Wireless, photonics and space engineering, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

The backbone of modern telecom infrastructure consists of optical fibre-based systems in combination with wireless technologies. Medical applications of photonics and microwaves are numerous, and sensing applications include radar, environmental monitoring and radio astronomy. 
Satellite-based microwave systems aid our everyday life, e.g. television broadcasting, navigation and weather forecasts, and are used in remote sensing of the Earth and space geodesy.

Wireless, photonics and space engineering​ master's programme at Chalmers

Over the past decades, photonics and wireless technology have grown at an exceptional rate and investments in future telecom systems will have a profound impact on social and economic development, but everything wireless needs hardware.​

Register for our webinar about Wireless, Photonics, and Space Engineering, 18 March

Wireless, photonics and space engineering​ master's programme at Chalmers University of Technology SwedenThis master's programme offers a unique opportunity to study a combination of subjects for which Chalmers has world-class facilities: Onsala Space Observatory with radio telescopes and equipment to study the Earth and its atmosphere, the Nanofabrication Laboratory with a clean-room for research and fabrication of advanced semiconductor devices and integrated circuits, and research laboratories with state-of-the-art photonics and microwave measurement equipment.

We focus on applied science and engineering, where we combine theory with hands-on practise, labs and projects. We are involved in cutting edge research and the manufacturing of components for e.g. microwave and millimetre wave electronics, instruments for radio astronomy and remote sensing, optical fibres, lasers, and microwave antennas.

As a student of this master's programme, you will gain solid knowledge in wireless, photonics and space engineering as well as specialised skills in a chosen sub-field. You will be prepared for a career in the field through studies of wireless and optical communication components and systems, RF and microwave engineering, photonics, and space science and techniques.

Topics covered

The subjects of electromagnetic, microwave, MMIC, optics, satellite, THz, RF and telecom are fundamental areas in the Wireless, photonics and space engineering master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as communication, antenna, circuit, optoelectronics and remote sensing.

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of Compulsory courses, Compulsory elective courses and Elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with five compulsory courses that form a common foundation in wireless, photonics and space engineering. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.
  • Electromagnetic waves and components
  • Wireless and photonics system engineering
  • Microwave engineering
  • Space science and techniques
  • Photonics and lasers

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.
  • ​Master’s thesis

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in wireless, photonics or space engineering, or a combination thereof.​​​​​ During year 1 and 2, you need to select at least 3 compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate.

  • Active microwave circuits
  • Microwave and optical remote sensing
  • Antenna engineering
  • Integrated photonics​
  • Radar systems and applications
  • Design of MMIC
  • Optoelectronics
  • Satellite communication
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Millimeter wave and THz technology
  • Fiber optical communication
  • Satellite positioning
  • Wireless link project

Elective courses

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including the following:
  • Image processing
  • Modern imaging
  • Introduction to communication engineering
  • Radioastronomical techniques and interferometry
  • Applied signal processing
  • Introduction to microsystem packaging
  • Fundamentals of micro- and nanotechnology
  • Introduction to law​
  • Computational electromagnetics​
  • Implementation of digital signal processing systems​
Programme plan, syllabus, course description and learning outcomes
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As an alumni graduating from this programme you will work as a technical specialist in design, development, or production for microwave and photonic technologies. The great mix of both small and large companies, regionally and globally located, ensures high employability. Wireless and fibre optical communication between people as well as the emerging field of communication between machines are rapidly increasing and will need more specialists with solid knowledge in hardware for microwave, photonics and space technology. It is a global industry, and there are alumni from this program working in many countries across the globe.

Chalmers has large and internationally recognised research laboratories in photonics, microwave and millimetre wave electronics, antenna engineering, and advanced receivers for space observatories. A Master’s degree from this programme is the perfect background for pursuing PhD studies at these laboratories, as well as at other university laboratories abroad specialised in the same field.

Research within Wireless, photonics and space engineering

Swedish industry has a strong tradition in wireless, photonics and space engineering. The Western part of Sweden is a leading European node for research, development and business in microwave technology. The present largest regional microwave employers are Ericsson, Saab and RUAG Space. Ericsson has research and development of cellular radio base stations and microwave radio links. Ericsson is at the forefront of developing technologies for the new 5G networks and Lindholmen in Gothenburg, Sweden, is a leading R&D centre. Saab develops and delivers state of the art radar systems for defence and security applications, and RUAG Space in Gothenburg develops antennas, data handling systems and on-board computers for the space sector. 

Chalmers University of Technology is internationally recognised for research in microwave technology, antennas and communication systems. Entrepreneurship is strong in the region and it supports many small enterprises and growing start-ups within the microwave business such as microwave sensor systems for space (Omnisys Instruments), microwave detection of foreign bodies in food (Foodradar Systems), medical microwave imaging (Medfield diagnostics), antenna test systems (Bluetest) and integrated waveguide technology (Gapwaves).
The teachers in the master's programme Wireless, photonics and space engineering are active researchers at Chalmers. We conduct application-oriented research on high-speed electronics for future communication and remote sensing applications, optoelectronics and fibre optics for long haul transmission and short reach interconnects, THz imaging systems, and advanced receivers for space applications. Since microwave power amplifiers dominate the energy consumption in mobile communication networks, we work on advanced transistor technologies and amplifier designs for increasing power efficiency. Research at the photonics laboratory focuses on different methods to increase data flow in fibre optical communication systems. For example, new optical amplifiers with extremely low noise with the potential to fourfold the transmission distance for long distance links has been presented, as well as energy and cost-efficient lasers for high capacity short distance links. This technology is well suited for interconnects and networks within e.g. data centres or supercomputers.
The Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers is involved in the development of methods to quantify gas emission from active volcanoes. Apart from geophysical research and risk assessment, this will provide information on ozone depletion and climate change. A method based on UV/visible light for quantifying hydrocarbon emission from oil-related industrial activities has also been developed. Data from satellite global radar mapping is used to understand the role of forest in the global carbon cycle. Chalmers takes part in constructing the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world's largest and most advanced radio telescope. A compact feed antenna with extremely large bandwidth is developed for this purpose. This antenna technique can also be used in satellite communication terminals, radio links and medical imaging.
Together the research laboratories cover phenomena and applications of electromagnetic waves on all frequencies from microwaves to visible light. Not only are we connected to research, but also several companies have emerged from research at Chalmers e.g.: Gapwaves, Bluetest, Food Radar Systems, Gotmic, Low-noise factory, Omnisys Instruments, Smoltek, and Wasa mm-wave.


Student interview

“We get to fabricate and test our own solutions”​
Teanette, South Africa, Wireless, photonics and space engineering

Why did you choose this programme?
– I was first introduced to high frequency design in my bachelor’s degree, and explored it briefly in my bachelor’s thesis. My interest was especially piqued after a study visit to a radio astronomy observatory in South Africa, where the engineers shared the unique challenges they face and the clever ways in which they overcome them. Not only does this programme explore all the aspects of high frequency design that I am interested in (communications, microwave sensing, space observation), but it also provides students with the resources to fabricate and test their high frequency solutions.  

What have you been working on?
– During my first study period, I worked on a group assignment where we were tasked with designing a transatlantic communication link. The goal was to create a link with a capacity of up to 10 Tb/s using deep sea optical fibre cables. We had to consider many interesting design challenges to achieve this, such as the effects of optical noise in the system, how to modulate optical signals, and how to compensate for optical dispersion along the fibre. As a student who had not worked with optics before, it was both an enlightening and rewarding experience to complete this task in a group of international students with different backgrounds. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– Engineering is not a purely theoretical field and, by implication, engineering students tend to be people who enjoy solving real-life problems in a concrete, tangible fashion. I really appreciate the fact that this course provides students with the resources and opportunities to realize their design solutions. I am especially excited about the fabrication of our high-frequency PCB design, which will be manufactured and tested later in the second study period.

What do you want to do in the future?
– Ultimately, I want to complete a PhD in high frequency design. However, I would like to build up some industry experience and broaden my skillset before finalising a thesis topic. Two fields which I’d like to pursue for their interesting applications of high frequency design are biomedical engineering and radio astronomy. With regards to the latter, I look forward to visiting the Onsala Space Observatory that is operated by Chalmers later in the programme.  

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Fri 26 Feb 2021.