We present an overview of recent selective photoluminescence (PL) experiments on shallow levels in ZnSe and GaN. Through two electron transitions (TET) and electronic Raman scattering (ERS) investigations on solid phase recrystallized bulk ZnSe doped with Al, Cl and In, the spectroscopic properties of donor impurities are re-examined. It is shown that the donor spectra previously attributed to Al and Cl are in fact due to common residual impurities. The Al-donor excited states are detected up to n = 6 allowing a very accurate determination of its ionization energy. We show that the central cell correction of Al is vanishing leading to a new evaluation of the Rydberg which is discussed in view of the last experimental determinations of the dielectric constant and electron effective mass. The neutral-donor bound-excitons have been studied in n-type wurtzite GaN homoepitaxial layers and heteroepitaxial layers deposited on sapphire or SiC substrates. It is demonstrated that the existence of strain distributions in heterostructures induces original resonant effects on selective photoluminescence spectra allowing to identify the bound exciton excited states on a large domain of tensile and compressive strains and in particular near the A and B valence band crossing. Finally, the donors are investigated by TET and ERS spectroscopy. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.