Academic Policies | MS in Vision Science

Course Substitution and Course Waiver

Based on prior coursework taken for credit, professional training and experiences, or a current memorandum of understanding between an educational/research institution and Pacific University, students may apply for a course substitution or course waiver in place of a required course. A maximum of one-third of the course credit requirement for the degree may be satisfied by course substitution or waiver. Exceptions may be made by the Vision Science Graduate (VSG) Committee. Application for a course substitution and waiver must be submitted to the Director of the VSG Program and approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Programs.

1. Credit transfer: Graduate-level courses taken previously at Pacific University or another regionally accredited institution may be used to substitute for a similarly required course. Application for credit transfer will be reviewed on a course by course basis and must be approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Director of the VSG Program, and the course instructor(s). Credit is applied toward the VSG degree, although the grade earned in the transferred course does not appear on the Pacific transcript nor is included in the calculation of the student's GPA.

  Course Substitution: A course substitution allows students to use an alternative course to replace a program’s required course. Substituted courses must include substantially the same learning outcomes as the required course. Students must submit the Credit Transfer/Substitution Form before the term the required course is completed and must be approved by the program to be counted toward the degree. The following courses have been pre-approved for substituting the VSC-required courses with the selected OPT courses  for OD/MS students. Only dual-enrolled students in the OD and the VSG program (i.e., OD/MS students) may substitute the following VSC courses with the designated OPT course credits. Application is necessary and must be approved for any course substitution not listed in the table below. 


2. OD/MS students may substitute the following MS courses with the designated OD course Credits. 

VSG Courses Sub. OPT
Code Course Name Cr. By Code Course Name Cr.
VSC 511 Geometric Physical & Visual Optics I 2.5 = OPT 501 Geometric and Physical Optics I 2.5
VSC 511L Lab for Geometric Physical & Visual Optics I 0.0 = OPT 501L Lab for Geometric and Physical Optics I 0.0
VSC 512 Geometric Physical and Visual Optics II 3.0 = OPT 502 Geometric and Physical Optics II 3.0
VSC 512L Lab for Geometric Physical & Visual Optics II 0.0 = OPT 502L Lab for Geometric and Physical Optics II 0.0
VSC 513 Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics 3.0 = OPT 503 Physiological Optics 3.0
VSC 513L Lab for Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics 0.0 = OPT 503L Lab for Physiological Optics 0.0
VSC 521 Anatomy Biochemistry & Physiology of the Eye I 2.75 = OPT 531 Ocular Anatomy Physiology and Biochemistry 2.75
VSC 521L Lab for Anatomy Biochemistry& Physiology of the Eye I 0.5 = OPT 531L Lab for Ocular Anatomy Physiology and Biochemistry 0.5
VSC-522 Anatomy Biochemistry & Physiology of the Eye II 2.0 = OPT 532 Anatomy of the Visual System 2.0
VSC-522L Lab for Anatomy Biochemistry & Physiology of the Eye II 0.5 = OPT 532L Lab for Anatomy of the Visual System 0.5
VSC 631 Common Ocular Diseases 2.0 = OPT 633 Ocular Disease III with Lab 3.0
VSC 644 Fundamentals of Ocular Motility 1.0 = OPT 701 Ocular Motility 1.75
VSC 660 Practice of Clinical Skills 1.0 = OPT 722 Patient Care VI 1.5

3. Course Waiver :If the requirements of a course are shown to have been met through non-credit-bearing activities (e.g., a certificate for passing a standardized exam) or earlier coursework for another degree, a student may petition to have that course requirement waived. If granted, the petition typically will not reduce the overall number of credits required for the degree, but will allow a student to take other coursework as a replacement for the required course. Official documentation is required (e.g., certificate, license, transcripts and syllabus, etc.) at the time of application for the waiver.

Time Limits to Complete the Degree

All work for the MS must be completed within five years of matriculation.

Full-Time Status

The minimum full-time study load is nine credits and the half-time study load is five credits.

Academic Standards

All students are required to maintain good academic progress, judged by meeting the following criteria and timely completion of degree requirements:

  • To stay in good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and make satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and have two semesters/terms to improve their GPA to 3.0 or higher. Those who cannot return to good academic standing after two semesters/terms are subject to APS review and may be dismissed from the VSG Programs.
  • No course credits with a grade lower than C can be counted toward the degree.
  • A substandard grade must be remediated to be included in the degree requirement. The substandard performance will be handled according to the College’s Academic and Professional Standards Policies and Procedures Manual. Students must retake the course if failing a required course at the 700 to 900 levels. Students receiving a substandard grade on an elective may take another course to fulfill the elective requirement.
  • All other regulations and policies related to professional and academic standards described elsewhere in the College of Optometry section in the university catalog also pertain to students in the graduate program. These standards relate to academic performance, course attendance, professional behavior, grades, etc. Violations of these standards can result in the student being placed on warning or probation or dismissed from the program.


Students with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher will graduate with distinction.