The College of Optical Engineering of Zhejiang University, which is the predeceesor of the College of Optical Science and Engineering, is developed from the discipline of Optical Instrumentation, which was also the birthplace of the Optical Engineering Discipline in China. The Optical Engineering Discipline which the department relies on is a national key discipline and also one of the most influential disciplines in Zhejiang University. Proposed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Mr. Wang Daheng, a CAS member and expert in optics, the National Ministry of Education started the major of Optical Instrumentation in Zhejiang University in 1952 as the first in China, and based on which, Zhejiang University established the Department of Optical Instrumentation Engineering in 1960. The name was then changed into the Department of Optical Engineering in 1998. Approved by the State Science and Technology Commission, the Department of Optical Instrumentation Engineering founded the Optical Instrument Test Base in the November of 1965. In the 1960s, the department developed the high speed camera system which successfully recorded the process of the nuclear explosion, contributing greatly to the development of the A- and H-bombs in China. The department was awarded the “Advanced Group” by the National Conference for Science and Technology in 1978. The national ministries have set up a number of key disciplines and research bases in the department since 1980s. One of the earliest PhD programs of Optical Instrumentation was first established here in 1984, followed by the foundation of the postdoctoral research station in Scientific Instrumentation in the next year. In 1988, the Optical Engineering Discipline of Zhejiang University was honored the national key discipline, and in the year of 1989, the National Development and Reform Commission (formerly as National Planning Commission) of China approved the establishment of the State Key Laboratory of Modern Optical Instrumentation. In 1994, the Ministry of Science and Technology (formerly as State Science and Technology Commission) approved the foundation of the National Engineering Research Center for Optical Instrumentation. The Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense approved the foundation of the National Defense Key Discipline Laboratory in 2007. Since 1952, more than 6000 bachelors, 1500 masters and 300 PhDs have graduated from the department, which has made a great contribution to the national economy, society and defense, and thus the department has developed into a nationwide significant and famous base for research and education in optical engineering.

The College of Optical Science and Engineering has 5 research institutes and 2 research centers, which are Institute of Optical Engineering, Institute of Optoelectronic Information and Detection Technology, Institute of Optoelectronic Technology, Institute of Optoelectronic Display Technology, Institute of Advanced Nanophotonics, the Center for Optical and Electromagnetic Research, and the Center for Optical Inertia Technology. We have over 120 faculty members (till May 2010), including 66 faculties for research and teaching (32 professors, 27 PhD supervisors), 19 supporting staffs for experiments and administration, 11 migrant faculties, 14 postdoctoral fellows and 11 re-hiring facilities. Over 85% of the faculties for teaching and research have a PhD degree. About 140 four-year undergraduates, 90 master candidates and 40 PhD candidates are enrolled each year.

 During the 12th “Five-Year Plan”, we will strive to maintain the national leading position and reach the international advanced level. Our college will strengthen the fundamental and applied research on the micro- and nano-photonics technology and devices, technology and instruments for high-precision optical detection, devices and technology of advanced optoelectronics, forming several influential research directions as well as an influential group of academic leaders domestically and internationally.