A polarization analysis capability based upon polarization raytracing is described. The polarization ray trace can model the effects of various interface types including metallic reflectors and multilayer coatings. Idealized retarders and linear polarizers can also be incorporated into the model of an optical system. Information obtained during the polarization ray trace is used to compute image quality metrics such as the point-spread function and the modulation transfer function. In addition, the polarization state of the electric field at any point along a ray path can be found. The utility of the polarization raytracing approach is demonstrated by using the CODE VTM optical design program, which incorporates the modeling features described here, to perform an analysis of selected optical systems, including a corner-cube reflector, a folded beam expander, an imaging radiometer and a high numerical aperture objective.