MS Curriculum

910 Ocular Anatomy and Physiology

Course Number: 910

Description: This course supplements the ocular anatomy and physiology curriculum included in the professional program, and concentrates on areas that are most likely to be studied in optometric research. The course requires independent study and group discussion covering all structures in the eye from the tear layer to the retina. Each student prepares and conducts a literature review on an area of ocular anatomy and/or physiology, and presents the results of the review in a seminar format.

Credits: 4

920 Sensory Neuroscience

Course Number: 920

Description: Sensory neuroscience is a subfield of neuroscience which explores the anatomy and physiology of neurons that are part of sensory systems such as vision, hearing, and olfaction. This course will focus on vision. Visual neuroscience is the study of the visual system including the visual cortex . Its goals are to understand the neurophysiology of the visual system, and to understand how neural activity results in visual perception and behaviors that depend on vision.

Credits: 4

940 Visual Optics

Course Number: 940

Description: The eye is studied as the physiological optical element of the visual system. The optical components of the eye are discussed in terms of their geometrical, physical, physiological, psychophysical and optical properties. The eye is considered as an image forming mechanism, where each component contributes to the nature and quality of the retinal image. The relationship between optics and visual performance is discussed, including the effects of ametropias and oculomotor systems on vision. Students will demonstrate their ability to search and evaluate the visual optics literature, and to communicate effectively through writing and in small group discussions.

Credits: 4

950 Sensory Processes and Perception

Course Number: 950

Description: A foundation in vision science is rooted in the underpinnings of basic sensory processes. The study of sensory processes encompasses three areas of vision function important to scientists: the perception of light, form, and color. This knowledge is routinely used by vision scientists when conducting research studies examining spatial vision and temporal vision, the field of vision, the range of color vision, and many other areas of current vision research. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a proposal for a research study related to the material in the course.

Credits: 4

951 Psychophysical Methods and Experimental Design

Course Number: 951

Description: A foundation in vision science is rooted in the underpinnings of the various methods and experimental designs used to answer the scientific questions that are asked. The psychophysical methodology/approach is the historical root of vision science. It often precedes, and often drives, the neuro-physiological studies that seek to resolve and/or explain the psychophysical findings. Knowledge of the general methods/designs used in psychophysical based research serves to provide a framework into which study methodologies are executed within. Content of the course includes photometry and luminance calibration, signal detection theory and ROC analysis, and systematic experimental design. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a well developed experimental design proposal for a research study.

Credits: 4

900 Special Topics

Course Number: 900

Description: Individual study and advanced topics in the vision sciences.

Credits: 1-4

901 Teaching in the Vision Sciences

Course Number: 901

Description: Clinicians with additional scientific/research training (clinician-scientists) are invaluable to the growth of the vision field. In particular, such individuals can contribute greatly to higher education programs in optometry and vision science. A foundation in teaching, and those aspects specific to vision science, is critical to acquire for future success in academia. Teaching methodology can be broadly applied to both didactic and clinical courses. Contents of the course include teaching strategies, teaching philosophy, student learning, and assessment strategies. The course will be presented in seminar format with assigned readings and several practical assignments to assess whether the learning objectives have been met.

Credits: 2

902 Biostatistics

Course Number: 902

Description: Statistics is an essential discipline in the field of research, important first in understanding the scientific literature relative to validity and appropriateness, and later to the conduct of the candidate’s thesis project. The M.S. degree candidate needs to have a solid working knowledge of the various types of research data and how these were obtained, the distribution of those data, and formal hypothesis testing using those data to draw conclusions regarding the import of the findings. This course will examine the numerical and graphical representation of data, the concepts of sample size, data distributions and appropriate hypothesis testing, inferences regarding dependent and independent data, and parametric and non-parametric evaluation. A free statistical shareware, “R” software, will be used by the candidate to undertake sample problem analysis to further cement the understanding of the lecture concepts.

Credits: 2

952 Ethics in Research

Course Number: 952

Description: Through reading, discussion and writing, students will gain sensitivity for and knowledge of social ethics and the social context of scientific research. They will have knowledge of those elements of ethics, good scientific practice and law that are essential to perform research in the biomedical disciplines, with or without human subjects. They will have knowledge and skills to develop and implement effective, ethical research projects. The course content is organized in three strands: an introduction to ethics, the human subject, and research integrity.

Credits: 2

960 MS Research

Course Number: 960

Description: The Master of Science in Vision Science at the Southern California College of Optometry emphasizes the development and execution of an original vision research project. Each student must write a paper based on the student's research activities. The paper must be of publication quality. A Master’s thesis describing this project is required for completion of the program and will be reviewed by a Thesis Committee. Time spent planning, carrying out the research project, data analysis, and writing the thesis will be assigned Course 960. This can be from 1 – 12 credits per quarter. Total minimum thesis credits = 40 credits. The MS degree also requires a defense of the thesis.