Graduate Program in Vision Science (MS, PhD)

Degree Requirements

Master of Science Degree
Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours is required, of which 15 must be didactic hours in vision science or in approved substitutes. Students holding the O.D. degree, or enrolled in the O.D. program, may apply up to 4 credit hours to this requirement of 15 didactic credit hours.

Thesis Requirements

Early in the program, students participate in a research project under the direction of a faculty advisor. The advisor is chosen by the student after consultation with the director of the graduate program. Research toward the thesis is guided by the advisor and a committee. After completion of the thesis, at least three members of the graduate faculty give it final approval.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours is required, of which 30 must come from didactic courses with grades of B or higher. Students holding the O.D. degree, or enrolled in the O.D. program, may apply up to 6 credit hours to this requirement of 30 didactic credit hours. When the grade point average of a student falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation.

Each semester, students are required to register for and participate in the weekly Vision Science Seminar (V 765) known as “Oxyopia.” Participation implies that the seminar will be taken for credit and that students will make presentations.

During the first year students will complete two Vision Science survey courses (V 700 and V 701).

Students will select at least one minor subject in any relevant field of study, subject to approval by their advisory committee. The requirements for the minor are determined by the department or program offering the minor.

Vision Science Ph.D.Degree Requirements

In order to ensure adequate progress toward the Ph.D. degree, all students must achieve the following milestones at the end of years 1, 2, and 3 of the program.

Advancement to Second-Year Exam

At the end of the first year in the program each student must pass a written examination covering a wide selection of vision science topics in order to advance to the second year of the program. By this time, students should also have demonstrated an appropriate command of spoken and written English.

Advancement to Third Year

By the end of the second year all students should have identified the area of study and the specific experiments that will eventually constitute their Ph.D. thesis. This requirement will be met by submitting a formal abstract describing the proposed experiments to the Graduate Program coordinator. This abstract must be accompanied by written approval of the Ph.D. advisor.

Advancement to Candidacy

By the end of the third year, each student must complete a written and oral qualifying examination. These examinations are administered by the student’s advisory committee. The written component is the dissertation proposal, and can be in the form of a grant application. The requirement of 30 credit hours of didactic course work must be fulfilled before the qualifying examination. After successful completion of the qualifying exam, each student will be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Participation in the Ph.D. program will be terminated if a student fails the qualifying examination twice.

The final milestone is completion of the dissertation.

Completion of Dissertation

After completion of the written dissertation, it is presented and defended at a scheduled seminar meeting. The dissertation must be approved by the student’s research committee.

IU Office of Research and University Graduate School (RUGS) provides a guide to the preparation of theses and dissertations. Related forms may be acquired from the IU School of Optometry Office of Student Administration. See Website at

Ph.D. Minor in Vision Science

Students from other departments who wish to minor in vision science should complete Introduction to Vision Science I and II (VSCI-V 700 and 701) and at least one other course from the following list below.

Academic Bulletins

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