Postgraduate taught 

Advanced Imaging & Sensing MSc

laser lens

Optical imaging and sensing underpins research across all fields of Physics, Engineering, Environmental Science and Medical and Life Sciences. Prominent examples include the multitude of modalities used to image medical and biological processes, remote sensing of the environment and for surveillance and as an enabling technology within measurement instruments. Advanced imaging and sensing (AIS) thus enables advances in fundamental physics, such as the birth of gravitational-wave astronomy and the discovery of the Higgs boson. The importance of AIS to society is highlighted by the ever-increasing number and sophistication of imaging and sensing systems embedded into modern smartphones and cars. This MSc provides flexible multi-disciplinary training for future researchers in the wider field of AIS.

  • MSc: 12 months months full-time

Register your interest for more information

Why this programme
  • The MSc is delivered through a suite of taught courses delivered by the Schools of Physics & Astronomy, Engineering, and Computing Science, giving you a broad base of training in the fundamentals of imaging and sensing, device-engineering, system engineering and end-to-end processing of data.
  • You will conduct an in-depth independent research project embedded within one of our specialist research groups, gaining the hands-on experience that is ideal preparation for a PhD or industrial research.
  • All training is delivered by subject experts.
  • You will benefit from the world-leading research at Glasgow University across a broad range of Imaging and Sensing.
  • Physics research has been evaluated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021).
  • There is the opportunity for some students to conduct projects with one of our industry partners.

Programme structure

In semesters 1 and 2 students take core courses in Advanced Imaging and Sensing and select optional courses from the wider field of imaging and sensing from the lists below.

Semester 1

Students take 30 credits of core courses and 30 credits of optional courses.




Semester 2

Students take 30 credits of core courses and 30 credits of optional courses.



Semester 3

Students conduct a research project in either the School of Physics & Astronomy or in the James Watt School of Engineering.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

You will gain an understanding of the physical principles and applications required to embark on a research career in imaging and sensing. Students can tailor the training programme to increase the emphasis on specific specialisations, such as in imaging systems, device technology, computational imaging, microscopy, surveillance, biomedical imaging or remote sensing. The programme also includes training in essential research skills such as creativity, technical communication and project management.

The need for skills in this area is driven by an imaging and sensing systems market valued at £500Bn with an annual growth rate of 10%. The Scottish sensor systems market is worth £2.6Bn pa. There are over 170 sensor systems companies based in Scotland (SMEs and large companies), employing 16,000 people in high-value jobs including product R&D, design, engineering, manufacturing and field services.

The academic rigour of this programme makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to focus on academic or industrial research careers and to play a leading role in the development of the next generation of imaging and sensing.

Fees & funding

Tuition fees for 2023-24



  • Full-time fee: £11520

International & EU

  • Full-time fee: £27930

Additional fees

  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £370
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £350
  • Registration/exam only fee: £170

Funding opportunities

University of Glasgow Caribbean Partners Award

The University of Glasgow is offering up to 5 scholarships for students, alumni or staff from our partner The University of the West Indies in the Caribbean.  The scholarship is available to International students, starting a 1 year postgraduate taught Masters programme, in any discipline for academic session 2023/24. The scholarship is a full tuition fee waiver.

Postgraduate Access Scholarship

The University of Glasgow is pleased to be offering Postgraduate Access Scholarships to support Home students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. Applications are particularly welcomed from applicants who met any of our widening participation criteria, or equivalent, at undergraduate level. The value of each scholarship is £4,000 and they are for students undertaking a one or two year Taught Masters programme. For two year Taught Masters programmes, the scholarship is available in year one only.

Clark (Mile-End) Bursary Fund

The Clark (Mile-End) Bursary Fund is a charitable endowment which was established in 1868 by a Victorian philanthropist by the name of John Clark. He was a thread manufacturer and prominent citizen from Paisley. The fund is now governed by Rules laid down in a 1974 Scheme (as varied with the consent of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in 2013).

Please see the Clark (Mile-End) Bursary Fund for more information.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the MSc in Advanced Imaging and Sensing are normally a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Physics, Theoretical Physics, Astrophysics or Electronic Engineering or related subject.

Applications are also welcome from candidates with a 2:1 or above in Mathematics, Computer Science, Materials Science or Engineering subjects, provided they are able to demonstrate an enthusiasm and aptitude for science and technology pertinent to sensing and imaging.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

Additional documents required for application

You are required to complete and submit a question-based personal statement explaining why you want to undertake this programme at Glasgow.

Prerequisite experience needed

Assumed knowledge for the core courses in this degree include:

  • Introductory scientific computing: data handling, simple statistics (computing means and variances), plotting functions and histograms, writing simple programs in a general-purpose programming language e.g. Python or C++.
  • Basic mathematics for physics: single and multi-variable calculus (differentiation and integration), trigonometry, complex numbers, vectors, vector calculus, Taylor and Fourier series, Fourier transforms.

You must also have the following:

  • Familiarity with basic optics, including geometric-optics modelling (thin lenses, image formation, refraction, diffraction, interference, and optical resolution.
  • Awareness of the electromagnetic spectrum, the nature and propagation of light, Maxwell’s equations, potentials and fields, and EM potentials in simple geometries.
  • An awareness of basic concepts in signals and systems, sampling and signal processing, including conversions between time- and frequency domains, use of high-, low-, and band-pass filters, and the Nyquist sampling criterion.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no subtests under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ibt, mybest or athome)

  • 90 with minimum of R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test, this includes TOEFL mybest.

PTE (Academic or Academic Online)

  • 60 with minimum of 59 in all subtests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date.Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) 

  • 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office using our enquiry form

International students

We are proud of our diverse University community which attracts students and staff from over 140 different countries.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We cannot accept applications any other way.

Please check you meet the Entry requirements for this programme before you begin your application.


As part of your online application, you also need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • One reference letter on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process.

You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload supporting documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

For more information about submitting documents or other topics related to applying to a postgraduate taught programme, check Frequently Asked Questions

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately; they are also available within the help section of the online application form. 

If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.

Reference: Please provide one reference. This should typically be an academic reference but in cases where this is not possible then a reference from a current employer may be accepted instead. Certain programmes, such as the MBA programme, may also accept an employer reference. If you already have a copy of a reference on letter headed paper then please upload this to your application. If you do not already have a reference to upload then please enter your referee’s name and contact details on the online application and we will contact your referee directly.

ATAS: Academic Technology Approval Scheme

Please note that this programmes in this subject at Masters level require ATAS. If you require a visa to study in the UK then you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate before applying for your visa or extension of stay, allowing at least four weeks (20 working days) in order to obtain it.

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007. It is used to help stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. This is in common with other governments around the world.

The ATAS is designed to ensure that people who are applying to study certain sensitive subjects in the UK do not have links to WMD programmes.

Application deadlines

September 2023

International applicants

As there is extremely high demand for places on this degree programme, the University has established an application process with application rounds which recognises that different geographical areas complete and submit their applications at different times of the year. This process aims to ensure fairness and equity to applicants from all geographic regions.

Round 1 application dates

1 October to 1 November 2022. All International and EU applications submitted within these dates will be reviewed with no priority given to any geographic region. You will receive our decision on your application by 23 December 2022.

Round 2 application dates

2 November 2022 to 9 January 2023. All International and EU applications submitted within these dates will be reviewed with no priority given to any geographic region. You will receive our decision on your application by 4 March 2023.

Round 3 application dates

10 January to 9 March 2023. Priority will be given to under-represented geographic regions. You will receive our decision on your application by 26 April 2023.

Round 4 application dates

10 March to 9 May 2023. Priority will be given to under-represented geographic regions. You will receive our decision on your application by 1 July 2023.

Round 5 application dates

10 May to 1 July 2023. Priority will be given to under-represented geographic regions. You will receive our decision on your application by 11 August 2023.

All International and EU applications submitted by 9 January (application rounds 1 and 2) will be reviewed and processed normally with no priority given to any geographic region. From 10 February, priority will be given to applications from geographic areas which have been unable to submit applications before that point.

As we receive a great number of applications, prospective students are only allowed to apply once per year.

UK applicants

  • 17 August 2023
Apply now