SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships

Student and teacher in a laser lab

SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships are available to students located anywhere in the world, in high school (pre-university/secondary), community and technical, undergraduate and graduate programs, who are studying in a related field of optics and photonics.

The scholarship award amount ranges from US $3,000 to US $11,000 and supports tuition and fees, textbooks, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction, and computer upgrades. Included in this scholarship are the following named scholarships:

  • SPIE D.J. Lovell Scholarship, US $11,000
    • The D.J. Lovell Scholarship is the Society's largest and most prestigious scholarship. This scholarship is sponsored by SPIE.
  • John Kiel Scholarship, US $10,000
    • This scholarship is in honor of SPIE founding member, John Kiel, in recognition of his long-standing and significant contributions to the Society. This scholarship is sponsored by SPIE and is awarded for student's potential for long-term contribution to the field of optics and optical engineering.
  • Laser Technology, Engineering and Applications Scholarship, US $5,000
    • The Laser Technology, Engineering, and Applications Scholarship is awarded in recognition of a student's scholarly achievement in laser technology, engineering, or applications. Funds are provided in part by a gift from the former Forum for Military Applications of Directed Energy, and in part by SPIE.
  • Teddi Laurin Scholarship, US $5,000
    • SPIE partners with Photonics Media to fund the Teddi Laurin Scholarship to raise awareness of optics and photonics and to foster growth and success in the photonics industry by supporting students involved in photonics. This new scholarship is in memory of Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media founder Teddi Laurin.
  • Optical Design and Engineering Scholarship, US $5,000
    • The Optical Design and Engineering Scholarship was established in honor of Bill Price and Warren Smith, both well-respected members of SPIE's technical community. This scholarship is awarded to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in the field of optical design and engineering.
  • More than 70 additional Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships, ranging from US $3,000 to $5,000

The 2023 application closed on 15 February 2023. Thank you to all Student Members who applied. Recipients will be announced in May 2023. 

2023 scholarship recipients announced

View the 72 winners of the 2023 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships, totaling US $293,000

Requirements and eligibility

Applicants must meet the following requirements and eligibility in order for the application to be forwarded to the Committee for consideration.

  • You must be a Student Member of SPIE. The standard Student Membership fee is US $20.
  • Your Membership must be in good standing throughout the review process (15 February  30 June). Should your Membership expire during the review process, your application will be removed from further consideration.
  • High school, pre-university, or secondary-school students will receive a one-year complimentary Student Membership. Fill in the Pre-College Membership Application Form and return to scholarships@spie.org
  • You must be enrolled in a program related to the field of optics and photonics.
  • You must be in school for the full academic year beginning Fall 2022 (between Aug 2022 and July 2023)
  • Two (2) recommendations are required. Family members, relatives, and students are not eligible to submit a recommendation. NOTE: Recommendations must be received before you can submit your application.
  • If applicable, your Annual Scholarship Report(s) must be on file with SPIE if you received a scholarship(s) in previous years. Please contact scholarships@spie.org to confirm that your report is on file (if applicable).
  • If awarded an Education Scholarship, funds must be used for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • Students are eligible to receive one (1) Education Scholarship for each academic level including high school, community and technical college, undergraduate, Masters, and PhD studies.
  • Preference may be given to those who have not received any previous awards from SPIE.
  • Applicants who have received a terminal degree (MD, JD, PhD, etc.) are not eligible to apply.
  • Incomplete applications will not be submitted for consideration.

All applicants will be notified via email of the results of their application in May.

Before applying, please make sure you have your SPIE login credentials to access the application. If you have forgotten your account information, please open this link and click "Forgot Username" and/or "Forgot Password" or contact scholarships@spie.org should you have any questions.

Evaluation criteria

The key criterion in evaluating and ranking applications is the "prospect for long-term contribution that the granting of an award will make to the field of optics, photonics or related field." Need, in and of itself, shall not be considered as a criterion.

All scholarship applications are judged on their own merit, based on the experience and education level of the individual student. High school (pre-university, secondary school), community and technical, undergraduate, and graduate students will be judged relative to other applicants with similar educational backgrounds.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Annually, the deadline falls in February 15. All materials must be submitted by 5:00 pm (Pacific Standard Time) on this date. Start early!

All students will be notified of the results of their application in May/June.

Student Members are eligible to receive one (1) Education Scholarship for each academic level including high school, community and technical, undergraduate, Masters and PhD. If you received an SPIE Education Scholarship in previous year(s), your annual scholarship report(s) must be on file with SPIE. To confirm if your report is on file, contact scholarships@spie.org

If the information is available, feedback on the results of your application will be given upon request.

Yes, unofficial transcripts are required.


Reviewers want to hear your story! Tell them about experiences that made you interested in the field of optics and photonics. Let them know about your objectives and goals and how you intend to contribute to the field. Keep the key criterion in mind as you write. Be clear and concise.

  • Start with an outline (try several paragraph essay format to organize your thoughts in 400 words or less)
  • Paint a picture of the future...(describe how the award will enable your future success in optics and photonics)
  • Answer the question that is being asked
  • Include stories/experiences that support the main point of the essay relevant to optics and photonic and quantify your impact when able
  • Revise, Read, & Repeat (allow time to revise, ask a colleague to review, revise until the message is clear and words are simple to understand and are relevant to optics and photonics.

  • The recommender should know you well and should be able to confirm your education background, leadership, and potential to contribute to the optics, photonics field.
  • Note: family members/relatives cannot submit recommendations.
  • Good examples of people to ask for references include past or present teachers/professors, and past or present employers (not family members).
  • Provide the recommender with a CV/resume/list of activities and accomplishments, as well as a copy of the scholarship evaluation criteria.
  • Give your recommender adequate time to prepare and submit your recommendation.

  • Make a checklist of what you need to have a complete online application packet (completed online application and two letters of recommendation are required for submission).
  • Make a copy of your application and keep in your files.
  • Incomplete applications will not be submitted for consideration.  
  • Make sure all contact information and email address is accurate.

Questions? Please contact scholarships@spie.org