres or with industrial organisations. Examples of previous projects include:

  • Selective area intermixing of quantum dot laser materials.
  • Wavelength agile GaAs based distributed feedback lasers.
  • Modelling and simulation photonic crystal surface emitting laser.
  • Characteristic of III-nitride based ultra energy efficient emitter for solid-state lighting.
  • Characterisation of III-V solar cells.

Core modules:

MSc Investigative Research Project

This module is a research-led project supervised by a member of staff. In order to ensure the best use of the summer study period, project preparation and planning is carried out in semester 2, which is separately assessed. Project activities take place during the summer semester using the Departmental Research facilities and you are exposed to the latest methods, instrumentation and ideas in the area of their project. There is scope for you to demonstrate your critical skills and engineering knowledge to a high level.

60 credits
Semiconductor Materials

This module describes the basic physical properties (structural, optical, electrical) of semiconductor materials used in the electronic and opto-electronic industries, and in semiconductor based research. The aim is to equip you with a comprehensive background understanding of the physical, structural, optical, electronic properties of semiconductor materials used in modern electronic and opto-electronic devices. There is a laboratory assignment where characterisation of epitaxially-grown material will be performed.

15 credits
Principles of Semiconductor Device Technology

The unit describes the basic structure of materials and their relationship to the requirements of semiconductor devices for future applications, leading to methods of crystal growth, fabrication, modelling and characterization. The focus is on devices that underpin CMOS and its future evolution in AI: starting with the MOSFET, and leading on to future devices such as TunnelFET, Negative Capacitance FET and the Resistive Random Access Memory (RERAM).

15 credits
Energy Efficient Semiconductor Devices

The efficient use of energy is of critical importance to future growth and well-being, providing a mechanism to reduce global emissions and to offset the impact of increasing fuel costs. Semiconductor devices can play can crucial role in this key global challenge, providing options which can both improve energy efficiency and also means for renewable energy generation. The course describes four key sectors where semiconductor devices are making considerable impact on energy efficiency.

15 credits
Compound Semiconductor Device Manufacture

The module will cover the theory and practice of the growth of compound semiconductor epitaxial layers, the characterisation of those layers and the design, fabrication and characterization of compound semiconductor devices such as LEDs, laser diodes, and transistors. You will gain practical experience in all aspects of the creation of a compound semiconductor device including the safety issues associated with device manufacture. You will also obtain a broad understanding of the global importance of compound semiconductor technology manufacturing.

30 credits

Optional modules - three from:

Power Semiconductor Devices

This module will look at power semiconductor devices: physics, technology, characteristics, packaging and application.

15 credits
Advanced Integrated Electronics

This module will advance your understanding of analogue and digital VLSI design. It concentrates on issues such as power consumption, the effect of interconnect, non-CMOS logic, circuit layout, analog amplifiers, data converters, and using Spice.

15 credits
Nanoscale Electronic Devices

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the science and technology which underpins modern electronic device technology, with an emphasis on integrated electronic devices at the nanoscale.

15 credits
Optical Communication Devices and Systems

The course examines the behaviour of the components in a communications system and the way in which their design and individual performance is determined by that of the system requirements.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


1 year full-time


  • Research-led teaching
  • Lectures
  • Laboratories
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

A large practical module covers the design, manufacture and characterisation of a semiconductor component, such as a laser or light emitting diode. This involves background tutorials and hands-on practical work in the UK’s National Epitaxy Facility.


  • Examinations
  • Coursework or reports
  • Dissertation with poster presentation

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree in electronic and electrical engineering, physics, maths and other branches of engineering involving significant mathematical competence and relevant technical modules.

We will need evidence of relevant work/practical experience or strong performance in a major individual project during your degree.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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+44 114 222 5442

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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