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Student Research

Combined OD/MS Student Research 

One of the most meaningful ways to participate in research as an optometry student at SCCO is to consider the combined OD/MS program. This program is designed to allow participants to pursue both their clinical training in the Doctor of Optometry program and receive a research education via a Master of Science in Vision Science degree. The master's degree training prepares students to embark on a career in teaching and/or research in the basic or clinical science of vision.

The need for new knowledge in the vision sciences is great, and teaching and research opportunities are numerous in a spectrum of academic, industrial and professional settings. Although the program provides a broad foundation of scientific knowledge of vision systems, it is at the same time appropriately flexible to allow candidates to develop expertise in areas of special interest. The master's degree includes both didactic coursework and the successful completion of an experimental thesis project. Find out more about our MS in Vision Science.

Research Electives

For students interested in research, but not pursuing a master's degree in Vision Science, SCCO offers elective options. Requirements include having and maintaining a 2.8 GPA for eligibility. Students interested in research studies typically discuss projects with faculty advisors, then embark on a limited or multi-quarter project. The advisor assists with project concept, development and grading. For students who achieve a passing grade, the credit will appear on your transcript as BVS 860, Research Elective. Learn more about SCCO's Faculty Research Interests.

Summer Research Opportunities

Between the first and second year at SCCO, students are encouraged to participate in one of many research opportunities. Summer fellowships and internships include:

  • The National Eye Institute T-35, Predoctoral Research Fellowship programs are offered by several colleges of optometry in the USA, such as UC Berkeley, The Ohio State University, The New England College of Optometry, The State University of New York College of Optometry in New York City and the University of Houston College of Optometry.
  • Summer internships at Johnson & Johnson at their headquarters in Florida or at Essilor, USA.

Several of our summer research participants have had posters accepted for presentation at scientific meetings, for example, at the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meetings. 

Student Research Assistant Roles

Students can gain experience in research — and collect modest compensation — working on a research study with faculty. Often these opportunities are most prevalent during the summer periods but can occur during the school year as well. Activities include chart searches, data collection with patients and data analysis. SCCO’s faculty members are engaged in a broad range of Clinical Trials & Studies.


Amanda's OD/MS Research Journey
My decision to pursue the dual OD/MS program ended up being one of the best decisions I made for myself and for my career. The MS courses enhanced the OD program and allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the research behind various aspects of vision science. The unique experience of working one on one with some of the experts in the various fields of optometry has been invaluable.
Amanda Beaudry, SCCO '16