SAOT aims at excellence in education by offering an outstanding educational environment. This already starts prior to graduation through the Elite Master Program in Advanced Optical Technologies (MAOT) which was established in autumn 2007 within the Elite Network of Bavaria. The MAOT and SAOT programs are seamlessly integrated as many MAOT graduates proceed directly on to SAOT for their research degree.

Graduate students are admitted to SAOT after passing an initial entrance examination covering all topics involved. This allows us to select the brightest students and ensures that all DCs have a standardized skill-set in optics required to participate in the program.

The SAOT organizes and runs a series of tightly coordinated lectures, academies and workshops. They provide training in experimental and theoretical aspects of advanced optical technologies and equip the DCs with a powerful set of tools to practice high-level research. The DCs benefit from close personal contact with the principal and associated investigators enabling an efficient transfer of experience and knowledge. Frequent interaction between students working within a broad range of topics creates a stimulating environment promoting motivated and hoghly trained DCs with expertise spanning fundamental science to technological applications.

 Excellence in research is underpinned by the world-leading infrastructure available at FAU. It is also based on the reputation of the principal and associated investigators, the growing international visibility of SAOT and the resulting connection to leading optics institutions worldwide. Practical incentives have also been put in place to promote world-class research. In each of the six different SAOT topics (see the mission above) the SAOT Doctoral Candidates (DCs) compete every year for the € 1,000 Students´ Award presented to the DCs whose publication has had the highest international impact. Excellence in research has already been confirmed by SAOT DCs who between November, 2006 and July, 2011 published more than 400 peer-reviewed publications nearly 150 of which are listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI). They received nearly 70 scientific awards and honors, filed more than 10 patent applications, and spent more than 400 weeks at foreign research institutions.