Vision Science | PhD

The PhD in Vision Science program at Pacific University engages the students in advanced study and research in vision science and prepares them to embark on careers in research and/or teaching, in academic institutes or industries, in the areas of vision science, optometry, ophthalmology, bioengineering, psychology, biology, and other related disciplines.

The PhD program immerses the students in the broad understanding of vision science through a wide variety of topics, such as the optics of the eye, anatomy and neurophysiology of the retina and visual pathways, eye movements and vision perception, clinical aspects of vision, sports vision, visual functions in learning, 3D viewing, assistive devices, and more. In addition, the students are trained with the skills to carry out independent research through hands-on experiences in empirical research projects under guidance of faculty members. 

Faculty of the College of Optometry have expertise in numerous fields, including contact lenses, ocular disease, binocular vision, sports vision, vision performance, and low vision, among others. Innovative research facilities and advanced equipment are available to graduate students. Novel educational hands-on research opportunities are offered year-round for students to sharpen their research skills. 

The PhD program is designed for completion over a five-year period (minimum 106 credit hours) for students with a bachelor’s degree or a three-year training (minimum 60 credit hours) for students with a master’s of science degree. Students will devote their time to acquiring the fundamental knowledge in vision science, completing the PhD dissertation with advanced research techniques, and cultivation of proficiency in clinic and/or teaching skills.

Admission to this program requires a bachelor of science degree, preferably in a relevant discipline (such as biology, computer science, engineering, psychology, physics, or other health science field) or a doctoral degree in medicine or optometry.

The College of Optometry's Vision Science Graduate (VSG) Program also offers a master of science (MS) degree in addition to the College of Optometry's doctorate of optometry (OD) program. 

Associate Professor, Director of VS Graduate Programs
Associate Professor, Director of VPI Research

The PhD in Vision Science Program emphasizes the research training and intellectual foundation necessary for well-rounded scientific research. Students will receive solid training on research methodology and laboratory rotation in the first year, along with classroom experiences for domain-specific knowledge, including courses from at least three broad topical areas and in-depth understanding in individual’s primary area of research interests. The following is a sample curriculum for the PhD coursework, which can vary significantly across individuals. Complete course descriptions are available in the course catalog.

Year 1

Fall Spring
OPT Description Credits OPT Description Credits
725 Assessment and Management of Strabismus and Amblyopia 4 734 Ocular Manifestation of Neurologic Disease 2
740 Seminar in Contact Lenses 2 763 Environmental, Occupational and Recreational Vision 2
  Vision Science Research Methodology 1   Advanced Seminar in Vision and Optics 2
  Vision Research Practice 1   Focused Study in Vision and Optics 2
        Vision Research Practice 1
  TOTAL 10   TOTAL 10

Year 2

Fall Spring Summer
OPT Description Credits OPT Description Credits OPT Description Credits
535 Functional Neuroanatomy and Neurobiology 3 979-III Focused Study in Vision & PUblic Haelth 2   Laboratory Study 3
728 Assessment and Management of the Partially-Sighted Patient 2   Advanced Seminar in Anatomy, Physiology 2   Independent Study 1
  Advanced Seminary in Vision & Public Health 2   Elective 2   Elective 2
  Vision Research Review 1   Vision Research Review 1      
        *Qualificaiton Exam: Written & Oral*    
  TOTAL 10   TOTAL 10   TOTAL 9

Year 3

Fall Spring
OPT Description Credits OPT Description Credits
  Dissertation Research 3   Dissertation Research 3
  elective 2      
  elective 2      
970 Teaching Experience 1      
  Vision Research Review 1   Vision Research Review 1