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    2024 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 help you 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 lab work, giving you a competitive edge in the jobs market.


    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.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    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

    The aim of this module is to provide a structured individual project to enable you to carry out practical and/or theoretical work that underpins your academic studies and allows for the acquisition and demonstration of a wide range of research skills.

    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
    Engineering Research and Design Project

    The aim of this module is to equip students with skills, knowledge and experience needed to carry out research independently and as a team for solving engineering problems set in a range of globally applicable contexts.  As members of a team, students will develop and demonstrate a range of skills that will enhance their ability to tackle research projects and add value to their employability.  Specifically, students will develop skills in the areas of critical literature review, engineering design, project management, team working, and communication.

    15 credits

    Optional modules - two 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
    Packaging and Reliability of Microsystems

    The module describes the methods used to fabricate microsystems. It also introduces and develops an understanding of the reliability and failure mechanisms in the devices and resulting microsystems.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    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.


    Assessment is by examinations, coursework, and a project dissertation with oral presentation.


    Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

    Image of student in clean room working on project

    We've been at the forefront of research and teaching within the field of electrical engineering for over a century, and in electronics since its advent in the mid 20th century. The use of electronics has become mainstream in a very short period of time, as we find innovative solutions to meet our everyday needs and new challenges.

    Our MSc postgraduate taught degrees provide you with an opportunity to further your knowledge of electronic and electrical engineering, while potentially specialising in a specific field of the subject, enabling you to pursue a particular direction in either your chosen career or further study.

    Whether you’re interested in the latest communication systems, cutting-edge semiconductor research, or developing your understanding of electrical machines and drives for the vehicles of the future, studying with us will help you grow as a student and researcher. 

    The department offers postgraduate students a choice of four one-year, full-time masters courses, which combine taught study on a wide range of modules and an exciting individual research project. You’ll learn from our academic experts, the majority of whom have strong links with partners in industry. 

    Our state-of-the-art teaching laboratories allow you to gain exposure to the world-leading research environment of the department whilst undertaking your project, and get hands on with equipment used in industry as preparation for your career. All of our courses are also accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

    Entry requirements

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

    You should have a strong background in maths modules and in technical modules related to semiconductors and/or electronics.

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

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    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.

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


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

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 5182

    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.