MS Overview

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The Master of Science in Vision Science (MS) prepares students to embark on a career in teaching and/or research in the basic or clinical science of vision. Students accepted into the program must be enrolled at SCCO in the professional optometry program, hold a Doctor of Optometry degree (OD), a Medical degree (MD), or hold a Bachelor’s degree from a University in the United States or Canada.

There is a great need for new knowledge in the vision sciences and teaching and research opportunities are numerous in a spectrum of academic, industrial and professional settings. Although the program has sufficient structure to provide a broad foundation of scientific knowledge of vision systems, it is at the same time appropriately flexible to permit candidates to develop expertise in areas of special interest.

Four tracks are currently offered. The first is a combined OD/MS dual degree program, started upon entry into the Optometry program (OD) or later in the first year of the Optometry program (OD). Students may apply concurrently to the Optometry and MS program. Otherwise, students are identified by interest and academic performance by the end of winter quarter of the first year, and invited to participate.

Two stand-alone, full-time, two-year MS tracks are also offered. The combined residency/MS program incorporates an element of patient care, proposed as the equivalent of two full days per week (0.40 FTE) for two years in a defined clinical area (i.e., contact lenses, binocular vision, low vision, ocular disease) combined with a research project. The stand-alone program incorporates two days per week (0.40 FTE) of teaching for two years, expected to be a combination of clinical and laboratory assignments.

A final program is the offering of a part-time Master of Science in Vision Science degree program to practicing optometrists.

All of the MS programs incorporate the development and presentation of seminars and formal lectures in specific courses to develop candidates’ educational skills.

The MS tracks require the equivalent of two years full-time study, including 20 quarter credits for core and elective didactic course work, and a minimum of 40 credit hours of research, culminating in a written thesis.

Program Philosophy

The Master of Science in Vision Science is envisioned as a research-based graduate degree. Research is a vital part of the ongoing development of the profession since it provides the basis for new understanding and new treatments of vision conditions. The research undertaken in fulfillment of the MS degree will provide new knowledge for the profession, train the candidate in the conduct of sound research as a potential future educator and researcher, and enhance the reputation of the institution as a leader in the profession through publication of results in quality peer-reviewed journals.

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