Quantum Science, Networking, and Communications

Learn the skills necessary to break into the emerging field of quantum science. This remote course features faculty feedback, simulations, and hands-on experiences.

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At a Glance

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8 Weeks


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Launch Your Career into the Quantum-Sphere

Quantum technologies are transforming how people live, work, and play. Secure the communication, networking, and programming skills that are revolutionizing industries and reshaping our future.

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Advance Science and Your Career—Take a Quantum Leap at UChicago

The eight-week online course in Quantum Science, Networking, and Communications, is offered by the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and managed by an industry leader in Quantum computing, the Chicago Quantum Exchange, and uniquely positioned within the nation’s quantum hub, prepares you to enter the quantum field with demonstrations, simulations, and technical hands-on experience.

In weekly virtual classes, you will interact directly with advanced quantum technologies and leaders in quantum research from UChicago and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in partnership with the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks (HQAN). As our course instructors deliver the fundamentals of quantum computing with singular expertise, they will support your work with discussion and feedback. The quantum science course culminates in the simulation of a multi-node quantum network. 

Designed For

This course is ideal for early-career participants with less than ten years of professional experience and a bachelor’s or graduate degree in the sciences such as math, physics, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, or computer science. Mid-career professionals seeking to transition into the quantum field will also benefit from this course.

Quantum Engineers Needed—Answer the Call

Quantum science has the power to revolutionize materials, information—and technology. As financial services, telecom, consulting, logistics, biotech, and other industries enter the quantum space, they require qualified professionals from a variety of scientific backgrounds with advanced skills to lead them into the future. We designed this quantum science course to give those with undergraduate or graduate degrees in physics, computer science, engineering, and math the skills needed to break into this high-demand field and fill the need for groundbreaking professionals to transform science and enable technologies never thought possible.

Online Quantum Communications Course Structure


Strongly recommend a bachelor's degree in math, physics, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, or computer science. Additionally, the following competencies are recommended to complete the homework activities:

  • Linear algebra: Able to perform matrix operations including addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Participants should also know what eigenvectors are and be familiar with singular value decomposition.
  • Probability theory: Able to calculate conditional probabilities.
  • Python programming: Able to use Jupyter notebooks to read, understand, and write simple programs in Python.

Learning objectives 

In eight weeks of live sessions and self-paced modules, students will acquire the theoretical and practical fundamentals of quantum computing and communications. After completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the fundamental framework of linear algebra to perform calculations (e.g., expectation values, state vector evolution, decoherence times, etc.) essential to quantum networking, computing, and communications applications.
  • Analyze, execute, and debug Python code as they implement various quantum circuits using Qiskit software, as well as implement various quantum communication and network protocols, such as quantum teleportation, superdense coding, entanglement distribution, and quantum key distribution (QKD), using SeQUeNCe software.
  • Explain the physical components used in quantum networks like superconducting and trapped ion qubits, photonic quantum channels, and quantum repeaters.
  • Identify the various layers and protocols defined by and utilized in quantum communication networks.
Certificate of completion example

Earn a Credential in Quantum Science

After successful completion of this course, participants will receive a credential certified by the University of Chicago.

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Quantum Science course schedule

The course's live synchronous sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. CST.  All required assignments are typically due one week after the final scheduled synchonous session. The time commitment per week is four-to-five hours.

Includes articles (academic journals, textbooks, chapters, professional publications, etc., and videos or other multi-media content) to serve as a refresher for linear algebra, and downloadable instructions for installing Python, Qiskit, and Sequence.

The first week focuses on the fundamentals and principles of quantum information. Students will learn about the different types of application protocols for quantum networks and the mathematical formalism of qubits, Bloch sphere, and quantum evolution.

Key topics include:

  • Prominent quantum communication tasks such as quantum key distribution (QKD), blind quantum computing, clock synchronization, secret sharing, and long-baseline telescopy
  • Quantum systems like finite-dimensional vector spaces, kets/bras, and unitary and Hermitian matrices 
  • Qubits as the basic building block of quantum information systems, Pauli operators, and the Bloch sphere representation of qubits

Expanding on the previous week’s lesson, students will learn how to compute expectation values for quantum measurements on entangled systems and to understand the density matrix and basic noise models.

Key topics include: 

  • Born’s rule for quantum measurement
  • Entangled systems and gates
  • The density matrix and mixed versus pure states

The third module focuses on the basics of quantum programming. Students will learn how to use Qiskit programming software. They will design quantum circuits and remotely implement them on IBM hardware. Through hands-on programming, students will learn basic quantum algorithms.

Key topics include:

  • Simon's Algorithm and Grover's Algorithm 
  • Quantum circuit model 
  • Qiskit syntax

The fourth module focuses on quantum communicationsStudents will learn the properties of quantum entanglement, the use of quantum entanglement in quantum communication, and communication primitives such as superdense coding, teleportation, and quantum key distribution.

Key topics include:

  • Bell states and Bell measurements
  • Superdense coding and teleportation like entanglement-enhanced communication tasks
  • Quantum key distribution in the BB84 protocol and entanglement-based schemes (measurement device-independent QKD)

The fifth module expands on the quantum communications concepts introduced the previous week. Students will learn how to explain the principles of entanglement swapping, how quantum repeaters work, and the basic concepts of entanglement purification.

Key topics include:  

  • Entanglement fidelity and recurrence protocol
  • Quantum error correction and entanglement distribution
  • Achieving long-distance quantum communication

The sixth module focuses on quantum network hardware. Students will learn about the essential components of a quantum network and how they function together. They will connect theoretical protocols with hardware deployment and explore the different types of physical systems used to encode qubits and perform quantum communication.

Key topics include:

  • Network components such as memories, repeaters, photon sources, detectors, and interconnects
  • Physical systems such as photons, SC qubits, atoms, and color centers
  • Standard performance metrics for network devices such as coherence times, channel loss, detector efficiency, and transmission fidelity

The final module focuses on quantum network protocols and simulation. Students will learn how to apply all the components of the course in a simulation of a multi-node quantum network.

Key topics include:

  • The effects of noise and decoherence on quantum communication protocols
  • Realistic quantum networks and syntax for SeQUeNCe simulator
  • Working through a multi-step protocol of teleportation or QKD by specifying memory fidelity

How to Enroll

Students must register for the online quantum course to be considered for enrollment. Please follow these steps to ensure that you successfully register for the course:

  • Log into UChicago's course registration portal by creating an account using your username and password.
  • Navigate to the "Course search" tab and search for "Quantum Science."
  • Look for the course with the title "Quantum Science, Networking, and Communications" (Course ID: QUAN11021) and select the course listing
  • Once you locate the course, click on "Add to Cart" to include it in your course selection. Make sure to check the course schedule, prerequisites, and class capacity before proceeding.
  • Review your course selections and click on "Proceed to Checkout" to complete the registration process.

Note: that registration for courses opens during specific periods. Ensure you check the schedule on our website for upcoming deadlines, especially if you want to secure a spot in this high-demand class.

Cancellation Policy

The University of Chicago reserves the right to remove and refund registrants who do not meet the compliance requirements necessary to participate in this course. All students must be screened in adherence to U.S. export control laws, which govern the transfer or disclosure of goods, technology, software, services, and funds originating in the United States to persons or entities in foreign countries OR to non-U.S. persons, even if located in the United States.

Full Refund

To obtain a full refund, registrants need to notify the UCPE of cancellation 5 business days or more prior to the first class* meeting (i.e., section start date/ time). If the course is canceled by the UCPE, the student will receive a full refund.

Partial Refund

To obtain a refund minus a cancellation fee (10% of the course tuition), registrants need to notify the UCPE of cancellation less than 5 business days and no more than 24 hours after the first class* meeting (i.e., section start date/time).

No Refund

No refund will be given to registrants if they notify the UCPE of a course cancellation greater than 24 hours after the first class* meeting (i.e., section start date/time), unless the course has been cancelled by UCPE.

Notification Procedure

Failure to attend a course does not entitle a registrant to a refund. Students must call the University of Chicago Professional Education (UCPE) at 773.834.2964 for initial cancellation.

Tuition Transfer

Students may apply tuition to another course offered by the UCPE, or they may transfer their tuition to another employee in their organization if they contact the UCPE program director or manager at least five business days prior to the start of the program.

Cancellation fees will apply to tuition transfer if students fail to abide by the cancellation policies.

Meet Your Instructors

Instructors for the Quantum Communications course work at the forefront of quantum technology and bring their leading-edge research to the classroom. Faculty and instructors from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will guide you through the fundamentals of quantum communications, while providing you with support and feedback.

Hannes Bernien, PhD

Hannes Bernien, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago

Hannes Bernien is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. He studies quantum many-body physics and quantum information processing, and seeks to develop new ways of engineering large, complex quantum systems.

Professor Bernien’s research combines techniques from...

Learn more about Hannes

Quantum science instructor Eric Chitambar

Eric Chitambar

Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign

Eric Chitambar leads the Chitambar Quantum Information Group at the University of Illinois, a research group that studies the mathematical theories and practical applications of quantum entanglement and other fundamental quantum phenomena. As Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer...

Learn more about Eric

Quantum Science Instructor Bryan Clark

Bryan Clark

Associate Professor of Condensed-Matter Physics, University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign

Bryan Clark focuses on areas of computational condensed matter, quantum algorithms, and quantum circuits. He works on developing quantum algorithms for simulating quantum systems including automatically generating circuits to diagonalize Hamiltonians, developing ways of simulating condensed matter...

Learn more about Bryan

Quantum Science instructor Alex Kolar

Alex Kolar

Researcher, Zhong Lab, University of Chicago

Alex Kolar is a PhD student in Quantum Engineering in Dr. Tian Zhong's lab at the University of Chicago. He studies quantum hardware control systems as well as quantum network simulation.

Kolar’s research focuses on leveraging emerging quantum technology and classical computing resources to develop...

Learn more about Alex

Tian Zhong, PhD

Tian Zhong, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago

Tian Zhong is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. His areas of research expertise are in quantum photonics, quantum information and networking, solid-state quantum technologies, and hybrid quantum systems.

Professor Zhong’s research focuses on developing...

Learn more about Tian

Career Benefits

Few professionals can say their work transforms how people live, work, and play. Life-changing work that impacts virtually every area of our lives is within the quantum science career path. Quantum engineering has the power to transform cybersecurity, materials development, computing, and other research areas, and companies in the communications, electronics, optics, and materials industries are examining how to quickly and effectively build a quantum-ready workforce.

Gain powerful skills with the leader in quantum—UChicago

Our online Quantum course prepares you to meet these industry needs. By acquiring skills in this area, you are capable of leading discoveries, technologies, and solutions never thought possible.

20 %

Gartner predicts that 20% of organizations will budget for quantum computing projects by 2023.

$ 169 k

The average salary for a Quantum Computing Engineer in the US.

27 %

According to the QED-C, the global quantum computing market has an anticipated growth of 27% between 2020 and 2024.

Potential quantum engineering job titles

  • Data Engineer
  • Embedded Software Engineer
  • GPU Computing Software Engineer
  • HPC Engineer
  • Quantum Device Modeling Engineer
  • Quantum Electronic Device Testing Engineer
  • Quantum Support Engineer
  • Research Engineer
  • Research Integration and Yield Engineer
  • Research and Development Software Engineer
  • Software Engineer for Quantum Controls
  • Software Engineer for Quantum Optimization
  • Systems Engineer

Meet Our Quantum Network

The Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) is an intellectual hub for advancing the science and engineering of quantum information between the CQE community, across the Midwest, and around the globe.

A catalyst for research activity across its member and partner institutions, the CQE is based at the University of Chicago and is anchored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northwestern University.

Learn More About CQE

Chicago Quantum Exchange

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) integrates science and engineering to address global challenges from the molecular level up. In the University of Chicago tradition of rigorous inquiry, we ask crucial scientific questions that have real-world implications. Our work applies molecular-level science to the design of advanced devices, processes, and technologies. Organized by interdisciplinary research themes, we aim to develop solutions to urgent societal problems, such as water and energy resources, information security, and human health.

The program was established as the Institute for Molecular Engineering in 2011 by the University in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory. In 2019, in recognition of the institute’s success, impact and expansion, and the support of the Pritzker Foundation, the institute was elevated to the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering—the first school in the nation dedicated to this emerging field.

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Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

The NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks (HQAN) features three quantum testbeds that will collaboratively develop the technology needed to assemble a hybrid quantum processor and network. Each laboratory is designed with multiple kinds of quantum hardware, which will be used to demonstrate distributed quantum processing and communication protocols. The program integrates engineering, computing, and physics expertise to achieve HQAN’s scientific, technology, and education goals. The HQAN center also includes workforce development initiatives that will inspire and train students who will contribute to the future quantum technology and innovation ecosystem.

Learn More About HQAN

Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks

Contact Us

Our team is ready to discuss the course and answer your questions regarding our registration process. You may request more information about the course in quantum science by filling out the request for information form to have an enrollment advisor reach out to you. 

Group rates now available

Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) member and partner institution participants receive a 10% tuition reduction. CQE member and partner institutions are eligible for a 20% tuition reduction on groups of three or more. All other organizations are eligible for a 10% tuition reduction on groups of three or more. To enroll a group, please contact Ali Case.

Offered by The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

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