Coursework | Vision Science (MS)

  • The MS program is designed to be completed in 5 semesters/terms. The default MS curriculum can be found on the MS Curriculum page.
  • Full-time students need to take 9 credits or more in the fall and spring semesters. International students need to maintain full-time status during the study time. Please consult with the Office of International Programs if there are any concerns.

Course Substitution (Credit Transfer) and Course Waiver

  • ​Based on the student's prior coursework taken for credits, non-coursework activities (e.g., professional training or license qualification exams), or current memorandum of understanding between an educational program/research institute and Pacific University, students may apply for a course substitution or course waiver.
  • A maximum of one-third of the minimal credit requirement for the degree may be satisfied by course substitution or course waiver. Exceptions may be made by the VSG Committee.

Course substitution (credit transfer)

  • A course or courses of equal or greater credits taken earlier at Pacific University or another institution may be used in place of a required course in the VSG curriculum.
  • To be considered for course substitution, the course credit(s) earned earlier must:
    • be taken for credit at an accredited academic institution within the past five academic years,
    • have covered comparable course content,
    • have completed with a grade of B or better (“pass” grade is not eligible), and
    • have not been used toward another degree.
  • Students must provide supporting documentation (e.g., copies of the official transcript, course description, syllabus) to the Office of Academic Programs.
  • Approval of course substitution awards the student credits of the substituted VSG course, but the transferred grade will not appear on the transcript nor be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA.

Course Waiver 

  • When a required course is shown to be met through non-credit-bearing activities (e.g., proficiency or exam results) or earlier coursework for another degree, a student may petition for waiver of the course.
  • Students must provide official documentation (e.g., certificate, license, transcripts and syllabus, etc.) along with necessary details for application.
  • Course waiver does not result in the awarding of credit but excuses the student from taking the required course and creates additional elective time for the student; the student must register for additional elective credits equal to or greater than the credits that were waived.
  • The VSG Committee has pre-approved the substitution of the OD/MS students or graduates of ACOE-approved programs for the following courses:
    • OPT-501: Geometric & Physical Optics with Lab
    • OPT-502: Geometric & Physical Optics II with Lab
    • OPT-503: Physiological Optics I with Lab
    • OPT-531: Ocular Anatomy Physiology & Biochemistry with Lab
    • OPT-532: Anatomy of the Visual System with Lab
    • OPT-662: Visual Info Processing & Perception
    • OPT 701: Physiological Optics I
    • OPT-914: Discussion of Optometric Clinical Care
    • OPT 915: Practice of Clinical Skills

Processes for Course Substitution/Waiver

  • A student wishing to petition for a course substitution or waiver should present sufficient documentation and justification along with a written application for Course Substitution/Waiver to the Director of the Vision Science Graduate Program. Once approved, the VSG Director will forward the documents to the Office of Academic Programs at the time for pre-registering for the next term’s course or at another designated time.
  • The Academic Dean will review the student’s petition and consult the instructor(s) as needed to decide whether to approve the student’s petition, and inform the student of the final decision.
  • The petition may be reviewed by the course instructor(s), with any appropriate evaluation methods in deciding whether to grant the petition.
  • The VSG Committee has pre-approved a list of courses for course substitution under specified circumstances. Pre-approved substituted courses for students with an OD degree from an ACOE accredited program, provided that the courses were completed within the last five years, or the student has received COPE (Council on Optometric Practitioner Education) approved continuing education after graduation and maintain a valid license. The substituted courses will not be counted toward the student’s GPA.