Master of Education / Visual Function in Learning Program

The Master of Education/Visual Function in Learning program (MEd/VFL), administered by the College of Education in conjunction with the College of Optometry, is especially designed for optometry students and optometrists who wish to extend their knowledge of vision problems as they relate to reading and the learning process of children. The 30-semester hour program provides expertise in understanding the cognitive, linguistic, and visual challenges of learning to read. The program is offered only at the Forest Grove campus.

Candidates must hold or be working toward the professional terminal degree in optometry. Candidates within the College of Optometry must have completed the fall semester of the first year of study, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater, and be in good academic standing. Candidates may enroll in a maximum of 8 hours of education coursework before admission to the program.

MEd/VFL Program Objectives

  1. To develop a knowledge base concerning
    • the role that visual factors play in learning disability diagnosis and remediation;
    • fundamental theories of cognition, learning, and language development;
    • the major diagnostic theories in reading and related prescriptive techniques;
    • decision-making systems, service delivery models, and program management within education organizations;
    • the varied constituencies that the public schools must satisfy.
    • To develop skills in research, diagnosis, therapy and case management within a multi-disciplinary setting.
  2. To develop skills in research, diagnosis, therapy, and case management within a multidisciplinary setting.


The capstone experience is a thesis, giving candidates an opportunity to synthesize professional education in the optometric clinical setting. All Master of Education/Visual Function in Learning candidates will be appointed a Thesis Committee who will guide the development of a research proposal.

Once the proposal is developed it is reviewed by the Coordinator of MEd/VFL and the Dean of Optometry, or their designees. The proposal must be approved seven months before the date of proposed graduation from the program. The Thesis Committee will then advise the candidate during the course of research and the preparation of the thesis. When the final, bound thesis is approved and signed by the Thesis Committee; the candidate must submit two copies of the thesis to the library two weeks before commencement.

The Thesis Committee will include the following members:


Candidates complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate courses in individual planned programs, which must include 23 semester hours within the College of Education and 7 semester hours within the College of Optometry.

Section Area I: Education Credit Hrs
Required Education Courses (10 semester credits)
EDUC-565 Seminar: Educational and Optometric Connections
EDUC-631 Reading Assessments and Techniques
EDUC-632 Perspectives on Reading
EDUC-635 Language and Literacy Development
RDNG-640 MEd/VFL Field Practicum and Seminar
RDNG-641 MEd/VFL Case Study Practicum and Seminar
Education Electives (7 semester credits)
EDUC-570 School and Society
SPED-505 Exceptionalities
EDUC-633 Literacy and English-Language Learners

EDUC-638 or

Developing Literacy in the Content Areas
Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
EDUC-508 or
Reading and Language Arts in ECE/Elem
Reading and Language Arts in Elem/MS
EDUC-572 Service-Learning Field Experience
  Area II: Optometry  
Required Optometry Courses (4 semester credits)
OPT-744 Visual Problems That Relate to Learning Difficulties With Lab
OPT-765 Seminar in Multidisciplinary Service
Optometry Electives (2 semester credits)
OPT-743 Neurorehabilitative Optometry
OPT-956 Independent Study
OPT-992 Research and Data Analysis Methods II
  Area III: Foundations of Research  
OPT-560 Evidence Based Optometry
EDUC-670 Introduction to Professional Inquiry
EDUC-671 The Scholarship of Teaching
  Area IV: Education Research Project  
EDUC-674 Planning the Inquiry Project
EDUC-675 Completing the Inquiry Project
Total credits

In addition to fulfilling the requirements stated above, the candidate is encouraged to take course offerings in other areas to strengthen and to provide further exploration into a particular area of interest. The MEd/VFL Coordinator must approve electives. A planned program of courses must be filed with the College of Education.

*Students in the MEd/VFL program are charged 50% of the College of Education per-credit tuition rate for their College of Education courses.

Admissions Information

Application Requirements
Graduate Online Application


Contact Person: Diana Watkins, Associate Director of Graduate & Professional Admissions
Phone: 503-352-1435

Contact Person: Ann Matschiner, MEd/VFL Program Coordinator (Forest Grove)
Phone: 503-352-1461