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Graduate Degree Programs

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We educate clinician-scientists who will contribute to our understanding of vision and visual disorders. Students accepted into the graduate programs receive a broad background in vision science and strong training in research. By pursuing a graduate MS or PhD degree, students can develop skills that enable them to contribute new knowledge to the field, contribute to new scientific developments relevant to optometry and vision science, and become more competitive for residencies and academic or industry positions following graduation.

Master of Science in Vision Science

New England College of Optometry offers two opportunities to obtain a Master of Science in Vision Science for students interested in performing original research in vision science.   The Master of Science in Vision Science program is designed to develop the analytical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to be a successful scientist. The program emphasizes research in an area of vision science that is determined by the student’s interests and the expertise of the graduate faculty. There are two ways to earn this degree

Dual Doctor of Optometry / Master of Science (OD/MS) Degree
A dual OD/MS program is designed for qualified optometry students enrolled in our OD degree program who wish to earn a MS degree as well. The OD/MS dual degree may be completed within the time frame of the four-year professional degree program and involves modifications to the course sequence in the OD curriculum. Students in this program will take core courses for the MS program, perform laboratory-based research, and complete and defend a Master’s thesis while working toward their OD degree.

Master of Science in Vision Science (M.S.)
This stand-alone degree is designed for candidates who wish to earn a MS degree without enrolling in the College’s OD degree program.  Qualified candidates must have a college level background in science or a professional degree. The program is comprised of required and elective course work, and emphasizes original laboratory-based research. It is usually completed in two years. A Master’s thesis based on the candidate’s research, and a successful thesis defense, are required for completion of the degree. 

OD/PhD Dual Degree Program

Through a partnership with the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), New England College of Optometry offers a dual OD/PhD degree program resulting in an OD degree from NECO and a PhD degree from BU’s Division of Graduate Medical Sciences.  The program is designed for the student interested in a career in optometric research.

OD/PhD Dual Degree
Students in the OD/PhD Dual degree program complete the first three years of the OD program at NECO before beginning their post-Master’s PhD curriculum at BUSM.  Upon completion of the PhD program and a satisfactory defense of their dissertation, students return to NECO for their final year of clinical training.  

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