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Programs / Information Technology / Photonics and Laser Technology (PLT)

Program Summary

Our four-year PLT program is designed to provide you with a strong IT foundation and a specialization in optics and photonics. This program combines computer programming, automation, and signal and image processing courses with foundational courses in physics, math, business, arts, and social sciences. While also acquiring a strong IT background, students will learn about optical communication networks, lasers, manufacturing and advanced optical component design through our specialized hands-on laboratories. Upper year courses include advanced subjects such as quantum optics, biomedical photonics and Fourier optics. Our program has strong ties with industry and we make every effort to ensure that the program remains up to date with current trends. Students that possess both IT skills and a fundamental understanding of optical technologies are in high demand in today’s industry.

As a Bachelor of Information Technology student, you will benefit from the best facilities, teaching staff and expertise that both institutions have to offer. This unique combination of resources and expertise will give you a clear advantage in this area.

Laboratory facilities

Carleton University’s laboratory and computer facilities are extensive, with recently-completed facilities in our Azrieli Pavilion, our well established optical and semiconductor fabrication facility and a new Centre for Nanoscale Sensor Interfaces. At Algonquin College, courses are offered in advanced laser and photonics laboratories in the Advanced Technology Centre. Both institutions offer smart classrooms and state-of-the-art computer labs.

Co-op opportunities

A flexible co-operative education option will be available to you as a PLT student. Depending on how you organize your work terms, the co-op option can be expected to add an additional year to your studies. Usually, you will complete your first co-op term in the summer after your second year of studies, and your second, third and (optional) fourth co-op terms in the winter, summer and fall after the fall term of your third year. Your placements can be in government agencies; laser, photonics and optics companies; or other private firms.

Tuned into industry

Both institutions regularly consult with representatives from related industries in order to track changing trends in the IT, Laser, Optics and Photonics fields. This also helps you to build contacts for both summer and future employment.

Where better to study photonics and lasers than in Ottawa, Canada’s capital? Ottawa has a thriving high-tech sector that makes extensive use of photonics-related technologies, as well as important government research facilities in lasers and photonics.

Carleton University has joined forces with Algonquin College to offer this unique program. When you graduate, you will receive both a Bachelor of Information Technology degree in Photonics and Laser Technology from Carleton University and an Advanced Technology diploma from Algonquin College.

The program offers a comprehensive education combined with practical experience. You will build a strong foundation in mathematics and physics prior to learning all aspects of photonics, optics and lasers. These include the theory of lasers, optics and optical communications and extensive hands-on experience with relevant real-world photonics and advanced laser equipment.

You will also take a number of courses in the humanities, business and the social sciences to round out your knowledge and awareness of the role of technology in society. The program emphasizes the development of your oral and written communication skills.

Once registered for this program, you will be considered a student at both Algonquin and Carleton. You will benefit from the outstanding facilities, teaching staff, resources and expertise that both institutions offer.

Note: The program has been designed for full-time studies; to ensure the necessary student/teacher interaction, enrolment in the program is limited.


Photonics and Laser technologies permeate education, research and industry! Your future could be as varied as designing displays for next-generation smartphones to developing life-changing laser-based surgical equipment. All of this through one program!

What students are saying about Photonics and Laser Technology (PLT)

I chose Photonics because I wanted a degree that would challenge me while also providing me with a good balance between theoretical knowledge and practical experience. I knew Carleton University would be the best place to go because of its great reputation, wonderful instructors, beautiful location, and its proven ability to assist Information Technology students with co-op placements. After two years in the program, I was already applying my skills with optical communication in a workplace environment.
Phil Gumley, Photonics and Laser Technology student

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