Vision Science (MS) Degree Requirements

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. Satisfactory coursework
  2. Pass the Thesis Proposal Exam 
  3. Successful defense of the research project

Satisfactory grades:

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 mask 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 the GPA to 3.0 or higher. Those who cannot return to good academic standing after two semesters/terms will be subject to APS review and may be dismissed from the VSG Programs.
  • No grade lower than C in all courses can be counted toward the graduate degree. 
  • A substandard grade must remediate or retake to be included in the degree requirements.  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 receive a substandard grade on an elective course 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, and other matters. Violations of these standards can result in the student being placed on warning or probation, or dismissal from the program.

 

Course Substitution and Course Waiver

Based on prior coursework taken for credit, professional training and experiences, or 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 VSG Committee. Application for a course substitution and waiver must be submitted to the Director of the VSG Program, and be approved by the 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.

To be considered, courses must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. was taken within the past five years,
  2. cover content comparable to a required course,
  3. was passed with a grade of B or better ("pass" grade is not eligible), and
  4. has not been applied toward another degree.

 

2. Pre-approved Course Substitution for OD/MS students

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 503 Evidence-Based Research & Practice 1 = OPT 560 Evidence Based Optometry 1
VSC 511 Geometric Physical & Visual Optics I 3 = OPT 501 Geometric and Physical Optics I 3
VSC 511L Lab for Geometric Physical & Visual Optics I 0 = OPT 501L Lab for Geometric and Physical Optics I 0
VSC 512 Geometric Physical and Visual Optics II 3 = OPT 502 Geometric and Physical Optics II 3
VSC 512L Lab for Geometric Physical & Visual Optics II 0 = OPT 502L Lab for Geometric and Physical Optics II 0
VSC 513 Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics 4 = OPT 503 Physiological Optics 4
VSC 513L Lab for Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics 0 = OPT 503L Lab for Physiological Optics 0
VSC 521 Anatomy Biochemistry & Physiology of the Eye I 3 = OPT 531 Ocular Anatomy Physiology and Biochemistry 3
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 = OPT 532 Anatomy of the Visual System 2
VSC-522L Lab for Anatomy Biochemistry & Physiology of the Eye II 1 = OPT 532L Lab for Anatomy of the Visual System 1
VSC 523 Neuroanatomy of the Visual Pathway 2 = OPT 535 Functional Neuroanatomy and Neurobiology 3
VSC 631 Common Ocular Diseases 2 = OPT 631 Ocular Disease III with Lab 4
VSC 644 Fundamentals of Ocular motility 1 = OPT 701 Ocular Motility 2
VSC 660 Practice of Clinical Skills 1 = 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. The official documentation is required (e.g., certificate, license, transcripts and syllabus, etc.) at the time of application for the waiver.

Honors:

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

 

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 and the University Library CommonKnowledge before being awarded the degree. Please see the thesis submission guideline

Other Policies

Full-time and part-time status

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