Senior Membership

To qualify for the OSA Senior Member distinction, individuals should have a ten (10) year or greater record of cumulative professional experience (since completion of first degree) in optics and/or optics related field and be an active OSA Member with a minimum of 5 years of cumulative professional membership (Student membership not included).  Applications for the 2020 Class are closed! The applications for the 2021 Class will open in late August 2020.


The following criteria is considered when evaluating Senior Member requests:

  • Technical contributions and achievements relevant to the optics and photonics field 
  • Active involvement with the Society
  • Service to the general optics and photonics community
  • Awards and/or honors within the field
  • Publications and patents

To be eligible for application or nomination, candidates must possess significant professional experience and/or service performance to include, but is not restricted to:

  • Publication of research paper/s as lead author in projects
  • Patents resulting from the research of the applicant
  • Books (co) authored by the applicant
  • Books (co) edited by the applicant
  • Awards and honors the applicant has won in recognition for technical contributions to optics related discipline
  • Teaching and education-related awards including optics
  • Development of new products/technology
  • Technical editing, patent prosecution or patent law, provided these contributions serve to advance progress substantially in Optics related fields

Some examples of service performance include:

  • Leading a project in optics/optics related field/technology in your business
  • Supervision of research team(s) or doctoral students
  • Science outreach and/or developing and delivering teaching modules in optics and related fields in university and/or community college/high school/K-12
  • Knowledge transfer to business

Some examples of active involvement within OSA include:

  • Reviewing articles for OSA journals and conference
  • Participation in OSA conferences and technical meetings
  • Participation in OSA technical groups
  • Active engagement with OSA local sections and student chapters
  • Volunteering at OSA meetings and on OSA committees/council
  • Education outreach efforts with Optics Suitcase and other OSA provided materials

Application Process

Applicants and nominators are encouraged to provide the following information through the online Member Designation & Program Application System each year by 28 February (12:00 EST/17:00 GMT):

  • A curriculum vitae or resume including (as available):  academic history, professional experience, service accomplishments, awards and/or honors, publications and patents.

  • A one-page narrative/personal statement providing significant professional and/or service performance. 

  • Two letters of recommendation from current OSA Members.   Requestors will provide the names of their references through the application portal and reference will upload directly to the application. 

  • An employer reference for candidate (optional).

 Submit Your Senior Member Request

For assistance, please contact the OSA Membership Department (email:; Tel.: +1 202.416.1907). The OSA office is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (U.S. East Coast Time).