Thesis Defense & Graduation | Vision Science (MS)

Prior to the Defense

  • The completed written thesis must pass the oral examination of his or her thesis committee.
  • Before the scheduling of the thesis defense, all courses on the plan of study must have been completed or scheduled to be completed by the end of the current term.
  • At least one month before the intended defense date, the student should contact the Office of Academic Programs, the VSG Director and submit the Defense Request form for the chosen date of MS thesis defense. The actual date and location of the thesis defense may change depending on the availability.
  • At least two weeks before the scheduled date of defense, the student should send the complete written thesis to the thesis committee for their review.
  • The thesis defense is open to all college members and should be announced at least one week before the scheduled date.

On the Day of the Defense

  • The thesis advisor will be the default chair of the MS Thesis Defense but can be changed to other committee members as needed.
  • The questions of the oral defense are not limited to the content of the thesis. The thesis committee may choose to ask questions related to the graduate study of the student.
  • The student will be notified of the outcome immediately following the defense (Pass/No Pass).
    • Passing the thesis defense requires unanimous agreement from the student’s Thesis Committee.
    • The Committee may elect to
      • Pass the student without revision or with suggestive revisions on the thesis;
      • Pass the student with conditions with required revisions on the thesis. Revision must be made before final approval on the signature page is given by the Committee. The signature page should not be signed until all of the Thesis Committee members are satisfied with the written thesis.
      • Not pass the student on the thesis. The Committee should clearly list the items that the student needs to work on, preferably with suggested steps to improve the thesis.


  • The thesis advisor should inform the Director of the VSG Program of the result of the thesis defense immediately after the thesis defense. Proper steps should be followed up by the thesis advisor and the VSG program.
  • The student may appeal the thesis defense marked as "Not-pass" to the Dean of the College of Optometry and to the Provost, or the student may elect to defend again at least 30 days after the initial thesis defense. 
  • Unless successfully appealed, the student must re-take the thesis defense. 
  • A complete written thesis file approved by the thesis committee must be submitted to the Director of the Vision Science Graduate Program before awarded the degree. Please see the thesis submission guideline (pdf).

Application for Graduation

  • Graduate-level courses with equal or greater credits taken earlier at Pacific University or another institution may be used in place of required coursework in the VSG curriculum.
  • To be considered for course substitution, the course credit(s) earned earlier must:
  • 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 student’s GPA calculation.