Start A Chapter

Start an OSA Student Chapter

Starting a student chapter can be a rewarding way to make the most of OSA Student Membership. Follow the steps and your university can begin to take advantage of the many benefits and services OSA offers its chapters.

Note: A university cannot have more than one OSA Student Chapter; we recommend that you check the directory before beginning the application process. If there is already a chapter at your school, you are encouraged to participate with the existing chapter which you may join when activating or renewing an OSA Student Membership or by emailing 

Step 1: Recruit five OSA Student Members and a faculty advisor.

  • At least five chapter members are required to join The Optical Society as OSA Student Members. Students may join online or email to request to join as a group with a single transaction. For every ten OSA Student Memberships paid for by the chapter, OSA will allow for up to five additional student memberships at no charge.
  • Not sure who is an OSA Student Member at your school? E-mail and we may be able to provide you with a list.
  • A chapter must have a faculty advisor to serve as a liaison between your chapter and your university

Step 2: Name your chapter.

  • The standard chapter name is "Your University Name" followed by OSA Student Chapter, ex. University of Oregon OSA Student Chapter.
  • If the students would like a different name or the chapter has several society affiliations, students are encouraged to include the university name, a reference to field of optics, photonics, physics, etc. and an organization type (society, chapter, group, league), ex. Universidad de Valladolid Physics League.

Step 3: Review the By-laws, elect officers and pursue university recognition.

  • Review the Standard OSA Student Chapter By-Laws and confirm that they are in compliance with your school's policies. You are permitted to make additions to these by-laws and you will submit the new version with the application (Step 5).
  • The chapter is required to be recognized as an official student organization when possible. Proof must be submitted in the application process (Step 5).
  • The chapter must have a President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary who are OSA Student Members.
  • Your chapter may establish additional officer roles, such as Outreach Officer, and elect members to these positions. Any chapter member who is considered an officer must have an active OSA Student Membership.

Step 4: Submit the Statement of Intent to

Step 5: Complete the OSA Student Chapter Application.

  • Once we have accepted the Statement of Intent, you will be provided a login and password to access the OSA Student Chapter Application in the OSA Grants Database. This database is where you will be able to access most of the OSA Student Chapter benefits that have an application process (Traveling Lecturer Program, grants, etc.)
  • After completing the application, staff and volunteers on the Member and Education Services Council will review. This review process can take one to two months.

OSA Student Chapter benefits include:
Grants and programs to support chapter activities
Networking opportunities Materials and resources