Since September 2003 Institut d’Optique Graduate School has been teaching students at Pôle Optique Rhône-Alpes, a cluster located right in the heart of the town of Saint-Etienne. It offers second and third-year degrees in optical engineering, imaging and colours, and the Master in Optics Image and Vision, a double degree with Université Jean Monnet.

Our distinctive learning environment and strengths

- solid training in optical engineering and image processing (an area of high recruitment),

- cooperative education: apprenticeships in year three last for a total of 7 months divided between two periods, the first in November and December, and the second ending sometime between April and August. The pairing of real-world working and classroom training benefits students and is highly valued by our industrial partners,

- evaluations, which place more importance on projects than academic exams,

- a more tailored curriculum due to the small student body which increases teacher-student interaction. We can also cater to specific requests from students for creating particular types of labwork, for example:

- in years 2 and 3 students work in pairs on project work that can last up to several years. The subjects and fields they work on are original and span from astronomy and medicine, to cryptography, colour and more.

As astronomy is by nature a highly interdisciplinary field (combining optics, mechanical engineering, computing, and electronics) and provides students with opportunities to work on original projects of very high calibre, a portion of project work is carried out in conjunction with our observatory.

- double degrees: Master in Optics Image and Vision, Master of ISEAG (Institut Supérieur d’Economie, d’Administration et de Gestion)

- mobility by coming to Saint-Etienne, which is highly appreciated by recruiters

How to reach us

Institut d’Optique Graduate School Rhône-Alpes
18 rue Benoît Lauras
42000 Saint-Étienne - France

Tel.: +33 (0)4 77 91 57 40 - Fax: +33 (0)4 77 91 57 42

Our partners

Bât St Etienne

Bât St Etienne 3

Bât St Etienne 2

Saint-Etienne in a nutshell

Musée d’Art Moderne (2nd largest collection in France)

Musée d’Art et Industrie

Musée de la Mine

Opera house and theatre

Conservatoire national de musique

Ecole supérieure d’art et design


  • Golf course (within the city limits)
  • By car, Saint-Etienne is less than 3 hours away from the French Alps and the Mediterranean, and 45 minutes from the city of Lyon.

Our astronomical observatory

A semi-professional observatory!
The main instrument used at the observatory is a 35 cm Celestron C-14 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a focal ratio of f/11 and mounted on an Astro-Physics 1200GTO German equatorial mount.
Many other instruments are used alongside the telescope, including a cooled CCD camera (SBIG ST8-XME), webcams, Nagler eyepieces, filters (RGB, OIII, UHC, full aperture solar), and a Takahashi FS-60CB apochromatic refractor.
The telescope is controlled by two PCs and can also be controlled remotely over the Internet.
The entire system is installed beneath a 3.5 m dome built by INACO and installed on the roof of our building.

The students perform part of their project work at our observatory. The expertise of our faculty and the instruments used in conjunction with the telescope provide the students with an environment in which to work on top-level projects. In particular, recent imaging systems have allowed us to capture high-resolution images, such as those shown below:

Copernicus lunar impact crater (approx. dia: 93 km):

copernic diamètre



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Thierry  Lépine
Manager for Education in Saint-Etienne
Tél 04 77 91 57 40