Admissions | Vision Science (PhD)

Application Qualification

A bachelor's degree (or equivalent) is required for admission into the Pacific University College of Optometry PhD in Vision Science program. Individuals who are in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution may be admitted.

It is generally expected that students will complete a master’s degree before beginning a PhD program. Applicants without a master’s degree but demonstrating great potential may be accepted into the PhD program; however, he/she will need to fulfill the MS degree requirements before taking the qualification examination. Applicants with a master of science degree, an OD degree from an ACOE-accredited program, an MD degree, or who are currently enrolled in Pacific University's College of Optometry OD program, may waive all or part of the MS curriculum. The Vision Science Graduate (VSG) Programs Committee will consider each case individually.

Prerequisite Requirements

All prerequisite courses listed below have to be acquired in traditional classroom teaching (web-based instruction is not acceptable) and must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher. Where possible, all courses should be those intended for science majors.

  • General Biology with lab | a standard two-semester course or the quarter system equivalent of one year of study.
  • General Physics with lab | a standard two-semester course or the quarter system equivalent of one year of study. Need not be calculus based.
  • Chemistry with lab | a standard two-semester course or the quarter system equivalent of one year of study
  • Calculus | one semester (3 semester credits or 4 quarter credits) in calculus
  • Statistics | one semester (3 semester credits or 4 quarter credits) of statistics from departments of Mathematics, Psychology, Sociology or Statistics. Biostatistics courses are acceptable. Courses from Business and Economics departments do not qualify.

Current OD students in the college or applicants with an OD degree from an ACOE-accredited program are automatically qualified as meeting the prerequisite requirement. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in optometry or an advanced degree (master’s or doctorate degree) in a discipline related to clinical optometry may be considered fulfill the criteria as well. The VSG Committee will make the final decision.

Application Timeline

General Application

  • Application cycle: September 15 to March 15
  • Early applications will be reviewed within one month upon receiving the completed application documents.
  • See information below for details. 

Application Materials

General Application

The following items should be completed and mailed to the Graduate Admissions Office:

  • A completed Vision Science Graduate Program Application Form
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Application essay
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • At least one reference form must be from a class instructor.
    • The letter should be sent from the recommender directly to the Graduate Admissions Office by surface mail or by email.
    • Reference Form
  • $40 application fee (waived for current students and alumni of the Pacific University College of Optometry)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (waived for current students and alumni of the Pacific University College of Optometry)
  • Doctor of optometry course catalog/class syllabi with cumulative GPA at 3.0 (or B) or better and qualified for Oregon optometry license (applied only to applicants graduated from an ACOE-accredited optometry programs)
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (institution code 4601, no department code).
    • The GRE is required for application for the PhD program, and is waived for:
      • applicants with a master’s or doctorate degree in a clinical discipline or a field related to optometry or vision science from a regionally accredited institution;
      • applicants with a doctorate degree in optometry from (or enrolled in) an ACOE-accredited OD program in north America;
      • current MS student in Pacific University Vision Science Graduate program;
      • applicants graduated from an institute with special institutional memorandum agreement on GRE.
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • International (non-Candian) Credentials Evaluation

Application from current MS or OD students of College of Optometry

  • After completing at least two semesters of study in the MS or OD programs, a student may apply for the PhD program by March 15 each year.
  • A complete package of the following documents should be sent to the Office of Academic Programs of the college
  • Application form for current MS or OD students.


Application Review

Admission decision is based on the completion of the requirements and the following criteria:

  • Depth and breadth of undergraduate preparation
  • Strength of recommendations
  • Written communication skills as assessed in the application essay
  • Result of the interview

Applicants may be invited for an interview as needed (on campus or through telecommunication). In general, applicants will receive an official notification of the final result within six weeks of the application deadline. Admitted students need to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check prior to the start of classes in the first semester of the program.