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Form a Student Chapter or Club

SPIE Student Chapters offer opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, perform outreach in the community, develop professional and leadership skills, form partnerships with industries, and can be a very rewarding student member experience. Forming a student chapter can be a lot of work. Before you start, make sure it is a good fit for your organization. 

Educational Institution Requirements: 

The educational institution (university, college, or institute) must have at least one of the following:

  • Graduate Degree Program or equivalent in Physics, Engineering, or other optics-related field (e.g. M.Sc. In Biomedical Optics) with ability to specialize in optics coursework.
  • Bachelor's Program or equivalent program specific to optics (e.g. B.Sc. in Laser Technology; excludes broad programs such as B.Sc in Electrical Engineering)
  • Certificate programs specific to optics (e.g. Precision Machining - Optical Fabrication)

As well as: 

  • Support for student optics research from professors specialized in the field

Membership Requirements:

  • Potential chapter advisor - This individual must be a full-time faculty at the educational institution who is also a current Early Career Professional or Regular SPIE Member. 
  • A minimum of 10 current SPIE student members affiliated to the educational institution. 

Applicant Requirements: 

  • Applicant must be a current SPIE student member at the educational institution. Potential chapter advisors are not permitted to apply. 

Disclaimer: Even if the above educational institution, membership, and applicant requirements are met, the formation of a chapter is not guaranteed. There may be reasons as to why an SPIE student chapter may not be a good fit. These reasons often include lack of previous member engagement with SPIE and/or lack of research specific to furthering optics and photonics technologies or applications.  


Stage 1 - SPIE Optics + Photonics Review deadline of 1 May 2020.

  • Chapter Interest Application 
  • Review: If approved, the application moves to Stage 2

Stage 2 - SPIE Photonics West Review deadline of 15 May 2020.

  • Complete Chapter Application 
  • Review: After the deadline, applications are reviewed. If approved, the application goes to the Board of Directors for certification. 
  • Certification: At one of our four annual Board of Directors meetings, the chapter application will go up for certification. 
  • Notification: After the Board of Directors certifies the chapter, the chapter applicant is notified of official approval. 

To apply: To apply, please go to our SMapply program page and login using your SPIE username (email) and password by clicking the blue button. If you have forgotten your account information, please open this link and click "Forgot Username" and/or "Forgot Password".

There are two cycles for Student Chapter Applications annually. 

  • The Optics + Photonics Review Deadline is 15 May. Approved Chapters will be announced in late August.
  • The Photonics West Review Deadline is 15 November. Approved Chapters will be announced in mid-February of the following year.