Skip to main content

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: Complete the OSA Student Chapter Application

  • Here is a STELLAR application as a sample to review
  • Before you start this step make sure you have:
    • Secured the five OSA Student Memberships
    • Determined the officer and advisor roles
    • Established a chapter name (40 characters max)
    • Created a chapter email for officers to receive messages in one location (we recommend using Gmail)
    • Received a certification letter from your university that recognizes your chapter as an official organization

Step 3: Review of OSA Student Chapter Application

  • Once the application is submitted, the MED Council will review and either approve or deny the application.
    • If denied, feedback will be given and the chapter will have the opportunity to make any adjustments and reapply
    • If approved, chapter officers will receive an email with information on how to login to the Grants Database Portal (where you submit applications for funding) and the Member Managment Portal (where you update your basic chapter information and roster)
  • Funding of $350 will be provided either by check (US chapters) or wire (Intl. chapters) within three weeks of approval.

Review Timeline

Review of new chapter applications occurs quarterly. Review and confirmation may take up to four weeks. Please utlize the below chart to understand when you will hear about the status of your application. 

  • Applications received 1 January through 31 March will be notified no later than 1 May
  • Applications received 1 April through 30 June will be notified no later than 1 August
  • Applications received 1 July through 30 September will be notified no later than 1 May
  • Applications received 1 October through 31 December will be notified no later than 1 February

Status updates can be requested by emailing  

OSA Student Chapter benefits include:
Grants and programs to support chapter activities

Networking opportunities

Materials and resources