Application Deadlines

Priority deadline for consideration of admission with financial support for Domestic and International applicants:

Fall - January 15th

Spring - September 15th

For Domestic applicants seeking consideration of admission without institutional financial support:

Fall - July 15th
Spring - December 1st

Summer - Summer April 1st

For International applicants seeking consideration of admission without institutional financial support:

Fall - May 15th
Spring - October 1st
Summer - February 1st

Required Tests

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for the Master of Science in Optics program. Submitted scores are typically no lower than 153 Verbal, 153 Quantitative, and 3.5 Analytical Writing. These scores must be received directly from ETS. The institution code for Montana State University is 4488.

International Applicants

English proficiency scores with the following minimums: TOEFL (80), IELTS (level 6.5), or PTE (54), are required for applicants who are not U.S. citizens and are not from countries where English is the official language. This requirement is waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. or if the student is from a country where the English proficiency score is waived.

Please see our International application process page for a list of countries where the english proficiency score is waived as well as more information on applying as an International student.

Additional Admission Requirements

For additional required admission documents please see program website or view list of requirements in the graduate application portal. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.


The optics-related research is focused on climate and atmospheric behaviors, and also micro-optic devices. Professors design optical sensors to collect data and create images of polarized light in the atmosphere. Dr. Kevin Repasky's research involves using optical remote sensing to collect and analyze data on geological carbon sequestration and the development of LIDAR. Dr. Joseph Shaw also works with optical remote sensing, specializing in infrared imagining, polarimetry, and LIDAR. Dr. David Dickensheets' research encompasses optical instrument development for medical purposes, such as optical coherence tomography and confocal microscopes.