Degree Requirements | Vision Science (MS)

Degree Requirements

In general, the MS in Vision Science program is designed so that a typical student would require two years or five semesters of study to complete the degree requirements. However, post-OD students may meet the criteria in one year, and OD/MS students may complete both degrees concurrently. The total time allowed to complete the MS degree requirements is five years. 

To qualify for the MS degree, a student must complete the following items satisfactorily:

  1. A minimum of 42.5 credit hours of coursework with satisfactory grades
  2. Completion of MS-level thesis research and successful defense of the research project


  • A minimum of 42.5 semester hours of graduate credits earned from the VSG Program curriculum is required.
  • A maximum of one-third of the total course workload may be substituted based on prior satisfactory equivalent coursework or waived based on professional training experiences within the past five years. Exceptions can only be made if approved by the VSG Committee.
  • See the curriculum section for the required and elective courses.

Satisfactory grades:

  • Graduate students are required to maintain satisfactory course performance toward their degree. The substandard performance will be handled according to the College’s Academic and Professional Standards Manual. 
    • No grade lower than B in OPT 900 and VSC 700 and 800 levels can be counted toward the graduate degree. Any grade of B- or lower is considered substandard.
    • No grade lower than C in other courses can be counted toward the graduate degree. Any grade of C- or lower is considered substandard.
  • A substandard grade needs to be remediated to be applied toward fulfillment of degree requirements.  The substandard performance will be handled according to the College’s Academic and Professional Standards Manual.


  • The degree is conferred with distinction upon graduates who have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in the MS curriculum


Successfully defended M.S. Thesis

  • All MS students must submit a completed significant research report to fulfill the requirement of the MS thesis. 
  • The MS thesis is usually an original empirical laboratory or field research and is carried out under the guidance of his or her thesis advisor during the period of study. Alternatively, students may submit a comprehensive and in-depth review paper to fulfill the thesis requirement. 
  • All MS Thesis must be successfully defended and revised before the thesis committee sign off on the Thesis Signature Form.
  • A file of a complete written thesis 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.

Other Policies

Full-time and part-time status

  • Nine credit hours per semester are considered full-time course workload. Eight credit hours or below are considered part-time workload.
  • Students should pay attention to the restrictions of workload status from their financial support agencies; international students should follow restrictions based on an individual's visa status.

Terms of study

  • All work required for MS graduation must be completed within five years from the date of matriculation. 

Unsatisfactory Progress

  • Failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree requirements will result in an academic discipline.
  • The student's performance will be reviewed by the college's Academic and Professional Standard Committee along with the Director of the Vision Science Graduate Program. It may result in changes in the student's program or recommendation to the Dean that the student is dismissed from the degree program.

Other Institutional Regulations

  • All regulations and policies related to professional and academic standards described elsewhere in the College of Optometry also pertain to students in the VSG graduate students. However, specific grading criteria for the graduate students will apply when in conflict with the Optometry Professional Degree Program's policies.
  • These standards relate to academic performance, course attendance, professional behavior, grades, and other matters. Violations of these standards can result in the student being placed on warning or probation or dismissal from the program.