Admission Requirements | PhD in Vision Science

Enrollment in the Vision Science PhD program is limited and selective. Applications will be reviewed by the Vision Science Graduate Committee using a holistic review process with a variety of factors considered, including academic achievement and relevant experiences.

Pre-requisites | GRE Exam | English Language Proficiency


A bachelor's degree is required. Applicants should have taken the following courses under the traditional classroom teaching format and earned a "C" or higher for each course. Grades of C- or lower are not acceptable. Where possible, all courses should be those intended for science majors. See the Unofficial Pre-requisite Worksheet.

  1. General Biology: a standard year (two-semester or three-quarter) series with labs. 
  2. General Physics: a standard year (two-semester or three-quarter) series with labs; Calculus-based not required. 
  3. Chemistry: a standard year (two-semester or three-quarter) series with labs.
  4. Mathematics: three semester or four quarter credits in analytic geometry or calculus
  5. Statistics: three semester or four quarter credits of statistics study from the Department of Mathematics, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, or Biostatistics; course from the Business and Economics departments do not meet this requirement. 

The VSG committee may consider the following exceptions for prerequisite requirements:

  1. The prerequisite requirement is waived for applicants currently enrolled in an ACOE-Accredited optometry program or applicants with a bachelor's or advanced degree in optometry or a clinically-related discipline. 
  2. Applicants who have taken the required series of the specific content area offered by their institution may appeal to the admission committee regarding the equivalency of course content or credit hours in their transcripts. 
  3. While courses from a purely online program are not acceptable, the VSG Committee may consider accepting the credits under special conditions. 


GRE Exam

Unless waived by the Vision Science Graduate Committee, all applicants must submit an official GRE score report taken in the last five years. There is no minimum GRE score requirement. 

Institute Code: 4601 (no Department Code)

The GRE report is waived for the following applicants: 

  • Applicants with an OD degree from (or currently enrolled in) an ACOE-accredited Doctor of Optometry Program in North America;
  • Applicants with a master’s or doctorate degree in a discipline or a field related to optometry or vision science;
  • Current MS students in Pacific University Vision Science Graduate program;
  • Applicants who graduated from an institute with a special institutional memorandum agreement on GRE report;
  • An applicant for whom the VSG Committee choose to waive the GRE requirement in exceptional cases;

Note that approval of the GRE waiver does not guarantee admission to the VSG program.


English Language Proficiency

Proof of English proficiency is required for non-native English speakers, including resident aliens and citizens, and can be satisfied in one of the following ways: T

  1. Achieving satisfactory official test scores:  
    • TOEFL: Paper-based 550 overall; computer-based 213 overall; internet-based 80 overall
    • IELTS: 6.5 overall
    • Chinese College English Test Band 6 (CET-6): 520 or above
  2. Have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university where English is the only language of instruction.

Test scores are valid for two years after the test date. However, it will be considered good if the score exceeds the minimum requirement and the applicant has maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date. Conditional admission may be given without a report of English proficiency for two application cycles, starting from the current application. The student must meet the English proficiency requirement before enrolling in the program. After two cycles, the admission offer is void, and the applicant must re-apply for admission. 


Insufficient evidence of English language proficiency: 

  • Test score less than Pacific's minimum requirement
  • Test score more than two years old (unless applicants have been living in the US since the exam date)
  • Institutional TOEFL score from any school except Pacific University
  • Completion of an English as a Second Language (ESL) program at any school
  • Successful completion of English, writing, or literature courses at any college or university
  • An associate degree from a community college in the United States

Apply Today