A system for generating polarization mode dispersion has been developed to reproduce in the laboratory, a close approximation to the polarization mode dispersion (PMD) of fiber links. A multi-stage system of rotating wave plates and combinations of birefringent elements generates a mixture of first order, second order and higher order PMD suitable for testing OC-192 and OC-768 hardware. The PMD Emulator can be operated in either static or time-varying modes. In the static mode first order PMD is generated with the Differential Group Delay continuously adjustable from 0 to 160 ps. In the dynamic mode time-varying PMD containing first and higher orders is generated with an approximately Maxwellian DGD distribution. The PMD emulator generates PMD variations at adjustable frequencies up to 400 Hz.