The MS/OD China Program is a unique joint degree program between Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) and the New England College of Optometry (NECO). Students who complete the program earn two degrees: the master of science and doctor of optometry degrees. The MS/OD China curriculum combines the AODP curriculum and the Master of Science degree with joint clinical externships that include six months in Boston-based rotations and six months at Wenzhou Medical University.
A Unique Perspective on Optometry
In China, optometric education only began in 1988 at the Wenzhou Medical University. Since that time, the discipline and the profession have emerged as a five-year, medically-based program within the medical education system of China. Students in the program receive the highest level of training in Optometry and are provided with the credentials needed to assume positions of leadership in China’s medical education and health care systems. In 2000, the Ministry of Health formally accepted Optometry as a subspecialty of medicine.
In November, 2000, WMU and NECO initiated a unique joint-degree program to develop a cadre of knowledgeable and skilled optometrists in China who could assume the highest positions in China’s medical education and health care system. The program’s goal is to develop a core group of individuals trained in optometry and educated as scientists to advance the quality of eye care and the development of educational programs within the field of optometry in China.
A Successful Career Post-Graduation
Graduates of the program have gone on to hold the following positions:
- President of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China
- Vice President of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China
- Director of Research and Development at the Affiliated Eye Hospital, Wenzhou, China
- Director of International Programs for the School of Optometry and Ophthalmology, Wenzhou, China
- Country Coordinator of Health Services for the International Special Olympics
- Editor of Contact Lenses, Optometric Instrumentation, Visual Neurophysiology, and Ophthalmic Lenses
- Vice Director of the Affiliated Eye Hospital, Wenzhou, China
- Principle Lecturer at Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China
Graduates of the MS/OD China Program have also received grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, The Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province, and the Ministry of Health in Beijing. They have been elected to the People’s National Congress, lectured nationally, and have provided significant continuing education in the area of contact lenses for the ophthalmic industry.
Twelve NECO faculty members have traveled to Wenzhou, China to teach courses at the WMU. In addition, the clinical externship established at Wenzhou Medical University in the recent years has been included as an elective externship rotation site for the fourth year OD students of NECO.