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Learner Reviews & Feedback for First Order Optical System Design by University of Colorado Boulder

223 ratings
77 reviews

About the Course

This course can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5600, part of CU Boulder’s Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Optical instruments are how we see the world, from corrective eyewear to medical endoscopes to cell phone cameras to orbiting telescopes. When you finish this course, you will be able to design, to first order, such optical systems with simple mathematical and graphical techniques. This first order design will allow you to develop the foundation needed to begin all optical design as well as the intuition needed to quickly address the feasibility of complicated designs during brainstorming meetings. You will learn how to enter these designs into an industry-standard design tool, OpticStudio by Zemax, to analyze and improve performance with powerful automatic optimization methods....

Top reviews

Aug 25, 2019

Really nice course with very clear explanations of the principles of optical engineering and learn how to use ZEMAX Opticstudio to simulate your optical system

Apr 29, 2020

An excellent course that teaches you geometric optics and gets you started with ZEMAX. Some of the quizzes have typos/bugs in them, but this is a minor gripe.

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26 - 50 of 78 Reviews for First Order Optical System Design

By Rafel

Jul 29, 2020

Good course, explanations are clear and concise and I got a good learning. Tricky exercises! Perhaps more exercises with quantstudio would have been nice.

By Lawrence S

Dec 20, 2018

A few new insights even for a senior optical engineer. I will keep working through their lectures if each one offers at least a few nuggets of insight.

By You-Chia C

Apr 3, 2020

Wonderful course! I have learned a lot. This course not only covers the knowledge but also the actual approach to design a working optical system.

By Xiao C

Oct 1, 2021

w​ell-organized course. The obvious benefit of online course is that you don't need to struggle to read professors' often messy handwritings.

By Melvin K J

Sep 21, 2020

The course is well structured. it would have been much better if there was more zemax design model in the weekly quiz.

By Dirk V

Jun 25, 2020

Good lectures and presentations in this course. A sound and systematic basis for the next courses to follow.

By Pragati S

Jun 14, 2020

Clear conceptual explanation of optical design concepts. Very helpful forf understanding ZEMAX operation.

By Rafae H

Sep 21, 2020

This course covers the basic and gives an introduction good design tools. It is a challenging course

By Feng-Kuo H

Apr 13, 2019

This is a good course for those people wanting to start their learning in optical system design.

By Naresh K

Oct 14, 2019

Instructor explains the basics of optics very well. Practical example exrecise are very good


Apr 6, 2021

the professors explain very clearly and go from thin to thick. It is easy to understand.


Aug 14, 2020

Very helpful. Material is good. Professor explains the topics very nicely.

By Arda E

Oct 13, 2021

A useful course to learn the first order approach to the optical design

By Ghulam M

May 9, 2021

Amazing course, a bit tricky though! Instructor is really good.

By T

Apr 6, 2021

Excellent course, thank you Amy and Robert.

By Mansoor S

Jul 6, 2020

It was great experience to learn zemax

By Vinod R

Jun 13, 2019

Nice Coarse to get started with.

By Chao X

Oct 26, 2020

Matlab skills are learned.


Nov 12, 2021

Прекрасный курс по оптике

By Natalia A

Aug 13, 2021

I loved the course!

By Xiandong L

Jun 9, 2020

This course is good

By Michael F P

Jul 28, 2019

Excellent course

By Abhishek S

Oct 12, 2020



Nov 22, 2021


By Kirsty G

Mar 4, 2021

As physics courses go, this one is good but not great. Which is to say, the prof does a good job explaining the concepts but has a tendency to dive into complex examples without giving basic examples first. As others have stated, this means you'll have to do a fair amount of searching the internet for other resources to supplement the provided course material. It is possible to pass the quizzes and progress even without understanding 100% of the material.

There are some really useful nuggets of information about first-order optical design, which are explained well and often (after you've got past the basics of the first couple of weeks of material). This course gets to be quite rewarding from week 3 onwards. I do recommend it despite its downsides.