How to Apply | PhD in Vision Science

Application materials vary by pathway. Your complete application must be received no later than the application deadlines to be eligible for admission consideration by the Vision Science Graduate Committee.

Application pathways:

General application | Current OD or MS Students| Application under MOU

 General application

Application Deadlines:

The application for Fall 2023 enrollment will open on September 15, 2022.

  1. Early application deadline: January 15
  2. General application deadline: March 15

Application Materials:

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Personal Essay
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation
  5. Official Transcripts
  6. Prerequisite Requirements
  7. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Report
  8. Proof of English Proficiency
  9. Application Fee: US$40

Detailed instructions on application documents:

  • Personal Essay: Describe what inspires your decision for application, career goal, and research interests in vision science.
  • Letters of Recommendation: We require 2 letters from persons who have supervised your research or academic work. At least one letter must be from a professor who taught you in college. Your recommenders will also need to fill out an Applicant Evaluation Form provided by Pacific University.
  • Official Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you attended should be submitted via the online application. Applicants with degrees from non-US accredited schools must submit the official credentials evaluations report. (list of evaluation agencies)
  • Prerequisite requirements (see the Unofficial Prerequisite Worksheet form): 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.
    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; courses 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.
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Report: Learn more about GRE.
  • Proof of English 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:
    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): score 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. It will still 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.


Application from Current OD or MS Students 

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall semester: December 1
  • Spring semesters: March 15

Application materials: 

  1. Application Form for current OD or MS students 
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. One Letter of Recommendation (from an Optometry faculty)
  4. Personal Essay
  5. An(unofficial) copy of the latest OD transcript with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better

*Application fee, College transcripts, Prerequisite requirements, GRE report, and Proof of English proficiency are waived.


Application Under MOU 

Applicants from an institute with MOU or special arrangements established with Pacific University College of Optometry should contact the program director, Dr. Yu-Chi Tai, for details.