At the Southern California College of Optometry, it takes four academic years to complete the Doctor of Optometry degree. During the first year, students are exposed to the basic sciences, and research techniques. Included are courses in optics, biomedical sciences, visual sciences and clinical procedures. First-year students receive their introduction to patient care in the University Eye Center (UEC).
The second year emphasizes clinical procedures and advanced studies in visual science. Students begin seeing patients in the UEC in the second quarter of the second year.
Third-year students spend half their time in lecture and the other half in patient care under the supervision of clinical faculty. Lecture topics include courses in contact lenses, vision therapy, diseases of the eye, ocular pharmacology, clinical optometry and public health.
The final year consists of four 3-month rotations as part of the Outreach Clinical Program. One clinical rotation is in specialty services at the UEC and the other three rotations are at various off-site clinics.
The degree Doctor of Optometry will be conferred on students who satisfactorily complete the four-year academic and professional curriculum in optometry. Satisfactory completion of the SCCO program and the NBEO examinations will qualify the graduate to apply for licensure in the U.S. or Canada.